It was excellent shorthand, IMO. I'm American, but I was a teenager during that era. What we saw of this guy, whether or not it was true to his life, matched up with the movies Rita, Sue and Bob Too and Riff-Raff*, and the Adrian Mole books, and the TV show The Young Ones, where Rik Mayall's character was constantly ranting about Thatcher. Someone upthread summed it up pretty well, how Fagan was caught in a bureaucratic loop, along with so many others.
*Early Robert Carlyle!