Rage against Margaret Thatcher animated some of the liveliest corners of British culture in the past decade, and with her departure many an artist has lost a muse.

"There will be a period in which we feel her loss," playwright Peter Flannery said Friday."Culturally, she was an especially clear and pleasurable target," said novelist and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi. "Her ideology is so clearly obnoxious."

With the Labor Party split and demoralized for much of Thatcher's conservative tenure, the role of opposition fell to the "chattering classes" - including Harold Pinter and his wife, historian Antonia Fraser, and novelists Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan.

John Mortimer, author of "Rumpole of the Bailey," created the amoral, grasping politician Leslie Titmuss as a Thatcherite character in the novel "Paradise Postponed," which became a TV miniseries.

Thatcher was assaulted in Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses," on stage in David Hare's "The Secret Rapture" and in hard-hitting TV fare such as "A Very British Coup" and the grotesque puppets of "Spitting Image."

The state-subsidized stages of The National Theater and The Royal Shakespeare Company rang with denunciations of the free market ethos of Thatcherism.


(Additional story)

2 protest `betrayal'

At least two of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's loyal fans on Friday found it hard to let go of the woman who quit after 111/2 years in power. Jean Rogers and Mark Kingscote from the Torbay Conservative Association handcuffed themselves to railings outside the London home of Michael Heseltine to protest his "betrayal" of their beloved Thatcher. They said they were part of a group of 40 faithful Thatcher supporters who had traveled from Devon to register their anger. After 10 minutes, the pair freed themselves.