About the Iron Lady and Supermac

Saturday 28th February 2009

Margaret Thatcher in 1987. Photo: Roy Letkey
Click Image to Enlarge

This week, I watched BBC2’s Margaret, about the fall in 1990 of our Iron Lady prime minister. Starring Lindsay Duncan, it was watchable, if a bit too long. Today, the same channel is airing a repeat of The Long Road to Finchley about, yes, Margaret Thatcher. Last year, there was a play about her death; this year, documentaries about her abound. I suppose the net result is to humanise her; look, all these dramas are saying, she’s not just a evil monster who ruined the nation, she is just a human being. Like all the rest of us. Well, we have been here before: Howard Brenton’s similarly revisionist account of Harold Macmillan, Never So Good (National, 2008), suggests that there’s a trend to this sweet humanism. So what? Well, I’m a bit concerned about organised amnesia, and these kinds of programmes all conveniently forget the same things: they forget politics, and their social consequences; they forget the sheer unpleasantness of the people who value power above all other things; and they forget that some things are unforgivable. What does Pirate Dog think? Oh, he doesn’t care; he’s still asleep.

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