Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Billy Bragg on the Death of Margaret Thatcher

Yesterday on his Facebook page and his official web site the unapologetic left-wing folk/rock English singer Bill Bragg who was getting ready for a concert in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, issued a statement of the death of long-time conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, also known as 'The Iron Lady.'

Bragg was heavily critical of Thatcher and in 1985, he released a powerful ballad "Between the Wars" about what he perceived to be her neglect of the working class and a useful war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands.

Here is Bragg's statement:

"This is not a time for celebration. The death of Margaret Thatcher is nothing more than a salient reminder of how Britain got into the mess that we are in today. Of why ordinary working people are no longer able to earn enough form one job to support a family; of why there is a shortage of descent affordable housing; of why domestic growth is driven by credit; not by real incomes; of why tax-payers are forced to top up wages; of why a spiteful government seeks to penalise the poor for an extra bedroom; of why Rupert Murdoch became so powerful; of why cynicism and greed became the hallmarks of our society.

Raising the glass to the death of an infirm old lady changes none of this. The only real antidote to cynicism is activism. Don't celebrate---organise."

Bragg comes to America with concert dates that include a concert at the Eagle Theatre in Iowa City, Iowa, on April 15th.

The American right-wing Republican political figure Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, who ran unsuccessfully for president last year was quite different in his remarks regarding Thatcher, who was called the 'Demir Leydi' in Turkey.

Gingrich tweeted yesterday that: "Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul and Ronald Reagan changed history. The world would be a different place without them."

SIDEBAR: On a personal date, I was very saddened to hear about the death of American filmmaker Les Blank who died at age 77 after a bout with cancer at his home near San Francisco. His landmark films included "Burden of Dreams" (1982) about eccentric German film director Werner Herzog and his grand efforts to put the epic film "Fitzcarraldo" with the late Klaus Kinski. I had the change to meet Blank in person and talk to him over the years. As one person said on his Facebook page today: "An artist may die, but his art never does."




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