Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A Challenging Time at the Cinema

Another day without real purpose. It's interesting I should say that because it sounds as if my day was pointless. I don't feel it was pointless. I just didn't have anything specific I must do. When you are in gainful employment, be it working for someone else or, if you are self employed the day revolves around doing. In my opinion the main thing about being a retiree is that I don't really have things I must do beyond those to maintain a reasonable lifestyle. 

So today after some interesting chat on twitter about authors and criticism I decided to go to the cinema to see The Iron Lady. I thought long and hard before going to see the film because of my continued antipathy towards Margaret Thatcher. Antipathy which had started when she earned the name 'Margaret Thatcher Milk Snatcher' in 1970. I know that she must have had some redeeming qualities but in my considered opinion they were very difficult to see. Much was made of her being the first woman to gain top office but that wasn't about being female but playing the men at their own game. If the film is to be believed,  it was about her being her father's daughter or, a clone of her father. She had little interest in her mother who appeared to be the head cook and bottle washer of that particular relationship. 

The film itself is good insofar as it's well made. I wasn't sure about it using Thatcher's dementia as a way of telling the story. It somehow doesn't seem appropriate and detracts from a true depiction. It's shot in flashback and with Dennis Thatcher as a ghostly presence in her deluded state. Instead of the intransigence she was noted for we are presented with admirable determination and a woman who sacrificed all for her party and country. Only briefly are we shown the harder edge and though Streep's performance is a tour de force this is where the film falls down. This is a Hollywood version of the Thatcher years which if I'm honest on occasion made my blood boil. I had to resist the urge to walk out of the cinema.

I make no secret of being a life long socialist as I'm sure many who follow me on twitter will already be aware, but that doesn't mean I'm blinkered. However, I find it difficult to find anything admirable about Thatcher. This article by Germaine Greer is nearer my point of view. Meryl Streep may win an Oscar for her performance which is as I've said is good but the film ultimately fails to portray the true divisive nature of Thatcher's time in power.


  1. I remember the Milk Snatcher and remember those times and - shock to your system - I agree with you x

  2. She was a devisive character and I'm unable to come up with any redeeming attributes. I could acknowledge that Union Power needed reining-in but she took things to extremes. Her policies devastated the industrial lanscape of Britain and she deliberately set out to destroy the miners union. She incompetently exposed the Falklands to invasion (or the more cynical might believe she may have manipulated the conflict for political gain) & she sank the Belgrano when it was sailing away from the exclusion zone killing hundreds of men in the process.

    As for the madness of selling off the family silver through privatisation - we're really reaping the legacy of those ideas now with fuel costs & the state of our railways.I was 15 when she came to power and 33 when the Tories were finally defeated and those 18 years were politically miserable & socially depressing.For all that Tony Blair was a disappointment and committed his own war crimes in Iraq - I was hugely relieved when first Thatcher was kicked out then finally the Tories too.Sadly we're now back with a new Tory Government displaying incredible crassness, incompetence & brutality. I'm sick of their bleating about the economic mess that they "inherited" when Gordon Brown's Government was essentially slain by the world's worst economic storm since the Depression. Sure Brown's light touch regulation policies didn't help but when it hit the fan it was Gordon Brown who lead the world's response and saved us from total meltdown.The current government's policies are strangling the economy, dismantling the NHS and causing untold damage to education through follies such as Free Schools (who needs professionals to teach our kids when happy amateurs will do?)I haven't seen the film and don't want too - I don't need Hollywood saccharin and have no wish to be encouraged to feel sorry for a woman like her.It will be a disgrace if this nation holds a State Funeral for her & I will make no apologies for dancing when I hear the news of her death.  

  3. a very eloquent summation of the Thatcher years Bob and I agree with every word with the exception of your final comment. I find myself unable to celebrate the death of anyone but I do understand you feeling that. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

  4. I couldn't be in the same room when she was on the TV. I agree with eveything you have said. I remember going on Demos then, and I do now when I can. But if I got kettled, like people allegedly were today, I would freak. The thought scares me more than the guns! Is the country in an even worse state now? It certainly seems so to me. Where is the will to oppose them? Tweets keep us informed, but maybe we should tweet from the streets, not from our chairs. Clearly, I'm not the only one whose life has left her legs!

  5. I think we're certainly going that way. What is worse is the apathy and the lack of coverage by the media. I am especially disappointed in the BBC who seem to be looking the other way. I do hope more people protest in a peaceful way. We need this government to listen