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Postcards from Scotland

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Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.

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Posted 05/12/2005

There was an interview with Margaret Thatcher on tv the other night and she looked scary – a horrendous wicked witch with a twisted mouth and face of stone. Indeed she looked much more like the ‘iron lady’ than she did twenty years ago. Now in case you think I’m being ageist I want to assure you that my revulsion was not about age. Wisdom, gentleness, compassion, humility –these are often what we get in exchange for wrinkles and a loss of youthful colour – and such qualities can lend beauty to even the oldest face. Even steely, logical types can acquire a twinkle in their eyes. But all of this seems to have by-passed Margaret Thatcher. Her’s is a hard, cold, twisted face and it is not difficult to understand why. Margaret Thatcher was unceremoniously dumped by the Conservative Party. She felt betrayed and, as she openly explained on camera, she has never forgotten what happened to her nor ‘foregiven’ her transgressors. Margaret Thatcher’s twisted face is little more than a window on all the hateful, vengeful feelings she has inside.

There’s little doubt that Margaret Thatcher has some cause to feel aggrieved at her colleagues. Many of them stabbed her in the back. And as Shakespeare pointed out centuries ago – "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". But the momentum to oust her from her position came from her own actions: she was an autocrat. She was arrogant and thought she was invariably right. She didn’t listen and consult. She had become a liability to the party and so the Tories had to get her out. Painful though this episode was, it should have provided useful learning for her. She should have learned the hard way that her style of leading, and interacting with people, was wrong - that she wasn’t an omnipotent God. In other words, her downfall should have tempered her arrogance. But not a bit of it. Here is a woman who has learned nothing. And from one look at her face we can see that she has dedicated her later years to bitterness. Sad.

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