Join 3,376 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The lady's not for turning?
January 4, 2012 9:32 AM   Subscribe

‘History is what happened in the past’: reflections on The Iron Lady.
posted by Artw (92 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Haven't seen it yet, but sad to see most reviews crediting Streep's performance as the only element worth sticking around for. Streep and Thatcher both deserve better, it's only too easy to imagine what might've been.

I have one possible suggestion for improving it, if you'll indulge me a tiny self-link:
Meryl Streep as Thatcher + Meryl Streep as Julia Child = The Iron Chef.
posted by hermitosis at 9:47 AM on January 4, 2012


The trailer really reminds me of GLC or The Strike.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


My SO - a Scot and son of a steelworker - refuses to see it. I remind him that he was perfectly happy to see Downfall.
posted by mippy at 9:49 AM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Is this on the soundtrack?
posted by chavenet at 9:49 AM on January 4, 2012


I remind him that he was perfectly happy to see Downfall.

There are limits!
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I remind him that he was perfectly happy to see Downfall.

Well, the good guys won that one.
posted by zomg at 9:52 AM on January 4, 2012 [19 favorites]


I remind him that he was perfectly happy to see Downfall.

And history will prove his criteria valid.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:53 AM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


My SO - a Scot and son of a steelworker - refuses to see it. I remind him that he was perfectly happy to see Downfall.


Thatcher destroyed more Scottish Industry than the Luftwaffe ever did.
posted by the cuban at 10:04 AM on January 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Michael White's critique of the film is puts the film into context very well, as he was a parliamentary sketch writer during Thatcher's rise.

And since I'm unable to resist, I'd just like to point out Thatcher was a total shit.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 10:07 AM on January 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Here's a musical chaser to cleanse your palate.
posted by mhoye at 10:10 AM on January 4, 2012


FIAMO
posted by hermitosis at 10:16 AM on January 4, 2012


Setting aside the critique of a movie that I haven't seen...

Thatcher's "friendly warning" to historians is patronizing and reflects her own ignorance of what the methods of historical research entail. Historians don't need to be reminded that primary source documents are to be understood in their context or of the role that a researcher's bias and beliefs play in their own interpretation. It's like explaining to a chef that he may wish to season the beef with salt and then apply heat to it. What a twit.
posted by snottydick at 10:17 AM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thatcher destroyed more Scottish Industry than the Luftwaffe ever did.

Industry that requires consistent government subsidy to operate is a drain on national wealth, not a contributor to it, and is not worth saving. Without Thatcher, Britain would be an economic basket-case today.
posted by Dasein at 10:21 AM on January 4, 2012


.

Oh crap this isn't an obit thread. Dammit.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:21 AM on January 4, 2012


Not yet.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on January 4, 2012


Without Thatcher, Britain would be an economic basket-case today.

Hahahah!
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 10:25 AM on January 4, 2012 [27 favorites]


There'd be riots in the streets!
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm just dreading the inevitable reams of glowing hagiography when she finally does shuffle off this mortal denationalised former industrial site. I don't want to see the film because I lived through that period with a father who worked in the British car industry, and even at a relatively young and politically naive age felt personally got at by a group of politicians and an ideology that essentially counted us out. Led by a woman who didn't give a toss, to the point where her ministers obviously believed they could suggest this as an alternative to investment and rebuilding. No, it didn't happen - but unfortunately, it wasn't beyond the realms of imagination that it could have ...
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 10:26 AM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of the many benefits of growing up in the 80s as the younger brother of Smiths fans is that even in Houston, TX, I knew that Margaret Thatcher was the enemy about the same time I understood what the UK even was.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:27 AM on January 4, 2012


> Without Thatcher, Britain would be an economic basket-case today.

You mean it isn't?

Thatcher waged a wholly unnecessary war, destroyed my birth country's industry then tested an illegitimate tax on it, and turned the UK into a wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of London, LLC. Me, I can't reload isthatcherdeadyet.co.uk fast enough, hoping for an update.
posted by scruss at 10:28 AM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."--William Faulkner.

