| 5.2°C Belfast

Ding Dong Thatcher row - Why freedom of expression trumps taste

Close

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland.  Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory.   6/3/1981
BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Mrs Thatcher talks to Siobhan O'Hars (left) and Katherine O'Hare during her visit to Rathmore Grammar School, Finaghy.  19/6/1978
BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Mrs Thatcher talks to Siobhan O'Hars (left) and Katherine O'Hare during her visit to Rathmore Grammar School, Finaghy. 19/6/1978 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has died following a stroke

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has died following a stroke

PA

Baroness Thatcher's death left some Twitter users with the impression that the singer Cher had died

Baroness Thatcher's death left some Twitter users with the impression that the singer Cher had died

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Margaret Thatcher at the Tory Party Conference in Brighton in 1980

Margaret Thatcher at the Tory Party Conference in Brighton in 1980

Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke

Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Union Flag is lowered to half mast at the Houses of Parliament after the death of Baroness Thatcher

The Union Flag is lowered to half mast at the Houses of Parliament after the death of Baroness Thatcher

PA

Margaret Thatcher arrives at 10 Downing Street after winning the 1979 election

Margaret Thatcher arrives at 10 Downing Street after winning the 1979 election

PA

Margaret Thatcher waves to well-wishers after her 1983 election win

Margaret Thatcher waves to well-wishers after her 1983 election win

PA

Margaret Thatcher pictured with her husband Denis in 1999

Margaret Thatcher pictured with her husband Denis in 1999

PA

A man lays a bunch of flowers outside the home of Lady Margaret Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death

A man lays a bunch of flowers outside the home of Lady Margaret Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death

PA

Members of the armed services will line the route of Baroness Thatcher's funeral procession to St Paul's Cathedral

Members of the armed services will line the route of Baroness Thatcher's funeral procession to St Paul's Cathedral

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Morrissey has attacked Baroness Thatcher after the former prime minister died

Morrissey has attacked Baroness Thatcher after the former prime minister died

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Geri Halliwell has tweeted about Margaret Thatcher's death

Geri Halliwell has tweeted about Margaret Thatcher's death

PA

Meryl Streep has paid tribute to Baroness Thatcher

Meryl Streep has paid tribute to Baroness Thatcher

PA

People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton, south London

People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton, south London

PA

People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton

People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton

PA

Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher

Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher

Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Prime Minister David Cameron pays respects to Margaret Thatcher

Prime Minister David Cameron pays respects to Margaret Thatcher

The death of former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher has divided opinion across Northern Ireland

The death of former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher has divided opinion across Northern Ireland

PA

File photo dated 08/11/05 of Margaret Thatcher at the memorial service for former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, at Westminster Abbey in central London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Chris Young/PA Wire

File photo dated 08/11/05 of Margaret Thatcher at the memorial service for former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, at Westminster Abbey in central London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Chris Young/PA Wire

PA

1985:  (FILE PHOTO)  Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke..
Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. 
http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival 

British prime minister Margaret Thatcher holds a chimpanzee in 1985.   (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

1985: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British prime minister Margaret Thatcher holds a chimpanzee in 1985. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Getty Images

1980: (FILE PHOTO)  Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke..

British Conservative politician and first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher speaks at the Tory Party Conference on in Brighton, East Sussex circa 1980.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

1980: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Conservative politician and first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher speaks at the Tory Party Conference on in Brighton, East Sussex circa 1980. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Getty Images

FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 
 Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts, as the Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent, and  before she married husband Denis.   (Photo by Chris Ware/Getty Images)

FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts, as the Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent, and before she married husband Denis. (Photo by Chris Ware/Getty Images)

Getty Images

FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 
 British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street, London, at the start of her third term in office.   (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street, London, at the start of her third term in office. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Getty Images

FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 
 November 1976:  Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher makes a 'victory' sign outside her home in Chelsea, London.  (Photo by John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. November 1976: Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher makes a 'victory' sign outside her home in Chelsea, London. (Photo by John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Getty Images

File photo dated 24/10/2000 of former Conservative Prime Ministers Sir Edward Heath and Baroness Thatcher check their watches as they listen to the debate at the Conservative Party Conference annual conference in Bournemouth.  Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

File photo dated 24/10/2000 of former Conservative Prime Ministers Sir Edward Heath and Baroness Thatcher check their watches as they listen to the debate at the Conservative Party Conference annual conference in Bournemouth. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

PA

File photo dated 11/05/83 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher receiving Soviet writer Aleksander Solzhenitsyn at No 10 Downing Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Issue date: Monday August 4, 2008. Tributes were being paid today to Nobel-prize winning author and Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who has died aged 89. Solzhenitsyn, whose books chronicled the horrors of the Soviet gulag system, died last night of heart failure, according to his son Stepan. See PA Story DEATH Solzhenitsyn. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

File photo dated 11/05/83 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher receiving Soviet writer Aleksander Solzhenitsyn at No 10 Downing Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Issue date: Monday August 4, 2008. Tributes were being paid today to Nobel-prize winning author and Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who has died aged 89. Solzhenitsyn, whose books chronicled the horrors of the Soviet gulag system, died last night of heart failure, according to his son Stepan. See PA Story DEATH Solzhenitsyn. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **

File photo dated 22/5/89 of Margaret Thatcher fielding questions with Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe (background), at a press conference, in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Martin Keene/PA Wire

File photo dated 22/5/89 of Margaret Thatcher fielding questions with Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe (background), at a press conference, in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Martin Keene/PA Wire

PA

Flowers laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death this morning after a stroke

Flowers laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death this morning after a stroke

PA

FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 
 October 1985:  British prime minister Margaret Thatcher looking pensive at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. October 1985: British prime minister Margaret Thatcher looking pensive at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Getty Images

A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a party to mark her death in central London's Trafalgar square, Saturday, April 13, 2013

A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a party to mark her death in central London's Trafalgar square, Saturday, April 13, 2013

AP

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE

The BBC's rather comic 'compromise' in playing seven seconds of a 58-second protest song is itself an ironic reminder of Margaret Thatcher's term in office.

For all the rhetoric about her as champion of liberty, it was Thatcher's censorship that necessitated the 'compromise' on the BBC of actors performing a voiceover for the words of Sinn Fein.

Tony Hall's defence on grounds of taste and respect would carry weight in the context of a family calling for a private mourning.

Instead, the funeral has been planned as a public event. The campaign song is populist dissent.

Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead may seem a clumsy protest, but if we consider freedom of expression as important, it is so regardless of whether the mode is distasteful, disrespectful, or banal.

VIEWER

By e-mail

To email your letter to the Editor click here

Belfast Telegraph


Privacy