On the subject of the song \”Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead\”

Folks, we have free speech in Britain.

Yes, free speech does indeed mean being able to mock the beliefs of others. Upset people even.

It is not that idiots are allowed to jump for joy at the death of another. Or that they have permission in some manner. It is that they have an absolute right to speak and act as they wish up to the limits only of libel and incitement to immediate violence.

Along with such freedom and liberty also comes the necessity of bearing the burden of the consequences of such speech: we\’re all entirely at liberty to call them vile cunts for so acting.

And this is actually the point of it all. We all get to shout as we wish, sing as we desire, into that marvellous cacophony of discordance which is the very evidence that we are a free society.

It\’s only in dictatorships that the populace sings in harmony.

54 thoughts on “On the subject of the song \”Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead\””

  1. I would agree with you, Tim, were it not for the fact that a) I have to help fund the BBC and b) it’s all of a piece with its undeniable and undenied left wing bias.

    Its charter requires impartiality and I cannot imagine them playing songs to celebrate the death of leftist leaders. Chavez was recently the subject of a virtual hagiography, after all.

    So yes, they’re cunts, but no, they shouldn’t play this song.

  2. No we don’t Tim. We don’t have free speech by a long measure. And a primary reason we don’t is the remorseless shutting down of it by these bestial Ding-Dongers.

    Ask Emma West, for instance, how much “free speech” she’s been afforded.

  3. The Emma West case is a disgrace. They’ve charged her, then thought about how it’s going to look, and are now wishing the whole thing would go away.

    It’s this kind of thing that turns (some stupid) people into racists, I’m sure of it.

  4. What could be more impartial than just playing the songs in the charts?

    By choosing to interfere, and then making their inteference a headline news item, they’ve managed to moves as far from impartiality as they possibly can, with the added bonus of giving the thing near-infinitely more coverage than necessary. Still, lots of publicity for their chart show can’t hurt, eh?

  5. I’ve just sent similar comments to my son, also pointing out that Thatcher was a keen follower (disciple?) of Hayek – censorship, Road to Serfdom etc.

    Furthermore, how can we tell Muslims to get over themselves when it comes to cartoons if we’re going to try to censor this? (yes, I’m aware its only the beeb but they are seen in many places as as the state’s broadcasting company)

    Only the beeb could come up with such a stupid solution. What will they do with the cartoons, show us 10% of the picture?

    Can I have my licence fee back, please?

  6. Can I admit to my ignorance (maybe I need to read a bit more) and ask you to tell me about the Emma West case.
    A subsidiary question: under our shiny hate crime laws could singing this song actually be regarded as being likely to cause offense/distress etc?

  7. @TTG fair point, except that I’m interested in the context. I would rather their impartiality stretched to “not playing any songs which celebrate anyone’s death”. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

  8. Ironman:

    On the subsidiary question, the answer is no, since protection from offense is only afforded to certain specific classes (races, religions, disabilities, sexual gender preferences). People who respect Margaret Thatcher are none of these things.

  9. @SimonF I *might* agree if the BBC *had* published the Mohammed cartoons, but apparently some people’s feelings *do* matter.

    I would agree entirely if I had the option of cancelling my subs (though I wouldn’t have subscribed in the first place) in protest.

  10. I’ve reported the backers of that song to the police for issuing “hate speech”.

    Oh hang on – hate speech is only hate speech if it opposes one of the cherished ideas of the political left. I forgot that.

  11. @Interested

    “I would rather their impartiality stretched to “not playing any songs which celebrate anyone’s death”. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.”

    It doesn’t sound unreasonable, no.. but gets deeply troublesome as the cases get more complex. Who decides whether a song is ‘celebrating’ death? What about mean songs about people who are more ‘objectively’ bad? What about other forms of art/expression? Does the BBC now have to refuse to broadcast anything at all that could be interpreted as celebrating the death of anyone?

    The public get to decide what to buy and why to buy it. If enough people but a song for dubious reasons then so be it. Having had to put up with tha mawkish Elton John bollocks for half of eternity after Diana died.. I think we all deserve an irreverent giggle this time. And surely Thatcher herself wouldn’t have given one tenth of a fuck.