The UK is going to have to live with Thatcher's legacy for a long time.
posted by John of Michigan at 10:32 AM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Saw the film late last year and didn't really care for it. It really did feel like "awards bait," with Meryl Streep's heart-wrenching performance amidst a cast of middling background characters. At times, it might as well have been one long monologue (they tried to do that, too, with the schitzophrenic angle... meh) I wholeheartedly agree w/ the FPP that this movie is merely an attempt to humanize a very polarizing political figure by stripping away the politics. Any of the action, tension and stress is placed on some distant part of the script, which is... bland, to say the least.

My favorite scenes were of a younger Thatcher arguing in Parliament, because they crackled with energy. The movie needed more of that feeling and less of this one. Perhaps that kind of treatment would give revisionist historians something to chew on when they will (and they will!) eventually recast Thatcher as the greatest PM of all time. Unfortunately, those historians will have to wait it out, because this isn't the film to do that.
posted by raihan_ at 10:39 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a trained historian, it does aggravate me to see Thatcher so blithely dismiss history (as quoted in the article, she said, 'though not an historian myself, I had a very clear – and I naïvely imagined uncontroversial – idea of what history was. History is what happened in the past.’).

History is not the past and it's a very facile thinker indeed who sees it that way. History incorporates events of the past (though not all of them), perspectives of the past (though not all of them), and people of the past (though not all of them) and thus 'history' is created. Traditionally of course, the voices of women and minorities were ignored and their history was not told in the grand 'history' that was taught in schools. Traditionally, the losers of an event were not given a voice in history, or if they were, it wasn't an accurate one ('history is written by the winners'). Traditionally, history has a very Western perspective on everything from the passage of time to colonial conquest.

To say that history is some (implied to be unbiased) pure source of the past is complete nonsense and anyone who's spent half a second contemplating it could surely figure that out. I don't necessarily give Thatcher a great deal of credit for being anything other than a Machiavellian force of destruction, but I would like to hope that someone who clearly understood how to shape the history of her own time would be able to extrapolate that into how others have shaped history to suit their needs.
posted by librarylis at 10:41 AM on January 4, 2012 [15 favorites]


Christ, isn't that vile creature dead yet?

The film sounds pretty poor, from most of the reviews I've read.
posted by Decani at 10:43 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


British SO has straight up refused to watch it cause here is no chance she'll be pelted to death with shoes in it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:45 AM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Industry that requires consistent government subsidy to operate is a drain on national wealth, not a contributor to it...

Only if your sole measure of wealth is $. I, for one, would could a nation very wealthy that had zero income from the healthcare industry.
posted by DU at 10:46 AM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'll see your Elvis Costello, chavenet, and raise you a Big-Nosed Bard of Barking. Warning - short exposure to Radio 1 DJ prior to second clip.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 10:46 AM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actual amusing YouTube comment on the trailer: "Rated PG - not suitable for miners"

L, and indeed, OL.
posted by Decani at 10:49 AM on January 4, 2012 [18 favorites]


One of the many benefits of growing up in the 80s as the younger brother of Smiths fans is that even in Houston, TX, I knew that Margaret Thatcher was the enemy about the same time I understood what the UK even was.

The Young Ones on MTV taught me the phrase "Thatcherite junta", which was pretty awesome.
posted by Spatch at 10:58 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd also think pretty well of a country that had zero income from the mail and package delivery industry. Oh and the education industry and the public works industry. Whereas I'd be pretty scared of one that had significant income from the military and policing industries. Or the incarceration industry.
posted by DU at 10:58 AM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Without Thatcher, Britain would be an economic basket-case today.
posted by Dasein at 6:21 PM on January 4


There are times when I wish I could distill every bitter fluid ounce of my life's experience into the most concentrated, corrosive essence of revulsion and negation, and metaphorically hurl it in the face of someone I suspect to be opining more on the basis of received mythology than actual reality . This would be one of those times. But I shall restrain myself, because it is early evening and I am not yet sufficiently intoxicated.
posted by Decani at 11:04 AM on January 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


that requires consistent government subsidy to operate is a drain on national wealth, not a contributor to it, and is not worth saving

Apart from the banks, obviously.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:14 AM on January 4, 2012 [17 favorites]


O Martha My Dear Prudence, I trump your Billy Bragg with Trafford's Most Famous New York Dolls Fan Club Member, cutting (as it were) straight to the point.
posted by chavenet at 11:23 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remind him that he was perfectly happy to see Downfall
I'd watch a film which ends with Thatcher shooting herself and is burned in a ditch.
posted by fullerine at 11:30 AM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I do wonder who plays Pinochet.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Streep and Thatcher both deserve better

Well, you're half right.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:46 AM on January 4, 2012


OK chavenet, Manchester's navel-gazing gladiolus is all very well and amusing, but look what we got!

