This morning’s Daily Telegraph had an article by Sarfraz Manzoor entitled “Thatcher, the creative catalyst for a generation”. It had some interesting observations and quotes:
“Margaret Thatcher was, the obituaries tell us, a divisive prime minister, but this is not quite the full story. For film-makers, musicians, comedians and others in the creative community Mrs Thatcher was a person around whom there was a broad consensus: the consensus was that she was a malign and destructive influence on Britain in general and the arts in particular …
“Richard Luce, an arts minister during the second Thatcher administration, was quoted as saying that many in the arts world ‘had yet to be weaned away from the welfare state mentality’ and that ‘the only test of our ability to succeed is whether we can attract customers.’
“During the Thatcher years funding to key arts organisations was dramatically cut, prompting the novelist Hanif Kureishi to claim years later that the former prime minister was ‘basically vulgar, and has little cultural sophistication or understanding … she actively hated culture, as she recognised that it was a form of dissent’. ….
“Meanwhile, the roster of rock bands who recorded songs in which Thatcher or the Tories were the enemy is an impressive one: a playlist – call it ‘Now That’s Why I Hate Tories’ – would include Margaret on the Guillotine by the Smiths; Ghost Town by the Specials, the Jam’s A Town Called Malice; Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding; and pretty much everything by Billy Bragg. …
“… These were the years of economic turbulence and social upheaval: widespread unemployment, the last days of mining, the rise of the yuppie and mass home ownership and race riots. It is not surprising that these were also years when writers such as John Sullivan, Alan Bleasdale, Ken Loach, Dennis Potter and Jimmy McGovern were able to create some of the defining television drama of the Eighties.
“Margaret Thatcher left office in 1990 and yet, through her legislation and her legacy, her influence remains. Two of the most successful British films made since she departed Downing Street – The Full Monty (1997) and Billy Elliot (2000) – are both set in communities blighted by her economic policies. …”
The Tate website makes it clear that the references in this textile are to Margret Thatcher and the Falklands War: “The ensign flag used in this work – the Royal Navy White Ensign or St George’s Ensign, which is flown on Royal Navy ships – the reference to 1982 and war, and the accusations of a guilty woman all indicate that Hate and Power can be a Terrible Thing is based on The Falklands War. This seventy-two day war fought in 1982 between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic caused the death of nearly 900 men. Margaret Thatcher was the British prime minister at the time.”