Monday, May 03, 2010

Baroness Thatcher’s verdict on ‘boring’ David Cameron

The Sunday People carried this article yesterday. Some have criticised ‘the Conservative blogs’ for not even mentioning it.

Cranmer is not servile, and is delighted both to carry the story and to respond with a good fisking.

Baroness Thatcher has delivered a damning verdict on "boring" David Cameron's campaign to take the Tories to power.
Perhaps Baroness Thatcher has forgotten that the overwhelming majority of the population finds politics boring and hold politicians beneath contempt. Since it is intrinsic to politics in a liberal democracy that politicians must at least appear to be concerned with the endless trivia of people’s tedious day-to-day concerns, ‘boring’ is what politicians do; it is what they must specialise is; it is what they must be seen to incarnate. It is why few politicians are ‘interesting’, and those who are tend to be dismissed as ‘eccentrics’.

The former Conservative PM confided that she has serious doubts about the party leader's ability to deliver victory on Thursday.
People had a very genuine doubt as to whether Margaret Thatcher could deliver the Conservative Party victory in 1979. A woman with a shrill voice, who had snatched the milk from the mouths of babes; who had resigned from the Conservative List of Approved Candidates in frustration over misogynist associations; who was innately divisive and had divided her party from the very outset. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

In frank conversations with her close confidant and former Tory grandee Lord Tim Bell, Lady Thatcher dubbed Cameron "boring" and "still out of touch with the British public".
Still out of touch with the British public? Still? Whom would she prefer? Was William Hague more ‘in touch’? Or Iain Duncan Smith? Or Michael Howard? Was she not ‘out of touch with the British public’ over the Poll Tax? Why did she lose so many chancellors? What is this ‘in touch-ness’ which has so eluded every Conservative leader since 1997?

She was just as dismissive about Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour PM Gordon Brown. "I'd eat all three leaders for breakfast," said Maggie, 84.
This is telling: the suggestion is that the politics of the 21st century is ‘boring’ and its party leaders are all lightweight. There is undoubtedly something in this. But one cannot help but wonder if Gladstone, Disraeli, Macmillan or Churchill might not have thought that they could eat the Margaret Thatcher of 1979 for breakfast.

But she feels particularly alienated by Cameron's adoption of the "big society" concept. In a scathing analysis of Cameron's attempt to modernise Tory Party thinking, she said: "Conservatism used to be about pushing back the boundaries of the State."
And so it remains. But the Conservatism of Disraeli was not that of Churchill; and that of Churchill was not that of Baldwin; and that of Baldwin not that of Macmillan; and that of Macmillan not that of Thatcher. Yet each of these was the incarnation of the conservatism of their age. Doubtless each would have been ‘alienated’ by some of the policy themes of their sucessors. This only establishes that conservatism is organic and the Conservative Party a movement, in contrast to the immutable dogma of Socialism. The ‘big society’ is not antithetical to the ‘small state’: indeed, it might be observed that as society gets bigger, the state must necessarily diminish.

Bell - the adviser who helped propel her into Downing Street in 1979 - revealed Thatcher's judgments immediately after last Thursday's final televised leaders' debate in Birmingham. It was widely rated as Cameron's best performance yet - but Bell revealed that the Tory leader failed to gain Thatcher's endorsement.
That’s nice of him.

The peer, who now heads PR firm Bell Pottinger, told The People: "Maggie says she just can't connect with Cameron.”
One wonders to what extend Ted Heath connected with ‘Maggie’… and how much she cared.

“She still says she doesn't really get him. If the Tory Party was not in her blood, Cameron as a leader would not get her vote. She thinks he is young, too young. Maggie did things her way, she is an absolute legend but says she simply can't understand him.”
Again, the same might be said for every former Conservative leader. The Tory Party was in Ted Heath’s blood, and he loathed Margaret Thatcher. Yet he remained Conservative at the ballot box. And the jibe about being ‘too young’ is rather patronising: he is 43 years old – the precise age at which Tony Blair was when he became prime minister. And he is significantly older than other Tory ‘legends’ like William Pitt the Younger who became prime minister at the tender age of 24.

