“Me me me me me, that’s the culture she instilled.”
says activist Lyn Matthews in the short but plentiful documentary Generation Right. And that is something I wailed “Yes!” stupidly loud. Whilst trying not to wade in on the political climate of an era I was born into, this is an atmosphere that trickled down since Margaret Thatcher was in power. The divide in the country has left an impact in the country so big that some are dismayed with the Tories reign continuing and many are in celebration. But there is no denying that when Thatcher was Prime Minister, it had a detrimental impact on our nation that is still met with distain now.
As aforementioned, I’m going to try and keep my own political opinion out of this review. Coomber does well to highlight issues with Thatcher’s campaign by splicing the film with interviews of those prevalent in the 80s as well as archive footage. The incidents such as the Miners’ Strike and the descent into crime and protest are juxtaposed against Thatcher’s statements, especially those such as blaming the chaos on the public rather than the stranglehold of her policies. As unemployment rose too shockingly, Thatcher - in her own stock footage so you cannot deny that - condemned the public who were outraged as lazy and moaning which in turn took the blame away from her.
That’s the more infuriating aspect of good old Maggie that will no doubt rile the watcher. Throughout her term, Thatcher changed a lot. Sometimes it was for the good but a lot of the times, her demands and cuts put people in crisis. As Generation Right points out, people and youth were leaving schools with a lot of hope only to be met with no work or job and subsequently no hope. The biggest takeaway from the film was that crime wasn’t a youth or unemployment issue - it was the result of desperation and frustration - something that Thatcher took and twisted in interviews. Which is hauntingly similar to how the Tories’ are treating the public today. Whilst some of their policies may seem good - there is enough to make people fearful - especially if they are low income or without work.
Oh look - I’ve slipped into debate mode but I can argue that Coomber’s work was supposed to provoke. At a short forty minutes, she packs enough in here to mull over and chew the political fat with those around you. This may not be the most balanced of documentaries, despite interviews with Conservative supporters, there is a definitive focus on the backlash against her government and the madness it spread throughout our culture to the financial crisis of modern times. As one protestor mentions here, Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister still affects us today and until we revolt, she’ll continue to be mentioned.
While I’m not endorsing protest…it is something to think about.
You can buy tickets here!