Baroness Thatcher: why the best reaction from the left is dignified silence

ThatcherBy coincidence, just a few hours after Baroness Thatcher’s death was announced on April 8th, a friend and I had tickets booked to see This House, a play by James Graham at the National Theatre, in which Mrs Thatcher is not portrayed on stage but whose presence is felt throughout.

The play’s subject is the desperate measures taken by the Labour Whips to keep the Wilson and Callaghan governments of the 1970s in power. The small cast has to take its own desperate measures backstage, as the taut script requires many nifty costume changes from the drab brown suits of Labour MPs to the slightly smarter garb of the Conservatives, with a smattering of Liberal, Ulster Unionist, SDLP, Plaid Cymru and Scottish nationalist MPs thrown in for good measure.

Oddly, the only women who feature prominently on-stage are two young Labour women MPs, Helene Hayman and Ann Taylor, who are negotiating their way through the macho world of the Parliamentary Labour Party, just as Thatcher had done a decade before in the Tories. Read more of this post