Profile: Playwright Takes On Margaret Thatcher and Brexit


Those anticipating a personality assassination of Mrs. Thatcher are in for a shock; the work is extra indifferent than its playwright’s politics may recommend. Though he’s an unapologetic Remainer, it’s the Euroskeptic Mrs. Thatcher who emerges as not simply the dominant determine however, surprisingly maybe, the nicer one too.

Mr. McManus stated he needed to dissipate a few of the polarization provoked by Brexit.But maybe he’s simply beneficiant by nature — he additionally has good issues to say in regards to the present prime minister, albeit in a backhanded manner. Mr. Johnson has “a remarkable skill set,” he stated, “You’ve got to admire his techniques; I work in theater now so have an eye for techniques and winning over an audience.”

As for Mr. Heath, Mr. McManus places a equally constructive gloss on issues, speaking airily about his affection for his former boss till reminded of his personal phrases within the play’s program notes.

Mr. Heath was “chilly and imperious, solipsistic and unappreciative,” a person who nursed grudges and passé concepts, and not somebody he ever a lot preferred, the playwright wrote.

“Umm, yes, a little waspish by my usual standards,” Mr. McManus allowed, sipping his beer and including with fun, “it’s a bit hard to come back from that.”

Though Mr. Heath was appeal personified whereas wooing Mr. McManus for the job of political secretary, the frost set in as soon as he accepted. In 2000, after Mr. McManus introduced he would run for Parliament within the following 12 months’s basic election, he misplaced his job with Mr. Heath, promptly and peremptorily. “He decided when I was on holiday that he was going to get rid of me,” he stated.

Mr. McManus fell brief in that election and by no means once more managed to be chosen as a candidate, step one to working for workplace below the British system. But a number of profession paths beckoned; he subsequently labored as a advisor, a journalist and because the director of a media watchdog. He additionally wrote a number of books, together with one about Mr. Heath. Another, “Tory Pride and Prejudice,” chronicled a metamorphosis within the Conservative Party’s angle to homosexual rights.