Margaret Thatcher is about to have another of her triumphs

Peter Clarke explains why she must be thought to have failed

By the time the sun is up on Friday 10 June we shall all be a lot wiser – and sadder too, quite likely. Either we shall have found out that the Iron Lady is impregnable or she herself will have been found out. Margaret Thatcher is the favourite politician of those who like an exciting life. Her maxim in politics – she has claimed it as Thatche’s Law – is that the unexpected always happens. Certainly something always happens when she is around, and it is often something nasty. Yet she seldom takes the blame when things turn out badly. It is not just that she has been lucky in escaping the natural consequences of her own misjudgments: her impregnability rests upon a sort of ideological second-strike capacity which has enabled her to find vindication in discomfiture.

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[*] Thames and Hudson, 336 pp., £10.50, 9 May, 0 500 25086 3. Recent publications bearing on campaign matters include Lord Kaldor’s The Economic Consequences of Mrs Thatcher (Duckworth, 119 pp., £2.95, 16 May, 0 7156 1750 8) and The Politics of Thatcherism, edited by Stuart Hall and Martin Jacques (Lawrence and Wishart, in association with Marxism Today, 344pp., £12.50and £4.95, 19 May, 0 85315 553 4). Nicholas Wapshott and George Brock’s Thatcher, first published by Futura on 19 May at £1.95, is issued in hardback by Macdonald on election day (288 pp., £9.95, 0 356 09503 7).