I suppose she was responsible for some pretty good music, though she probably wouldn't have thought so.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 11:46 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do the Torries the UK have a Thatcher cult the way our Republicans have a Reagan cult?
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:54 AM on January 4, 2012


.....Well I hope I don't die too soon
I pray the lord my soul to save
Oh I'll be a good boy, Im trying so hard to behave
Because there's one thing I know, I'd like to live
Long enough to savour
That's when they finally put you in the ground
Ill stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down
posted by lalochezia at 11:55 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


And since I'm unable to resist, I'd just like to point out Thatcher was a total shit.

We'll be seeing you in court. Beware the British libel laws.

Yours,

Shit.
posted by reynir at 11:57 AM on January 4, 2012 [15 favorites]


Do the Torries the UK have a Thatcher cult the way our Republicans have a Reagan cult?

cf. Clarkson, Jeremy.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:01 PM on January 4, 2012


And to keep with the musical theme, it's just a rumor that's been spread around town.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:09 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Every time it's brought to my attention that Thatcher isn't dead yet, it's like I just lost The Game.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:13 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good little article and thanks for introducing me to Emily Robinson's blog. Will subscribe.

This movie sounds like the essence of Meryl Streep and what she's been doing for what's now the majority of her career: flawless portrayals of nothing in particular. Sad.
posted by latkes at 12:19 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


flawless portrayals of nothing in particular

I hope you don't think you can just drop a line like that and not back it up with a lot of examples and carefully thought-out opinions...
posted by hermitosis at 12:29 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


" ...Within weeks they'll be reopening the shipyards
And notifying the next of kin ..."

posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 12:34 PM on January 4, 2012


Thatcher's "friendly warning" to historians is patronizing and reflects her own ignorance of what the methods of historical research entail. Historians don't need to be reminded that primary source documents are to be understood in their context or of the role that a researcher's bias and beliefs play in their own interpretation.

As a historian, I'm always glad to be reminded of this, and don't find it patronizing at all. It's very easy to be seduced by the primary sources into believing that you know better than the people who were actually there at the time.

Incidentally, Thatcher's comment that 'history is what happened in the past' is not as naive as it sounds, as it's clearly a reference to Ranke's famous dictum 'wie es eigentlich gewesen'. Her remark that she has 'always had a high regard for those who write history' (original source here) comes a little strangely from one who nearly destroyed university history departments in the 1980s, but I'm grateful for it nonetheless; better Thatcher's lip-service to history than Blair's sublime ignorance of it.
posted by verstegan at 12:55 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh boo hoo, Thatcher axed some ossified industries that even with heavy government subsidy couldn't compete with Japan.

What do you people imagine Britain would have been like had Thatcher not been elected? Do you imagine that Britain would have a steel and coal industry that would be the envy of the world? Really? Britain's raw materials industries couldn't compete against America, which couldn't compete against Japan, which can't compete against Korea, which can't compete against China. Do you really think that in 2011 British kids would be lining up all excited to work in the coal mines and steel mills? If you want those jobs so badly, there are plenty of them in China.

Even with the crash of 2008, Britain is still a world power, due in large part due to Thatcher dragging the country kicking and screaming into the future.

And all the historians in this thread presuming to lecture Thatcher on what history is an isn't are forgetting one important thing: her life is the history you are studying.


Do the Torries the UK have a Thatcher cult the way our Republicans have a Reagan cult?


Republican's don't have a Reagan cult, people with brains and who lived in the 70's do. Reagan certainly cut taxes on all the people you hate and took on huge government debt, but guess what, the 80's were a time of unprecedented economic growth. Without Reagan, the 80's would have been the 70's but worse.

And one last thing, those industrial jobs who absence you lament? They suck. Working at a steel mill is a shitty job. It's hot, dangerous, exhausting work. And the pay was never all that good. Do you want to mow lawns for a living? No. And yet, mowing lawns about a thousand times more pleasant than working in a steel mill or a factory.

