Top 13 anti Margaret Thatcher songs

Owen Adams gives us his top 13 anti Margaret Thatcher songs in a potent reminder of the power of the protest song.

FROM a very young age, I had nightmares about Margaret Thatcher ” even before she became prime minister.

During her time as education minister (1970-74), she earned the epithet “Maggie Thatcher, milk-snatcher”, and I equated her with the Land of Oz's Wicked Witch of the East and sincerely hoped she'd be toppled from her broomstick and squashed by Dorothy's tornado-uprooted house. How dare she take away our free milk! Hefner had the same idea when they incorporated the Munchkins' celebratory verse Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead” in their joyous anthem The Day That Thatcher Dies.

With the senile baroness slipping in and out of hospital, that day can't be long coming now ”€œ and the event has the potential of provoking some kind of civil war. While the political establishment ”€œ no doubt Labour as well as Tories ”“ will be solemnly wasting millions of taxpayers' pounds on a grand State funeral, hundreds of thousands of us proles will be putting on our dancing shoes and saluting the Grim Reaper.

It's often been said lately that David Cameron and his Etonian chums are trying to push through crippling reforms faster and harder than even Thatcher dared to. But in the post-Major era of airbrushed public image, it's hard to really hate him because he appears so harmless. Smug maybe, but so placid-looking. Almost kindly. And we're encouraged to feel sorry for his deputy, who apparently cries to himself at the sacrifices he's having to make in order to save the nation from financial ruin. Aside from rapper NxtGen calling health secretary Andrew Lansley a “tosser” and “manky codger” and some agit-propping from underground scenesters such as The King Blues, Spanner and Captain Ska, anti-Tory anthems are thin on the ground this time around.



Besides, no sooner will someone have penned a strident protest song, then the Coalition will have made one of their so-called U-turns (so-called, because they will almost definitely try to slip the same policies through by a more sneaky route). Thatcher's most famous slogan became “this lady is not for turning”. She seemed to thrive on being reviled as she merrily ploughed on at full throttle ”€œ destroying beyond repair miners' and working-class communities, and the notion of community and society itself.

While Cameron preaches the flaccid, unfeasible notion of the Big Society, he,€œ helped by media magnates, the City and the entire remote political class,€œ manages to blithely skirt around the poor and downtrodden; his mentor and predecessor left them for dead in the first place. She met the troublemakers head-on in her iron juggernaut, and bought the others in the midst off with the patriotic fervour of the Falklands War and the “right to buy” shares in what previously belonged to all of us (BT, British Gas etc) and council houses. Cameron and co are now engaged in finishing her work, while the Labour Party lies ineffectual, compromised and sold-out. It's up to us ordinary disenfranchised, dispossessed folk to derail the gravy train ”€œ next stop, June 30, mass strike. Everyone ready?

While we're marching these days to techno (the black bloc's music of choice) or insipid indie (check UKUncut's J30 promo), we should all be getting our playlists ready for the Thatcher Death Disco and remembering the golden era and perhaps, maybe, giving inspiration to a new generation of angry songwriters.


Here's 13 essential songs no Thatcher-despiser should be without:

1. Crass: How Does It Feel To Be The Mother Of A Thousand Dead?

Like countless others of my generation, much of my political education came from Crass and their record sleeves. Their relentless ”€œ and healthy - disdain for Thatcher reached a crescendo on Sheep Farming In The Falklands, from whence How Does It Feel came. It was castigated in Parliament and an attempt to prosecute the band for obscenity. The publicity only helped to ensure the EP's massive underground success. There were plenty of other anti-Falklands songs, but this was the most brutally laid bare: “You smile in the face of the death cause you are so proud and vain/ Your inhumanity stops you from realising the pain/ That you inflicted, you determined, you created, you ordered/ It was your decision to have those young boys slaughtered.”

2. Robert Wyatt: Shipbuilding

Given the treatment by both Wyatt and Elvis Costello on a double A-sided single in 1982, Wyatt's is the most heart-wrenching version. I can recall seeing the patriotic bunting up on the estate outside my window as the more fortunate local soldiers returned from Thatcher's election-boosting war as this 45 was on the family turntable.

