Yesterday afternoon I had a great chat with 612 ABC Brisbane’s Steven Austin about season 4 of The Crown, specifically about its depiction of Margaret Thatcher, which was a topic of conversation in my last Economics Explored podcast episode. Below is a link to the audio of my interview with Steve. You can hear our conversation from 2:39:50:
I spoke about how Thatcher’s economic measures turned Britain’s economy around in the 1980s and cemented London’s position as arguably the leading global financial centre, and how the measures were necessitated by the dire economic circumstances of 1970s Britain (e.g. 1976 IMF crisis, 1978-79 Winter of Discontent, and high unemployment and double-digit inflation). I also noted I would have liked the Netflix series to have done more to explain the necessity of Thatcher’s Monetarist and free-market measures.
That said, I told Steve I did enjoy The Crown season 4, especially Helena Bonham Carter’s performance as Princess Margaret, and it does need to be acknowledged that, despite Thatcher’s measures ultimately being for the good of Britain, they did impose a large amount of pain, with a doubling of unemployment in the early 1980s and an increase in inequality. I just wish The Crown had tried to put the cost of the economic measures into perspective, as the Fagan episode of season 4 is very effective at painting Thatcher as a villain.
Thatcher wasn’t a villain, but a strong leader who had to make hard decisions, and she was one of the UK’s three most consequential leaders of the twentieth century, in the same league as Churchill and Attlee.