Lady Thatcher 'death' T-shirts spark outrage among Tories
Shirts on sale outside TUC conference in Brighton say trade unionists will dance on former PM's grave
T-SHIRTS sold at the TUC annual conference rejoicing in the future death of Margaret Thatcher have not only appalled the Right, they appear to have upset the Left as well.
The T-shirts, being sold outside the main hall at the Brighton Centre, included one design with a picture of Thatcher's Spitting Image puppet and the words 'Hey ho the witch is dead'. Another featured a white cross with 'Thatcher' across it and the slogan: 'A generation of trade unionists will dance on her grave'.
Conservative MPs were quick to condemn the T-shirts, which were raising funds for the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centre.
Conor Burns, Tory MP for Bournemouth West, who regularly visits Lady Thatcher at her home in central London, told The Daily Telegraph that the "sickening sentiments" speak to "something disordered in the human condition".
Priti Patel, MP for Witham, said she was "appalled" at what she described as "a desperate and disrespectful act by the TUC". While Aidan Burley, MP for Cannock Chase, said: "This sick merchandise tells you all you need to know about some in the union movement - baseless, cowardly and utterly devoid of morality."
Burley said Ed Miliband should condemn the T-shirts and the police should investigate.
Guido Fawkes noted that Miliband had yet to comment on the "taunting” of Lady Thatcher. "Being stuffed full of union cash does put him in quite a tricky position," wrote Guido. "[He] hardly wants to upset his paymasters who are obviously keen on dancing on Maggie Thatcher's grave."
But Dan Hodges, a Labour supporter who writes about the party with self-confessed “tribal loyalty", said the T-shirts do not demean Thatcher but the Left.
"T-shirts proclaiming 'Hey ho the witch is dead' don't demean or belittle Margaret Thatcher. They demean every one of us who lays claim to the word 'progressive,'" he wrote for The Daily Telegraph.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber has since described the T-shirts as "tasteless and totally inappropriate", while a TUC spokesman has tried to distance the TUC from the Workers' Centre selling the merchandise.
But some delegates at the TUC are not feeling quite so repentant. The Workers' Centre claims to have sold 20 of the T-shirts. One delegate told The Guardian that they were "not particularly appalled" by the merchandise and another insisted that the accusations of insensitivity should be levelled at the Conservative party for its policies during the Thatcher era.
Andy McSmith, a senior writer for The Independent and author of No such thing as society: a history of Britain in the 1980s, tweeted: "Mugs on sale at TUC with slogan 'I still hate Thatcher'. If you do, it's your problem, not hers. She barely remembers who she is."