Monday, April 15, 2013

Margaret Thatcher - cold-blooded, callous and cantankerous?

Margaret Thatcher was as hard as nails. Harder, even. She was a callous witch; brutal, indifferent, unfriendly and unemotional. Often merciless, cantankerous and obdurate. Ruthless, heartless and unfeeling, too. Her blood was cold; her tears were ice. In fact, she is warmer in death than she ever was in life.

Such is real myth surrounding the character of the late Baroness Thatcher. Her opponents crafted this caricature, spurred on by Spitting Image, and it endures still in the popular consciousness propagated by the BBC-Guardian, and in the narrow worldview of certain left-wing bishops. Any appreciation of her politics is dimissed as a 'tide of eulogy and propaganda'. Any exposition of her economics is viewed as morally deficient or sociologically warped. Sincere expressions of grief and mourning are 'hysteria'.

John Whittingdale MP, her former political aide, said those who worked for Baroness Thatcher saw a different side to the public figure. He said she was kind and compassionate, and inspired huge loyalty. Sir John Major spoke of her humanity and generosity of spirit. Matthew Parris, her correspondence secretary from 1977-79 wrote in this week's Spectator: was her attitude to what we called ‘the poorlies’, members of the public who had turned to her in their personal troubles, that was unlike any other leader’s I’ve known.

Mrs T (as we all called her) insisted we show her anything we thought needed her personal touch; she was meticulous and unsparing in dealing with these, even when we ourselves felt she had better things to do than sit up late, her blue felt-tip in hand, penning sympathy, advice and reassurance.

I’ll never forget one such: her reply to a lady who, grief-stricken by the loss of her husband, wanted the comfort of knowing that the Conservative leader believed in heaven. In Mrs T’s otherwise consoling letter, her answer to this question itself stood bleakly out as oddly tortured, almost legalistic: ‘Christians believe in the Afterlife, and I am a Christian.’

I loved her for the trouble she took with people of no account...
And here is a letter from one troubled young boy 'of no account':

The story is recounted in the Mail. Here is Margaret Thatcher's personal response:

'However good we try to be, we can never be as kind, gentle and wise as Jesus,' she wrote. 'There will be times when we say or do something we wish we hadn’t done and we shall be sorry and try not to do it again! We do our best, but our best is not as good as his daily life. If you and I were to paint a picture it wouldn’t be as good as the picture of great artists. No our lives can’t be as good as the life of Jesus.'

She concluded: 'As Prime Minister, I try very hard to do things right and because Jesus gave us a perfect example I try even harder. But your father is right in saying that we can never be as perfect as He was.'

Margaret Thatcher may have made mistakes: God knows she was not perfect. But there is this letter, and in the kindness and compassion recalled by Matthew Parris, an undeniable capacity to reach out to those 'of no account'. She really cared about 'nobodies' and 'poorlies', and writing to a 9-year-old boy rather suggests that it wasn't always with one eye fixed on an imminent election. She took the trouble because it was the right thing to do. Her values were Christian virtues. She tried to do good because God is good. Her tenderness was inspired by Jesus's love.

Even after 30 years, those on the left may impugn her character and deride her motives. But the facts rather speak for themselves. Perhaps she was occasionally cold-blooded, callous and cantankerous. In our day-to-day dealings with irritating humanity, we all can be. But Margaret Thatcher was also charitable, humane, kindhearted, sympathetic and merciful. One or two Tories today might learn from her example.


Blogger Corrigan said...

What is this Maggiefest? At this point, it's actually becoming an embarrassement. You're projecting what you want England to be on to this woman, and it's totally bogus. She was a stupid, vicious parvenu, with all the characteristics you would expect of such a creature. Adam Smith, the god of free marketeers, once said that people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. I have called Thatcher a stupid woman because she never recognized that simple, indisputable fact. She simply refused to understand that business people hate free markets with every fibre of their being and will always do anything they can to destroy them. That's why it's impossible for anyone reading this comment to, say, compare tariffs from "competing" mobile phone or energy companies. The bills are deliberately disgned that way to cut down on people transferring their business. What everybody needs to get through their skulls, what Thatcher wilfully refused to get through hers, is that there is not and never has been any such thing as a free market. It is no more real than a unicorn. It has never existed anywhere, at any time, in any place.

