LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) - Controversial in life, British ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher continued to divide the nation in death, with sombre plans for a funeral and eulogies rejected by some in favour of celebrations and parties.
As Britain buzzed with the news on Monday afternoon that the "Iron Lady" had died, not everyone was in mourning.
A quickly rising 180,000 people had "liked" the isthatcherdeadyet.co.uk website, which had been updated with a large block-capital "Yes."
The site encouraged visitors to party, provided a soundtrack, and linked to a Twitter feed with the hashtag #nowthatchersdead, which attracted a swift stream of dubious jokes, celebrations and recriminations.
"Margaret Thatcher's dead. This lady's not returning," said the site. The phrase is a play on words of Thatcher's famous remark 'The lady's not for turning', which she said in a speech in 1980 at a political conference to those in her own Conservative party who were urging her to moderate her radical, right-wing polices.
Those policies, credited by some with modernising Britain, alienated many, who saw her as a destroyer of jobs and traditional industries.
The vitriolic words being hurled 23 years since she stepped down as Prime Minister showed that many had not forgotten and forgiven.
"Best news I have had all year," said one commentator on social website Facebook, who said he was a former miner.
A bottle of milk was placed on the doorstep of Thatcher's home in Belgravia, a reference to her policy of scrapping free milk for primary school children while head of education in the 1970s, a move which earned her the moniker "Thatcher the milk snatcher."
Trade unionists tweeted that they were heading to the pub, while others said they were chilling champagne and asked "where the party" was.
Fliers have appeared around in London in recent days declaring that there would be a party in Trafalgar Square, a traditional centre for celebrations and protests in the capital, on the Saturday following her death.
"She wanted to crush the trade unions, the working class movement; she didn't finish us off but that was what her aim was," said Judith Orr, the editor of left-wing newspaper Socialist Worker.
"I'm glad to see the back of her." (Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Additional reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Peter Graff)