And these jobs only ever paid a middle class wage when middle class meant owning one car and a house that didn't have air conditioning. It was a middle class wage when TV was free, gas was absurdly cheap, and most kids didn't go to college.

Living got more expensive. Gas got more expensive. You now pay for internet, TV, and several phones. You pay for central air. And steel got cheaper. Do the math.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:09 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've heard that this unfortunately does not end with a final scene with her in her delirium imagining / foreseeing her death and her soul being dragged down to into a hell that is a burning coal mine... which is how I would have scripted it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:10 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Niño dejesé ahí, Niño dejesé ahí, Niño dejesé
ahí, Niño dejesé ahí....

Que va a venir un robachicos, que va a venir
Sigmund Freud, que va a venir el tlacuache, que va a
venir Margaret Tatcher, que va a venir el personal
y se van a poner a tocar. ay ay ay

El Personal, Niño dejesé ahí.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 1:13 PM on January 4, 2012


What do you people imagine Britain would have been like had Thatcher not been elected?

Err Germany?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:13 PM on January 4, 2012 [7 favorites]



flawless portrayals of nothing in particular

I hope you don't think you can just drop a line like that and not back it up with a lot of examples and carefully thought-out opinions...


You could make the argument that Streep peaked a while a go and while not exactly coasting, she has too much genuine talent for that, has settled into a narrow range of Grand Famous Actor Lady Who Plays Ladies And Is Important. The biggest recent step she took outside this zone was that bit at the end of Adaptation where Susan Orlean becomes a crazy junkie.

Of course if you're me you think comedy is tougher than drama and the best demonstration of Streep's range was in ...Death Becomes Her where she convincing plays a bad actress who manages to hit every trashy beat in the performance. I wish she did more comedy, basically, cause she always kills (Jessica Lovejoy anyone?)
posted by The Whelk at 1:14 PM on January 4, 2012


A lefty friend of mine suprised me recently by admitting that Thatchers first term might have been needed, but that the two subsequent ones were when she did all the damage.
posted by memebake at 1:21 PM on January 4, 2012


And one last thing, those industrial jobs who absence you lament? They suck. Working at a steel mill is a shitty job. It's hot, dangerous, exhausting work. And the pay was never all that good.

I have 3 uncles who worked in steel mills in Hamilton, Ontario for 20 years or more. They did alright and there's no complaints. A lot of these jobs are unionized and have good benefits. I myself have worked in a factory. Not steel, but a factory nonetheless. It's not my thing but it's hardly mowing lawns in scorching heat and humidity for peanuts. Nice try though.

Living got more expensive.


Because wages didn't rise.


You now pay for internet, TV, and several phones.

When I was in my teens CDs cost $25, long distance was still expensive, and yes you did in fact have to pay for TV.

I actually have no idea what you're talking about. I don't think you do either.
posted by Hoopo at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


Other fun sayings of Margaret Thatcher include "There's no such thing as society".
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want those jobs so badly, there are plenty of them in China.

Oh good lord, man. At first I didn't realize you were joking, this shoulda been the hint. You got me!
posted by Hoopo at 1:33 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Reagan certainly cut taxes on all the people you hate and took on huge government debt, but guess what, the 80's were a time of unprecedented economic growth. Without Reagan, the 80's would have been the 70's but worse.

If Reagan gets this kind of nuance-free, overly-simplistic credit for how his short-term economic policies allegedly turned around the economy he inherited in the late 70's (which, you know, a lot of very credible people have argued was actually the delayed result of some of Carter's economic policies--and more specifically, Volckers' policies as head of the Fed under Carter and Reagan--since as Republicans like to point out when its politically expedient, the effects of most Federal economic policies aren't instant and can take as much as a couple of years to have any clear impact on the overall economy), then FDR gets full, unnuanced credit for restoring America after the Great Depression and single-handedly defeating Fascism in Europe. The fact that FDR was elected 4 times and enjoyed the most popular support of any President in recent US history also proves... erm... something?

No. Reagan did not save the USA. On the contrary, he helped start the process of dismantling its (modern-era) economic foundations.

What do you people imagine Britain would have been like had Thatcher not been elected?

Err Germany?


