In the first of many pieces Dalrymple has written in recent days on Margaret Thatcher (hat tip: William O.), he withholds his previous criticisms of her policies and celebrates her admirable personal qualities — as exemplified by her behavior on the two occasions when (previously unknown to me) he met her:
The second time I met Margaret Thatcher, she remembered who I was from the first time. She even remembered what I had said on that occasion, which is more than I can say myself.
Not being a world-historical figure, I naturally found this all very flattering. And, in fact, she had flattered me the first time round as well, by telling me that the talk I had given at a meeting which she was chairing had been a great success. She leaned across to me and said confidentially, “I can tell that you have spoken before.” Naturally, I took her to be sincere.
He goes on to celebrate “the sheer force of her personality, of her will” and concludes: “In an era of political clones, she was singular.”
Margaret Thatcher was a genius and polymath: three careers: she was a chemist, a barrister and a politician and a decent writer too. So, that’s four careers. And remember, she was ultimately betrayed by her own side. Much of that due to envy, I’d wager.
“The Downing Street Years” is truly outstanding. You simply must eead it.
When she entered Number 10, some journalist asked a rather obvious question: ‘What does it feel like to be the first female prime minister in Number 10.’
She pointed out that she was also the first science graduate to occupy the office of prime minister.
That didn’t go down well with the Humanities Crowd.
Mary Archer has a recent assessment of her career here: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/04/16/mary-archer-on-margaret-thatcher/
God rest her soul.