One of the UK Telegraph's in-house Labourites, Dan Hodges, urged his comrades on the Left to maintain their dignity in the wake of Margaret Thatcher's death earlier today:
Everyone on the Left is being scrutinised today. Does the compassion we claim to be our driving force extend to the passing of a frail 87-year-old woman? Does the Labour movement’s dignity and discipline enable us to mark with appropriate solemnity the death of a former Prime Minister who successfully secured three independent mandates from the people? Do we have the basic good grace and wisdom to set aside – for a short time – our political differences and acknowledge, however hard it may be, the achievements of the first women to hold the highest office in our land? For all our sakes, I hope we do.
Entirely predictably, no small number of Hodges' ideological brethren are answering his series of questions in the negative:
Tramp the dirt down.— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) April 8, 2013
Labour leaders have been forced to admonish members and supporters to resist heaping vileness and venom upon Lady Thatcher, whom the British people selected as their leader for more than a decade. Alas, the proclivity toward boorish gracelessness has proven too strong for some, as Labour Party elders scramble to avoid another embarrassment:
Senior Labour politicians including Dame Margaret Beckett and Ken Livingstone attacked her legacy, blaming her for many of the social problems affecting Britain today. However, Ed Miliband, Labour's leader, indicated that his colleagues could disagree with Lady Thatcher's policies but at the same time should "greatly respect" her achievements. The warnings were intended to prevent any repeat of the row which broke out at last year’s TUC conference in Brighton when merchandise celebrating the prospect of Lady Thatcher’s death was on sale. Delegates at the conference, attended by union leaders, Labour MPs and activists, could buy T-shirts for £10 boasting that the wearer would want to “dance on her grave” when Lady Thatcher died.
Right on cue, MSNBC joined the uncouth chorus, trotting out Martin Bashir to hurl petty insults at the deceased:
At last, the Left can attack Margaret Thatcher, liberated from the fear of drawing a withering response from the Iron Lady herself. Such bravery and class. JP Friere, meanwhile, contrasts the Associated Press' coverage of Thatcher's passing with their treatment of Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez. The juxtaposition is galling, but unsurprising. It's no small comfort to know that Lady Thatcher was made of firmer stuff than to be bothered by her small, petulant detractors. A parting quotation: "If my critics saw me walking over the Thames they would say it was because I couldn't swim."
UPDATE - It should be noted that many generous and thoughtful well-wishes have poured in from center-left figures, from Presidents Obama and Clinton to Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
UPDATE II - Twitchy has a disturbing round-up of Thatcher hate, including street parties celebrating her death. Disgusting:
The Telegraph's editors have closed all comment sections on stories about Thatcher's passing, citing a torrent of abusive comments.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography