Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Streep, & The Iron Lady: Fact vs. Fiction

"When I first heard of this movie," says John Blundell, "I immediately was a little worried because of Meryl Streep's own ideas and polices and so on that are very distinctly not Thatcherite."

As a longtime Margaret Thatcher ally, few people are in a better position than John Blundell to assess the veracity of the Oscar-nominated bio-pic, The Iron Lady. The former head of influential free-market organizations such as The Institute of Economic Affairs, The Institute for Humane Studies, and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation , Blundell is also the author of Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady (2007) and the new Ladies for Liberty: Women Who Made a Difference in American History .

On the eve of the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony, Blundell sat down with Reason.tv to discuss the controversy surrounding the film (which depicts its titular character in the throes of demenita), Streep's widely praised performance, and the continuing power of Thatcher's social and political legacy.

"I must admit," he says, "to being pleasantly surprised. I think overall Margaret comes out of this process with her reputation enhanced and, of course, Meryl Streep's reputation hugely enhanced."

About 5.30 minutes. Produced and edited by Meredith Bragg.

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  • R||

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  • victory||

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  • Team Blue||

    Thatcher was a cunt.

    We can say that, but no one else can.

  • Feministing||

    We'll look the other way on that one.

  • Jezebel||

    We will, too, because in this instance, that word is an excellent description.

  • Bill Clinton||

    Man, back in the day, I would'a hit that.

  • Bill Clinton||

    Who am I kidding, I'd hit that now.

  • Bill Clinton||

    OK so I'd hit Whoopi Goldberg if she still had eyebrows.

  • ||

    What happened to her eyebrows?

  • Rachel Maddow||

    Me, too.

  • Bill Clinton||

    So, Rachel... what's a guy gotta do to get you to switch teams?

  • Hillary Clinton||

    WillIAM!!! William Harcourt Fenton Jehosaphat Clinton!!! Get your aging white ass back to Westchester right this goddamn minute!!!!!

  • ||

    Hey... Hey Hillary... We could... We could eat that pig, Hillary.

  • ||

  • Bill||

    Ok. I'm back. 17 family guy clips later.

  • +||

    Why won't anyone take libertarians seriously?

  • -||

    Why won't anyone take you seriously?

  • Homeland Security||

    Oh, WE take libertarians seriously... as the impending terrorist threat they are.

  • Nanet Japolitano||

    And by "terrorist," we mean they might cut our funding.

  • anarch||

    “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money as well.” ~ Margaret Thatcher, television interview, Jan. 6, 1986, in The Times of London, Jan. 12, 1986

  • Paulie Krugnuts||

    That woman is insane. No one should listen to her.

  • Kettle...||

    ...Pot here. You're black.

  • Al Sharpton||

    That's racist!

  • Roger Waters||

    Brezhnev took Afghanistan.
    Begin took Beirut.
    Galtieri took the Union Jack.
    And Maggie, over lunch one day,
    took a cruiser with all hands.
    Apparently, to make him give it back.

  • Syd Barrett||

    I wish I hadn't eaten so much acid.

  • Paul Krugman||

    Not me. It's what made me see so clearly how every dollar government spends benefits us.

  • Sean Mack||

    I wish I hadn't bought that album; worst Floyd ever. Even acid couldn't make it seem interesting. That stanza was like the only memorable part.

    We must never forget to count the dramatic increase in leftish wailing among otherwise talented artists among the sadder parts of Thatcher's legacy.

  • Les||

    Fuck all that.

  • John||

    Thcwa possible a goodleader l she id ws akeher rich cronies richer, stripped the UK of any and all industry as she wanted the UK to be a banking leader.

    Now we make nothing we import most of what we need and worst of all she started the real death of the middle classes and tested out all her crap ideas on Scotland first.

    No she is evil and her name should be strucken from history and even now she should be dragged into the street beaten the shoot in the face for her crimes against the poor in the UK

  • Xmas||

    Yes, the UK is so bad for the poor that Polish and Muslim immigrants steer completely clear of the country...

  • ||

    Nashe delo pravoye -- mi pobedili!

    Our cause is just -- we won!

    Right, asshole?

  • Josh S||

    Pre-Thatcher, "middle class" meant your savings were destroyed by inflation and electricity was strictly rationed.

  • Andrew Hall||

    After watching that video I really want to see that movie.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, those were some great clips. I want to see it now as well. I had just assumed it was a hit piece. Sounds like maybe not. A hopeful movie for this time.

  • Crazyman||

    Boring? Lonely? you don't have to be. I found a nice place -- casualmingle dot 'c+o+m for casual encounters and NSA fun. You will always find the right one for you to spend 'the night' with. worth trying!!!!

  • Bill Clinton||

    Don't bother with this site - I tried it and they hooked me up with Bella Abzug. I thought that was just a mistake, so I signed up with them a second time and they sent me to a hotel room across town. When I opened the door it was Hillary - I don't know which one of us was more shocked.

