Charles Moore lands first blow in battle to define Margaret Thatcher's legacy and destroy 'myths of the Left'

 

When Glenda Jackson excoriated Margaret Thatcher’s record in Parliament “to stop history being re-written”, she may well have had Charles Moore’s authorised biography in mind.

The first volume of the former Daily Telegraph editor’s biography, which hits stores hours after her funeral on Wednesday, is intended to destroy the “myths of the Left” which have attached themselves to its subject and create a narrative which will define her legacy, according to those who have read it.

Mr Moore, given full access to Baroness Thatcher’s private papers and who interviewed her, her family and her work colleagues extensively, gave a preview of his conclusions when he appeared as a panellist on the BBC’s Question Time.

It was “monstrous” to say that Margaret Thatcher supported apartheid. She was actually instrumental in Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, he said, to the consternation of other panellists. “When Mandela came out he went to see her and thanked her,” Mr Moore said.

Thatcher described Mandela’s African National Congress as a “typical terrorist organisation”, vehemently opposed sanctions and cast herself as a “candid friend” of president PW Botha.

But Moore’s book will argue that Thatcher’s approach, whilst appearing indefensible to anti-apartheid activists, proved more effective in pushing the regime towards a peaceful transition to a democratic society.

“Mrs Thatcher had much more to do with the eventual release of Nelson Mandela than most of those more obviously on his side,” he concludes.

Described as a “High Church” Tory, Mr Moore offered an insight into his world-view when he accused the BBC of trying to hype up the row over whether it should play the "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" song, in order to get it to number one.

Moore, like many of Thatcher’s inner-circle who railed against the BBC’s “left-wing bias” during her premiership, is a critic of the corporation and in 2010, was convicted and fined £262, plus £530 costs, for refusing to pay his television licence in protest at the Sachsgate affair.

Stuart Profitt, director at Moore’s publisher Allen Lane, said the author “is clearly an admirer of his subject, but he does not shy away from criticising her or identifying weaknesses and mistakes where he feels it is justified.”

Moore’s book, 16 years in the making and titled Not For Turning, will compete on the shelves against a title of the same name written by Robin Harris, Thatcher’s former speechwriter, which carries her endorsement.

The battle to define the Thatcher legacy in print is set to begin but it is one in which her critics on the Left will have no high-profile entrant, unless Ms Jackson decides to take up her quill.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before