Maggie's Farm: Margaret Thatcher in Popular Culture

Thatcher in music and TV


Aardvark not included.
Dave Sim

Buzzfeed has assembled "21 Incredibly Angry Songs About Margaret Thatcher." (The list actually went up last October, but all my punk-nostalgist friends have been linking to it this week.) As a Kinks fan, I don't know whether to be offended that they left out "Dear Margaret" or relieved that the record has been mercifully forgotten. (Five points to the first reader who can give me a coherent reason why the song includes the line "Don't you like rock'n'roll?")

Elsewhere, a writer at the L.A. Times argues that "Thatcher exerted a remarkably creative influence on British music from the late '70s through the late '80s and beyond. The ridicule and rage heaped on her prompted some of the spikiest lyrics, angriest guitars and most indelible percussion to be heard during of one of the most rancorous eras in modern British music and politics." (He also claims that Thatcher had "determinedly—some would say ruthlessly—free-market economic policies." That's a stretch.) The Guardian has posted an overview of anti-Thatcher pop too.

One subject missing from all those articles is the British punk of the pre-Thatcher years, which assailed the old consensus as surely as she did, though—naturally—not from an identical direction. The omission is probably inevitable, given that Thatcher's death is the newshook for these pieces, but it's a bit like reading a history of the New Left that begins with the election of Richard Nixon.

In other Pop Thatcher news, cultural-studies mavens may enjoy Marcus K. Harmes' recent paper "A Creature Not Quite of This World: Adaptations of Margaret Thatcher on 1980s British Television." And here's a clip of Thatcher reciting the Monty Python parrot sketch.