My Year - Baroness Thatcher

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The Independent Online
Dear Mr Ian Dependent, thank you for your note inviting me to contribute a resume of my year. Commercial arrangements dictate that I am unable to oblige with a detailed account of same, but I append some notes. MT.

January. It is exceptionally cold, but I am warmed by the splendid news that the Falkland Islanders have declared the tenth of this month 'Margaret Thatcher Day', marking their liberation from the fascist oppressor. Denis says he thinks the British will soon declare 27 November 'John Major Day' for the same reason. Vexed, I send him out of the house until he apologises.

February. Edwina Currie tells reporters I am in danger of becoming the Tony Benn of the Tory party, 'old and mad and silly and wrong'. Hah] Wedgwood-Benn is extreme, dogmatic, old-fashioned and at odds with his party leader. The woman is unobservant as well as shameless.

March. I visit Essex, or Thatchershire, to help win the election for that little man. The worms are bound to lose. When they do, I shall be recalled. To keep myself mentally prepared, I have been learning the Greater London phone book by heart. I have reached Flemetakis, S, of Bicknell Road, SW. Then to America, which is so wonderful. They call it the Land of the Fee. I have occasionally wondered about this. Now I know. In England, they laugh or throw things when I address them. In America, they pay me pounds 27,000 a shot. Returning home, I let Denis in from the garden. I had forgotten him. But he seems curiously cheerful.

April. Damnation] Despite my intervention, the little man has failed. The Worms have won. How those whey-faced clerks pulled it off, I shall never know. I must await developments from the Lords. But John Major proves exceedingly petty. He objects to my preferred title, Baroness Thatcher of All England. I shall not forget this.

May. To The Hague, to warn the world about the federalists and the German menace. Some nice young men from the Spectator helped me with my speech. I find it a little hard to read Mr Simon Heffer's handwriting.

June. I agree to record Abraham Lincoln's 'Gettysburg Address'. I am a great admirer of Lincoln's, though I find on inspection that Lincoln's address has some flaws. It says, for instance: 'as I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.' This shows a want of spirit.

July. A man I cannot quite place called Norman Lamont has been round to see me. But he seems well-informed: he tells me that the acting Prime Minister is a complete fool and that the party is ready for me to return shortly. I begin a cabinet list. All my ministers will be from the House of Lords.

August. The call has not come. It seems that the little Scottish man was wrong. But I have reached Newton-Price, J, of London Road, in the phone book.

September. If one is to stay young, making new friends is so important. A terribly nice man I have discovered is Anthony Barnett, who was a Czech dissident and founded a group called Charter 88. This brave person comes to me sometimes in the evening and we drink vodkas, and talk of the need for full citizenship, respect for human rights and a written constitution.

October. At my room in the House of Lords I see a number of young men and urge them to vote against Maastricht. Some, I offer posts in my forthcoming cabinet. Others, I am obliged to cuff around the ear. They blub. Sometimes I worry about the youth of this country.

November. The Maastricht vote means that Parliament has been overthrown by foreign plots. This is quite terrible: overthrowing Parliament is something that should be reserved strictly for British Prime Ministers.

December. The acting Prime Minister visits me looking extremely worried. He confesses that he has been caught painting a small Hitler moustache on my portrait in the new parliamentary buildings. After he swears eternal fealty and apologises, I agree that the whole affair can be 'hushed up'. I have now memorised everything up to Wulfekamp, U, of Campden Square, and am feeling more cheerful than I can remember all year. I feel that 1993 will mark my return from exile: a happy new year to you all.

A DAY LIKE THIS

30 December 1975 Peter Hall records in his diary: 'To London for Aquarius (BBC arts programme). We recorded the programme - a good talk with Clement Crisp on Nijinsky and Isadora Duncan. In the break, enter Sir Frederick Ashton and Lynn Seymour, Lynn to dance the little Brahms waltz inspired by Isadora which Ashton has choreographed for her. It's a pity I didn't talk to him about Isadora on the programme. He saw her at sixteen, and told me she was really a kind of intellectual strip-teaser, taking off gauze veils one by one and draping them over the piano; huge thighs, he mused. She was, he said, the first Earth Mother.'

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