Yet the supposed ideology of "the free market" is the very emblem of Margaret Thatcher. Why was she so fixated on this chimera? Because she was a lower middle-class parvenu. An upstart. What we in Ireland call a runner-in. And like all such people, she was common and vulgar. She honestly believed that right and wrong depended exclusively on the amount of money you had in the bank. If you had a pound more than her, you were a divinity; if you had a pound less, you were scum. Since successful business people (the kind that summon British Prime Ministers to meetings of the CBI, the way union leaders in the old days supposedly summoned Labour Party leaders) had more money than she had, they got whatever they wanted, and what they wanted was a market controlled exclusively by them. That's why regulation in Britain (and to an extent, elsewhere in Europe) is and has always been an utter shambles. It was meant to be, and sooner or later people, when they get past this sentimental, rose of England claptrap will start to realize what a piece of work she really was.

15 April 2013 at 11:02  
Blogger Anita Mathias said...

This is very moving. I would have liked Thatcher to be a kinder, gentler person--but your post reveals aspects of her I would never have guessed at!

15 April 2013 at 11:36  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

15 April 2013 at 12:08  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

15 April 2013 at 12:11  
Blogger Corrigan said...

I'd have been more impressed, Julia, had you spotted the typo on your first pass. But I suppose that's the bourgeoisie for you.

15 April 2013 at 12:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

15 April 2013 at 12:34  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

D. Singh,

You're back again..

Before you delete two more appeals..

As His Grace said yesterday, He has not received anything from you by any medium.

15 April 2013 at 12:55  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Like all of us she was a deeply flawed, imperfect human being in need of the loving forgiveness that only Christ and God the Father can give. However she saved our country from terminal decline and the destruction of socialism. She fought for liberty, democracy and human dignity, before God, both at the level of the individual and the sovereign state. I would have preferred a more measured "One Nation " approach but when you are dealing with blind, selfish extremists then, to succeed, you have little choice but to be strong and confident in order to roll back totalitarianism and evil. Lesser men, who have already been proven to be wrong, betrayed her. The best legacy we can give to her memory is to wrest our dear country free from again from the suffocating, atheistic embrace of the EU. Success to Ukip, and freedom. Dieu et mon Droit !

15 April 2013 at 13:04  
Blogger John Henson said...

@Julia, don't waste any more of your time rising to Corrigan's bait. He's a typically well-balanced RC; he's got a chip on both shoulders.

15 April 2013 at 13:08  
Blogger Kennywhizz said...

I would just like to know why anyone can consider anyone else 'of no account'???

15 April 2013 at 13:16  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, it occurs to your communicant that the death of Margaret Thatcher is leading to a sort of exorcism amongst the Left. Witness the wailing and gnashing of teeth displayed by the haughty Corrigan who feels entitled to describe Lady Thatcher in these terms 'She was a stupid, vicious parvenu'. Is his rage indicative of an evil spirit being cast out?

In a sense, Lady Thatcher's rule was more an Enlightenment than an administration, such was the freshness of her message. Her death is allowing an important re-appraisal of her achievements which is causing distress to the infidel.

Thatcher's message with its emphasis on the rights of the individual was of course profoundly Christian. Those of your communicants who naturally lean towards the collective rather than the individual are in turmoil as a consequence.

We should pray for their emancipation.

15 April 2013 at 13:27  
Blogger Corrigan said...

David, are you crazy? Your country isn't in terminal decline - it's finished. Even if the Scots don't pull away on this attempt, it's only a matter of a generation or two before they do. Your people are little better than chattels of business and your political parties are indistinguisable and all of this, directly or indirectly, can be traced back to that creature. Grow up, man, and smell the coffee.

