Margaret Thatcher, correcting the film version

A piece from Norman Tebbit, a close associate of the Iron Lady to correct the image projected by the recent film.

I found that there were twin threads in her thinking, the first a romantic   patriotism rooted deep in her non-metropolitan background. She detested   metropolitan cynicism about her country and its people, and that attitude   was strengthened by a rather unfashionable non-conformist religious belief   about what was right and wrong. The other thread sprang from her education   as a scientist and her working life, not in academia but in the laboratory   of a food company.

She was never, in my experience, the half-hysterical, over-emotional,   over-acting woman portrayed by Meryl Streep. She could be angry, but then so   could I, and on at least one occasion I walked back to my department unsure   whether I would find on my arrival that I was no longer the Secretary of   State. Contrary to some accounts of her negotiating tactics, I never felt   that she was playing “the feminine card”. It was all about reality, not   emotion, and she was no stranger to the game of hard ball.

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37 Responses to Margaret Thatcher, correcting the film version

  1. daddy dave

    Oh but Meryl Streep is a genius. Obviously nobody told Tebbitt.

  2. JamesK

    Thatcher is difficult.

    Reagan was the great communicator.

    It wasn’t his polcies.

    He was just an idiot-savant who got lucky.

    Thatcher engendered a cruel and uncaring society where classless thugs made a lot of money.

    And that’s because Thatcher was an hysterical evil dictator, I guess.

    If it’s true that the winner’s get’s to write history then Howard was wrong and conservatism did,’t win the last 30 years.

    Or it could be that it’s the ‘losers’ writing modern history cos they won the universities and cultural media stakes.

  3. Rococo Liberal

    James, don’t talk such miserablist bollocks.

    Magaret Thatcher was a marvel. Almost single handedly she put the left on the backfoot, a position they have been in ever since.

    The problem for the left is that once they took over the institutions the institutions had decayed to a shadow of their former selves due to the left’sown actions. Who respects university arts departments any more? Who admires the news media?

    One example for you: American tak show lefties cream their jeans when they get ratings of 2 million in a country of 300m. An episode of Dancing With the Stars on Australian TV will probably get a 1m+ ratings figure, and there are only 21m of us.

  4. Token

    What a surprise, the old Oliver Stone trick of making a biography of a person you dispise (remember “W”) in an effect to dillute their message by poisoning the collective memory of future generations toward that person.

    With Youtube and blogs it is so much easier to counter the lefty re-write of history, but they still get the budgets from Hollywood for their BS.

  5. JamesK

    James, don’t talk such miserablist bollocks.

    I was sorta caricaturing what the Left’s perspective is.

    I dunno how how rationalise but 20 yo’s in (alos my) serious disciplines speak dismissively if not disparagingly of both Thatcher and Reagan.

    These people aren’t – unlike steviefb – from crappy ‘humanities’ course in third rate peripheral tertiary colleges in OZ.

    The Left re-write history and blur important distinctions like male/female (‘Social Constructs of Sexuality’ a woman is merely a female-bodied person) and accentuate unimportant ones like race.

    College campouses are frightening places of inculcation and propaganda and not thinking and learning.

    If you don’t recognise reality, you don’t even know there’s a problem to deal with it.

    By the way, I suspect that’s one of the reasons why the Left hate Christians.

    It’s difficult to brainwash a young adult who’s brought up with a critical enquiring independent mind.

  6. Rococo Liberal

    Yes, Token, they still get the budgets and mostly make losses on the more left-wing films they produce. It just shows that Hollywood, like the left in the news media is prepared to act selflessly against its own interests.

    The MSM could coin money if it were to become right wing. Advertisers would pay much bigger dollars if the MSM actually gave us what most of us want: straight reporting with a healthy respect for free enterprise and healthy hatred of big government.

  7. JamesK

    how to, also, campuses etc etc with apologies etc etc

  8. Rococo Liberal

    James

    I see a lot of graduates coming out of law school who have been bombarded with leftist crap throughout their education.

    Most if not all of them find their lefty teachers to be pious old farts against whose ideas they love to rebel.

