Neil Pickford - Maggie may have helped me grow up

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There is something slightly disturbing about seeing events and times that you lived through being turned into docu-dramas and movies.

No matter what age you are, seeing such events become period dramas makes you realise that you are getting on a bit.

And so it is for me right now.

I’ve already seen the 1980s music revival come and go, but it was the release of the film The Iron Lady that brought it home.

I haven’t yet seen Meryl Streep’s apparently sensational portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, but I feel sure that watching the movie will make me feel my age.

I was only nine when Mrs Thatcher came to power and her arrival in Downing Street didn’t particularly register highly on my list of priorities.

Having said that, I was vaguely aware of my dad wearing an “I Love Maggie” badge and wondering who this new woman in my dad’s life was. He still seemed very happily married to mum.

Anyway, very quickly this Maggie woman became someone that helped me grow up.

I remember watching footage of riots in Liverpool and London and thinking that the police (sent in by Maggie, or her lackeys) seemed to be over-reacting a bit and simply inflaming the situation.

Then I remember the Falklands War and finding it a bit strange that we cared so passionately about a tiny island many thousands of miles away when there were so many people without jobs at home.

And then I remember the miners on the picket lines and being in a car with my dad when we were pulled over by the police and told to turn round because they thought we were flying pickets – and not the slightly bizarre a cappella band that had a string of hits in the mid-1980s.

Then there was the Brighton bombing and the constant threat of IRA attacks, including one London bomb that went off while I was in the capital, but thankfully many miles away from the explosion.

And finally, there was her ladyship’s departure.

By then I was at university and joined the general rejoicing at the eviction of the matriarch after 11 long years of iron rule.

My views may have softened slightly in the intervening years, but Maggie and her policies only seemed to engender spite, hatred and greed. She did re-boot our economy, but you have to ask yourself whether the costs were worth paying. And the answer to that question still determines your political views today.