Tuesday 17 January 2012

The lady's not for turning

After my little Scottish rant I wondered if I should be a little more considered and even-handed.  So here's what I really think.  The UK is a constitutional mess and it needs sorting out...and not in the piecemeal way we tend to go about things.  At the moment we have devolved Government for Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland....but not England.  We have Scottish and Welsh MPs able to vote on things English, but not the other way round.  We use an electoral system which does not give us the results which reflect our voting patterns.  We have two Houses...Commons and Lords, but the Lords is not elected, nor does it seem to represent anyone in particular.  I don't mind if the Scots want independence (although it doesn't make any real sense to me) but it should be part of a much bigger constitutional reform that restructures the Government for the future.

Phew.  Glad to have got that out of the way.  Hopefully Auntie Gwen will be speaking to me again.  Soon.

One of the great political characters of the last 100 years was undoubtedly Margaret Thatcher.  Whether you're 'FOR' or 'AGAINST' it is impossible to deny her impact on British society.  For my part, although I was grown up during her time as Prime Minister, I look back and realise that at the time I didn't understand what she was doing, or why and the devastation she was causing.  And that's quite an admission from someone who studied politics and economics at University in the early 1980's.  I should never have gone to a nice middle class university, cosseted away from the harsh realities of life.  However, she's been long out of power, and the effects are to be seen today.  So with apologies to everyone who suffered either directly or indirectly, my view is clearer.  She was a leader with vision, someone who brought about the many changes that the UK needed to bring it into the 21st century.  That was something we badly needed.  But the way she went about it and the long term consequences have been bad for many people and the country as a whole.  I doubt it was necessary to inflict all the suffering to achieve the changes.  It is a tragedy that since her 'vision' is something that our politicians have lacked.  We need a new vision to get us on the straight and narrow again.

So with this in mind it was interesting to go and see The Iron Lady at the cinema this weekend.  My other reason for wanting to see it was that some of it was filmed just outside my office - and at the time I was fearfully excited about the whole thing.  I was delighted to get some of the girls to pose for a photo.

As for the film itself, I thought it was terrible....the worst I've seen in a long time.  Meryl Streep was fantastic, but all the other characters were caricatures, and it was very disjointed in telling history.  I doubt our teenagers would be able to follow it or understand the importance of certain events.  Oddly, given the title of the film, there was barely a reference to east-west foreign policy and 'Doing business' with the Russians.  Remarkably, her most famous quote, "The Lady is not for turning" was not included.  And framing it by presenting her as a dementia-ridden old lady, well that was not for me...I'm not sure why you would do that.  It either elicits sympathy or it is irrelevant...I can't see the Americans doing that to any of their past Presidents.