Mary Poppins and the nanny state

by Toby Manhire / 07 November, 2012
Is Mary Poppins leftwing propaganda?

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious will never sound the same again. Mary Poppins is a leftwing propagandist.

Or such is the suspicion of Cathy Odgers, the free-market firebrand and occasional Listener diarist, writing on her Cactus Kate blog.

“The Poppins storyline has serious anti-banker, anti-capitalist fairytale undertones,” she writes. “It is leftist.”

There is something else a bit fishy, she adds.

“I wonder about Mr Banks and Mary and why she really had to leave. No man can go from that grumpy to happy without there being a better reason than is offered.”

A Poppinsesque nanny figure was spotted by some, remember, in Danny Boyle’s extraordinary London Olympics opening ceremony, in which the umbrella-brandishing Mary overcame a legion of what looked like villains from Harry Potter.

Another clue to Mary P’s socialism? Never, cried the Conservative London mayor Boris Johnson in his Daily Telegraph column shortly afterwards.

“Right-wing critics should be reassured that the meaning of the Mary Poppins-Dementors clash has been widely misunderstood. I am told by one figure close to proceedings that the bellicose nanny figure was intended by Danny Boyle to stand for Mrs Thatcher in her struggles with the NUM and other militant trade unionists,” he soothed.

“So that’s all right, then, eh!”
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