I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized The Tigress in Winter

The Tigress in Winter

Rory Montgomery
Margaret Thatcher, The Authorized Biography, Volume 3: Herself Alone, by Charles Moore, Allen Lane, 1,008 pp, £35, ISBN: 978-0241324745 Margaret Thatcher died on April 8th, 2013, after a decade or more of declining health. It was over twenty-two years since her resignation as prime minister on November 28th, 1990 – thirty years ago this year. But she has not been forgotten. She continues to excite both veneration and hostility. Her personality, political style, values, objectives, successes and failures are still invoked. The terms “Thatcherite” and “Thatcherism” are mostly, though not always, used as shorthand for selfishness, divisiveness, indifference to poverty and inequality and overbearing self-righteousness. Mrs Thatcher’s image in Ireland is not positive. But she is remembered. A search of the Irish Times archive from 2014 to 2019 turns up one hundred and seventy-one uses of “Thatcherism” and “Thatcherite”. The unlikely duo of Billy Kelleher and Marian Keyes separately called Leo Varadkar Thatcherite. A television review spoke of animals participating in a “Thatcherite fight for survival”. Though as one columnist commented, “Thatcherite is what the hard left calls the centre right, mainly Fine Gael.” By contrast, “Blairism” and “Blairite” were used only fifty-eight times in the same period, even though he was her only postwar rival in terms of electoral success and longevity in office and served until 2007. When Mrs Thatcher died, there were celebrations in Belfast, Glasgow and the north of England. “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” was number two in the charts. At the same time, large and respectful crowds gathered to witness her funeral in London. She had remained a heroine to many people in Britain, mostly in England: the woman who revived the economy, crushed the unions, recaptured the Falklands, stood alongside Ronald Reagan to win the Cold War and challenged the advance of a European superstate ‑ the woman who had made Britain great again, only to be betrayed by her own ministers. Few people were, or are, neutral about Mrs Thatcher. But the passage of time allows for a cooler, more rounded assessment. The duelling myths about her are firmly rooted in fact: but each of them involves exaggeration, selectivity, and much emotion. This third and final volume of Charles Moore’s biography, covering the period from Mrs Thatcher’s third general election win in 1987 to her resignation in 1990, and then her long retirement, puts the capstone on a quite remarkable historical and literary…

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