Sunday 8 January 2012

The Iron Lady: Still Humiliating 'Wets'

If tumbleweed begins to drift around this tabloid corner of cyberspace, don't be too surprised as I'm about to embark on an incredibly busy week. A large tender document requires my attention, involving the writing of detailed method statements which could fill a small book, whilst I'm also helping Mrs P with an urgent project, and a disciplinary matter surrounding a soon-to-be ex-employee needs sorting.

So, prior to the coming stresses, we packed the kids off to watch Puss in Boots at the local multiplex today and - once they were out of view with their pound shop sweets - bought a 'how-fucking-much' size portion of popcorn and snuck in to watch The Iron Lady.

Not being much of a film-goer, this was an unprecedented second attendance in two weeks after our new year Sherlock Holmes jaunt which had already seen me exceeding my entire movie-watching experiences of 2011.

As the film is brand new, and promoted by a bit of a media frenzy, I'd expected the place to be quite busy. However, this is comfortably numb suburbia we're talking here, and with Mission Impossible and Alvin and his bleedin' Chipmunks also vying for short-spanned attentions, is it any surprise that only ten souls had ventured out to sprinkle themselves sparsely around and watch something a trifle more thoughtful.

We were curious to see what had seemingly upset both left and right of the political pallet, and for once I'm more inclined to agree with the lefties as the film surprisingly portrayed Thatcher in a very favourable light.

In the opinion of someone with an interest in politics, it lacked more detail of the issues she faced during her premiership, but presumably this is to attract larger appeal with populations who are increasingly unable (or unwilling) to understand current affairs or the history of them.

I'm assuming that the movie was designed to show a former world leader as being powerless as the rest of us in her dotage, but there were also striking scenes in the film which should make modern political players shift uneasily in their seats.

It reminded us that Thatcher - though many can argue with her politics - was uniquely driven by a sense of duty to the country, rather than self-interest. Those who shape policy in the 21st century have long since forgotten such a concept, as Streep's character succinctly described early in the piece.

"It used to be about doing something, now it is about becoming something."
Yes, I think she was looking at you, Blair, and the current incumbent who is also just treading water until his lucrative book deal and lecture tour - not to mention the legions of lobbyists acting solely in the interest of their next grant or subsidy, to the detriment of the populace as a whole.

It's also good to be reminded that Thatcher was one of the fiercest illustrations of 'girl power' ever to emerge in the UK. Striding into number ten and sweeping the limp 'wets' in her cabinet aside, she embarked on proving that a woman can compete perfectly well with men should they have the quality to do so, instead of the modern trend of women beating men into surrender and dragging the whole country down to a simpering miasma of offence-seeking and effete terror of the world around them. Thatcher sought to drag the country up to be proud, resilient, and (a very rare quality these days) self-reliant. The current crop would make Thatcher's 'wets' seem like they had multiple wrought-iron spines by comparison.

In fact, the screenplay hinted at this difference in approach - rightly or wrongly - with Thatcher referring to the current PM as a 'smoothie', and at one point denouncing modern politicians as 'appeasers'. Not a trait Thatcher was ever comfortable with, as we were reminded in a scene where she dismissed Alexander Haig's suggestion of leaving the Falklands in Argentinian hands because they weren't politically or economically valuable.

The performances were impeccable. Streep, particularly, portrayed Thatcher's airs and graces brilliantly, and she nailed the unmistakeable voice of such a globally recognised person with aplomb, the fact she is native to a country which usually struggles with British accents makes her expertise even more impressive. Jim Broadbent also captured Denis's unvarnished character and down-to-earth wit extremely well, whilst Tony Head reined himself in nicely to mirror Geoffrey 'dead sheep' Howe's self-effacing nature.

At 105 minutes, it's not of a length which leaves you with a numb backside and an empty bag of jelly babies for the last half hour, and the photography is, at times, quite stunning. And, of course, the subject matter is some of the most interesting political times in post-war history, so it is very easy to recommend this as good value for your £6+ ticket.

As I mentioned earlier, lefties won't remotely enjoy seeing their bête noire being portrayed sympathetically, but the way right of centre politicians have lined up to aim subtle digs at the film is equally interesting. Cameron and others have questioned why such a film should be made "right now".

