Margaret Thatcher’s influence on the media

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odb8ux3g9_8

Margaret Thatcher is both a historical event and historical figure. Elected in 1979; she was Britain’s first female Prime Minister and head of the conservative party. Thatcher was well known for being controversial and being determined to make a change ruthlessly. She was loved and hated at the same time and although apparently loathed by the so-called majority; she was re-elected twice, making her the UK’s longest serving Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister; the media was bound to pretty much cover Thatcher’s every move. Being the leader of a country, what ever choices or decisions you make; you are judged or celebrated. Media platforms are the perfect place for this – the media spreads opinions, views and stories quickly, influencing public opinion in an attempt to either make or break you.

In 1984, she battled miners and several work unions – one of the biggest, most reported stories of our time. For a whole year; newspapers; television reports and radio reports were dominated by her facing the miners in a battle over wages and power.article-1160059-00B28D400000044C-233_468x286

Her persistence and determination eventually paid off when the miners returned to work in 1985. This huge event in history remains one of the most re-called and spoken about stories of our generation and is still incredibly important to those who were affected by it at the time and to those who supported her.

The introduction of poll tax, (council tax as it’s known today), in 1990 cause further up roar. Groups of people took to the streets to fight against another controversial change. Once again; the media was dominated by her and the struggle she had trying to get the country on her side. She was constantly labelled as evil and some what described like a pantomime villain. She was marmite – people loved to hate her.

Thatcher was just as interesting as a person, not just a politician. The media often commented on her private life as well as her successes as Prime Minister. After her very public breakdown in which her own party voted her out; she still remained very much in the public eye and had her heart and soul in politics. In 1990 she stepped down as Prime Minister and leader of the conservative party.

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In 2011; a biopic film; ‘The Iron Lady’ based on Thatcher’s life, was released. Thatchers was portrayed by Meryl Streep and the film won countless awards. The film portrayed Thatcher as a strong, powerful and incredibly determined woman who strived to do her best in everything. It showed a side to the Prime Minister that us as the public, maybe failed to see. We watched her love life depicted on screen and the small town in which she grew up. How much of this was true or exaggerated for the film? We don’t know, but it was an extremely popular film and its success shows the interest people still have for Thatcher.

8th April 2013; Thatcher passed away and the media took over. People rushed to social networking sites, such as Twitter or Facebook to pay their condolences. Although; further controversy was caused over a number of things. Some members of the public decided to take her death as an opportunity to celebrate and mock her, making it very clear of their thoughts about Thatcher. The government also decided to announce that they would be paying for Thatcher’s funeral – causing a great deal of further media coverage. Weeks after Thatcher’s death, the media was still dominated by the huge event and some part of me thinks where ever she may be now, that she was probably laughing – saying something like: ”Ha! I had the public one last time!”

Thatcher continues to dominate the media today and will do forever. She is history, she has created history and therefore her legacy is strong and will continue to grow as time goes on. In my opinion; Thatcher was one of the greatest leaders of the 21st century – not only as a woman but as someone who fought for what she believed in and what she thought was right at the time. She remains one of my personal idols and although I do disagree with many of her policies and some of her actions; I can’t knock her for her ability to dominate the media; address the public and maintain their attention and trust for that many years.

Credits:

All images used above from: https://www.google.co.uk/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi  and copied from there. Things typed in: ‘Margaret Thatcher’; ‘Margaret Thatcher and miners’; ‘Margaret Thatcher and poll tax’; ‘Margaret Thatcher death’.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Thatcher

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4 thoughts on “Margaret Thatcher’s influence on the media

  1. This is a really good piece of research and analysis, Abi. You give a neat summary of who MT was and her legacy. I particularly like the YouTube link as that is very useful. I would have liked you to have considered more media examples of how 80s Thatcherite Britain was represented, or is represented now. I’ll give you one example: Billy Elliot–Northern, miners strikes, class differences, recession, everything is brown with little joy.

    Can you reply please and give three more examples of media texts where Thatcher is an influence?

  2. abiclaytonx says:

    1. ‘This Is England’ (2006) – directed by Shane Meadows. The film follows young ‘skinheads’ in 1983 and how they adopted the views of ‘white nationalists’. This film, although made not that long ago, would have had a strong influence from Thatcher as she had been elected at this time. The film not only follows them as a group of people but also follows their political views.

    2. ‘Spitting Image’ (1984-1996) – a political satire puppet show where Thatcher was represented as ‘an abusive tyrant and cross-dresser – she wore suits, used the urinals and was portrayed as a cigar-chomper.’ This represented her as a woman in a man’s world. ‘Satire = The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices’

    3. ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ (1985) – directed by Stephen Frears. ‘The film follows a young, Pakistani journalist who lives in London but hates Britain and its international policies. The plot tackles many issues, such as homosexuality, racism, and Britain’s economic and political policy during the 1980s.’

    Sources used:
    https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=cr&ei=yedBUqqYBcOv4QSqhYG4BQ#q=british+films+of+the+1980s
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_British_films_of_the_1980s
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Is_England
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spitting_Image
    https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=cr&ei=y-dBUuCLCrPb4QTlroGIBw#q=definition+of+satire
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Beautiful_Laundrette

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