Invited by Shane Frith of New Direction a centre-right, free market think tank based in Brussels on Thursday September 30th 2010 is the day I met The Rt Hon. The Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS, albeit briefly. We shook hands and I said it was an honour to meet you, and what an inspiration you are today. She nodded and thanked me as 50 other adoring Thatcherites engulfed her in equal adulation. Dressed in formal black, slightly stooping, she looked frail, supported by two people on either side. Her Personal Assistant Cynthia Crawford who has worked with her since 1978 was there too. Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan’s wife sent us a message of encouragement to complete a wonderful evening. I also was able to have a chat with MEP Dan Hannan.
The film itself is hugely entertaining and Meryl Streep is quite brilliant. Her accent and voice are spot on and the acting in a different league. The supporting cast are quite outstanding too and did not need them named to know which politician they were portraying. I am sure an Oscar or two will awarded.
The narrative is in flashback which to my mind means it concentrates too much on her dementia and frailty. Whether her visions of Denis Thatcher imply madness or her complete devotion to him is a matter of conjecture.
What comes across is the cowardice of the Conservative government in the 1970s. Even when the trade unions try to incite the army to mutiny Ted Heath does nothing. Her battle against such weak and ineffectual colleagues and to turn around the “sick man of Europe” is not entirely obvious but again implied. The violent scenes of the miner’s strike also suggests the left’s tag of divisiveness to society. Although my opinion is that those who choose to be divided can feel divided. Michael Heseltine confirms what a charlatan he has always been.
A great movie, great acting that I thought was reasonably balanced. It is a shame that no current politician approaches her.
As I popped out for a smoke Lady Thatcher was leaving she glanced across at me as I waved. Denis was a lifelong smoker.