  • Libertarians||

    We don't think good.

  • Jason Godesky||

    Ha ha! I make funny!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Maybe if you take a shit on someone's living-room floor, you'll feel even funnier.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Look at him jiggle!!

  • ||

    Blundell sat down with Reason.tv to discuss the controversy surrounding the film (which depicts its titular character in the throes of demenita)

    For what it's worth, I think you can attribute highlighting her later dementia just as easily to market forces--rather than Hollywood trying to make a political statement...

    Putting a bankable star in semi-art house role--where the main character suffers from some sort of mental disability--has been money in the bank since the '70s, at least. Long as you don't go "full retard".

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6WHBO_Qc-Q

  • ||

    Major actors playing people with mental disabilities, it's like cartoon characters and speech impediments.

    Like buffalo wings and beer.

  • Libertarians||

    Like us in chat rooms.

  • Anonymous Lifer||

    This chat room gives me a little ♥-on.

  • Rokk Krinn||

    Its really not much of a stretch....most hollywierd morons are retarded anyways..

  • Ted S.||

    Actually, that goes back at least to the late 1940s, when Olivia de Havilland was nominated for playing a mental patient in The Snake Pit.

    (She lost to deaf-mute Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda.)

  • ||

    Carroll O'Connor was a liberal Democrat who did a great job playing a clone of my grandfather.

  • Dekedin||

    I'll be the one to say it; we should have an open Oscars thread.

  • ||

    I guess you didn't get the memo. Libertarians hate the Oscars. No one will be watching.

  • I||

    I think Reason should live-blog this:

    Oscars Red Carpet Live
    Guests arrive for the 84th Academy Awards ceremony.
    Robin Roberts, Tim Gunn, Louise Roe, Jess Cagle and Nina Garcia host.

    I am so there for that.
    Come on Reason. Step up.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Is is bad that I don't know who any of those people are? Really, I have no idea.

  • Kibby||

    I only know who Tim Gunn is, & that's because hulu ran commercials with him in them for awhile.

  • I||

    I think it is not about the hosts.
    I think it is about us making fun of the costumes.
    Like we make fun of the politicians during the debates.
    These people are just as dumb, but better looking!

  • ||

    I haven't watched Sesame Street in years.

  • Jamie||

    "When I first heard of this movie," says John Blundell, "I immediately was a little worried because of Meryl Streep's own ideas and polices and so on that are very distinctly not Thatcherite."
    ----

    So, if you are not an acolyte or a giddy fan, that's a problem? Locke's crusaders- battle call! There's this bitch called Ayn who reviewed your pal without agreeing!

  • Jamie||

    Also, Thatcherite? What number is that element, and is it radioactive?

  • ||

    It's right before "Reaganite".

    I remember hearing people say "Reaganite", too...

    https://www.google.com/search?q=reaganite&

  • Stormy Dragon||

    "I immediately was a little worried because of Meryl Streep's own ideas and polices and so on that are very distinctly not Thatcherite."

    Is this actually true? I honestly don't recall Streep ever being particularly political one way or the other.

  • 'Nando||

    Thatcher wasn't a feminist because she didn't say the right things.

  • Vote American (1969)||

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  • Jeffersonian||

    I'd take Maggie today, mental infirmaties and all, over the marxie sociopath in the WH right now.

  • Lucretio||

    It was an interesting way to tell her history - as if she were still living it moment to moment. But former Reason'er Virginia Postrel was right to call it an Anna Quindlen "what does it all mean, man" judgment on her accomplishments. Streep was pitch perfect, as usual, and people getting upset over the portrayal of dementia probably haven't seen it or are dense. It tries for even-handed but winds up shooting blanks.

  • A Serious Man||

    She's reviled by liberals, progressives, and socialists, and that's enough to make me like her, certainly more than Reagan.

    And she kicked ass during speeches before Parliament. She was dead right about the clusterfuck that would become the EU.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2f8nYMCO2I

  • Jeffersonian||

    Watching that, I think she missed the mark to some extent. She seems to be saying that monetary union would mean automatic political union as a result. Of course, Europe never got that political union and the consequence was the PIIGS looting the piggy bank.

    The upshot might mean political union, but not the way everyone thought...it'll be Germany dictating fiscal policy for all the PIIGS, much to their dismay and rage.

  • ||

    You know who else dictated to dismay and rage...

  • Sevo||

    Merkle isn't that good of a demagogue.

  • Josh S||

    No, there's no political union at all. Why, Brussels wouldn't even think of attempting to impose laws and regulations on the member countries that the populations hadn't agreed to.

  • A Serious Man||

    She was prescient enough to know that the French would collaborate with the Germans to thwart British influence in any economic union. And Brussels has been known to dictate domestic policy to European states.