  12. The BBC isn’t obligated to play anything. Do you think if some band having a laugh got to number 1 with a song called “Tits And Cunts” (or similar) that the BBC would play it? Of course they wouldn’t. Remember the Sex Pistols and all that.

  13. The solution is simple. Identify (or get someone to write) a suitably irreverent/rude song about Gordon Brown/Tony Blair, and get it in the charts. Only took 14000 downloads I believe for the Ding Ding song. Shouldn’t be too hard, especially as lots of people hate TB on the Left too.

    I suggest a parody based on John Kettley is a weatherman by A Tribe of Toffs

    “Gordon Brown is a cunt, and so is Tony Blair”

  14. They say Mrs Thatcher was divisive.

    Now it seems there are 2 groups – those of us civilised people who find playing this song on a person’s death to be distasteful. And them who want to play the song.

    If Mrs T created division between our group and their group, then I frankly can’t praise her enough.

  15. The simple solution would of course be that the bbc stops stealing other peoples money and then they can do whatever they want

  16. I strongly suspect that Mrs T herself might be rather pleased that after 23 years she still caused controversy.

  17. @TTG

    I just don’t understand how decent people cannot see that playing this song is simply wrong *where listeners have no choice as to whether to pay the licence fee*, and I don’t understand this argument that (in terms) because things are “difficult” it’s pointless doing anything.

    It’s not that complex. This is just nasty, and yes, there should be a general presumption at the BBC – outwith the news and obvious fiction – against “broadcast(ing) anything at all that could be interpreted as celebrating the death of anyone”.

    In fact, when was the last time this happened?

    I don’t think it has?

  18. “The BBC isnt obligated to play anything.”

    No, of course not. The clue is in the name , the *British* Broadcasting Corporation. Free speech cannot in any decent society extend to the use of *obligate*.

  19. Funny waTching people get into logical contortions over this. Double standards left right and centre.

    Not so much talk about how much tax payer money is being thrown at this

  20. As she said: “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

    Play the damn song. It’s what she’d have wanted.

  21. @ Interested

    Yes, we are (constructively, if not strictly) obliged to pay the license fee.. but nobody is obliged to listen to radio one.. and I’ll wager that not many of the people likely to be offended in this instance ever do.

    Isn’t the usual response to people being offended by things they can easily avoid to tell them to avoid the offensive thing?

    Yes.. this is a bit nasty. But if you’re looking for examples of death celebration.. then how about every war film ever? Hell.. what about the Wizard of Oz? Ok.. so the *actual* wicked witch wasn’t real.. but aren’t we setting a bad example to the cheeeldren by letting that song be aired in any circumstance? And have you seen ‘Wicked’, once you know the tragic circumstances that led to the witch becoming wicked, you’ll see things in a whole new light.

    Ok.. daft, know.. except there are people out there who, in all sincerity, try to get things banned on such spurious grounds. Many would argue that the attempts to erase gollywogs from history are along similar lines.

    That’s why it’s complex.

    The song gets it’s chart position the same way every other song does. It’s all entirely democratic. Nobody at all will be hurt by it being played. Nobody will be offended unless they’ve made a special effor to be so. The BBC has every right to decide what to play and what not to play.. but when it intervenes in usual practice for political reasons, then that is censorship.. and I think that the grounds for that censorship are pretty weak in this case.. and I suspect that if it were a song mocking Mohammed, then the for’s and against’s in this debate would, broadly speaking, swap places.

  22. @TTG as I said, context. I object to nothing I’m not forced to pay for. I think the Guardian is a terrible newspaper, and so is the Mail. So I don’t buy them.

    But if I did, by your logic, I could only object to any part of it if I’d read every other word. That seems odd.

    Re war films, I explicitly removed fiction (and the news) from this. The Thatcher song is explicitly political (in today’s context) and they are supposed to be politically impartial. (lol as the kids say.)

  23. Plus, do you *seriously* think there would be *any* debate about a song mocking Mohammed?

    Try as I might, I can’t imagine a very long “should we, shouldn’t we” debate in Broadcasting House.

