You can recite all those Iron Lady incantations until you’re blue in the face. For me one of the most revealing Margaret Thatcher quotes is her allusion to Francis Bacon as “that man who paints those dreadful pictures.” That, to me, almost says it all. Any person who has made it in a tough world has a little Maggie Thatcher in him/her, and on that level I feel a certain kinship and respect. But let’s not get carried away with that.

Where would Thatcher’s reputation be without Meryl Streep?

The Real McCoy brought a lot of pain into a lot of people’s lives. Ask the Brits who lived through her time at 10 Downing Street. Ask Elvis Costello. You can argue that pain is inevitable in life and that too many Brits were slacking off and throwing down pints at the pub before she came along. You can argue that what truly matters in life is mustering the toughness and discipline to meet the challenges. But the bottom line is that Ms. Thatcher was an essentially heartless social Darwinian who, like Ronald Reagan, believed in stroking the elite.