    And yes, I do know who else convinced the French to collaborate with German plans to dominate Europe.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Just before she got booted by the Conservative Party, Thatcher remarked:

    "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels."

    Unfortunately, the Labor Party and her Tory adversaries had precisely that in mind.

  • Sevo||

    In "Post War", Judt obviously hates her guts. He's honest enough to undercut his own dislike with facts. He framed the issue such that she 'didn't work with the party'. The facts he related suggested that the party members were horrified that she actually did what she said she'd do, and equally horrified that most of it worked.
    It seems the Tories were every bit in favor of 'small government' as the GOP is in the US. Meaning, well, not much in favor at all.

  • ||

    She seems to be saying that monetary union would mean automatic political union as a result.

    They're getting there. Greece will be coughing up some sovereignity, to be followed by the other PIIGs as they hit the wall.

    SImply put, as we have learned, you can't have a monetary union without a political union, because you can't at the end of the day, disconnect monetary policy from fiscal policy (which is to say, soveriegnity).

  • Kibby||

    I'd be interested to see how they portray her reaction to the Northern Ireland hunger strikes without making her look like a total frigging sociopath.

  • Sevo||

    Care to tell us what her reaction was?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    That Bobby Sands decided to starve himself to death, a choice he denied to his murder victims.

    Sociopathic, no?

  • Sevo||

    I was thinking her "reaction" might have been along the lines of 'tough; deal with it' and some whacko made an ass of himself.
    Is that what happened?

  • ||

    They are interviewing a man with the book "Pornified" on his bookshelf.

  • Vote American (1969)||

  • Vote American (1969)||

  • Vote American (1969)||

  • Vote American (1969)||

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  • Vote American (1969)||

  • Christina||

    Thatcher's rule wasn't all rainbows and puppy-dogs. As beer geeks know, she totally upended the domestic beer industry with her zeal to end vertical integration.

  • Sevo||

    What did she do?

  • Christina||

    The 'Big Six' breweries controlled something like 75% of the market and pubs were by-and-large owned by breweries. This bothered Thatcher. So she enacted regulation (Beer Orders) that forced breweries to sell off many of their pubs and include beer from competitive breweries on their taps. The result was that breweries sold their pubs to "pub companies" which didn't have to abide by the Beer Orders. Now instead of six breweries owning ~30,000 pubs, ten pub companies do. And the Big Six control even more of the market.

  • Christina||

    But wait, there's more. The pub companies rent the pubs out to proprietors who then are forced to buy all their beer from the pub company. The pub company in their deal to buy the pub from the brewery has promised to only stock that brewery's beers. So proprietors are forced to pay rent, buy beer at outrageous prices (no competition), and have no variety. Is it any wonder that pubs are closing at an alarming rate and more English beer is being purchased for home consumption?

  • Sevo||

    OK, that sounds like a bad move, but why can't, say, Christina open a pub and buy (and sell) any brew she chooses?
    IOWs, why are there only ten 'pub companies'?

  • Christina||

    Indeed, that's my question too. I can only imagine it's because there are absurd barriers to entry. But since I'm not a Limey I don't know.

  • Sevo||

    "I can only imagine it's because there are absurd barriers to entry."
    I could imagine that also, but I can also imagine a lot of reasons. Are you sure your claim is true at all?

  • CatoTheElder||

    I'd bet the smoking ban has more to do with the decline in pub culture.

  • Christina||

    I'm sure that hasn't helped. From what I've read the pub companies are 'standardizing' their pubs and turning them into something like we'd have in the US, to the point of ditching yorkshire pudding for nachos on the menu.

  • Sevo||

    "From what I've read the pub companies are 'standardizing' their pubs and turning them into something like we'd have in the US, to the point of ditching yorkshire pudding for nachos on the menu."

    Uh, since you're basing your comments on 'what you've read', what sort of evidence do you have for your claims.
    And as regards Yorkshire pudding vs nachos, that could well be driven by the customers and/or the costs. How do you make real Yorkshire pudding without a roast beef?

  • ||

    The Red Carpet Show™ is about to start, and still no Official Red Carpet Show™ Live Blog notice?!

    And no "rectal" spoof" pooping on the festivities?


    It's an outrage! It tis!

  • Action 5 Red Carpet Team™||

    We're on it!

  • Action 5 Red Carpet Team™||

    21 Minutes to go!

  • Carmen Díaz||

    Did you see who I was wearing?!

  • shrike||

    Fat Rush! King of the Rednecks!

    O how we love you, you glorious Fat Piece of shit!

  • chaussures air max 90||

    what

  • cardboard displays||

    No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money as well.” ~ Margaret Thatcher, television interview, Jan. 6, 1986, in The Times of London, Jan. 12, 1986

  • myfriend123||

    Nice article.

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