What I Saw In ‘The Iron Lady’

I’m shamefully ignorant in regards to British politics. Wasn’t Margaret Thatcher some free-market fundamentalist, an adherent of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek? Now that sounds like my kind of lady.

Yet a quick internet search reveals state spending increased annually under her reign. Mrs. Thatcher merely slowed the rate of growth of the state. Still, fair play to her for delivering some notable liberal reforms. If no mine or factory should ever closed on economic grounds, as the socialists say, then it follows that they must have been screaming in favor of  those bank bailouts. They weren’t? Oh, politics is a confusing game.

Was Thatcher a war criminal? She got compared to some nasty characters after the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano.  I fail to see the issue here: the Belgrano was an Argentine warship, sunk in a war with Argentina. The fact it was outside some ‘exclusion zone’  has no bearing whatsoever. Historically exclusion zones exist for the benefit of neutral vessels. Both sides were perfectly aware the Belgrano was fair game. End of that non-controversy.

I don’t like politicians all that much, no more than I like their animal kingdom equivalent, the leech. Politicians are just leeches that ask to be loved. Few exceptions to my leech theory exist in the 20th century. Bibi Netanyahu I certainly have a soft-spot for, as well as Augusto Pinochet (hah! I said it you Castro-loving cunts!). Then there is Thatcher, a charming lady who screwed us less than the rest.

Confident I would not be viewing a glorification of a war criminal or a nasty leech, off I went to see a film about Thatcher.

The Iron Lady wouldn’t sway my opinions in any direction regarding, well, the Iron Lady. Amazingly, its creators managed to make a biopic of the Baroness that glosses over political matters, reducing the big dramas to speedy montages. It seems insane, but partly through the film I realized it must have been written by a woman or women. Women are relationship beings, not terribly interested in politics. A woman’s biopic of a towering political figure such as The Iron Lady focuses on a happy marriage and a tearful widowhood, and other chick-flick fare. Thatcher’s arrival in Parliament in this film felt like watching that girl from Legally Blonde entering Harvard. My guess not long into the film proved to be correct, of course. The Iron Lady was written by a certain Abi Morgan and directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Neither name rang a bell, but then again I am not interested in art by women, for women (whether they intend it to be or not).

Meryl Streep pulls off a fantastic Thatcher, capturing her voice and mannerisms without descending into a caricature. Well, you would expect no less from America’s most accomplished actress. Some have complained about Thatcher’s dementia being exaggerated in the film, particularly Tories that know her. The dementia scenes are touching and will no doubt draw sympathy from anyone with a heart not made of socialism. I don’t know about her mental condition, but I recall seeing Thatcher knocking back gin in the Goring Hotel several years back. I felt an air of loneliness about her, and my eyes started welling up. Now that’s never happened to me before.

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About Cranky Notions
Reactionary. That fella from the Norris scandal.

18 Responses to What I Saw In ‘The Iron Lady’

  1. Dave Gibson says:

    Margaret Thatcher in fact didn’t slow the growth of the state. She devolved a few industries to private cartels, before centralising control of just about everything from the local councils who weren’t doing such a bad job, She also began the craze for QUANGOs which many free marketeers blame for some of the worst wastes of public money.

    The truth about Thatcher is that she was a keen supporter of the Austrian school in the way that someone who’s heard the basic outline of an idea but has given no thought supports it. She was swayed by people of greater minds to act ideologically, but the authoritarian in her, which showed it’s face when she introduced legislation to criminalise free assembly, always shone through.

    Of her achievements, it can be pointed to the fact that the British telecommunications industry is one of the most competitive in the world, though of course all her other privatisations have failed, especially energy, water and rail. Besides that her reforms of the financial industry (which were admittedly brave) have been gone for the UK in the long-term, though not the short-term. Her ideological beliefs, however, have had a crippling effect on many parts of the country and in the short term had negative effects on growth, proving that while Friedman and Hayek have the answers, it has to be done on the time-scale they advocate and not overnight as the reactionary libertarian right believe.

