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Last night I dreamt of Margaret Thatcher again

February 6, 2011


Last night I had two dear friends over for dinner. A beautiful, calorific mess of papardelle, smoked salmon and prawns in a cream dill sauce. We followed it with a screening of All About Eve – to my mind one of the most beautifully scripted films ever committed to cellulose. I’m not telling you all this just because the West Ham – Birmingham City game is as dull as an ITV reality show about Jordan. There is a point. Stay with me.

About three in the morning I woke up in a cold sweat. I had had a truly awful dream. It was the final sequence from All About Eve – the young girl in the cape holding the award taking a bow in front of a panel of mirrors that reflect her infinitely. Only instead of that young girl it was David Cameron standing in front of the mirror and instead of his face the face that smiled back from countless reflections was Margaret Thatcher.  I sat up in the dark, confused. I reached for my Marlboro Lights, but then remembered I don’t smoke in the house. Bugger.

I thought she was out of my head; out of my life. I hadn’t dreamt about her for over two years. Last time was that night I went to sleep listening to a Doctor Who audio (without which my ex could not go to sleep – don’t ask) after I had seen her on the news. That night she visited me in the guise of Davros, chanting “privatise” instead of “exterminate”. But I digress. I had a glass of water and went back to sleep. The dream that followed was much more pleasant; it involved Jack Shephard from Lost and me as the only two survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. None of our clothes had survived the crash.

I woke up this morning groggy and pensive. I also had a slight erection. I attribute that to the second dream. I rationalised: it was probably down to playing a character in a play for the last couple of months affectionately referred to as “Maggie” by the rest of the cast, that had smuggled her into the terra incognita that is my subconscious. Unfortunately, the truth was more sinister – I was being slightly psychic.

No sooner had I made myself a little espresso and turned on the Politics Show that her name was mentioned. And again. And again. A dozen times. I am surprised she is not “trending” right now. “I thought it was important to raise Margaret Thatcher” said Jacob Rees-Morgan MP – cue ominous organ music and Hammer-Horror-styled images of the cabinet in a crypt, feeding her the blood of socialist virgins through a complicated system of rivulets carved into her tomb-stone.

“One lesson learnt from Baroness Thatcher”, he continued, “is that once you plot an economic course, you stick to it.” Really? That is the lesson we have taken from the disastrous collapse that followed her reign? From the bargain basement sale of all public property and the strengthening of banking interests for which we are still paying? From having taught an entire generation that the only asset worth cultivating is money and the only thing that matters is “me”?

The one small consolation is that, increasingly, David Cameron is losing his political identity, of which there was little to begin with, in the shadow of the Iron Lady. Flailing frantically with unpopular policies then chickening out in the face of public outrage. Nominations for this years U-Turner Prize will, I am sure, follow. And that can but weaken him and the Coalition.

He must be feeling like The Second Mrs de Winter.

Which, I guess, makes Osborne Mrs Danvers.

All these politics are tiring my sleep-deprived brain. Memo to self: smoked salmon and shellfish in double cream is not a good idea for dinner. I think I’ll have a nap. I’ll be with you in a moment Jack.

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