Considering it shows what a real Tory PM should be like, his comments can probably be translated to read that he wishes no-one had made such a film ever.


Lady Virginia Droit de Seigneur said...

Cameron is a limp-wristed cnut. He is not fit to hine Thatcher's shoes.

John Pickworth said...

Thanks for the review, I'm hoping to see this movie soon.

I liked Thatcher, I came of age just as we limped out of the dark depressing days of the 70's and it was comforting to know we had someone at the top trying to get stuff done.

As for Cameron; I was disappointed when I read his comments the other day. I suspect he thinks the movie is some kind of obituary and therefore precipitous. But for me, its more honest to do it this way, to celebrate a life rather than rake over it when the corpse is stiff.

Leg-iron said...


Heir to Blair.

Not a patch on Madge.

It must keep him awake at night, knowing that the only woman Prime Monster we ever had, had more balls than his entire government.

He might get his chance at a Falklands war soon. It'll finish him along with the islands.

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wonderful about Thatcher privatising our most fundemental needs - certainly not water. We were already paying for water and sewers in our rates. Did rates go down when water was privatised? NO, THEY DID NOT! A number of wealthy people became immensely rich, almost overnight.

There are certain things which are very important to us all - the road network for example. These are not things which should depend upon private enterprise. Yes - THE DETAIL about roads may be a matter of tenders, but not the overall command. It is a little like putting the 'defence of the realm' into the hands of the IRA.

Anonymous said...

Went to see Iron Lady last night. It wasn't half as good as Iron Man

Anonymous said...

Sorry Dick,Maggie was a failure,
she missed the boat in addressing the serious errosion of British Values
She was lucky when it came to alternatives such as Kinnok and Foot
Her second and third victories
rode the war cries and easy credit.
Yes she beat the left in overalls
but missed the swarming liberal left in suits and pretty dresses,
those who now bloat our establishment.
I WAS*** a long standing Tory who
welcomed Thatcher's victory at first but soon saw through the mirage,put simply,Britain did not become a better place to live in,for most.
After all she was a enthusiastic
supporter of the peoples enemy number 1, The Commons.
History will say in her TermReport
No longer thanks to the current
two faced wimp,Cameron,little more than a smooth talking Social Democrat

The Real Right

Dick Puddlecote said...

Junican & Anon @ 11:31: I made no comment on her particular policies themselves, just that she was a traditional Tory (as opposed to Cameron and his front bench). The way you describe her is exactly that. ;)

Anonymous said...

Soon to be ex-employee? Personnel problems are always a problem;

Two managers, after analyzing expenses and revenues, come to the conclusion they need to lay off one of their two assistants, Jack or Jane, but can't decide who to lay off.

Finally, one manager decides they should lay off the first one who leaves their desk.

Later, Jane, suffering from headache, gets some aspirin from her desk drawer and goes to get some water.

One of the managers follows her to break the bad news.

"Jane, I need to talk to you. I either need to lay you or Jack off....."

"Could you jack off? I've got a terrible headache."

J Bonington Jagworth said...

Not a great fan of Mrs T, but I can't find much wrong with your analysis. I'm not sure we've had an actual leader since.

I still smile at the old story of her visit to a restaurant with the cabinet - she orders steak, and when the waiter asks, "and the vegetables?"
she says, "they'll have steak, too."

J Bonington Jagworth said...

Further to previous, I don't think she'd have done this, either...’s-accounts-‘massively-opaque’/522965

Is there no depth he cannot plumb?

Lyn said...

I agree J Bonington Jagworth - guess it comes under the category of 'You can please some of the people some of the time, but none of the people all of the time'. Which is really the same for any government. However, you are exactly right when you say we have not had an actual leader since!

Anyone subsequent to Mrs T has only, in my opinion, been out for their own self serving agenda's and the 'glory' - of course, if it has all gone wrong they have blamed soneone else!

We desparately need another Iron 'Person' in charge - someone who is genuinely in the job for the good of the country and the people - the indigenous Brits first, as well!