I enjoyed last night's BBC 4 programme on Margaret Thatcher. Michael Portillo (on whose leadership campaign team I declare I served) showed again how the camera loves him. He exploited the vast range of post-premiership footage to show glimpses of Margaret's theatrical best. The Lady is the most flamboyant diva on the stage. However I sensed at times that the programme played up to, and sought to reinforce, the stereotype that Lady T had become a parody of herself. There is so much that could have been explored about her role post 1990. (As an aside much was made about the need to see the Conservative Party 'change' and seeing Mellor on screen again must have reminded even the most dubious that this is right.)
One thing I'm disappointed Michael did not find time to make mention of was the role that Margaret played in 1993 in breaking the consensus of despair that was the West's foreign policy towards events in Bosnia. Through interviews (including an extended one on the BCC news at 6 in the studio) and speeches in the States Margaret forced the West to confront the so-called ethnic cleansing that was going on against Muslims (worth repeating in the light of today's events....yes against Muslims) and intervene.
As she told the BBC, "You have a right of self-defence. It is the aggressive dictator who is getting away with everything. He is seeing the will of the U.N. – what was called a New World Order – flouted. He is seeing the … West just standing idly by. You cannot have that as a policy, The West really must defend the innocent. I am saying that the West, by not doing more, has been a little like an accomplice to massacre. If you are letting it go on and doing nothing, the aggressor is going to win. It's going to give help and support to every other aggressor. Our job is to defend the innocent." That intervention, despite being disgracefully described by a then member of the cabinet as "emotional nonsense", helped shape a new approach to Bosnia and thus save lifes - Muslim lives. Margaret Thatcher was, and is, a lot more than the parody that people try to paint her.