The height of cluelessness: read Margaret Thatcher’s priceless 1987 briefing on punk music

There’s a long history of politicians trying, and mostly failing, to appear ‘in the know’ when it comes to music. We’ll never forget back in 2009 when Kevin Rudd declared he loves himself some Frank Sinatra, but at least that was honest.

The Margaret Thatcher foundation has recently digitised and released a series of her personal papers from 1987, revealing she requested briefings on the punk scene and what music was on trend before an interview with British magazine Smash Hits.

If you’re familiar with Thatcher’s stance on ‘rebellious’ music in her time, you’ll know how fucking clueless she really was.

margaret thatcher punk music briefing smash hits magazine 1987

If you’re Margaret Thatcher about to be interviewed by Britain’s biggest music magazine, just how do you bullshit your way through it?

Start to finish, it’s cringe of the highest order. When one of your leading points is the non-stance that “teenage rebellion is part of growing up”, you’re not ready to go into an interview about punk music and ‘the kids’.

Some of my favourite tidbits:

“The “PUNK” era which hit the musical world between 1976-1978 was a very basic musical style featuring a strange bunch of anti-establishment acts” 

“Probably the two most famous BEATLES songs amongst many hits are YESTERDAY which has been recorded by hundreds of people including FRANK SINATRA and ELVIS PRESLEY and ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE which was performed live in front of 64,000,000 people on TV in 1968.”

And of course: “You may not enjoy the interview.”

Check out the papers below.

If you want to read the full article, it was re-published by The Guardian not too long ago. She mentions that Elton John was “quite professional”.

Via Noisey.