The Guardian (see?) – Film Blog: Is The Iron Lady’s heart of gold quite right?
Phyllida Lloyd’s Margaret Thatcher biopic has proved so infuriating to so many by insisting on the humanity of the Tories, by David Cox
This isn’t a picture you’ll welcome if you think Thatcher must be branded an ogre, but it seems accurate enough. Those who knew her in office have testified to her common decency. She was, reportedly, “always incredibly kind to her friends and the girls who worked for her”, making sure everyone at Downing Street and Chequers had a Christmas present. She was “empathetic and compassionate”, offering comfort to visitors in need of it. She was “funny” and “playful”, but distraught when Mark, her son, went missing in the Sahara, and (as in the film) devastated by the assassination of Airey Neave.
Yet Thatcher isn’t alone on the right in displaying a bit of humanity. Indeed it sometimes seems as if this quality is in shorter supply on the left. With whom would you rather go on holiday? Verminous Churchill or dear old Nye? Boris or Ken? Cameron might even have it over Ed Miliband, let alone Brown, Balls or Mandelson. Inconceivable as this may seem to some, those who are ideologically incorrect can actually be quite nice. Why shouldn’t they be?
Progressives like to equate their own cause with righteousness, but all rightwingers aren’t out simply to protect privilege. Some are as eager as their rivals to benefit the disadvantaged, but have a different view of what this will entail. Thatcher wanted the downtrodden to be liberated; she had little time for the undeserving rich. It’s quite hard to convince yourself that Iain Duncan Smith is out to grind the faces of the poor just for the fun of it.
The relative modesty of the right’s political project leaves scope for human feeling. If you’re out to conserve rather than transform, you can take a more relaxed view of things. If you’re already doing nicely, you’ll be less prone to envy and resentment and may be softened by guilt or noblesse oblige.
On the left, things are different. The justice of the cause brooks no sentimental aberration.
See?! Amazing. Granted, this is on the film blog and not Front Page Breaking News (FLASH: Right Wing Kind, Experts Say), but still!