    For what it’s worth, I think there’s a major distinction to be made anyway between mocking Islam and celebrating a recent death, and – again – I’m only talking about not playing songs that celebrate a recent death.

    Would I have wanted the BBC to play a song celebrating the death of bin Laden? No, because I think it would be demeaning, moronic and unpleasant.

    We leave the celebration of death to people like him, we don’t imitate them.

  24. Ian B,

    The BBC isn’t obligated to play anything. Do you think if some band having a laugh got to number 1 with a song called “Tits And Cunts” (or similar) that the BBC would play it? Of course they wouldn’t. Remember the Sex Pistols and all that.

    Which again, was political (they didn’t ban Pretty Vacant, despite the clear use of the word “cunt”).

    In the US, the supreme court recognises that there is a limitation on free speech for obscenity. Say the word “cunt” on broadcast TV in the daytime and you can’t hide behind the first amendment. The reason why all this US TV is quite interesting now, is that it’s on cable, which isn’t considered as public broadcast, so you can make The Sopranos and Spartacus.

  25. Is “cunt” in Pretty Vacant? It’s not in the lyrics. I know you can hear it when Lydon sings “Vay… cant”, but there’s no other way to sing that, is there? Great song, by the way.

    There was a similar debate about The Shamen’s Ebeneezer Goode. Clearly, they were singing “Es are good”. I thought that was quite witty, but then I like E.

  26. @Interested

    “But if I did, by your logic, I could only object to any part of it if I’d read every other word. That seems odd.”

    And by your logic, the BBC cannot, anywhere, broadcast anything that a license payer might find distasteful. This is also odd.

    “Plus, do you *seriously* think there would be *any* debate about a song mocking Mohammed?”

    Yes. Just like there we debates about the cartoons, and just like the debates whenever Christianity gets a kicking. I’m not saying they’d get the right answer.. but that’s not the point.

    “We leave the celebration of death to people like him, we don’t imitate them.”

    But, evidently, we do. That’s why we’re having this discussion. There’s really nothing to be gained from trying to pretend otherwise. A lot of people are glad she’s dead. I don’t think it’s something to celebrate.. but if other people do (and they do) then I’m not going to try to surpress them.

  27. Because most in the government funded ‘Creative Arts’ tend to be Left of Center it’s little surprise that double standards apply – one wonders if the Been would broadcast ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ if it had managed to chart here.

    However, Tim Almond (#24) is correct, as usual – the recourse to petty insults reveals that their argument has been lost completely. Look at Arnald on these boards – utterly routed every time! I think we’re she still here and at the peak of her powers, she’d completely agree – let them play it, in full.

  28. The word “cunt” isn’t in Pretty Vacant, any more than it’s in Cliff Richard’s “In The Country”.

    “In the US, the supreme court recognises that there is a limitation on free speech for obscenity. ”

    Well actually no, the Supreme Court decided that there is a limitation on free speech for “obscenity”. There’s nothing in the Bill of Rights discussing that some speech is protected and some isn’t.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    You can’t “recognise” something that isn’t there. It’s like a constitution saying, “the law may not treat people of different ethnicities differently”, and then a subsequent court adding the clause, “except Scotsmen”.

    And Spartacus? I cried like a baby, from about when Gannicus went up on the cross onwards.

  29. FWIW, I reckon there will be rejoicing when Blair dies, perhaps lessened by the delay between death and leaving office. He is widely regarded as a war criminal.

  30. @TTG “And by your logic, the BBC cannot, anywhere, broadcast anything that a license payer might find distasteful. This is also odd.”

    No, I specifically said they shouldn’t broadcast songs aimed at celebrating someone’s death. This is little more than basic good manners.

    “Yes. Just like there we debates about the cartoons”

    Sorry, I was unclear. What I meant was, “do you *seriously* think there would be *any* debate WITHIN THE BBC about a song mocking Mohammed?

  31. I’m not sure that this is an offensiveness issue. It’s more about our culture, like most others, having a tradition of treating the dead with respect. Even false and undeserved respect.

