Rewriting history: Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher is younger and prettier in this photo than I remember her back in 1981...Hmm...

Today, news about the release of “secret” documents relating to the Margaret Thatcher government circa 1981 have been making the rounds in the news, and a CBC webpage has made a report that would claim to rip the lid off these secret documents.

Well, nothing of importance seems to have come out of this, if you read all the way to the bottom. Although it crosses my mind that while the riots were happening, weren’t we all awash in the media sentiment surrounding the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana? Aw, maybe I’m just being crumudgeonly.

We are told that the release of these secret documents tells us that Thatcher never ceases to “fascinate” us; although for anyone who lived through the rise of neo-conservatism in the early 80s found little of this surprising or even worthy of reporting. Yes, the Canadian (Mulroney), American (Regan), and British (Thatcher) governments moved hell and earth to make sure that their policies were rammed through their respective houses of government, while firing, reassigning, or rebuffing anyone that stood in their way; and while ignoring the ensuing rise in unemployment, debt, or any other social ill that resulted.

The “secret” documents, though inconsequential, seemed to be well-timed to the release of a new play about Thatcher to be premiered in London, starring Meryl Streep. The photo posted on the CBC website was not of Thatcher, but of Streep playing Thatcher. Their caption did not remark on this, but instead carried on the discussion about Thatcher as if this photo was really of her. Maybe it was CBC incompetence, but no. The photo and article were both from the AP newswire, offered without editing or change by the CBC. The CBC did, however, have the good sense to offer a video news report that showed a mix of Streep and Thatcher ’81 in the same report, with at least some clarity as to which was which.