3. Billy Bragg: Between The Wars

In the halcyon years of Top Of The Pops, you had Steve Wright on primetime TV introducing this “evocative song” in the days when socialism was a credible opposition to the evils of Thatcherism. She put paid to that. “Sweet moderation, the heart of this nation, desert us not” Bragg pleaded, but no answer came.

4. The The: Heartland

Sometimes the gentler songs are imbued with far more power than the shouty ones. Matt Johnson explored our “special relationship” as the “51st state” while lambasting Thatcher for presiding over the land where “pensioners are raped and their hearts are being cut from the welfare state”. He adds: “Let the poor drink their milk while the rich drink their honey/ Let the bums count their blessings, while they count their money”. We're still waiting for Utopia and for Hell to freeze over.

5. Dub Syndicate: No Alternative But To Fight

When your cup of disgust runneth over and you run out of words, say it with dub'¦ with a Dalek-ised Thatcher sample.

part 2 of top 13 anti Margaret Thatcher songs is here

132 thoughts on “Top 13 anti Margaret Thatcher songs

  1. Sebsainclair

    You must not forget non-English singers as well, famous for coming after her, such as Renaud with his “Madame thatcher”. The guy almost provoked a diplomatic crisis with this song.

  2. I’d like to add a vote for ‘Margaret Thatcher, We Still Hate You’ by Terry Edwards & The Scapegoats.

    And ‘I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher’ by the Notsensibles wins it on the irony ticket (at least, I *think* they were being ironic…)

    It’s interesting that although the present government (you could argue previous governments, too) are pushing the Thatcherite agenda far further than Maggie herself ever did, there has been no comparable surge of rock ‘n’ roll diatribes. Maybe we’re all desensitized now – we just accept that This Is The Way It Is.

    Or maybe it’s simply that we don’t have one obvious hate figure. It’s hard to demonise David Cameron, this affable young chap who talks about ‘liberal Conservatism’ and likes The Smiths.

  3. Graeme S

    Frank Turner’s “Thatcher fucked the kids”? And the track I only know from the awful cover I saw ever week in the local record shop (as no-one ever bought it), Riot Squad’s “Fuck the tories”.

    NMA’s “Spirit of the Falklands”?

  4. Nobull

    “Anti Tory songs are thin on the ground”

    Try this:

    Our anti cuts anthem no ifs no buts is pretty anti-tory. And in Fuck Bovis from our first album we compare Tony Blair to Thatcher:

    “Fuck Bovis- Privatise it. Fuck Bovis- Thatcherite shit. Fuck Bovis- Tony left us all sore. Fuck Bovis- When he dropped clause 4″

  5. Sketchy

    Where’s Elvis Costello’s TRAMP THE DIRT DOWN?

    • Totally agree – how can Tramp the Dirt Down not be in the top 10?!

    • Tel-X

      Sorry but TtDD should be #1 on the list. No question. It’ll be the soundtrack to the evening’s celebrations in my house (along with the sound of champagne corks popping!) I’ll be wearing my ‘Cortonwood 1984-85′ NUM badge with pride that day.

    • Queen Elvis

      Elvis Costello Tramp the Dirt Down…definitely should be there..

    • Steve

      Should definitely be on the list

  6. Great list, Owen, thanks. You’ve inspired me to play The Last Call & Four Sore Points, this weekend. Whatever happened to Anti-Pasti? I used to love them. They haven’t reformed, have they?


  7. Stu

    Where’s the Land of Make Believe?

  8. Neil

    Tramp the dirt down has to be in there. The hatred in Elvis’ voice is real.

  9. Paul

    Great list but there are plenty more to add

    “1979 a pox upon our families …..
    …..Die, Die, Margaret” , Calvin Party – Lies, Lies and Government

    “It’s a colour so cruel”, Fine Young Cannibals (ex Beat) – Blue

    “And It shows, when that bastard is in unemployment grows”, The Neurotics – Kick Out the Tories

    to name but 3

  10. kofi

    loads missing here! a few more important ones:

    UB40 – Madam Medusa
    Blow Monkeys & Curtis Mayfield – Celebrate (the day after you)
    Billy Bragg – Days Like These
    Ragga Twins – Iron Lady
    Angelic Upstarts – Woman in Disguise
    Style Council – Right To Go

    not forgetting this non sequitur in The Housemartins’ Five Get Over Excited:

    “Feigning concern, a conservative pastime
    Makes you feel doubtful right from the start
    The expression she pulls is exactly like last time
    You’ve got to conclude she just hasn’t a heart”

  11. owen

    It wasn’t intended to be an exhaustive list, there was probably about 300 anti-Thatcher songs…

  12. c-bar

    Post-Maggie, but still: Julian Cope – Presteen (who else could it be about??)

