Do the politics matter? – thoughts on ‘The Iron Lady’

Phyillda Lloyd’s recent ‘biopic’ of Margaret Thatcher staring Meryl Streep has come under scrutiny for taking the politics out of Thatcher’s conservative government choosing to focus on her rise to power. As a film ‘The Iron Lady’ is a structural and narrative mess, but regardless of your politics the film is worth watching for Streep’s extraordinary performance.

I’m one of ‘Blair’s children’, my political knowledge is largely confined to episodes of ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘The Thick of It’; my understanding of Thatcher and her polarisation comes from what is essentially popular left-wing satire. I would have liked to have seen more politics, both the good and the bad, I would have liked to have seen what made her so popular with the voting public despite the strikes and union opposition. The moment that was seen as her betrayal by those key cabinet members was too brief, why were her closest advisers determined to bring her down? Prominent Tories have gone on record saying that it’s too soon to make a film about Thatcher and I would agree, if the film had been about Thatcher.

Last year channel 4 showed a drama about Mo Molem, played movingly and brilliantly by Julie Walters, that is the type of film I want to see about Thatcher. The politics do matter as it’s clear that Thatcher’s politics were what defined and polarised her for a generation.


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