15 April 2013 at 13:32  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...


"She simply refused to understand that business people hate free markets with every fibre of their being and will always do anything they can to destroy them. " Firm regulation and watchdogs were put in place where the government held golden shares but watered down regulation by Labour and the loving enforced selling off of all Golden shares by Labour (so no foreign powers were able to gain complete control and 'demand or else'!), by EU directive (However France appears to be able to stick two fingers up to the EU and get away with it)

You epitomise all that the current opposition in politics stands for..It's against it!
Lets hear your utopian claptrap that will make the world a better place other than enforced RC indoctrination and it's socialist gospel...


This nation bailed your sorry Irish asses out after your pathetic financial 'tiger' moment, so show some respect. You are what we in the UK call a 'deluded nut job' from a near bankrupt likkle island. ;-)

15 April 2013 at 13:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

This is your email address:



I have used the latter.

15 April 2013 at 13:34  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

D. Singh.

It is indeed, but there is nothing from you (or in 'spam'). His in-box is constantly monitored for interestring nuggets.

And the address has just been tested - it's all working fine this end.

15 April 2013 at 13:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

15 April 2013 at 13:49  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

D. Singh,

A kind soul (Luxor..?) has just forwarded your (confidential?) emails. You have apparently been sending to:

15 April 2013 at 13:55  
Blogger Sobers said...

It is my generalised rule of thumb that public figures who have a bad PR immage, and are derided for being 'nasty', 'evil', 'cruel' etc usually are very nice people if you actually know them personally. Whereas those public figures who have good PR, and are considered 'men/women of the people', 'an ordinary person', 'cares about real people' etc are usually complete sh!ts in private.

Enough information about people of both types eventually reaches the light of day, and it usually backs up my theory, as does this letter from Mrs T.

15 April 2013 at 13:58  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

I think most people here would be even harder on our main political parties these days.

Come to think of it, if I remember from my occasional forays into that excellent magazine "Phoenix", the whole of Irish politics for the last quarter century has been mired in corruption on a really spectacular scale. There has been enquiry after enquiry. I suppose you can take some comfort from the fact that much of the money was extracted from the British housewife and taxpayer via the EU and the Common Agricultural Policy.

Which party is yours? The one sometimes called the finer failures and the soldiers of density? Not doing too well, just now I think!

15 April 2013 at 14:01  
Blogger John Henson said...

I think it was Matthew Parris who said, some years ago, that although Mrs T could be unbelievably rude to cabinet colleagues and senior civil servants, she was invariably polite to juniors and to staff members.

In other words she was not afraid to take on her equals but never bullied the underlings.

15 April 2013 at 14:04  
Blogger Corrigan said...


Of course Ireland had been mired in corruption - how do you think I recognize it when I see it? Nobody's claiming that this is an exclusively English disease, it's just that nobody encapsulated or personified it better than Margaret Thatcher.

And in answer to your second question, I used to be a good Soldier (note the past tense). Even went out on the knocker for Charles J. Now that was one crooked dude, but at least he didn't hate the people he represented.

15 April 2013 at 14:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

Luxor is fine and confidential.

15 April 2013 at 14:28  
Blogger Addis Ethiopia said...

This is a "Christian" blog, so, from a Christian perspective, Margaret Thatcher promoted everything what Lucifer would have fabricated. Pride, boastfulness, arrogance, racism are all from Satan.

15 April 2013 at 15:03  
Blogger William said...


Your first comment is worthy of the great Welsh windbag himself and just as inconsequential. Thatcher was determined to help the working man and woman and they loved her for it - three times in a row. She despised the snobbery of the Tory old guard and of the left - as displayed in your comment.

What is this Maggiefest?

A celebration of the life of a truly great woman.

15 April 2013 at 15:15  
Blogger Peter D said...

Who knows what other acts of kindness Margaret Thatcher undertook in her life?

"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven ....

But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly."

