Friday, February 17, 2012

Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady

About six weeks ago, I watched the movie "The Iron Lady" starring Meryl Streep. I was going to blog about the movie and Maggie Thatcher, the person, but I got distracted. So, better late than never, here it is:

                                                       The Movie
The acting in this movie is superb. Meryl Streep morphs into Maggie Thatcher, and gets everything right: the shrill voice, the accent, the mannerisms, the steely determination, the intense glare. There is a scene where she's hectoring one of her senior Govt officials for misspelling "committee" in a Govt paper. This scene alone is worth the price of admission! Jim Broadbent is superb as Sir Denis Thatcher.

                                            Maggie Thatcher, the person

Love her or hate her, you can't fault her for lack of trying. In stuffy England, no-one from her lower middle-class background could have climbed to the heights that she did without her steely determination. Americans -- who might be unfamiliar with England's (still) rigid class-system -- might think that she was a feminist icon. She was no such thing. I believe most women hated her, and still do! But inspite of her modest origins, she managed to climb her way to the top of the "greasy pole" (the British political system).


Something had to be done to stop Britain's industrial decline. Only the discovery of North Sea oil had saved Britain from begging money from the IMF (in '76). Thatcherism, despite all its faults, was the only way to re-position Britain's economy into the modern era. Had to be done, and there she was to  lead the charge! A weaker politician would have caved in over the Falklands Islands. Not Maggie! She wouldn't stand for any of that nonsense!

                                        Relations With African Countries

It was under her clock that Zimbabwe would achieve independence in 1980. The Zimbabwean Govt has always claimed that they have warmer relations with the Conservatives than with the Labour party. I tend to agree. In the 80s she would tussle with the other Commonwealth leaders over South Africa. I think that -- like everyone else in the British political Establishment -- she was simply looking out for British interests above everything else. Can't fault her for that.


No comments :