"She would never wish the Conservative Party not to win a General Election, but she by no means thinks they will this time round. She says to me, 'I find Cameron boring'.”
Cranmer refers the honourable lady to the response he gave some moments ago. And for the Party to win this General Election, they would need to achieve a seismic swing. To reach the magic figure of 326 MPs, the Conservative Party must make 116 net gains and record a swing of either 6.9 per cent directly from Labour or 6 per cent from the party currently holding each seat they are targeting. To obtain a working majority of 20+, they need a swing of as much as 8 per cent from Labour.

The last occasion on which a party with a clear lead in the Commons was directly replaced by another with a similar cushion was in 1970, when Ted Heath triumphed after a swing of nearly 5 per cent from Harold Wilson’s Labour government. Since the Second World War, only Tony Blair in 1997 has recorded a larger swing than the one the Conservative Party now needs: Margaret Thatcher had a much easier task.

She is also at odds with some of his policies. "Maggie has always believed in a smaller state and is very passionate about it. But Cameron says he believes in a big society. Times change, but Maggie believes that on this issue among others Cameron is still out of touch with the British public. In fact she believes he is plainly quite wrong."
As already stated, ‘society’ is not synonymous with ‘state’. If the Baroness is not careful, she is in danger of perpetuating the impression that she believes there is no such thing as the state. She herself insists that she was quoted out of context on this. She actually said (and presumably still believes): "I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation."

This accords perfectly with David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’. It isn’t the greatest of phrases or the most eye-catching of policies, but it coheres perfectly with compassionate and ‘one-nation’ Conservatism.

Thatcher has complained to Lord Bell that Cameron is "too inclusive" with his attempt to appeal to a wider electoral base.
This is a curious criticism from the Conservative leader who reached out to Middle England with her vision for universal home ownership and the democratisation of share-holding. One wins elections by being ‘inclusive’: Tony Blair only won in 1997 by appealing to the erstwhile Thatcher loyalists, and it didn’t do him any harm. The history of the Conservative Party establishes that it is at its best when it is a ‘broad church’ coalition, holding its competing wings in tension. Only then does it have wide appeal, and only then does it govern in concert with the British psyche.

Bell, 68, who also helped engineer the Iron Lady's second and third election victories, still enjoys weekly lunches with her.
That’s nice for him.

He insists that, despite her age, Maggie is in fine physical health, is still very politically aware and retains her wit and sense of humour.
Perhaps she might remind him of the importance of loyalty and confidence.

But she has barely watched any of the leaders debating live on TV. Bell said: "Maggie hasn't watched much, apart from an early party of the first debate. Look at the three of them, she was like the queen and they are the three pygmies. She said to me recently, 'I'd eat them for breakfast'. She knows it. Nobody messed with her. She was, and still is, great.”
Lord Bell risks absurd hagiography in his fawning admiration: Margaret Thatcher was not born great, and she was most certainly not great when she became prime minister in 1979. And neither did she have greatness thrust upon her: she achieved greatness in exactly the same fashion as Disraeli and Churchill, and a very great deal of it was what you might call ‘luck’ or ‘events, my dear boy, events’.

"Remember, Maggie assumed power at a time when the country was on the brink economically. She sees a remarkable similarity with today's economic climate. But she fears that Cameron and the other two leaders will fall short of what is required to steer the country back on the right path. Maggie admits she doesn't think any of the leaders are up to running a country. She told me, 'None of them is capable of achieving what I did'.”
Actually, today’s economic chaos is far worse than Margaret Thatcher inherited in 1979. It may be true that none of today’s party leaders is up to achieving what she did, but they don’t have to. We are not in the 1980s, and yesterday’s medicine may not be the most effective remedy for today’s ills. The political ‘right path’ is narrow and chronically limited: there is only one path which is not bound by time or place, and it remains to be seen whether or not David Cameron can mould his ‘fairly classic Church of England faith’ to the social and spiritual needs of the time.

"After trying to watch the first debate Maggie said, 'they irritate me'. She is particularly angered by the way all three do their utmost not to answer questions."
‘Twas ever thus: she has apparently forgotten what it is to be a politician. And yet everything seemed simpler in her day. Perhaps no prime minister since Gladstone could have risked telling a journalist that (s)he was ‘in politics because of the conflict between good and evil’, in the conviction ‘that in the end good will triumph’. She had a tendency to reduce an issue to a black-and-white choice: she is right and the Socialists are wrong. She was never happier than when giving simple moral lectures.