    It’s like that thing where a child dies, and they are always descibed as “bright, and popular, everyone loved him/her, had such a promising future”. It’s obvious that this can’t be true in every case. But it’s a cultural matter of not being negative during a mourning period. It’s like the vicar’s eulogy; it doesn’t offer a balanced objective assessment of the person. It says nice things about them. You just don’t slag off dead people. It’s not the done thing. In just about every culture on Earth.

    Just about the only people I can see this is “offensive” too is pagans (and being rather fond of that kind of thing, I genuinely do think it’s inappropriate these days to use “witch” as a perjorative). But the main issue isn’t about “offending” people; it’s about breaking a deep-seated cultural convention, and what that says about what is happening to us as a culture.

  32. Another thing; I was trying to think of a comparable example, and it made me think of the widespread rejoicing when Cromwell died. But he was on the throne at the time, a despot, so the rejoicing was, yes, hatred of the man but fundamentally about the release from under the goosestepping jackboots of the Puritan tyranny.

    Thatcher has not been PM for 23 years. Rejoicing at her removal from power (if you disliked her) was appropriate at the time, and indeed IIRC there was much rejoicing. Rejoicing at her death in and of itself is a different thing.

  33. Let ’em dance, and fuck ’em. I’ve already had a wee jig on Chavez’s grave, and I’m polishing my pumps up for slow waltzes all over Castro, Mugabe and Mandela.

  34. Was Cromwell a despot ? I don’t think so, no more than any monarch had been anyway and a lot less than some. That’s an interesting comparison though as I’d view the hysterical mob reaction to his corpse as being both the product of Royalist incitement and a fear of being thought friendly to the previous regime, which is probably not so different from the reaction to Mrs. Thatcher’s death.

  35. I am in favour of free speech however if the EDL decide to get a song insulting the pedophile prophet in the charts will it be played?

  36. Re Emma West, I think you’ll find that she’s the one with the delaying tactics. She appears to rather enjoy being the poster-girl for neo-Nazis and racists, and is milking it for all its worth. There’s really very little to get upset about when it comes to that stupid, violent little cow getting prosecuted for the various nasty things she’s done.

    Let’s not forget, she assaulted someone even under old common law principles – the ‘racial aggravation’ is an aggravating factor, not the sole offence. She’s since been charged with other, unrelated, non-racially-aggravated assaults as well.

  37. @IanB it’s not about the offensiveness per se, no, it’s about it being broadcast on the tax funded State broadcasting organ the denizens of which spend half or more of their lives policing the “appropriateness” of everyone else’s speech.

    If ITV or Capital Radio want to broadcast it there are shareholders and advertisers and customers who can voice their displeasure (or approval).

    With the BBC, we just get a load of wet to hard leftists deciding that this is ok and if we don’t like it we can fuck off.

    I dunno. Maybe I’m overreacting (wouldn’t be the guest time) but I’m thinking of cancelling my licence fee dd.

  38. Dave, you are completely wrong.

    West’s case has been adjourned several times *at the request of the prosecution* – ostensibly, though risibly, because they require more time to compile psychiatric reports, and on another occasion because a prosecution expert could not attend court.

    If you really think she would have been arrested – she was tracked down after the video was posted on YouTube, not something British Transport Police do as a matter of routine – if she hadn’t made racial remarks I suggest that you have not been paying attention.

    Yes, she committed a(n otherwise extremely) minor offence; people abuse others on public transport every day. Try reporting any of them, and see where you get. If there’s a copper nearby, and the offender is in sight you have a chance. Otherwise, it’s not happening.

    This is not to say she is not a vile specimen – based purely on the video, she is. Behaviour like that is horrible and appalling.

    But this is about the abuse of state power.

    It is wholly ludicrous that a case the facts of which are not in any way complex should take this length of time to be heard. Article 6 HRA may begin to be considered.

    And what about our equality under the law? As far as I’m aware, for instance, the (equally unpleasant) woman in the video I link to below was not even charged (I’m happy to stand corrected if anyone can show otherwise):

    http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/emma-west-trial-adjourned-for-third-time/

  39. @interested
    Double standards re authoritarianism, political correctness and revisionism by certain numbskulls in the Tory party. Free speech when it suits eh?

    It’s ok to complain about the license fee for airing the song, but not to object to the costs of a party political state funeral. What bollocks.