No, no, it was FDR that saved Britain. That's it.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:37 PM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


And one last thing, those industrial jobs who absence you lament? They suck. Working at a steel mill is a shitty job. It's hot, dangerous, exhausting work. And the pay was never all that good.

And thanks to the approach we took to solving this problem, its even shittier, hotter and more dangerous work than it ever was--only now, it's shittier, hotter and more dangerous work that other people have to do because there aren't pretty, clean service jobs to work in their world.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:39 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


On second thought, Hoopo's reading must be right...
posted by saulgoodman at 1:40 PM on January 4, 2012


Republican's don't have a Reagan cult, people with brains

Brains!
posted by homunculus at 1:54 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh boo hoo, Thatcher axed some ossified industries that even with heavy government subsidy couldn't compete with Japan.

Thankfully her time in office saw us move from dependence on these ossified industries to dependence on a thriving, deregulated financial sector which would never need heavy government subsidy.

Part of the reason for the resentment of Thatcher is that even if you buy the argument that the industries in question needed axing, that doesn't mean that it has to be managed in a way in which entire communities were gutted and literally left to rot, at a time of record unemployment, while money is poured into parts of the country which happened to be largely those parts who voted for her government. Work in the pits and the mills may have been hard and dirty, but it was work, and the people who worked there had pride in their work, and they lived in strong, supportive communities that had been built around that work for a century or more but which in less than five years became desperate, suicide-ridden, heroin-ravaged, ghost towns. And she did not care.

Besides, if you think what she did to industry is the only reason so many people who lived under her government hated her, then you're very much mistaken.
posted by reynir at 1:58 PM on January 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Brains!

Illegal dumping of the pollutant Trioxin increased 100% under Reagan.
posted by Artw at 2:00 PM on January 4, 2012


I'd watch a film which ends with Thatcher shooting herself and is burned in a ditch.

I am intrigued by your screenplay, and wish to buy tickets to the finished product.
posted by rodgerd at 2:07 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


posted by Ayn Rand and God at 1:13 PM on January 4 [+] [!]

I should have known I'd find those two here.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]




And all the historians in this thread presuming to lecture Thatcher on what history is an isn't are forgetting one important thing: her life is the history you are studying.


I'd love to hear this explained.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:36 PM on January 4, 2012


Oh boo hoo, Thatcher axed some ossified industries that even with heavy government subsidy couldn't compete with Japan.

She sold off all the energy utilities such that all of our competitor countries make a killing from selling energy in the UK while UK companies have virtually zero chance of breaking into other markets, and of course her government got regulation wrong so that competition didn't actually work and bills went up when they should have gone down, plus she put massive subsidies into nuclear while at the same time undermining renewables so that the new technologies and industries which we should have had were stifled.

Then she sold off the water industry, with the result that it was improperly financed, has not seen nearly enough investment, but nevertheless has seen steadily rising bills and substantial shareholder returns against low risks.

Meanwhile she pissed away billions in North Sea oil and gas income on unemployment benefit because she saw having millions of people without job opportunities as an inevitable element of her fiscal policy, and had little regard for the suffering of those made unemployed.

She supported a range of dictatorships, most notably Pinochet in Chile, and refused to sever economic ties with the South African apartheid regime.

She was a homophobe who made teaching children that being gay was acceptable a criminal offence.

I have no doubt there is plenty I am overlooking.
posted by biffa at 3:01 PM on January 4, 2012 [21 favorites]


If you see Sid you should tell him about all that.
posted by Artw at 3:08 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, so maybe Bob Dylan is talking about a different Maggie. Still fits, though.
posted by chavenet at 3:09 PM on January 4, 2012


There's room on top, if you tow the line
And if you believe all this you must be out of your mind

posted by gimonca at 3:41 PM on January 4, 2012


I have no doubt there is plenty I am overlooking.

She sold off the council houses and encouraged the mania for home owning, helping create the housing bubble that was a major component of the current recession.
posted by Summer at 3:42 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


She supported a range of dictatorships, most notably Pinochet in Chile, and refused to sever economic ties with the South African apartheid regime.

