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.”