    In trying to become the establishment, the left have made themselves into the cranky, puritan old codgers who have no real moral authority behind their sad little attempt at being poohbah.

  9. JamesK

    How many of ’em think highly of Thatcher/Reagan?

  10. Sean

    Maggie goes to Poland (some Reagan at the start)

  11. Feral Abacus

    I’m willing to give the movie a go, even if it’s littered with the usual liberal-left pap. Just as long as there are a few good scenes of Maggie tearing into some lefties and sticking it to the Argies.

  12. Abu Chowdah

    And giving the go ahead for Operation NIMROD.

  13. m0nty

    It’s weird seeing Streep as Thatcher. They should have caked on the makeup and lengthened her nose, she’s too pretty. It’s distracting.

  14. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    JamesK you are not wrong about the lefty campus mentality of the recent university educated crowd. It continues on into employed life because the cultural zeitgeist in fun things like movies and music is totally captive to this mindset. To counter this writers and performers of a different mindset and calibre need encouragement to show how it was, and could be, otherwise. Not to worry, there will be further cultural interpretations yet of Maggie’s place in history and the movie invites useful criticism.

    More reflectively, Thatcher’s non-metropolitan origins demonstrate that the air brought in from outside the tent can be invigorating. As an aside, this understanding may throw some light on an historical conundrum played out in another recent film: who was Shakespeare? The inside-tent version says a country hick could not have written such things – Bill Bryson in his small book on Shakespeare argues that even in those days, a university education ruined everything innovative. I agree. It is entirely plausible that Shakespeare’s vivid and creative language and sympathy for life’s dramas came from the idiom and experiences of common folk, who wanted to know what grand folk felt and did. Shakespeare was a rural grammar school boy who could read. He didn’t need to an the aristocratic Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, or to live in Venice, to get a template for his tales. (Unless he was really Marlowe of course, a theory for which I have a mild weakness, but the strongest argument against that is Marlowe’s university education!).

  15. jtfsoon

    Professor Bunyip seems to think that only ‘lefties’ could believe Shakespeare wrote his own plays. A very silly blogpost that I won’t link to,

    James Allan at Quadrant has a similar perspective as yours, Lizzie
    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/allan/2011/11/anonymous

  16. JamesK

    It’s depressing to witness a brilliant mind succumb to one the more recurrent and inane conspiracy theories about the great bard

  17. jtfsoon

    oh what the hell I’ll link it anyway in the interest of showing how wildly divergent interpretations from the same side of politics can go

    http://bunyipitude.blogspot.com/2011/11/he-who-loveth-not-tobacco-and-good.html

    ONE should not leap to conclusions, but James Ley’s dismissal of the new flick Anonymous, which opens in Melbourne tonight, prompts the suspicion that he is firmly of the left. That is the way it tends to go with speculations about unsolvable mysteries, in this case the film’s contention that William Shakespeare did not write the plays bearing his name. Those on the left tend to think he did, a glover’s son making such a mark on history and literature being seen as confirmation the proletariat is brimming with such talent that it needs only a fair and just social order to see it uncorked.

    Conservative minds, more interested in substance than chimera, often take the opposite view, surmising the plays can only have been the product of extensive and formal learning, travel throughout Europe and, above all, of the absolute, unquestionable confidence often thought to be the birthright of the aristocracy. The late Marxist historian Gordon Kiernan is a good example of the first school of thought, and former National Review editor Joseph Sobran of the latter. Sobran’s book on the subject also appears to be a large part of the film’s inspiration, as each posits Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, as the man who wielded the magic quill.

  18. Rococo Liberal

    Jason

    Yes, Bunyip’s post was indeed silly. But even the best of us slip up from time to time.

    We have all met autodidacts of great intelectual ability. We have all met people with a great gift for communication. Shakespeare was one who had a unique combination of these two characteristics. His learning was not formal, but he learnt what formal learning teaches and clearly admired the social structures of his time. He was no revolutionary parvenu, but a soild middle class chap who made a quid from satisfying the learned and the groundlings alike.

