Matthew Norman on Monday: Introducing Maggie - the consensual PM

Francis Maude gave a contender for the Most Balanced Thatcher eulogy this weekend. Plus, why Lady T was an (almost) total supporter of democracy

Share
Related Topics

A frantic weekend leaves the race for Best Balanced And Most Credible Thatcher Eulogy wide open. Two days before the ceremony in St Paul’s, funeral supremo Francis Maude is installed as 11-4 favourite after a typically versatile cameo on Dermot Murnaghan’s sabbath show, on Sky News. Smiling a little twitchily when reminded that he was the first ultra-loyalist to tell her to resign, Frankie claimed that rather than sticking in the first blade in that Orient Express-style political murder, he had a duty to speak the God’s honest.

He then underscored his devotion to the simple truth by lauding the one aspect of the Thatcher persona on which everyone, from eulogist to “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” downloader, may agree. We are a more socially-liberal nation today, he said, thanks to her. “She was not someone who was censorious,” he posited of the late Section 28 champion, “or intolerant. She was broad-minded and respectful of the way people wanted to live their lives.” Yes, yes, yes. If one trait stands out, it is her pathological distaste for hectoring others about how to conduct themselves. Margaret Thatcher, The Please Yourselves PM... now there’s a legend, borrowed from an earlier comic hero called Frankie, for Mr Maude to consider if he is asked to oversee a statue for the fourth Trafalgar Square plinth over kitchen supper in No 10.

A very liberal democrat

Paddy Ashdown  was quick to throw down the gauntlet, meanwhile, popping up on the programme moments later to opine that Lady T would be the last person to oppose protests at the funeral, since lawful protest is a sovereign democratic right. “I am absolutely clear,” he insisted, “that she was an utter and total supporter of democracy.” As he spoke these wise words, you could hear the roar of approval in Santiago, as Chileans recalled the expression of democratic will (the CIA-orchestrated military coup of 1973) that replaced the democratically elected Salvador Allende with the cuddly General Pinochet.

Only someone with Paddy’s rich experience of foreign affairs could fully comprehend that Mrs Thatcher was never a more utter and total supporter of democracy than in her adoring friendship with the dictator, with whom she took tea while he was under house arrest on the Wentworth estate.

Tricky Dicky, a friend to the very last

While we can discount the possibility that Paddy’s contribution was influenced by perception-altering drugs, doubts centre on a commentator from across the ocean. Has Louise Mensch, so admirably frank about her youthful appetite for Class As, slipped off the wagon since leaving us to spend more time with her media career in New York? “Here in America,” wrote the Sun on Sunday columnist, “Sun readers would have been heartened to see the wall-to-wall news coverage. Every living President paid tribute.” Well, you’d expect no less. But do go on. “Richard Nixon, George Bush one and two, and Bill Clinton added their respects.”  Sweet of them all to take the trouble, but particularly in the case of Nixon, who must have come through from the other side having died in 1994. I am very worried about Louise, and plan to fly to the Big Apple within days to rally her friends. An urgent intervention seems required.

Of tits and taboos

Elsewhere in the Sun came a long-awaited breakthrough when pectoral slang was finally stripped of its sanitary asterisk. Until now, even when it appeared within millimetres of a picture of the real thing, the styling was invariably “t*ts”. Yesterday a headline, referring to Sharon Osbourne’s marital relations since cosmetic surgery, ran “Ozzy Is Getting On My New Tits”. Already we see the effects on public morality of Lady Thatcher’s passing. However uncensorious she was, would Rupert Murdoch have countenanced such an outrage while  she lived?

Correction

The suggestion in last week’s column that Petronella Wyatt had been paid £35,000 to model some underwear in the Mail was misplaced.  My apologies.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Executive - Software

£20000 - £25000 per annum + 55,000 OTE + benifits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Software Sa...

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton; £400p/d

£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Uber app allows passengers to hail a taxi with a smartphone  

Who wouldn’t like a sharing economy? Well, me, for one

Mary Dejevsky
David Cameron spoke about immigration at a press conference in Ipswich  

David Cameron’s big problem is that he has been listening to the wrong people

Alan Johnson
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?