Bell added: "Maggie gets very frustrated because she thinks she brought the country back from the brink with a lot of hard work and now it's been allowed to get into a worse state. To her, it is very sad to see the country in this decline. She thinks it is very sad state of affairs."
Well, for that one must blame 13 years of New Labour – Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Bringing the country back from the present precipice and rate of decline requires conviction, determination and a commitment to ‘change’. Frankly, David Cameron is the only leader who is offering this: the others will simply deliver more of the same.

Thank you, Lord Bell, for divulging your private conversations with Baroness Thatcher to the press. His Grace doesn't actually believe that Baroness Thatcher spends her lunches in such egocentric conversation, and he hopes you won’t choke on the next vol au vent you consume in her gracious company.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, I also have doubts about Cameron, so any vote for him and his 'new' conservative party will be done as a way of getting the socialists out.

Incidentally,when I checked the telegraph's 'who to vote for' on policy, i was :

UKIP 70%
Conservative 40%
Liberal 15%
Green 5%
And Labour 0%

What does this tell you about the modern tory party, when a life long Tory agrees with only 40% of the parties policies?

3 May 2010 at 11:09  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Lord Lavendon,

Since UKIP cannot form the next government, the Telegraph is clear about whom you must vote for.

The lesser evil... the lesser evil...

3 May 2010 at 11:13  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Lord Lavendon, please tell me how voting for Cameron's Conservatives will get the socialists out.

In all important respects there is no difference between the three main parties.

Cranny has already trotted out his 'lesser of evils' line. My response to that (again) is to say, firstly that it admits that the Tories are an evil, and secondly that they are likely to be a greater evil, as their victory would continue to block the possibility of a genuinely conservative alternative, and perpetuate leftish social democracy in this country.

Currently a large part of the electorate is effectively disenfranchised. That disenfranchisement will continue and be reinforced if Cameron and his fake brand of Conservatism become the government.

With respect, you should vote FOR what you believe in.

3 May 2010 at 11:25  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Thank you for some refreshing honesty in this campaign.

3 May 2010 at 11:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

You state:

‘The political ‘right path’ is narrow and chronically limited: there is only one path which is not bound by time or place, and it remains to be seen whether or not David Cameron can mould his ‘fairly classic Church of England faith’ to the social and spiritual needs of the time.’

Yet Mr Lardner the former Conservative candidate for North Aryshire and Arran has been sacked from the Party for making the following remarks (his name is still on the ballot paper):

“The promotion of homosexuality by public bodies (as per ‘clause 28′/section 2a in Scotland,) was correctly outlawed by Mrs Thatcher’s government. Toleration and understanding is one thing, but state-promotion of homosexuality is quite another.
“Why should Christian churches be forced by the government to employ homosexuals as ‘ministers’ against all that the Bible teaches? They are being forced by the government to betray their mission – would the Equality and Human Rights Commission be fined for refusing a job to Nick Griffin?

“Christians (and most of the population) believe homosexuality to be somewhere between ‘unfortunate’ and simply ‘wrong’ and they should not be penalised for politely saying so – good manners count too, of course.
“The current ‘law’ is wrong and must be overturned in the interests of freedom as well as Christian values.”

It is exceptionally clear, 'there is no room' in the Conservative party for Christians.

Having said that I understand that there are 37 Christian candidates standing for the Conservative party and a number of Christian millionaires pouring money into the Party's war-chest.

After, the General Election we shall make our voice heard: LOUD AND CLEAR.

3 May 2010 at 11:29  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Mr Singh, the time to make your voice heard 'LOUD AND CLEAR' is at the general election, not after it.

3 May 2010 at 11:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Anabaptist

You are asking us to be 'LOUD AND CLEAR' on one day in every five years.

Trust me; we need to elect the Conservatives: they are vulnerable to criticism from the Judaeo-Christian world-view: precisely because they no longer hold onto an ideology.

That is why Mrs Thatcher often seemed impregnable and and that is why the present Conservaive party's Cameroons are vulnerable to change in our direction.

3 May 2010 at 11:54  
Anonymous graham Wood said...

"Currently a large part of the electorate is effectively disenfranchised."

