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'Wizard of Oz' song protesting Margaret Thatcher's policies tops British iTunes

LONDON -- Opponents of the late Margaret Thatcher are taking a kind of musical revenge on the former prime minister, pushing the song "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead" up the British charts in a posthumous protest over her polarizing policies.

By yesterday the online campaign had propelled the "Wizard of Oz" song to No. 1 on British iTunes and into the top five of the music chart used by the BBC for its weekly radio countdown.

David Karpf, who studies online campaigns, said the chart battle was an example of a new kind of protest enabled by social media. "It's a form of symbolic protest," he said.

The unusual campaign has caused a headache for the BBC, which faced the prospect of airing the words "The Wicked Witch is Dead!" on its Sunday countdown show, just days before Thatcher's funeral, set for Wednesday.

Some lawmakers from Thatcher's Conservative Party had called for the publicly funded broadcaster to drop the song, while others warned that such a move would mean censoring a form of dissent.

The BBC, caught between allegations of censorship and complaints about poor taste, split the difference, saying it would broadcast only part of the tune -- along with a news item explaining why it was there. Many Britons still resent Thatcher for her uncompromising stance against labor unions and what they saw as her inhumanity toward the working class. -- AP

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