Indeed, she blocked Ken Livingstone's attempt in the 80s to erect a statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament when he was leader of the Greater London Council because the UK government regarded Mandela as a terrorist. Livingstone got his way as mayor in 2007.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 3:44 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Parliament Square, even.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 3:45 PM on January 4, 2012


Reagan, Thatcher and the Israelis where basically the last holdouts of support for the apartheid regeime, long after the rest of the world had concluded they were an evil bunch of shits.
posted by Artw at 3:48 PM on January 4, 2012


"... Do you imagine that Britain would have a steel and coal industry that would be the envy of the world? ...one last thing, those industrial jobs who absence you lament? They suck. Working at a steel mill is a shitty job. It's hot, dangerous, exhausting work. And the pay was never all that good. ... "

Maybe not, now, but the decline would have been slower (dare I say it, managed?) if she hadn't decided on the course of action she chose. reynir sums it up much more eloquently than I could. There's nothing ignoble in working a dirty, hard job for a living - it helps to pay the rent, put food on the table and send your kids off to get an education you didn't have. There's a lot more wrong with targetting and destroying industries for ideological reasons when you don't have to and leaving people without the means to support themselves and their families - ironically leaving them much more dependent on the state for the means to feed and house themselves.

Despite her insistence on there being no such thing as society, the society she didn't manage to destroy would probably have been able to absorb more of the impacts of industrial decline over a longer period - there's still viable reserves of coal in a lot of those closed pits, especially if raw material prices rise globally - and the impact on towns and villages in the Midlands and North of the country could have been mitigated to a much greater extent. And according to this article, the annual wage for a coal mine operative in the UK in 2011 was around £41,000, which is well above the national average. It's my understanding that even historically such jobs were actually pretty well-paid, for obvious reasons.

The impacts of the rapid loss of UK industry are still being felt in communities that were affected by them. There are large parts of the West Midlands, for example, that are still suffering from the loss of manufacturing and where billions of pounds are still having to be spent to repair and revitalise towns, cities and communities and their environments, 20-odd years down the line. I think the worst of it is that with a more measured approach to deindustrialisation, a lot of the misery and the additional economic support could have been avoided.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 4:34 PM on January 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Republican's don't have a Reagan cult, people with brains and who lived in the 70's do. Reagan certainly cut taxes on all the people you hate and took on huge government debt, but guess what, the 80's were a time of unprecedented economic growth.

People with brains pay attention to actual facts. Unprecedented growth? Well, if you just consider the period since the Great Depression, then the fastest GDP growth by far was during the administration of FDR. Next in rank would be JFK and LBJ, followed by Clinton. Reagan would be fifth in this list, closely followed by -- wait for it -- Jimmy Carter of the 70s. Thanks for illustrating that Reagan hagiography is live and well.
posted by JackFlash at 5:13 PM on January 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


And that is presupposing that there was a justification for the destruction of manufacturing - in the West Midlands (the area I'm most familiar with), manufacturing even today makes up something like 11% of the total number of regional jobs. A few years ago, before the economic recession really bit, that was more like 22%. There was still a demand for UK manufacturing but it was on a hiding to nothing given the fact it had effectively been cut free by Thatcher and her policies.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 5:14 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The lovechild of Enoch Powell and Mary Whitehouse, if such a thing dare be imagined.
posted by Jehan at 9:08 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh boo hoo, Thatcher axed some ossified industries that even with heavy government subsidy couldn't compete with Japan.

What do you people imagine Britain would have been like had Thatcher not been elected? Do you imagine that Britain would have a steel and coal industry that would be the envy of the world? Really? Britain's raw materials industries couldn't compete against America, which couldn't compete against Japan, which can't compete against Korea, which can't compete against China. Do you really think that in 2011 British kids would be lining up all excited to work in the coal mines and steel mills? If you want those jobs so badly, there are plenty of them in China.


Yes. My cousin works at Scunthorpe steelworks. It's a good job with decent pay. Why do you ask?
posted by Jehan at 9:21 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a little known fact but after graduating with a degree in chemistry one of her first jobs was for Lyons developing emulsifiers for ice-cream (in order to make it more cheaply and easier to mass produce). So she made a significant contribution to the obesity epidermic too.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:06 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


We will laugh, the day that Thatcher dies.