Anabaptist. Well said, and a point I have tried to make on blogs etc for some time.
In fact, all the electorate are in effect disenfranchised, for as we know primary government does not lie at Westminster, but with the EU Commission.
All parties agree that the majority of our laws are made behind closed doors in Brussels. The election therefore is something of a non event - like choosing a change in a Parochial Parish Council.
Just think what we could have done with the £230.4 Billion we paid the EU parasites in 2008, which would have contributed to our getting out of recession and budget balance restored.
Cameron is a statist through and through. He is not to be trusted, and only the naive would vote for his brand of Socialism.
Why does he not understand the word "democracy" I wonder?

3 May 2010 at 11:59  
Anonymous len said...

To stop pouring money into the coffers of the E U and put it into the UK where it rightly belongs would be a start on the road to recovery.
Next step,leave the E U and have a free Trade agreement, A free trade agreement with the EU gives us all the advantages of EU membership, and none of the disadvantages. Leaving the EU would:

Save us over £7 billion payments into the EU budget every year, plus the estimated £50bn annual net cost to the UK economy
Let us control our own borders and set our own immigration rules.
Reduce the cost of food, and let British farmers meet market needs by growing what they want. This would directly benefit our poor, who spend more of their income on food.
Give us back control over fishing in our 200 mile territorial waters, and revive our fishing industry.
Abolish over 100,000 pages of EU regulations, which hamper our businesses and rule our lives.
Let us help the Third World with trade and aid in our own way - far better than the EU does.
Eliminate the EU threat to our legal safeguards and the rights of the individual.
Restore our right to govern ourselves.

But none of the big three seem to want this ,why?

3 May 2010 at 12:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is this bounder Lord Bell? Demn disloyal cad,criticising his leader just days before an election. Needs a demn good horse whipping..

3 May 2010 at 13:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is wrong of the Sunday People to publish the private conversation of Lady Thatcher, considering the fact that her memory has been impaired by a series of small strokes, and it has been widely acknowledged that she is probably suffering from some degree of dementia. In her right mind I do not think she would have made such comments about the leader of her party on the eve of an election. She comes across as egocentric and out of touch. I think it is shameful to use her words now in the service of party politics.

3 May 2010 at 13:05  
Blogger Preacher said...

graham wood.
right on target, we need & want out of this disgraceful E.U, we must vote as our conscience dictates, not tacticly or with strategy provided by the 'Big Three'. UKIP for me.

3 May 2010 at 13:40  
Anonymous Katy said...

I thank Lord Lavendon for pointing me in the direction of the Telegraph's 'how to vote' tool! It produced the most interesting results; on the first 30 questions my results came back
BNP 66%
UKIP 65%
Green 43%
LibDem 42%
Conservative 35%
Labour 13%

I then answered the five optional questions and came out with
UKIP 68%
BNP 65%
Green 52%
LibDem 50%
Conservative 47%
Labour 38%


I'll be voting Conservative, of course, since their philosophy matches mine. I'm doing this even though I work in the public sector so my job will be under threat* (as it is under all their policies, but under the Tories the threat is greater). I think that all this tool does is to prove that you shouldn't vote for policies.

*hopefully though, under the Conservatives, I'll be able to afford to start my own business or someone else will, who will be able to employ me. You have to look at the long-term.

3 May 2010 at 14:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

Although Cameron has promised the ‘Big Society’ which means the ‘little platoons of volunteers’ doing things for their neighbourhoods, villages, towns and cities - he cannot implement the Big Society.

The idea of the Big Society is dependent on cutting back local and central government.

That cannot be done.

The ‘Big State’ is the Federal Authority: the European Union. The EU hollows out parliament , regional authorities and local councils and fills them with its Directives - which must be implemented.

This means: big local government, big regional government and big central government.

The government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under the federal constitution is inferior to the federal government of the ‘United States of Europe’ (the European Union).

That is the legal position in international and domestic law.

It is forbidden to disobey EU Directives; so for example, each citizen must have eight bins, in the future for the collection of rubbish. Each family is required by the federal authorities to have a family gathering each week to sort out their rubbish. Failure to do so will mean the imposition of fines.

It is unclear how the dyslexic, the old and the confused will know which bin is meant for which particular classification of rubbish; it is unclear that if a stranger puts more rubbish than is permitted into one’s bins (without one knowing) if one’s family will be fined.