  19. Rococo Liberal

    And I said to Bunyip: if someone aristocratic wrote Shkepeare’s plays, then we must assume that Webster, Beaumont and Fletcher, Tourneur, Middleton, Rowley, Shirley and the rest didn’t write their plays either, as none of them were of aristocratic stock.

  20. Anonymous is directed by Roland Emmerich, who makes awful, schlocky but incredible expensive science fiction. It is hard to believe he could have made a good movie this time.

  21. “incredibly expensive”

    I did not mean to suggest that his films impress me in any respect.

  22. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Thanks jtfsoon, that review was a very good read. Methinks Shakespeare’s learned ability to write as well as read is well-remembered:

    And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school

  23. JamesK

    I did not mean to suggest that his films impress me in any respect.

    Then again it may very well be a very worthwhile film to watch

  24. Abu Chowdah

    Perhaps Bunyip was an English professor, before the links and streams beckoned him?

  25. Abu Chowdah

    Gosh, if so, it would put him firmly in the unproductive academic class despised by RL!

  26. jtfsoon

    some of us do not disdain even humanities academics as long as they are teaching proper humanities and not Wimmins, Queer, X studies.

  27. JamesK

    Perhaps Bunyip was an English professor, before the links and streams beckoned him?

    Unlike steviefb, the first misogynist to major in wimmin’s studies?

    Come to think of it…. most wimmin are misogynists

    Luckily even tho’ steviefb is not unproductive cos he’s from any academic class, I’m fairly confident that RL still despises him.

  28. You’re in a particularly rambling, nonsensical mode this morning, JamesK.

  29. JamesK

    I was tryin’ to catch your attention stevie

  30. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    On things Wimmin, I doubt if many Cats have raced to view it, but recently (with girlfriends! not wimmin) I viewed sex-and-the-city girl Sarah Jessica Parker in a move entitled “How does she do it?”, which is a comment on the collision between our girl’s high-rolling deal-broking in bankerland and her daily life in child-care country. The general theme is that something’s gotta give, and it’s got to be the system, not her. I go to these shows to keep up with how things are being spun. Oh, and for the fashions.

  31. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    … now back to that movie, and Maggie

  32. Infidel Tiger

    Bunyip doesn’t appear to be getting a lot of support from his minions.

    English history is littered with obscure, brilliant people who came out of nowhere and changed the world immensely for the better.

  33. Rabz

    And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school

    Thanks Lizzie, an evocative li’l vignette from my fancy book learnin’ yoof …

  34. Viva

    What a surprise, the old Oliver Stone trick of making a biography of a person you dispise (remember “W”) in an effect to dillute their message by poisoning the collective memory of future generations toward that person.

    Not so in this case according to Graham Davis.

    “The performance has been variously described as “astonishing” and “uncanny” in capturing the hauteur, vulnerability and, yes, sex appeal of the most important British prime minister of the 20th century after Winston Churchill.

    “Equally astonishing is that the left-leaning Streep – who famously bagged George Bush during one of her many Oscar podium appearances – has evidently eschewed the temptation to play Thatcher as a heartless caricature, the right-wing monster vilified by the chattering classes for smashing unions and upending the welfare state.

    “The film was screened to British critics for the first time overnight and, by some accounts, even certain left-wing campaigners from the Thatcher years were reduced to tears.

    “Why? Because this was a story not just about an often reviled politician but an ordinary woman who transformed a nation and the prospects of women everywhere with an extraordinary demonstration of zeal and conviction.

    “It’s the personal story that is evidently so affecting. And Streep is so convincing that the audience comes to see her as the real Margaret Thatcher, in all her epic strengths and foibles.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/out-of-left-field-but-meryl-streep-delivers-on-margaret-thatcher/story-e6frg6ux-1226197153754

  35. Rafe

    When I looked at the Bunyip post I thought he was sending up everyone who thought that someone other than Shakespeare wrote the plays. But on a second inspection it looks a bit confused.

  36. .

    some of us do not disdain even humanities academics as long as they are teaching proper humanities and not Wimmins, Queer, X studies.

    ‘Sactly.

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