Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Strange, but true

There's an interesting debate going on (I don't write that every day) about the new art in the Welsh Assembly.

The decision to hang a portrait of Margaret Thatcher alongside one of Aneurin Bevan in the new Assembly building has provoked predictable fury.

One Plaid Cymru AM described it as "an insult to Wales". There's no doubt Margaret Thatcher was a hugely divisive figure who generated rare loathing among her opponents and was at odds with the prevailing political culture in Wales.

But surely it is re-writing history to suggest she was universally despised by every voter in Wales for her role in the decline of mining?

That's being slightly economical with the statistics. Under Thatcher, the Conservatives won half a million votes, 8 seats and 30 per cent of the vote in the 1987 general election, the first poll after the miners' strike of 1984/85.

The Tories have never been near that sort of performance in Wales under her successors. They've rebranded themselves and ditched many Thatcherite policies but they'd kill for 30 per cent of the vote now.

So would Plaid Cymru - although they have progressed since 1987, when they won 7 per cent of the vote, less than a quarter of the share enjoyed by Thatcher's Tories.


Matthew said...

An insult to Wales? Surely a slap in the face?

Anonymous said...

she looks more like bet lynch than maggie.
A very odd choice I wonder who said yes to having her there

Lexy said...

Whilst I'm no Thatcher fan, I'm also no fan of censorship in the arts. Allowing a piece of art that portrays a political figure to be displayed doesn't imply support for that individual and I think this debate shows both the power of art and an absence of the much talked about public apathy to politics - long may it continue!