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Meryl Streep Film and EU Debates Bring Maggie Thatcher’s Moment

Staff Report

A British Prime Minister, splendidly isolated, faces down a phalanx of scowling European leaders, all harrumphing censure in accents that are German, French, Italian. We’ve witnessed the scene before. Decades ago Margaret Thatcher warred with her European counterparts just as David Cameron did this month in refusing to yield control of national budgets to Brussels. The difference is that the Iron Lady did not speak softly when she wielded a big stick. She lambasted ambitious bureaucrats; the artificial Utopian megastate you want to build, she told them, will be a “tower of Babel” dominated by Germany and riven by economic crises. Though she was ousted in 1990 over her refusal to join the monetary union, her skepticism seems to be vindicated with every euro crisis. December 2011 is very much Maggie’s moment, and with serendipitous timing, she’s there on the big screen in a biopic, The Iron Lady, portrayed with preternatural realism by Meryl Streep.

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