    Retribution – Know your rights (Clash cover on excellent Repetitive Beats EP)

    • c-bar

      Better still: Julian Cope’s track Promised Land w the lyrics “The hate that she inspires/has to be seen to be believed”

  13. dr kiko

    Mogwai – George Square Thatcher Death Party

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  18. Sian

    Are there any songs about the Milk Snatching situation?

    • Nigel Hall

      Snatcher by Vital Disorders – came out in 1981 on the B-Side of Let’s Talk About Prams…

  19. Gavin

    Sian, There’s a game at and and these:
    Songs/music featuring Margaret Thatcher !
    Bernstein (f.k.a. Dan Bern) – Children of the Cold War
    B̩rurier Noir РEt Hop
    Billy Bragg – Thatcherites
    Braintax – Decade on Panorama
    Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – Evil
    Conflict – These Colours Don\’t Run
    Conflict – Neither Is This
    Conflict – To Whom It May Concern
    Corries – Who\’ll Take The Ball from Maggie Thatcher?
    Crass – Nineteen Eighty Bore
    Crass – Sucks
    David Diamond – Some Talk Of Ronald Reagan
    Deborah Holland – Pinochet and Margaret Thatcher
    Thomas Dolby – May The Cube Be With You
    Doug Anthony All Stars – If You\’re Happy 2
    Doug Anthony All Stars – The Sun
    Martin Carthy – Company Policy
    Elvis Costello – Tramp The Dirt Down
    Exploited – Don\’t Pay The Poll Tax
    Dick Gaughan – Ballad of \’84 and others, indirectly
    Godfathers – Birth, School, Work, Death
    Hefner – The Day That Thatcher Dies
    Human League – The World Before Last
    Ewan MacColl – Daddy, What Did You Do In The Strike?
    Ewan MacColl – The Media and others, indirectly.
    The Maggie Thatcher Experience – Thatcher\’s death anthem
    The Maggie Thatcher Experience – The Lady\’s not for Burning (Piss anthem)
    Manic Street Preachers – If White America Told The Truth For One Day Its World Would Fall Apart
    Morrissey – Margaret On The Guillotine
    Aimee Mann – You\’re With Stupid Now
    Not Sensibles – I\’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher
    Pink Floyd – The Post War Dream
    Pink Floyd – Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert
    Pink Floyd – The Fletcher Memorial Home
    Pink Floyd – Not Now John
    Renaud – Madame Thatcher
    Roger Waters – Four Minutes
    Roger Waters – The Story
    Roy Harper – Winds Of Change
    Sinéad O\’Connor – Black Boys On Mopeds
    Space – No-One Understands
    Spailpin – The Maggie Thatcher Song
    Trust – Misere

    Games featuring Thatcher;
    Whack-a-miner (Ironic parody) from
    The lady\’s not for Burning from
    Milk Snatcher game from
    Piss on Thatcher’s grave:

    • Mr Nogginhead

      Everything on Back in the DHSS by Half Man Half Biscuit

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  21. Mike Morris

    Anyome put together a Spotify playlist yet? If not, I might have a go when I get time.

  22. blunty

    How about Punk Legends Riot Squad -Fuck the Tories

    • Bernard King

      Class choice mate

  23. James

    How about a song for all the working class families who now own there council home worth hundreds of thousands due to mrs t.
    Let’s. Never forget she destroyed the dictator scar gill and his bully boys. Let’s never forget she didn’t cave into the Irish fascists on suicide. So let’s don’t kid ourselves she wasn’t all bad.

  24. Madiggy

    What about Spirit Of The Falklands by New Model Army.
    New Model Army have more anti-Thatcher songs

  25. Rael

    Dont forget second passage of Pigs (three different ones) by Pink Floyd

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  28. Richard

    And don’t forget “Madame Medusa” by UB40.