You cannot link to Chumbawumba's most famous anti-Thatcher song, as they'll only release it when she does die, but you can pre-order the Thatcher EP for only five quid
posted by MartinWisse at 4:21 AM on January 5, 2012


I was going to save this for the obiturary thread... but I might be too busy celebrating. Elvis Costello: Tramp the Dirt Down.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:23 AM on January 5, 2012


And these jobs only ever paid a middle class wage when middle class meant owning one car and a house that didn't have air conditioning. It was a middle class wage when TV was free, gas was absurdly cheap, and most kids didn't go to college.

Most houses in the UK don't have airconditioning, but then who owns a house these days? Despite earning an above average wage, I can't actually afford the deposit to buy a place, which would be about three times my annual salary.

My parents bought the house I grew up in in 1979, in cash. That was an area that got shafted by 1980s Tory policy, though, and while I could still just about afford to buy a house there on the salary I earn in London, I would be lucky to find work for more than £150 a week. Landlords must have a portfolio of her in their wank bank though/.
posted by mippy at 5:25 AM on January 5, 2012


Strangely enough, I was finishing reading this yesterday (the hardback I own is so big I need a separate bag to carry it in, so I have been reading it over the course of a year, a chapter whenever I've needed to haul stuff somewhere).
posted by mippy at 5:27 AM on January 5, 2012


Industry that requires consistent government subsidy to operate is a drain on national wealth, not a contributor to it, and is not worth saving.

If you value money over people, Thatcher was right. If you value people over money, she was wrong.
posted by liquidindian at 6:14 AM on January 5, 2012


Actually, let me tweak the first part. Only if you value money over people can you think Thatcher was right.
posted by liquidindian at 6:16 AM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope you don't think you can just drop a line like that and not back it up with a lot of examples and carefully thought-out opinions...

Well, Streep is fairly widely-aknowledged as one of the best living actors in terms of her ability to convincingly inhabit a character or effectively mimic a real-life figure.

Early in her career she took a couple of prominent roles in films that had provocative political, social, or artistic messages: Silkwood, Sophie's Choice. But she has always also taken parts in mainstream popular films that don't seem to have much to say about film or life, and also aren't even particularly successful as pure "entertainments", as the best of popular film is. She now seems to work primarily in the realm of so-so mainstream Hollywood (Devil Wears Prada) and Middlebrow intellectual with no actual substantive message, nor artistic innovation (Iron Lady).

In recent years, the most interesting thing I thought she did was Adaptation, but most of her roles have been in formulaic and to my personal taste, boring.

I find this combination of unparalleled talent and skill with a willingness to do dumb or simply shallow movies for what I imagine is a high paycheck, very disappointing.
posted by latkes at 11:30 AM on January 5, 2012


(Note: I am aware I sound like an asshole in that comment. But when asked to backup my snobbery with evidence, I'm forced to expose the duchery inherent in said "taste". What can I say, I just wish she'd do more challenging movies!)
posted by latkes at 11:44 AM on January 5, 2012


The Iron Lady: how Britain changed under Margaret Thatcher

The final two graphs are particularly telling... a huge rise in poverty and inequality during her reign
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:27 AM on January 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


“ ... we should line the streets along which her funeral cortege passes and simply turn our backs in silence as it trundles by ... ”
posted by scruss at 5:55 AM on January 7, 2012


latkes - The Devil Wears Prada is a lot better than you, or at least I, might think. If you are at all familiar with Anna Wintour it's worth watching, and if not, it's worth watching to see how well Streep does disdain. It would have been better if they just did a dramatic recreation of The September Issue without the romantic sub-plot and Anne Hathaway, but the lawyer fees would have bankrupted the studio.

I'd happily pay to see an entire movie with Streep as Julia Child, too. And I'm not even familiar with the lady.
posted by mippy at 12:52 PM on January 8, 2012


The Streep bits of that were fine, the other bits though, ugh...
posted by Artw at 1:12 PM on January 8, 2012


I watched the Devil Wears Prada. Streep was amazing, as she almost always is. And I too would have loved to see this September Issue fantasy movie. But as far as I can tell Prada is pretty much the perfect example of what I don't like about Streep. She's one of our best living actors, acting in movies that are mediocre examples of the most mainstream hollywood romance/comedy/whatever.
posted by latkes at 1:22 PM on January 8, 2012


« Older The 50 Greatest Sports Gifs of 2011: Parts 1, 2, 3...  |  This link will create a polar ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments