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... 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 ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... Margaret Thatcher is the third most written about person in the ‘LRB’ archive, after Shakespeare and Freud. Here Karl Miller’s memories of the paper in her day are accompanied by extracts from some of the pieces published at the time. On the morning Margaret Thatcher’s death was announced, the lesser lights of television who were minding the shop did her proud ...
... Margaret Thatcher is the third most written about person in the ‘LRB’ archive, after Shakespeare and Freud. These are some of the things that were said.Servicemen​ are starting to wonder more and more precisely what the reason was for which Britain spent so much treasure, and for which they and their friends were asked to risk their lives ...

Little Havens of Intimacy

Linda Colley: Margaret Thatcher, 7 September 2000

Margaret Thatcher. Vol. I: The Grocer’s Daughter 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 512 pp., £25, May 2000, 0 224 04097 9
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... We know both too much about Margaret Thatcher and too little. She was 20th-century Britain’s longest serving Prime Minister, and occupied the post for a longer continuous period than anyone since Lord Liverpool in the early 19th century. As a result, the volume of official paperwork impinging on her career is enormous, and much of it is still under wraps ...

‘Spurious’ is the word we want

Ian Gilmour, 28 November 1996

Diplomacy and Disillusion at the Court of Margaret Thatcher 
by George Urban.
Tauris, 206 pp., £19.95, September 1996, 1 86064 084 2
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... This book tells how the author fell in and out of love with Margaret Thatcher. Although George Urban found her ‘an attractive lady’, with ‘the movements, the legs and walk of a young woman’, his love affair was wholly ideological. Urban, who is or was on the extreme right, was attracted by ‘the great spirit that animated her policies in many areas’; and he greatly admired her ‘galvanisation of the British people at a time of accelerating decline’; yet it was her attitude to foreign policy which chiefly excited his passion ...

Grantham Factor

Martin Pugh, 2 March 1989

Rotten Borough 
by Oliver Anderson.
Fourth Estate, 320 pp., £5.95, March 1989, 0 947795 83 9
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... In a few short months Margaret Thatcher will chalk up her first decade as prime minister. The celebrations to which this occasion will give rise in the mass media are certain to focus attention once again upon the phenomenon of ‘Thatcherism’ and its supposed origins in the Prime Minister’s own childhood experience of life above the grocer’s shop in Grantham ...

‘I was a more man’

Keith Kyle, 12 October 1989

Keith Joseph: A Single Mind 
by Morrison Halcrow.
Macmillan, 205 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 333 49016 9
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... Party became vacant in 1965 Sir Keith was a Heath man: he lobbied for him and recruited Margaret Thatcher to that camp. Heath, to all appearances, was to bring into being a new radical form of Conservatism, which was known in the run-up to the 1970 Election as the politics of ‘Selsdon Man’, after the hotel where the strategists drew up the ...

Steely Women in a World of Wobbly Men

David Runciman: The Myth of the Strong Leader, 20 June 2019

... Most British​ prime ministers since Margaret Thatcher have wanted to be Thatcher in one way or another. Tony Blair hoped to emulate not just the longevity of her tenure but also the impact she had on the country. Cameron would have liked to remake the Conservative Party in his own image, as she remade it in hers ...

MP Surprise

Stefanie Poletyllo, 7 March 1985

... One day when I was walking down the street You’ll never guess who I did meet. Margaret Thatcher, who got out of a car And went into a Public Bar. Up to the counter she walked briskly And ordered up a pint of Whisky. In came MP Michael Foot – He had been cleaning a chimney and was covered in soot – With the rest of the Labour Party shortly behind ...


Simon Hoggart, 24 April 1997

Michael Heseltine: A Biography 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 496 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 241 13691 1
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... he makes a big speech, which is why his conference set-pieces were always more successful than Mrs Thatcher’s: she was so confident in her beliefs that she didn’t need to shout them out. Heseltine’s rhetorical style involves acting as if he has been driven to the very edge of his reason by the looming horrors of socialism. Just at the moment when you ...

London Lefties

Paul Foot, 17 September 1987

If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it 
by Ken Livingstone.
Collins, 367 pp., £12, August 1987, 0 00 217770 6
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A Taste of Power: The Politics of Local Economics 
edited by Maureen Mackintosh and Hilary Wainwright.
Verso, 441 pp., £22.95, July 1987, 0 86091 174 8
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... Party. Its two transport frontbenchers in the Commons, up-and-coming young hopefuls called Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine, welcomed the transfer, and specifically stated that this would enable the Council, if it felt like it, to hold transport fares down with a subsidy from the rates. Labour won back the GLC in 1973, but lost it to the ...


Stephen Sharp: The ‘Belgrano’ and Me, 8 May 2014

... for six months. I was given an injection of Modecate in the backside. I met a woman called Margaret in Fairmile hospital. I assumed she was my link to the politician with the same first name. She explained periods to me. I wondered if the PM was angry with me for writing a story saying she deserved to hang for sinking the Belgrano. I tried to manoeuvre ...

Let them cut grass

Linda Colley, 16 December 1993

The Downing Street Years 
by Margaret Thatcher.
HarperCollins, 914 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 255049 0
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... of right-wing regimes, not least in the inter-war period. And there were not wanting in Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinets perceptive souls who detected in her style of government glimmers of far less savoury right-wing popularists from the recent past. It was Alan Clark (he of the dog called Eva Braun) who drooled over her ‘personality compulsion, something ...

The Finchley Factor

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Thatcher in Israel, 13 September 2018

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East 
by Azriel Bermant.
Cambridge, 274 pp., £22.99, September 2017, 978 1 316 60630 8
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... thirty years before, at the 1950 general election, a 24-year-old research chemist by the name of Margaret Roberts had stood unsuccessfully for Parliament. By now called Margaret Thatcher, she was elected MP for Finchley in 1959: the first chapter of Azriel Bermant’s outstandingly valuable ...

On the Blower

Peter Clarke: The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt, 18 February 1999

The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume I 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 748 pp., £25, November 1998, 0 333 74166 8
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... with the life peerage that validated his sobriquet, Lord Toad of Tote Hall. Confidant of Margaret Thatcher, columnist in the News of the World, professional diner-out and social climber, Wyatt spotted his opportunity. His diary would be a secret but was, from the outset, intended for publication. Its rationale was as a nice little earner. The ...

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