Lindsey Duncan in BBC’s “Margaret” leaving Number 10
I’ve just got round to viewing the BBC film “Margaret” in which Lindsey Duncan portrays the Tory leader who was famously ousted in November 1990.
It’s a good watch, very well made and I’d thoroughly recommend it to those who haven’t seen it. For its focuses not on one plot to bring down a Tory leader but two. Mrs Thatcher, of course, became leader of the party fifteen years earlier after being the only one with the guts to take on Edward Heath.
Although the film goes over events that those of my generation are very familiar with it gets over one or two key elements that are relevant today as we talk about the current incumbent of Number 10.
A Prime Minister is extraordinarily powerful and has so much at his or her disposal. The careers of so many politicians are in the PM’s hands and it takes an enormous amount before the status quo can be changed. Close advisers are always going to paint pictures, particularly about things relating to the PM’s leadership, in the most, shall we say, tactful light.
It must be as hard disagreeing with Brown as it was with Maggie. In the end with her it was a case of needs must. The disaster that leading minister believed was facing the Tory party then was such that something had to happen.
I just wonder whether the same could apply to Brown Central today. The main difference, of course, is that Brown did not have to fight an election for the leadership and has not led Labour into three general election victories.