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Politics or Personal??

Watching “The Iron Lady” this week and listening to Mark Kermode’s podcast afterwards led me to some interesting reflections on the nature of leadership and the division between personal life and public facade. This is an issue currently prevalent in my mind from currently teaching “Lord of the Flies” to Year 11 and considering Golding’s views on the nature of leadership and the characters he depicts to explore this universal issue. Arguably the character who shows the requisite qualities for effective leadership is Piggy yet he is perhaps the least favourite boy and most isolated boy on the island…..

An interesting discussion on Kermode’s broadcast related to the genre of the film: is this a biopic? This relates to the issue of how much truth about politics should have been included. Is this a personal film or a political film? Kermode objected to one section of the film not accurately representing a historical moment as it “truly” happened. Kermode argues that politics cannot be used as window dressing or props but interestingly the director has argued that the film is not about politics but actually more personal and about old age. Perhaps MT in her dotage is reflecting on leadership with clarity despite her dementia.

For me the plot was preoccupied with issues of leadership, feminism and class: the rise of a grocer’s daughter in a male dominated society and political sphere. I found myself reflecting on whether this role was represented as sitting alongside personal duties and responsibilities as a wife and mother or whether MT missed some personal duties in order to fulfil some public ones. A key scene that stood out in my mind was when her twins were begging her not to leave them and she had to drive off to fulfil her commitments regardless of their pleas. MT’s mantra was that she wanted to make a difference: how far did she succeed on a personal and private level I felt myself reflecting???? An interesting and thought provoking film. I looked at the blog following the podcasts which had some pertinent comments on Kermode’s points: one of them asked why Kermode was so vehement against Thatcher when actually he had launched his career and done very well out of her time in power???? Perhaps it is Kermode himself that is struggling to separate the personal from the public? Perhaps it is MK that “doth protest too much”!!!!!!!



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