Stand down, Margaret!

Weller, The Specials and more recall the Thatcher years – plus 10 great anti-Thatcher songs

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Broadly, the Stand Down Margaret generation remain refreshingly unapologetic about their hatred of the Conservative Party. “I’ve probably become a bit apolitical in the last 10 or 15 years,” says Paul Weller. “But I still think that Thatcher should be shot as a traitor to the people. We’re still feeling the effects of what her and her party did to the country, and probably always will: the whole breakdown of communities, the dismantling of trade unions, the attack on health, education and industry.”

“She dismantled everything that valued as British people,” says Ali Campbell. “The National Health Service, the labour movement, free education. I struggle to think of a single positive thing about her reign of terror.”

“I can only hope that Obama’s victory represents the end of the ludicrous trickle-down economic theory we’ve been beholden to for the past 30 years,” says Dave Wakeling. “I played a gig in California the night after Obama’s victory and ‘Stand Down Margaret’ got the biggest cheer of the night. This from people who weren’t even born when it was released! That hatred runs deep…”

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Ten Great Anti-Thatcher Songs

1 The Beat
Whine And Grine/Stand Down Margaret (1980)
Polite insurrection set to uptempo reggae and African hi-life guitar


2 UB40
Madam Medusa (1980)
Moody, ten-minute dub tribute to Mrs T which put UB40’s later pop-reggae confections to shame.


3 Heaven 17
(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang 1981
Cringeworthy lyrics, but check out the finger-popping electro-funk bass lines.


4 The Specials
Ghost Town (1981)
Eerie, doom-laden mix of dub, jazz and Bollywood vocals which still sounds remarkable 28 years on.

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