I can't really remember much about when Maggie Thatcher was in power. I know my parents were full of praise for her because our country was almost third world when she became PM, strikes crippling industries, rubbish being left on the streets and she broke the unions - something that was thought impossible. She stood up to them and it took a lot of courage to do so. Something that no man in this government now or since her time in power has managed to emulate. Once they get to power they appear as weak as piss. Or they are as weak as piss and it's not an illusion or something even the spin can't get rid of. Strength of character is very hard to fake even when you have professionals telling you how to come across.
I was at a party at Christmas full of great pretenders (actors and politicians) where one minister admitted (sounding more like an actor than a politician) that he would be spending more time dealing with the press and the image than he would be dealing with the job in hand. The simpering little man will probably be our next Prime Minister. As another guest commented "he's all fur coat, no knickers" but then so were a lot in that room.
On the "I hate everything Thatcher stood for' camp, I was reminded by a journalist friend that many of my novels were inspired by her. Or rather the characters within it. The City oiks, the 'greed is good' and their excesses were encouraged by her policies although I actually think that was more to do with the policies of Blair and the loathesome Brown. I am known for my dislike of bankers, which is as much personal as it is professional. They are not a personable bunch the traders and those at the top, their smug superciliousness seeping through despite their hours of media training. They embody the win at all costs, selfish materialism, all ambition no talent or substance, that is now considered a virtue and the only thing of value. Those who work in the City value only what makes money. It's not a cliche, it's true. If it's not worth it's weight in gold, it has no value. They even talk about people as liabilities and have the divorces and dysfunctional children to testify to it. Their ambition has bounced off into other areas of everyday society. Ambition without talent or substance is rewarded in all it's guises. Am I the only one who looks at those in the spotlight these days and feels like the little boy in the Emperor with No Clothes?
Thatcher focused on the economics, had no time for sense and sensibility and although the excellent Hugo Young in his eulogy on her in The Times this week wrote she didn't care what people thought of her, she cared enough to hire a top advertising agency to make her policies sell to a populace that desperately needed a hero and a strong one. Well what they got was a dictator who lacked the courage to surround herself with strong men and women and that was one her gravest mistakes. Weak men are treacherous.
So I will not be booing at Maggie's funeral but I understand those who will. She was a strong woman amongst in the main, extremely weak men because she chose to surround herself with weak men and lacked the courage to bring in strong women, of which there would have been a greater choice. Perhaps like me, she chose to go to the wrong parties.