    Old dave c has turned himself inside out to please the blue rinse brigade, what a twat!

  40. Interested>

    You really ought to see through the neo-Nazi spin. Emma West is the one who introduced insanity (!) at a very late stage, requiring the trial to be adjourned so the prosecution could commission necessary reports. It’s frivolous, of course, since it would only serve as mitigation, not a defence, and even when she’s found guilty she’ll be out on time-served whatever happens.

    She wasn’t tracked down, just arrested after a video of her criminal behaviour became national news and provoked an outpouring of disgust. Attitudes change over time, and these days the man on the Clapham omnibus – or Croydon tram, in this case – is sickened by foul, unprovoked, racist ranting.

  41. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave- “There-s really very little to get upset about when it comes to that stupid, violent little cow getting prosecuted for the various nasty things she

  42. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave- “There’s really very little to get upset about when it comes to that stupid, violent little cow getting prosecuted for the various nasty things she-s done.”

    Sorry but what has she done that she deserves to be prosecuted for? Words by the looks of it to me. Mere words.

    “Let-s not forget, she assaulted someone even under old common law principles – the ‘racial aggravation’ is an aggravating factor, not the sole offence.”

    Sorry but what assault would this be? Another passenger claims that Ms West’s hand came in contact with her shoulder? Try getting the police to prosecute that when you-re not making racist statements.

    48Dave – “She wasn-t tracked down, just arrested after a video of her criminal behaviour became national news and provoked an outpouring of disgust.”

    That is to say, the police originally did not give a damn. Until the video went viral. Then they tracked her down and arrested her.

    “Attitudes change over time, and these days the man on the Clapham omnibus – or Croydon tram, in this case – is sickened by foul, unprovoked, racist ranting.”

    I disagree. The man on the Clapham Omnibus still does not give a damn. But the Leftist elite that runs this country does. Ms West is being charged with a thought crime. No more. Most people are probably more sickened by the violation of the basic right to free speech.

  43. Rym, ah sorry – I thought you were maybe posting in good faith.

    I can’t speak for Tories but I’m in favour of free speech (historically, it’s your lot that isn’t), I’m not sure where PC comes in, and re cost she should get the same send off any PM of her standing would get.

    A lot of the cost will be in stopping you lefties trashing the place like the kids they are, or sweeping up after you.

    Ironically, most of the people doing the loudest complaining about this – students, anarchists, various scroungers – don’t actually pay any tax anyway, so leave worrying about paying for stuff to us grown ups. Unless you want to cut all spending, in which case pull up a chair.

    Dave, I think the courts service and the NHS should sign you up immediately as an uber psychiatrist, since you can obviously tell from the Internet whether a given person has “mental health issues” or not.

    Or maybe you could become an instant Lord of Appeal, or some sort of ultimate legal arbiter, so that you can remove psychiatric matters from the arena altogether.

    But while people are still allowed a lawyer through whom to say “I’m a bit mad”, I suppose we’ll have to go through the tiresome business of finding out whether it’s true or not. (Though since you know already, why don’t they just ask you?) I repeat – these are prosecution delays.

    Re “tracked down”, I amended this slightly, but SMFS has dealt with that and the “assault” so I’ll leave it there, save to say the company she keeps, and even she herself, ought to be irrelevant to the offence, which is absurd, totalitarian grandstanding on the part of the CPS (and I’ll certainly say the same if the black woman in the other link is charged).

    Horrid, squalid little people saying mean things which upset other people, whoever and whatever they are, should not be a proper basis for a prosecution in any sane world.

  44. “Attitudes change over time, and these days the man on the Clapham omnibus – or Croydon tram, in this case – is sickened by foul, unprovoked, racist ranting.”

    So do demographics; ironically West’s complaint boiled down to the fact that the man on the Clapham omnibus is now more likely to be a foreigner than a native.

  45. Just play the damn song. The pro/anti Thatcher divide is so huge that no one is likely to have their views changed on her either way at this stage.

    However…

    By playing this song, they are actually keeping the legacy of Thatcher alive. Any honest young person deciding to do a bit of research into this “wicked witch” may well find their pre-conceived views challenged.

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