inbhirnis: (Default)
[personal profile] inbhirnis
(and there didn't seem to be many who had an opinion in between those two poles)..Margaret Thatcher's rise to Prime Minister with the Conservative election victory, 30 years ago next month (wow), changed the UK forever and with Reagan being elected 18 months later, set the stage for an era of conservatism that we may just now be leaving. Ironically, it now seems that the US and the UK may be about to diverge politically, with a tired Labour government in power since 1997 almost certainly about to be replaced by a Conservative one by 2010. Mind you, UK Conservatives are rather different from their US counterparts; not beholden to a religious right, and actually pretty gay-friendly, at least at the leadership level. The Conservative candidate for Thatcher's hometown is openly gay, and nobody appears to be freaked out by it.

All this is preamble to a rather long but fascinating article from the Guardian that reads a little bit like an obituary for her (she's not in good health). The reporter goes back to Thatcher's hometown, and finds there the same absence of interest in her place in history that appears to exist in the country as a whole. It's almost as if she were a Stalinesque figure whose statues have been pulled down, and most references to her removed from the public square. Yet she is still alive, a shadow of her former glory. The article has some delicious little phrases that may resonate best with Brits of a certain age (reference to loss of society; the 'handbag thieves' sign). The psycho-analysis section is quite amusing, since the Freudian analysis of Thatcher is so at odds with her image of lack of sexuality, her non-feminism. So ironic that the first female PM was utterly inimical to women's issues and positively placed hurdles in the way of other women in her party trying to climb the ladder.

When she does finally shuffle off, it will be interesting to see how she is remembered, and what kind of send-off she gets. I think I can guarantee that there will be no push to name something in every part of the UK for her, a la Reagan.

Date: 2009-04-05 03:28 pm (UTC)
ext_36172: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
There have been two dramatisations about her life recently, taking in the start (The Long Walk To Finchley) and ends (Thatcher) of her political life. Worth watching if they turn up on BBC America - but there's a fair degree of rose-tinting and she's treated more on the sympathetic side than completely neutral (not unexpected given the relatively un-controversial points in here life they cover). The casting for Thatcher is bizarre (Ian 'Palpatine' McDermide as Denis for example) but strangely appropriate, though I'm not sure how much you would remember of the politicians involved as you were out of the country a fair old while by 1990...

Date: 2009-04-05 03:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I saw one at Xmas when I was back home - it may have been The Long Walk to Finchley. It dealt with her early years, focusing on her determined fight to get nominated for a safe constituency in the face of old male Tory opposition. It was definitely a sympathetic portrayal, and was light and quite amusing in places. I remember that they threw in some funny scenes that would foreshadow later events in her life (e.g. she's at a cafe in France in the 50s with Dennis, and she gets short-changed. She yells at the waiter, "I want my rebate!").

Date: 2009-04-05 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Like most politicians, Thatcher did good and bad. I'm pretty neutral towards her, and I suspect history will probably be fairly kind on her.

Date: 2009-04-06 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd imagine there will be massive tributes here, and lots of talking of her by the Republicans. *barf* :)

Date: 2009-04-06 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You make a good point. I'm sure FOX will have hours of reverential coverage, with lots of footage of her and Saint Ronnie together.

Date: 2009-04-06 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Eeep. You're probably right about that.

Date: 2009-04-06 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm going to crank up the Billy Bragg & the Simply Red when she goes...

I think there could be a great playlist of anti-Maggie songs...

Date: 2009-04-06 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here's one for you:

Date: 2009-04-07 12:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I for one would love to go back and re-watch Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, this time looking for its much-reported critique of Thatcherism. I remember well the privileged laissez-faire of trickle-down voodoo Reaganomics and how it left urban decay and homelessness in its wake - not to mention the worst developed world plague of the post-war era.

Date: 2009-04-07 01:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I remember all the brouhaha when that came out. I never saw it - being the squeamish sort, some of the descriptions of the more lurid scenes kept me away. Perhaps by today's standards, it may play pretty tame.
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