15 April 2013 at 16:56  
Blogger michael north said...

Charles Haughey received a state funeral in 2006, with three bishops blessing everything in sight. It was one of the most nauseating displays I have ever seen. It was fitting that this arch-scoundrel should have his apotheosis at the peak of Ireland's construction psychosis,just as the hubris, vulgarity and self-delusion of the "Celtic Tiger" was about to implode. Within two years the economy was in ruins.

The Irish political class has the uncanny ability to make its British counterparts look good.

15 April 2013 at 17:04  
Blogger Peter D said...

Here's an observation from Tony Benn:

"I remember her at the funeral of MP Eric Heffer ... someone behind me (was) coughing. It was Mrs Thatcher, and at the end I thanked her for coming and she burst into tears. She had come out of respect for someone whose opinions she disagreed with."

Its a shame and a scandal others are not prepared to show her similar respect.

15 April 2013 at 17:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Margaret had obvious female compassion. Which makes what she did as PM all the more astonishing with it as part of her make up, not withstanding the nasty bits.

Incidentally, no funeral of this importance would be complete without Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35, third movement. The celebrated funeral march. One trusts we will not be disappointed.

15 April 2013 at 18:06  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


"This is a "Christian" blog, so, from a Christian perspective, Margaret Thatcher promoted everything what Lucifer would have fabricated. Pride, boastfulness, arrogance, racism are all from Satan. "

You missed promoting selfishness as a virtue. It was that (as I have said before) that I believe has caused the most harm


Ps don't just take my word for it. How about a fellow conservative?

15 April 2013 at 18:35  
Blogger Corrigan said...


she may have won three elections, but she never scored more than 44% of the vote. It was only the ridiculous Westminster election system which allowed her to have such total control. Indeed, she actually increased her representation in 1983 despite her vote share decreasing. Don't try to retrospectively paint her as the personification of England, because the majority never voted for her.

15 April 2013 at 20:00  
Blogger Jessica Hoff said...

Corrigan - don't be lazy. The English did vote for her by a majority. It was emigrants from the Cektic fringe and Wales who remained attached to the failed policies of Wilson. Surely you knew that?

15 April 2013 at 20:16  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Remind me - how is England doing at the moment?

15 April 2013 at 20:31  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Reading all of this lovefest for Maggie Thatcher, it suddenly occurs to me that the English have never changed, have you? You're still a class-ridden society, just like you were in Victorian times, and you still have a pathological need for somebody to tell you what to do, don't you? It's a kind of "eureka moment" for me. All that socialism, and none of it ever really penetrated. What a herd you are.

15 April 2013 at 20:48  
Blogger bluedog said...

'Remind me - how is England doing at the moment?'

Still paying subsidies to mendicant entities of the UK?

15 April 2013 at 20:50  
Blogger bluedog said...

'All that socialism, and none of it ever really penetrated,' @ 20.48.

Alas, it was the same in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and Communist China, Comrade. The fools rejected impoverishment, corruption and enslavement by an unelected and contemptuous elite.

Sadly it appears that humanity is both unfit for and undeserving of the eternal verities of Socialism.
The prospect of entire societies achieving collective salvation through Socialist dogma has been deferred until the human race can be genetically modified in accordance with Socialist principles.

Thanks to the Thatcher Enlightenment, it is possible that individuals will now realise that just as their temporal salvation is in their own hands, their spiritual salvation follows the same path, but through Jesus Christ. In short, the final gift of Margaret Thatcher maybe a re-awakening of Christian belief. To what extent will Catholicism benefit with apostles such as Corrigan?

15 April 2013 at 21:10  
Blogger Corrigan said...

But your temporal salvation is not in your hands, is it dog? You're owned by business people. You're a chattel. As for Catholicism, I'm sure it'll be just fine. As our Founder said, "...the gates of Hell will not prevail against you".

15 April 2013 at 21:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Corrigan is right. This country has abandoned nationhood to chase Caesar’s denarii. The sooner this country quits the EU and installs an English parliament, the better...

15 April 2013 at 22:05  
Blogger William said...


At least the English could conclude the Thatcher revolution by consigning the socialist revisionists to the dustbin of history.

