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Thatcher sparks solidarity

One of the most creative responses to the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher on 8 April was a website called ‘Don’t Hate, Donate’.

Instead of holding a ‘death party’ (there were many around the country, including one in Trafalgar Square initiated by Class War, and several in former coal-mining villages), Alex Higgins and Tasha Harrison focused attention on those who lost out during the Thatcher era and invited people to donate to important causes. These included: Stonewall (the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity), Shelter (the housing and homelessness charity), the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation and the Child Poverty Action Group.

Rebecca Lush Blum sought and received police permission for a ‘turn your back’ protest along the route of Thatcher’s funeral cortege in central London, and was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s influential ‘Today’ programme, and invited to contribute to the Guardian. Protesting against Thatcher’s policies, and the estimated £10m spent on her quasi-state funeral, Blum drew particular attention to the former premier’s ‘active and unconscionable support for the regime of General Augusto Pinochet’.

In parliament on 16 April, Labour MP Dennis Skinner said about the Thatcher funeral, and its impact on parliamentary business: ‘What I am trying to convey is that the people who concern me now are the people out there having to suffer austerity, the benefit cuts and the increasing costs of their own funeral…. Let’s not kid ourselves. We hear talk about the thing that we sometimes suggest has gone away: class. That’s what it is: it is about class.

‘It’s about the fact that people out there have to live their lives in a different way and that there is one rule for those at the top and another for those at the bottom. It has never changed – I wish it had, but it hasn’t.’

Topics: Activism