    • Your remarks on the authoritarian side of her personality contain a lot of truth.

      However, it must be said that every last aspect of the rail industry and other industries are extensively regulated. I wouldn’t be surprised if telecommunications was not so heavily burdened (that’s something I’ll check out).

      No doubt some areas of the country faced a nasty upheaval, but heavily subsidizing industries is simply not the way to create a sound economy there. It imposes a frightfully high cost on the rest of the population, for one thing.

  2. Henry Wood says:

    Though heavily subsidising industries is definitely not the way to create a sound economy anywhere, very generously subsidising huge swathes of the UK population into an intergenerational non-working vast pool of people who no longer have or need any responsibilities – only “rights” – is not an answer either. It seemed to be introduced as a stopgap, short-term measure which just like Topsy, has grown and grown.
    No party or politicians have the courage to even look at it never mind do anything about it.
    Perhaps the eventual breakup of the EU may one day lead on to one of those old fashioned European wars which would mean the unemployed and also the unemployable could be gathered once more into the fold. :-/

    • Of all the lousy tactics to try and prop up the EU, the scaremongering about potential future wars is the most irritating. Most of the chattering classes from the British Isles to Central Europe wouldn’t even send their kids to the Scouts for fear they are too militaristic. Austria spends more on opera subsidies than defense.

      • Henry Wood says:

        Yes, I had to laugh a couple of weeks ago when Frau Merkel was openly spouting about the possible dangers to peace if anything happened to the EU. I forget who it was now but when they heard her comments they asked, “Which way will the Bundeswehr be marching?” [Cue much outraged spluttering from the usual sources at that remark. lol!]

        Merkel, Barroso and their cronies all spout from the same lying hymn sheet when they claim the EU has kept the peace for the last 50 years. They seem to have a blank spot concerning the United States forces which kept the Bear from the door for all those years. (I suppose it makes a change for them to ignore the US instead of their usual tactic of disparaging that country.)

  3. 40 Shades of Green says:

    Great Line

    ===
    Thatcher’s arrival in Parliament in this film felt like watching that girl from Legally Blonde entering Harvard.
    ===

    Lay off the C Word. It ill behoves you.

    40 Shades

  4. Roxymusic says:

    Ted Heath used call her Mammy Doc. Interesting to see the offical papers released in relation to Norn Iron. Thatcher was willing to compromise during the hunger strikes, but it appears that IRA chiefs, overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of the pro terror and anti British PR their death fasts – as long as it wasn’t top IRA brass starving themselves to death – had engendered, rejected same in favour of young men, some of whom were vicious criminals, wasting themselves away.

    Likewise, Scargill. He sold the miners down the river in favour of a head-to-head with Thatcher, and lost. Well, the miners lost beause as was said, Scargill had a small house and a big Union when he started out and a big house and a small Union when he finished.

    • My sympathies are most certainly with Thatcher on the hunger strike. She did her duty, at great cost. No side comes out of the events looking good, but the conduct of the IRA sickens me the most. Like you say, it was slick PR for the Republicans at a low price: the lives of young people. Socialists, from the INLA to Mumia Abu Jamal, are fantastic at playing the victim card and audacious in demanding kid-glove treatment from the police while actively trying to murder them.

      By the way, I saw some of the fawning feature on the demented communist Rose Dugdale RTE put out. It really was a low-point for Irish broadcasting. Once again I’m nodding in agreement with Kevin Myers. We are in a culture war here.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Bibi and Pinochet are heros of yours?? OK, With Pinochet I agree with his free and open economic policies but at the expense of authoritarianism where torture, book burning’s and making pesky people disappear? Sometimes they took them over the sea and dropped them from a helicopter. As someone who values individual freedom so much how can you “like” him. I’m sure if he rounded up a few Jews and made them disappear you would have a very different outlook on him, economic policies or not. The man was a dictator, nothing more or less.

    • In a cheek on my face, there lives a tongue.