15 April 2013 at 22:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

William. Right on that man, as the saying goes....

15 April 2013 at 23:04  
Blogger Peter D said...


Defending Margaret Thatcher as a fine leader with Christian principles is not quite the same thing as supporting her free market liberalism or Protestant individualism. That, as they say, is a whole other debate.

15 April 2013 at 23:08  
Blogger Peter D said...

Speech to the Church of Scotland:

“I think back to many discussions in my early life when we all agreed that if you try to take the fruits of Christianity without its roots, the fruits will wither. And they will not come again unless you nurture the roots.”

“We must not profess the Christian faith and go to church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behavior, but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ.”

“Any set of social and economic arrangements which is not founded on the acceptance of individual responsibility will do nothing but harm.”

“The basic ties of the family [are] at the heart of our society and are the very nursery of civic virtue. And it is on the family that we in government build our own policies for welfare, education and care.”

“Intervention by the state must never become so great that it effectively removes personal responsibility. The same applies to taxation; for while you and I would work extremely hard, whatever the circumstances, there are undoubtedly some who would not unless the incentive was there. And we need their efforts, too.”

“There is little hope for democracy if the hearts of men and women in democratic societies cannot be touched by a call to something greater than themselves. Political structures, state institutions, collective ideals — these are not enough. We Parliamentarians can legislate for the rule of law. You, the Church, can teach the life of faith.”

15 April 2013 at 23:30  
Blogger Ivan said...

The same applies to taxation; for while you and I would work extremely hard, whatever the circumstances, there are undoubtedly some who would not unless the incentive was there.

Mrs Thatcher was too kind; the phrase should be - undoubtedly all would not unless the incentive was there. All socialist enterprises founder after a generation, as the initial fears or idealism that gave them their impulse fade. The early Christians may have felt justified in their in their communal way of living when they saw the Romans put Jerusalem to the sword - at the least they had stored up their treasures in heaven.

Gandhi, Atlee, Bevan and Nehru would undoubtedly have worked for free. But the socialism they built was vulnerable to two classes of people who turn up at every party. One the class of free loaders, the fellows who would report sick with the "Lebanese back", who have no wish to learn anything new. The other and much worse, the bureaucratic clique whose life work it is to thwart any innovation in service or manufacturing process, anything that threatens their position. Another branch of the same clique, dedicate their lives to ruining the life of their customers by making them run through endless hoops. Mrs Thatcher took the broom to these classes and the UK is the better for it, just as India is better off without the mealy-mouthed hypocrites.

16 April 2013 at 04:41  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Margaret Thatcher was a great God fearing woman as was Ronald Regan. I thank God for her and greatly regret that our current day politicians know nothing of JESUS and the straight gate and the narrow way.

Jesus Christ is the ONLY example of how to rest, walk and stand in this life, from Watchman Nee and his book of the same name.

Margaret will now be resting in heavenly places with our Lord.

16 April 2013 at 08:18  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free,
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our REST in thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art,
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a king,
Born to reign IN us forever,
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal Spirit,
Rule IN all our hearts alone;
By thine all-sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne.

16 April 2013 at 08:55  
Blogger IanCad said...

Phil Roberts @ 18:35.

Thanks for the link.

A far more realistic assessment of the great lady than most of the other conservative hagiographies now current.

16 April 2013 at 09:30  
Blogger bluedog said...

Corrigan @ 21.48 says, 'But your temporal salvation is not in your hands, is it dog? You're owned by business people. You're a chattel.'

An interesting response that seems to reflect a mindset imbued with a sense of irreversible victimhood and an acceptance of helpless servitude. In a nutshell, temporal defeatism.

Now for the good news. Not all communicants are Servants and some may do what they like when they like.

And you?

16 April 2013 at 18:02  
Blogger sandwiches said...

"She really cared about 'nobodies' and 'poorlies'"

Of course she did.As much as Dave Cameron and Gideon Osborne.

16 April 2013 at 20:09  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 April 2013 at 01:00  

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