R.I.P. Mrs T, The Margaret Handshake, “Plus Ones” and the Truthsayer Norman Tebbitt.

Well on Wednesday evening it will all be over, the litter will be swept away and the crowd control barriers will be taken down and accounts of the great day will be taken back to the “plus ones” of whom I am one, having a great time in front of the tele with some girlfriends and Bucks Fizz, which seems appropriate if you see what I mean. The great lady will be with her Dad saying “ you see Dad I did it”. But speaking for the plus ones , the two hundred or so Tory wives, who shivered in village halls, travelled to constituencies with the contents of the fridge, vomiting youngsters, protesting teenagers, last weeks laundry and the type writer with the corrector ribbon, this noble army, who gave sherry parties, addressed meetings, went back for forgotten speeches. Washed the shirts you saw on tele during televised debates sitting just behind the great lady, just the shirt mind you, never the head , you knew it was him because there would be the tie you gave him for his birthday. Then of course the many solo evenings, the disruption of social life, because it’s no fun for the cook when someone leaves for the ten o clock vote. Some of us managed to have life of our own, because otherwise you got fat on frozen pies and became a serous alcoholic or were booked into the Priory, or both, or all of the above. Now of course it is all different , no more ten o clock votes and wives are not expected to be involved , they are allowed to have a job and by and large the family comes first for them. It was my friends who made this all possible for me, and some very whacky determined children and the mantra that life is for living!!!!! And of course, I had a career that was mobile. I remember I interviewed the Chancellor’s wife Mrs Lawson for Harpers and Queen Magazine, and she recalled paying a visit to Mrs T in her flat, to broach the subject of the paltry cleaning allowance in number Eleven, and being smartly “rubber gloved” by the great lady who was cleaning the oven, looking immaculate in her Marigolds at the time, you see she got it wrong there, because few women have as much energy as that woman had most of us are rather tired sometimes, but never her so she didn’t get it, she was a case apart from the great power of sisterhood.

The point is, none of this changes in the end; because I have read countless egregious words about Margaret Thatcher now, from many on the men who professed to be her friends, and stabbed her in the back because they eroded her antennae, which could have alerted her to the monstrous regiment of men who plotted against her. And that brings me to the thing I have mentioned before; have we heard a single word from the women ,the wives who helped put her there, who kept her there? No we have not, just from the Judas Club, who now smugly declaim their loyalty to her. I must say I admire Norman Tebbitt, he spoke in the Lords and he said something to the effect ,that he regretted leaving her to her friends … that man said it all, and from he who has suffered so much watching his adorable wife living with the aftermath of the Brighton bomb which was meant for the Iron Lady a night none of us will forget in a hurry. This man is an example of truth loyalty and honesty .

Mind you she didn’t always help herself . I well remember the famous “”Margaret Handshake” in the receiving line at Number Ten, which took place at right angles to the windows . When it came to the less important persons, such as myself, we were moved along with all the force of a sumo wrestler in a remarkable combination of shake, thrust to the right, and a regal turn of the head. I sometimes thought if I tripped, I might be projected out of the window. Actually none of this effects my admiration for her, she was focused, she had to be , the end justified the means whatever they were. But she took her eye off the ball for a moment. She should have listened to her husband who told her to go while she was on top of her game. But power dims judgement in the end. It is said that power should never be given to those who seek it, perhaps there is some truth in that?

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