Friday, January 13, 2012

The lady's not for burning

Having now seen “The Iron Lady” I can understand why most people hate it. Funded by Channel 4, the National Lottery and the French, it concentrates on Mrs Thatcher’s dementia. You can imagine the left-luvvies gloating about how the mighty are fallen. But really it’s just disgustingly cheap, cruel, merciless tat, for all that Meryl Streep’s impersonation is uncanny.

It’s stunning how apparently grown-up and apparently intelligent adults can be reduced to gibbering, malevolent balls of fury by the very mention of the name Margaret Thatcher.

The new Meryl Streep film “The Iron Lady” has given them yet another opportunity to dust down their prejudices and blame everything from the credit crunch to the world domination of Google on Britain’s only female Prime Minister.

Surprisingly, women are among the most vehement in their loathing of Baroness Thatcher.

As one of her many sworn enemies says: “Everything now flows from the Thatcherite view of selfish individualism.”

You might think they would applaud her achievement in rising to the top in what is still supposedly the “man’s world” of politics. But no.

Instead, they portray her as an aberration, someone who disliked her own sex and never represented the “female virtues”.

They are of the Harriet Harperson school of politics – they seem to think if only women ran the world, we would all be happy, prosperous and peaceful.

So they can’t cope with the idea that this woman’s reputation rests partly on her victory in the Falklands War and, even more so, her victory in the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

She is accused of every evil in the book and yet the evidence points strongly in the opposite direction – she is not, after all, a Tony Blair.

Far from wasting taxpayers’ money on monumental follies, newly-released Government papers reveal Mrs Thatcher took the view that our cash should never be spent unnecessarily – even on Prime Ministers.

When the Department of the Environment announced it was spending £1,736 refurbishing Number Ten, her reaction should shame all of her successors.

She said they didn’t need to buy new bed linen, she would supply her own, she rejected the idea of spending £123 re-polishing furniture and said she would buy her own ironing board to save the taxpayer £19.

She went on to tell the Welsh Secretary to obtain new quotes after being told it would cost £26,000 to refurbish his one-bedroom flat in Cardiff. In the end, the work cost £12,000.

You could call this penny-pinching but – as the MPs’ expenses scandal revealed – we are right out of politicians who realise the money they spend comes from our pockets.

This little piece of evidence of Mrs Thatcher’s care for our cash has rather disappeared from view compared with the other “revelation” that came out in 30-year-old Government papers released for the first time.

That is the suggestion raised by the then Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Howe, that the Thatcher Government should abandon the city of Liverpool to “managed decline” after the Toxteth riots.

This has been taken by Mrs Thatcher’s many enemies – it’s too mild to call them critics, given their foam-flecked fury at the very mention of her name – as proof of the uncaring nature of her Government.

What they ignore is that Mrs Thatcher did not abandon Liverpool to its fate. On the contrary, she sent Michael Heseltine there with pots of money and told him to sort the place out.

You might argue she would have been wiser to do nothing, on the grounds that Scousers would never vote Conservative and their gratitude for Government help would be about as deep and heartfelt as the Scots’.

But, for all the allegations that Mrs Thatcher’s Government created a me-me-me world where there was “no such thing as society”, her intervention in Liverpool proves these claims are unfounded.

It is true she was pretty fond of her own opinion and didn’t take kindly to backsliders who tried to trim the Tories’ policies.

It’s also true that she was clear about what was necessary and single-minded in trying to achieve it.

She did allow large parts of British industry to die – but they would have died anyway. That was the point.

And it’s true she tried to curb Government spending, which some of the harridans of the left have always hated.

But if only her successors had followed her example we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today.

As for the film, I haven't seen it yet and probably won't bother. Apparently it's hideously bad despite Streep's performance. It's basically a study in dementia which is cruel because it's about a real person and the episodes from her career are one-sided and ridiculous.

Even so, one of her critics complains: “Meryl’s magnificent performance humanises a politician many of us find monstrous.”

Lady Thatcher has been proved right in almost everything she did and said. What led to her political downfall, for instance, was the failure of people like Heseltine and Howe to see her wisdom in refusing to integrate further with the European Union.

What people loathe about Margaret Thatcher is what others admire so strongly. When she was rejected for a job at ICI in 1948, her interviewers wrote: “This woman is headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated.”

Will we ever see her like again?

1 comment:

farmland investing said...

Margaret Thatcher and her political soulmate Ronald Reagan are the two greatest greatest leaders of the Anglo Saxon world in the last 50 years. Agree or disagree with them, they had convictions and core beliefs, unlike todays sorry politicos on both sides of teh Atlantic.