3 May 2010 at 14:37  
Blogger Timothy Belmont said...

The Great Lady could have eaten the lot of them for breakfast. No doubt about that at all, Your Grace.

I wonder if she'd have gone along with a presidential-style debate; then again, her generation didn't feel the need to do that sort of thing.

3 May 2010 at 14:42  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

She may only be knitting with one needle at times but she's still lucid enough to voice some truths and it hurts but, it's there for all to see who want to see it. DC is a weak, analytical type leader, hopefully can be moulded into the right form and sent in the right direction after the election. He's all we have but he must get in first.

Maggie is from another generation so it's expected that she will clash with some of the new conservative policies. I'm sure Dave is wise enough to use and adapt her knowledge to help him.

It's going to be one hell of a job ruling and instilling British values into such a huge multicultural nation as we have now after the Labour lot have let go of the reins.

The Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry of the peoples mulsim league party in Mirpur, Kashmir and ex PM of that region 96 to 01 comes over to tell the large swathes of Kashmiri muslims in Birmingham, Bradford and Waltham Forest who and how to vote (Labour), to benefit of their own country with all the fraudulent blindly signed multiple proxy votes from British nationals living in Kashmir. They are bringing their filthy corrupt ideas and ways to our voting system. How dare he try and corrupt our honest system. It's going to take a strong leader to stand up to this nonsense.

3 May 2010 at 14:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Tony B being hounded for war crimes and Goldman Sachs under attack, todays economics and politics is far from boring, its deathly perverse.

Cameron will need to raise taxation, slash jobs and then face some serious unrest, why convincing britain they should still give foreign aid, fund a war thats considered criminal and pay fortunes to the EU.

Lets not forget 'that womans' state funeral to pay for. Daves inheriting a trip to hell on a handcart, if he wins, how does Maggie propose he sexies that up a bit.

Signed: Karl Hamerty

3 May 2010 at 15:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That Telegraph "who to vote for" application is biased towards the minor parties. Essentially, it starts by assuming 100% agreement with all parties, and then deducts points for each policy you disagree with. As parties like UKIP and the BNP only really have one major policy, you're less likely to find things to disagree with.


"In all important respects there is no difference between the three main parties."

I'm not sure about that; the Tories' "big society" programme is absolutely different from the nannying, big-state philosophies of Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

3 May 2010 at 17:25  
Anonymous Oswin said...

I have no doubt that Maggie would indeed have 'eaten all three for breakfast' but I wager she'd need recourse to the vomitorium afterwards! Although perhaps the 'three' would be as a 'Chinese' meal....somewhat unsatisfying? Nah, they'd still stick in her throat!

(, interesting...)

I say again, I am a 'Tory' - my party is not!

3 May 2010 at 17:31  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Was William Hague more ‘in touch’? Or Iain Duncan Smith? Or Michael Howard?

David Davis had the better narrative for the BRitish public than any of the above

3 May 2010 at 17:54  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Yoyager - William Hague did however defeat both Blair and Brown across the despatch box, on almost very occasion during his tenure as Tory leader.

Like Maggie, he would have had them for breakfast.

3 May 2010 at 22:22  
Blogger said...

Stop being political lemmings. Vote for what you believe in not for the one you disbelief the least!

3 May 2010 at 23:54  
Anonymous no nonny said...

"She is particularly angered by the way all three do their utmost not to answer questions." Right then. So here's another question for them, and for their minions in the media and the police: "What about the EDL at Aylesbury on Saturday, then?"

4 May 2010 at 02:37  
Anonymous Mark J said...

After listening to that vitriol on Margaret Thatcher who along with Reagan helped end the cold war, I shall definitely not be voting for Dave and his apologists.

4 May 2010 at 02:47  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Yoyager - William Hague did however defeat both Blair and Brown across the despatch box, on almost very occasion during his tenure as Tory leader.

but he is a Bagman for a Billionaire and has ZERO credibility in Northern England. He is too involved in money

4 May 2010 at 07:42  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Voyager at 07.42

All of which is quite possibly true of the current 'three' (?) - but at least Hague could 'kick ass'....a useful skill at times. Let's face it, the ''billionaire' is not exactly some grubby Asian businessman, of too dubious intent; beyond wanting to remain a billionaire, that is!

4 May 2010 at 17:53  

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