Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead: "We"ll only play 5 seconds" say bungling BBC over Margaret Thatcher protest song

BBC fudge 'hands victory to Trots': Chart show will 'only play five seconds of Ding Dong The Witch is Dead' as row over Thatcher protest single escalatesSong has now sold 20,000 copies since Thatcher's death on Monday It has been pushed up the charts due to an internet campaignBBC confirms it will play it on Radio 1 this Sunday – but a shorter versionDirector General Tony Hall: 'I do believe it would be wrong to ban the song outright as free speech is an important principle'The track, which costs 79p online, is currently No1 on iTunes

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The power of a Facebook campaign should not be underestimated.

In 2009 a Facebook campaign was designed to prevent another X Factor number one.

As a consequence Rock band Rage Against the Machine won the most competitive battle in years for the Christmas number one.

The
band's single, Killing In The Name, sold 500,000 downloads beating X
Factor winner Joe McElderry's The Climb by 50,000 copies to clinch the
top spot.

In a blog posted on the BBC’s website,
Mr Cooper wrote: ‘I find the campaign to promote the song in response
to the death of Baroness Thatcher as distasteful as anyone.’ He
acknowledged there was ‘understandable anger’ from people who were
‘appalled by this campaign’.

But he said the chart show could not
‘ignore a high new entry which clearly reflects the views of a big
enough portion of the record-buying public to propel it up the charts’.

Mr Cooper added: ‘To ban the record
from our airwaves completely would risk giving the campaign the oxygen
of further publicity and might inflame an already delicate situation.’

The BBC would not confirm exactly what
part of the song would be aired tomorrow, but most of the lyrics
contain the offensive phrase.

Mr Cooper said the station was ‘still making a decision’ on whether to include the actual words in the clip it chooses.

But the BBC’s explanation did not satisfy many Tory MPs.

Thatcherite former defence minister
Sir Gerald Howarth told the Mail: ‘A lot of people will feel this
decision is a cop-out. The BBC used to have a charter requiring it to
observe taste and decency. The director general himself has said this
song is tasteless. Do they not now believe in taste and decency

‘It is utterly disrespectful to play
this song when Margaret Thatcher put her life on the line for her
country and came within inches of death at Brighton in 1984.

‘Playing this song, even a part of it,
will play into the hands of the politically-inspired campaign by Trots
and the Socialist Worker Party who have never forgiven Margaret Thatcher
for destroying socialism.’

Decision

Decision: In what could be seen as the first major test for the new director general Tony Hall, the BBC will now have to take a decision about whether they will play the tune during Radio 1's top 40 countdown when places are finalised at the weekend

Tory MP Andrew Rosindell added: ‘We have broadcasting rules which prevent the playing of songs which project hatred.

‘This song is being used to project hatred at a time of national mourning – it’s the same thing.’

Philip Davies, a Conservative member of the Commons culture select committee, had argued for the whole song to be played.

But he contrasted the ‘typical BBC
fudge’ with Lady Thatcher’s leadership style. ‘It’s definitely true that
Mrs Thatcher would never have fudged a decision in the way the BBC has,
which is probably why she didn’t have a great deal of time for the
BBC.’

Tory MP Mark Pritchard said: ‘I am
surprised they are prepared to be manipulated so readily by the agenda
of anarchists and the hard left.’

But even before the decision on the
chart show was reached yesterday, Radio 2 had already broadcast a
15-second clip of the song during a discussion on the Jeremy Vine Show,
presented by Jane Garvey.

A spokesman for Radio 2 said: ‘In
order to fully illustrate the subject for listeners a short clip of the
song was played as part of a reasoned debate around the topic.’

But former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read, an
admirer of Lady Thatcher, said the BBC should play the song – because
the former Prime Minister was ‘tough enough’ not to have cared.

VIDEO Social media campaigner backing the song's rise up the charts defends his project

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead chart campaigner says song is…

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