      Honestly though, Pinochet did many an admirable thing: Saving the country from Allende, paving the way for liberal democracy and stepping down from authoritarian rule peacefully, while leaving Chile in a better state than when he began. All at the cost of relatively few, primarily Communist, lives. I mean, its hard to think of a better dictator.

      • Jonathan says:

        Ah, so killing a few communists is fair game then in your book because they are the opposite of what you personally believe politically? Sure Hitler,Franco and ll Duce were great as well since they killed millions of them. I am not really surprised by your fascist tendencies. Forked tongues comes to mind when reading this blog. A mess of hypocrisy and dogma.

      • You can be certain that murdering those whose politics I dislike offends my sensibilities. There are other ways to solve our Communist problem. If I were around at the time, I would not have endorsed Pinochet’s regime, and I still shy from it. What I can say with the confidence of hindsight is that his was the better alternative in Chile.

        However, out of the 1,500–2,000 people killed by the Pinochet regime, and the many more interned, there was a high proportion of Marxist guerrillas. I’m not going to lose any sleep over them, and find it a disgrace that such deaths are listed among Pinochet’s human rights abuses.

  6. Hi John
    I found a lovely juxtaposition of “Bock the Robber” on Thatcher and Palin:

    http://markhumphrys.com/irish.left.media.html#bock.and.civility

    Feel free to use it.
    He is of course also the guy who compared you to Anders Behring Breivik!

  7. Paul says:

    John, loving this post and I agree with your views on Pinochet. I regard the man as a thug but an honourable one. He stood aside for democracy and his violence whilst sickening at times pales into comparison compared to a communist revolution, which is what it prevented. Oh and let’s look at Cuba by way of comparison.

    But onto the stupid cow who wrote the ‘Iron Lady’, another work of Abi Morgan was shown on the BBC’s(a clue there as to what her politics are of course) ‘White Britain’ series. It was called ‘White Girl’ and featured at one point a hijab adorned British girl prostrate praying to Allah. Whilst she did this her alcoholic mother was inebriated and unconscious on the kitchen floor. The film ended with the mother divorcing her abusive partner by saying ‘I divorce you’ three times as per Islam. Only of course that is how Morgan views Islam as a benign solution to white trash malfunctioning families. It never occurred to the daft cunt that in fact as per Sharia law the woman cannot divorce her husband in such a manner. Can’t wait for the BBC though to produce a drama where an Asian Muslim girl embraces Christianity in order to escape a cliterectomy/honour killing/Qu’ran sanctioned spouse beating etc etc. Do you fancy co-operating with me on the script it’s bound to get aired isn’t it?

    Back on topic, there’s been some good comments on here Re Mrs T. But why weren’t the issues mentioned here addressed in the film? Because the film was toss. I might cross-post this thread to my blog mate and good use of the ‘C’ word it is appropriate at times.

    • Thanks for your comment, that was great and accurate.

      ‘The Iron Lady’ addressed no serious issues because it was a basically a chick flick. I didn’t even detect much political bias in it, because the film was simply vacuous.

      I haven’t seen ‘White Britain’, thankfully. Shows like that led me to get rid of my TV about a year back. I haven’t regretted the decision. I encourage everyone to do the same.

      I’d be very happy to work on a script, the last one I proposed for British television to replace Midsomer Murders when it got into trouble ran into difficulties.

    • Paul,

      I heard an interesting anecdote recently about Franco, which I think could apply to many other leaders including Pinochet (who I would rank far higher than Franco in personal preference).

      It concerned a foreigner having a conversation with a Spanish fisherman near Bilbao. The traveler asked the local in Basque what he thought about the government. The fisherman answered nonchalantly: “Franco worries about the government; I just fish”.

      I think the story illustrates how a more traditional, conservative authoritarian regime tends to act once it defeats the revolutionary left. The conservative, reactionary despot in the Western world is interested in order, not in creating a new socialist man or massive social or economic engineering projects. In that sense, they are far less dangerous than the alternative whether we morally can endorse them or not.

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