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  32. Stargazer

    Though not directly aimed at Thatcher ‘The The – Story of the Blues’ captures the hopelessness of the era for those disenfranchised by the bitches policies. On a side note and seeing as here we are again, where are all the protest songs from today’s youth? And, why are we not seeing an updated version of the ‘poll-tax’ riots? Too busy watching ‘Pop Idol’ getting their nails done, ripping thier six packs up etc?

  33. Danny Watson

    Just to reiterate some of the other comments .. How the hell is elvis Costello not here ? Joint number one with shipbuilding… I would add housemartins five get over excited …

  34. Bernard King

    Elvis Costello – tramp the dirt down. Still makes me cry with rage.

    The Neurotics – Fighting Times. Ditto.

    When she goes, the soundtrack will be amazing.

  35. Mr Moon

    Let’s not forget ‘Blue Rinse Haggard Robot’ from Inner City Unit’s ‘Punkadelic’ album.

  36. DMC

    Believe it or not. Meet el presidente Duran Duran.

  37. Tim

    What about the Redskins – kick over the Statues or Keep on Keeping On?

  38. Anarcho Alan

    What about Scottish anarcho’s Oi Polloi – Who Voted Tory, a scathing attack on the Tory government al a Crass style. Also must agree with everyone who mentioned Elvis Costello – Tramp The Dirt Down, absolutely sublime.

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  41. Dixie

    Fave one besides PILLS & SOAP, SHIPBUILDING, & HEARTLAND of course
    MOMUS singing
    SEX FOR THE DISABLED from the album Poisoned Boyfriend.
    I’m dancing today!

  42. Allen M

    We can all now piss on her grave for The Wicked Witch is DEAD. So join the line and lets piss on her grave!

  43. Kellie

    A formidable list. To which, add the groovy “The Lodgers (She Was Only a Shopkeeper’s Daughter)” by the Style Council. Paul Weller making anger funky.

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  46. Dave T

    “Third Term” by TV Smith’s Cheap – written recorded for her third election win. “Don’t be poor, don’t be young/Don’t be old, don’t be sick/We wanted something better than this”

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  49. Angel

    fuck you Maggie Maggie fuck you today is a great day !!!!!!! enjoy mather of dead

  50. Johnny Wales

    Tears For Fears “Sowing the seeds of love” is a real dig at Thatcher…..”Politician granny with your high ideals; Have you no idea how the majority feels: So without love, and a promised land: We’re fools to the rules of a Government plan: Kick out the Style, bring back The Jam” (“Kick out the Style, bring back The Jam” is a reference that Paul Weller said a lot more about politics/Conservative Party when he was frontman of The Jam vs when he was with The Style Council).

  51. Tim

    Hows about The Last Resort “We Rule OK”?

  52. Chris

    Ding dong, the witch is dead! Rejoice, rejoice! Whilst we are at it, one song on my iPod ‘thatcher’s death day’ playlist (yes, it’s been set up waiting for an airing for several years) that I don’t think has been mentioned here…. ‘Tyler Smiles’, Attila the Stockbroker. Pissed on champagne and flying the red flag on suburbia as I write…..

  53. wolfe

    I had hoped the senile old bat would live on in pain as a senile old bat

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  55. evebee

    Love this. Ding dong, indeed!

  56. deodar

    “Spirit of the Falklands” New Model Army

  57. Pete H. Shotaway

    Theres Madame Medusa by UB40. Various offerings by Lynton Kwesi Johnson and lots of Brit Reggae offerings. Ding Dong sistahs and bruvvers. Happy Daze!

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  61. Simon Vines

    Check out The Cancer Detectives’ song “Confessions of A Greengrocer’s Daughter” on side two of their album “London Observations” – written and sung by the multi-talented and much-missed genius Paul Shorthouse. (The CancerDetectives can be found on SoundCloud.)

  62. Allan

    “Mother Knows Best” by Richard Thompson?

  63. Jen

    thanks for this!

  64. pat

    spear of destiny too !

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  67. Paul

    Some great songs on there, Tramp The Dirt Down’ should definitely have been in the list, also, not mentioned yet:- (She’s) Shitting On Britain by The Shamen, and Baby Milksnatcher by AR Kane.

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  69. David Pannell

    Tramp The Dirt Down should definitely be #1 on this list.

