Boris Johnson reviews Iron Lady

Boris Johnson reviews Iron Lady: Maggie’s magic came from her contempt for complacent men

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher

Image via Wikipedia

We wanted the forceful version of Streep doing her incredible Sturm und Drang of the Thatcherama; and it is hard to watch that struggle without sympathising with the protagonist. We see the teenager bravely leaping out in a bombing raid on her father’s shop, to stop the butter being covered with dust. We see her overcome the jeers of other girls and win a place at Oxford. We see her stick it to the ghastly and pompous Dartford Conservative Association in the same way that she faces down all the other useless and objectionable males she meets in her career. She tells the Americans where to get off, when they try to persuade her to abandon the Falklands to Argentinian aggression. She faces down the IRA. She sees the error of the euro long before many others. And time and again she sees off the Tory wets and grandees – such as a magnificently condescending Pip Torrens as Ian Gilmour – who hover around her and mutter, willing to wound but afraid to strike.

Yes, she is eventually felled by the men in grey suits, but by the end Streep has effectively reminded us of what Thatcher was really all about. It wasn’t just me-first, get-rich-quick, Devil-take-the-hindmost exaltation of the values of Essex Man. That was the caricature. Thatcher herself emerges from this film as a far more revolutionary and inspiring figure – because she was a woman. From the very beginning and at all the critical moments you can see that what really actuated Thatcher was a feminine impatience with the cosy, clubby, complacent politics of the post-war consensus – a consensus that was held overwhelmingly between men of a certain age and class. Of course she believed in thrift and hard work and rewards for merit – but a proper understanding of what Thatcher really stood for is vital today.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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