The Third Leader: Many happy returns

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The Independent Online

Say what you like: that is how salutes to contentious figures are customarily introduced, often by cab drivers, and I see no reason to make an exception in her case, particularly as it must have been applied to her more often than to any other figure in British history, with the possible exceptions of Oliver Cromwell, William the Conqueror, Boadicea and George Best.

So, as our present, here is Margaret Thatcher: The Top Twelve Say What You Like But: 1. You did know where you were with her. 2. She was never scruffy. 3. She was, in her young days, as a research chemist, part of the team that developed the first soft frozen ice cream. 4. By an interesting coincidence, as Edward Heath's education secretary, she also inspired one of the wittier political slogans: "The only cow who doesn't give milk." 5. And this, apparently, from Jacques Chirac, during some European negotiations, "What does she want, this housewife? My balls on a tray?" 6. She also didn't think much of her cabinet. 7. She did wonders for the profiles of Arthur Scargill, Ben Elton, General Galtieri, estate agency and the DHSS. 8. Without her, there would have been no New Labour. 9. She did have Mark. 10. She wasn't sentimental about the North and turning it into an industrial wasteland. 11. She wasn't John Major. 12. She didn't invade Iraq. Thank you.