10 Apr 2013

Lunch with the Iron Lady

News of the demise of Margaret Thatcher reminded me of an extraordinary lunch I had with her in Sydney back in 1994.It was in a boardroom.There were about six guests and MT and her minder.I did not live in the UK through the Thatcher era so I have no opinions on her policies or her impact on the UK.However at this lunch which was a few years after she had stepped down as PM she was imperious,hectoring,lecturing,dogmatic and very bitter about having been deposed by her own party.She said that those who had deposed her were "spineless" and that the British people"needed her".Note that-"needed her" -no question of whether they wanted her or not.
I heard the former British PM John Major who served in Thatcher's Cabinet for many years say on TV last night that she was reasonable in Cabinet discussions and listened to contrary points of view.This was not apparent at that lunch.It was her way or the highway.She kept wagging her finger at people to make her point.Every question to her provided an opening for another exposition.
It was a remarkable hour and a half and I can remember it so clearly still 18 years later.

                                               And she wasn't past giving advice on racing car design even to Colin Chapman!

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