Margaret Thatcher, revered by the majority of English people, was not I must admit my favourite person.
Having had battle with her when Quartet published Mrs Thatcher’s Bag in the early stages of her political ascendancy as leader of the Conservative party, I found her bereft of any sense of humour, inclined to be unforgiving if one crossed her path and certainly a woman who wielded power with an iron hand.
Members of her Cabinet were cowed into submission by her strong determination to have her way, irrespective of any wiser counsel that she thought might lessen her influence, or people’s perception of her status as a formidable prime minister. The lady not for turning, as she was later known by her legion of Tory admirers, did allow the consequences to go to her head and fuelled her humiliating demise from the political scene. The rest is history.
However, the new revelations that keep surfacing from time to time are rather baffling and likely to smear her reputation. Margaret Thatcher was warned Cyril Smith had been accused of abusing eight boys before she granted the Liberal MP a knighthood, government papers reveal. The release of the documents follows evidence that she ignored warnings about other prominent paedophiles including Sir Peter Morrison, a close aide, and the former diplomat, Sir Peter Hayman. Thatcher also insisted on a knighthood for Jimmy Savile, the BBC presenter exposed after his death as one of Britain’s most prolific abusers.
The big question today is why Mrs Thatcher turned a blind eye to known paedophiles: that a woman who defended family values and gave the impression of being puritanical at heart should, in her reluctance to heed the serious warnings of people in the know, give protection to vile abusers of children and elevate them despite their heinous deeds.
Her media sycophants must surely be able to explain her motives. Let them, for heaven’s sake, remove their cover and come clean before we unfairly sully the reputation of a lady considered by many to be the most dynamic prime minister we have had since Churchill.
The public ought to know the full story. Posterity demands it, for historians of note have a duty to chronicle a life with its triumphs and foibles and without prejudice or distortion of the facts.
So far only praise has been the dominant factor. That will not do.