Imagination is the meeting up of our wishes, fantasies and memories with our sensual perceptions of reality. The baby will only come to love reality, Donald Winnicott tells us, if her experience of hallucinating and wishing for the breast, happily coincides with the right thing coming along. There is a moment of illusion when the breast that has been so fantasised and longed for is all mixed up and “enriched by actual details of sight, feel, smell.” In this way, as Winnicott describes it, the infant “starts to conjure up what is actually available”. And so it is with our imagination. We need to join our ideas and wishes with the available nourishing satisfactions and perceptions of the real world. Margaret Thatcher has been described as many things, pathologised monster and idealised redeemer. Perhaps she will always be remembered for her fixed self belief and certainty of purpose. In 1982 Michael Foot remarked “she has no imagination, and that means no compassion”. Maybe one of the post-thatcherite realities we are left with is the increasing divide between the rich and the poor. On the one hand, we have people drunk on consumed goods or experiences that can never nourish them because over-consumption is an excess of what we want; a sort of fixed fantasy of wanting, and being filled, that no reality can ever match. On the other hand people in poverty have a reality stripped bare of any illusion or desire, which makes it intolerable. Imagination and the powers of creative illusion are human qualities that resist the insatiable appetites of consumers and the brutality of being poor: the sadomasochism of the market. Such illusion and imagination are not, sadly, a legacy of Thatcherism, but perhaps we need to start reinventing them as more sustainable ideals?