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The Corpse of British Nationalism

Posted by sverigeidag på januari 31, 2012

An old woman stumbles into the shop of an Asian grocer and peers quizzically at the price of milk. Indian music blares from the speakers as a large African smirks with the usual blend of contempt and hostility at the white slag fumbling with her pence at the counter. She shuffles home through the dirty streets, passing dull-eyed denizens of the metropolis, and complains to her husband about rising prices as they sit to a modest breakfast. Only after another woman enters the kitchen do we discover that Lady Thatcher is talking to herself, a prisoner in her own home and of her own memories. Like Britain herself, she has been buried alive.

The Iron Lady is a film about the ghosts of people, issues, and a nation long since vanished. It has little to do with Margaret Thatcher’s accomplishments, beliefs, or time in office. Instead, most of the movie is spent watching an old demented woman scurry about her modest quarters in conversation with the shade of her dead husband. Occasionally, it shifts from clumsily executed biopic to outright horror. In one particularly disturbing scene, Lady Thatcher frantically turns on all the appliances in her house to drown out the hectoring of her dead husband. Denis Thatcher stares at his wife’s back from within a mirror, as Lady Thatcher desperately pleads with herself to turn away from madness. The camera zooms in and out with one wild cut after another. Such a mood fits The Exorcism of Emily Roseor Paranormal Activity. So much for those who came to the theater to see a movie about the Conservative Party.

As a portrayal of a living woman, it is sickening and without excuse. Obviously, this kind of treatment is limited only to someone who is right of center. Can anyone imagine a biopic focusing on a senile Nelson Mandela or Rosa Parks? To ask the question is to answer it. Even as the issues Thatcher championed have faded, as ”New Labour” and other left-wing parties reconciled themselves to a diminished role for the unions, the rage against the Iron Lady is constant and enduring and the controversy about her continues. Websites have been set up to commemorate her death with a party, the comment boards on videos and articles about her are filled with furious vulgarity and loathing directed at woman who hasn’t been in power for 20 years, and even the Conservative Party has backed away from “Thatcherism,” as much as they can, even to the point of changing the Party’s logo from a flaming torch to a tree seemingly drawn by a child.

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