08:38 Wednesday 10th April 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[P]AUL STAINTON: I don’t know if you’ve seen the pictures in the papers today of some of the demonstrations that were taking place around the UK yesterday, some parties almost to celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher. Many people commenting about the death of course, and paying tribute and having their say. Some people very critical of Margaret Thatcher’s reign. But it’s in the papers this morning, pictures in Liverpool, Bristol, Brixton, with banners celebrating her death, young people on the streets who, to be honest, not even old enough to remember who Maggie Thatcher was or what she stood for. Well, sickening scenes, some say. Many mourning the passing of Baroness Thatcher. Some paying tribute. And then those people on the streets. Glasgow as well, Belfast and other places had those parties. They were calling them Thatcher death parties. Well Derek Hatton, who was the Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council in the 1980s, famed for his anti-Thatcher rhetoric of course, says whilst he wouldn’t join in the protests, he wouldn’t condemn those who were involved in it either. Well Derek’s with us now. Derek, morning.
DEREK HATTON: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: You wouldn’t condemn those people who were out on the streets having Thatcher death parties?
DEREK HATTON: I certainly would not have been part and parcel of that, and I certainly would not want to be in a position where I would say, well hang on a minute, if I’d have been around in that particular area I’d have joined in. Having said that, I find it difficult to actually condemn them, because I understand their feelings. And even though a lot of them weren’t around when Thatcher was around, of course they hear from their parents the devastation and destruction that her policies caused. And the reality you’ve got at the moment is as each day goes by, the Government is doing more and more things to provoke reactions. Today they’re recalling Parliament. No Labour MP for example is allowed today to go and say what (s)he really feels about Margaret Thatcher or her policies. They’ve all got to be nice and say wonderful things. We’re then told that at a time when we’re supposed to be all in it together, a time when people are losing jobs and services and industry and everything else, we’re being told they’re going to spend £10 million of taxpayers money on her funeral. Now you could almost understand people’s reaction to that. Why on earth ..
PAUL STAINTON: How can you Derek though?
DEREK HATTON: Why don’t we privatise the funeral? Why don’t we actually say to the owners of utility companies, why don’t we say to the bankers, why don’t we say to them, it’s you who have made fortunes as a result of Thatcherism. You contribute towards this. And I tell you what, that would actually in some ways reduce the impact of the opposition.
PAUL STAINTON: Can you really, can you really excuse what is going on? A woman died. Somebody’s mum, somebody’s grandma.
DEREK HATTON: A little old lady died.
PAUL STAINTON: How would you feel if it was your mum?
DEREK HATTON: I would not in any way want to be seen to be saying I celebrate the death of anyone. Because I know that that means that human beings close to her or him are very upset.
PAUL STAINTON: How can anybody celebrate? I can’t understand the mindset of these people.
DEREK HATTON: I can understand the anger towards what she did.
PAUL STAINTON: I can’t get into the mindset of people celebrating another person’s death.
DEREK HATTON: It’s not about someone’s death, people are celebrating in a way I think they’re wrong. because I think they think that the death of Thatcher is the death of Thatcherism. And unfortunately it isn’t. In many ways it’s a wrong celebration. So I understand what you’re saying, but equally I understand how they feel. I think they’re misguided, but I understand what they’re saying.
PAUL STAINTON: I grew up in a mining community. Thatcher was the anti-Christ in my village. Scargill was the King of the World. But whatever my personal thoughts of Margaret Thatcher, I just find it sickening. I really do. Do you think these are kinds who are jumping on a bandwagon?
DEREK HATTON: Let’s not go overboard on this, right. To use the word sickening, you’re doing the opposite to what they’re doing. You’re pushing the other side. By the way, it was sickening the jobs that were lost in the ’80s, sickening the people that lost their lives. It was sickening when police horses went parading through demonstrations. It was sickening when local authorities lost fortunes, or people were made to suffer. That was sickening as well.
PAUL STAINTON: Derek, thank you for coming on this morning. Derek Hatton, former Leader of Liverpool City Council, says he understands why people feel that they wanted to go on the streets and celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s death.