  70. ronrostog

    The Last Resort, We Don’t Care….’the government policies are out of hand, they ain’t got a clue how to run this land, margaret thatcher the stupid old bitch, takes from the poor to give to the rich….Smashing stuff to a then spotty 14 year old!

  71. Avi Darkbloom

    Yes, where is Tramp The Dirt Down by Elvis Costello?!

  72. Mike


  73. Steven O'Connor

    No one has mentioned Land of Confusion by Genesis and the wonderful Spitting Images video.

    • eno

      Phil Collins threatened to leave the country if Labour won the 1992 general election , not sure what Land of Confusion was about but it certainly wasn’t a dig at Thatcher.

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  76. jim

    The Men They Couldn’t Hang – Ironmasters… “And oh the Iron Bastard – She still gets her way!”

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  78. Andre zwan

    All this anti Thatcher statements and so called songs is distateful and disrespectful to a Lady who made Britain proud by taking hard decisions. Most of you idiots were not even born when she was PM and/or arrived in the UK illegally.

  79. mikey

    Sheesh, an auld North Ayrshire lad here. I was a mite feared that I’d be sitting on me own coffin, laughing and drinking with the Devil before the Grim Reaper smacked that Evil Old Bitch Down!!

    Heft a few lads and lassies – then “Tramp the Dirt Down”

  80. Deborah

    Old white men never look harmless to me. They are insidious and terrifying.

  81. Bruce

    How about Echo & The Bunnymen’s Never Stop?

  82. Amy D

    NEW MODEL ARMY – 51st State (& many others!) NMA get overlooked way too much.

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  84. D. J.

    How about some good oldies as well like, Underneath the lamplight and there’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of dover or perhaps a bit later like, I can’t let Maggie go or your gonna burn by the crazy world of Arthur Brown or later still, Evil Woman by E..L.O. and of course there’s that one the old bitch refused to wave the tax on, Do They Know it’s Christmas ? Very appropriate, if
    only everyone could play that at the same time ! ! And of course there’s the one about her new phone number Transelvainia 65000 ! ! ! Bye All and Have a great party, I know I Will ! ! “Power To The People”.

  85. Clark Gwent

    Bat Bat by Lee Perry. It’s about KILLING HER WITH FARTS!

  86. Dave W. Mac Maggies Song,

  87. TAO

    Add Marty Willson-Piper’s Evil Queen of England:

    While Big Country’s Steeltown album lead with an anti-Reagan song Flame of the West, other songs like Steeltown and Just a Shadow spoke about general economic realities of the times: “I know there is no need for what’s been done/I know there is enough for everyone/Frustration brings a heavy hand to bear/And there never is a hand outside that cares”

    Maybe I’m old school, but I wonder if anybody’s working on a CD compilation?

  88. TAO

    And donate the proceeds to charity, of course.

  89. Tony Barker

    Not an anti-Thatcher song but very appropriate today… the Roof is on fire: “We don’t need no water let the motherfucker burn!”

  90. Jo davies

    Stephen Smith’s ‘when the fire’s gone out’ is a brilliant account of Thatchers war on the Miners!

  91. Eno

    Billy Bragg- from red to blue

  92. Nige 12trees.

    Yeah Copey wrote some very cutting lyrics on the Peggy Suicide album just check out Leper Skin which was all about poll tax and it turning neighbour against neighbour…But it seems an old post punk/ goth band Ausgang seems to of been over looked with the classic The Lady is for Burning!! Seems like the Tories have still got the last laugh on just how much that hideous creatures funeral cost.I saw some Tory boy on the ch4 news ya know The Tim bright but dim type geeing up the crowd and i nearly did what that angry lorry driver did when the pistols were on the Bill Grundy show or Rik from the young ones and almost put my bloody boot through the screen. But the truth is she has gone now so we can sleep soundly in our beds.Now if only Cameron & Osborne could follow suit it would make for a lot better country!!

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  95. James K.

    “The Guns of Brixton” (The Clash)
    Any political Pink Floyd song since Animals. That’s probably why Wish You Were Here was both Gilmour’s and Wright’s favorite Floyd album, because Waters wasn’t so politically bitter and it was just about the musicianship and the craft.
    Anyway, FUCK YOU MAGGIE!

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