wpradio goes to the Cartoon Musem with Maggie



May 8th 2009


Wpradio.co.uk interviews Lord Baker and the cartoonist Steve Bell about the legacy of Margaret Thatcher at the Cartoon Museum “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie”.

Is Margaret Thatcher the “Mother of the Nation” or the “Monster from the Blue Lagoon”? That’s the question The Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury, London, is asking from 6th May to 26th July with an exhibition of satirical cartoons of Britain’s first woman Prime Minister 30 years since her election.

It features work by Steve Bell, Gerald Scarfe, Trog and many others for newspapers and magazines across the political spectrum. The cartoons reflecting her 11 years in power, were chosen by Steve Bell of the Guardian and one of her former trusted ministers, Lord Baker of Dorking. Clearly they find it hard to agree about her legacy but the exhibition brought out the humour in both of them.

In a 20 minute programme podcast recording Boni Sones, Executive Producer of http://www.wpradio.co.uk, began by speaking to Lord Baker and then Steve Bell. In their spirited and lively “ding dong” over the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, Lord Baker, says: “She was remarkable she was undoubtedly the most successful peace time Prime Minister we have had in the last Century. To begin with I was rather cool about Margaret, but I was one of those who came to like her more and more, and as I was getting to like her more and more there were quite a lot of the real Thatcherites moving away from her and quite a lot of the Thatcherites did her in.”

While Steve Bell retorts: “What it can’t really convey is the full pain of living under Margaret Thatcher …it was the sheer agony, if you were opposed to Margaret Thatcher it was murder three general elections on the trot with Thatcher, then one with John Major, it was hard to take and it was relentless. It wore you down, and you had to find solace in symbolic attacks.”

Together Lord Baker and Steve Bell chose 100 cartoons across the media reflecting her 11 years in power and they had: “great fun, I enjoyed it very much,” said Lord Baker. Steve Bell said ”it’s been a fascinating exercise”. But surprisingly Lord Baker says: ”Margaret never looked at the cartoons ever, she never watched “Spitting Image”. When you are a very strong personality you don’t worry about what others say about you, she never looked at them, she was so confident.”

 Both Lord Baker and Steve Bell agree on their favourite cartoon: Charlie Griffin “How’s That!” and the cricket ball being bowled at Margaret Thatcher by Sir Geoffrey Howe, published in the Daily Mirror when Howe made his famous resignation speech in November 1990.

Steve Bell said: “It gave me a thrill of pleasure to see it”. “It’s a very vivid good cartoon that one”, said Lord Baker. You can find out more at: http://www.cartoonmuseum.org

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