BBC’s slideshow of remarkable people who died in 2013

This BBC slideshow of notable people who’ve died in 2013 are people who’ve accompanied my life, as sitcom stars, musicians, sportsmen or a former prime minister. Guess it’s an age thing. For once the BBC have got it right and Baroness Thatcher takes pride of place as the final notable name in the slideshow.

Being married to someone who’s appeared on C4 News

I learned when I got home after yesterday evening’s Full Council meeting that I’d appeared on Channel 4 News.

I said, “What’s it like being married to someone who’s appeared on Channel 4 News?”. Wife, in reply, “Same as usual, only a bit more irritating”. My hubris is rightly rejected.

However, if you like to watch Jon Snow interview voices from the crowd at Margaret Thatcher funeral, who am I to stop you. It’s a short piece, just over 3 minutes, with me at just over 1 minute in.

Remembering the Blessed Margaret thru two videos

I lack the eloquence and intellect to offer a eulogy to Margaret Thatcher. I know others will do it better. I heard  Charles Moore, Michael Howard, and Norman Tebbit on BBC Radio 4 World at One provide just such measured responses.

The Margaret Thatcher Foundation has two videos to understand the qualities of Margaret Thatcher as a great Prime Minister and person. I’ve watched both again, an unquestionable great in world politics. The eulogy to Ronald Regan I’ve commented on before, contains this fine turn of phrase, which equally applies to her.

For the final years of his life, Ronnie’s mind was clouded by illness. That cloud has now lifted. He is himself again, more himself than at any time on this Earth, for we may be sure that the Big Fellow upstairs never forgets those who remember him. And as the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset, and as heaven’s morning broke, I like to think, in the words of Bunyan, that “all the trumpets sounded on the other side.

Michael Howard said of her speech to Parliament that it was the finest he ever heard, and was amazed at her strength and courage to deliver such a speech at such a moment.

Watch and reflect on the passing of the greatest political post-war figure of our nation.

Farewell to the Blessed Margaret

Finding the right words to say farewell on the death of someone is never easy. And so it is with the sad loss of Margaret Thatcher. This short video will surely bring back memories to those of us who lived through the difficult times of the 1970’s, when many of us feared the demise of Great Britain.

Like many, I was proud to have met her. It’s one of my fondest lifetime memories.

A famous birthday

While at a meeting at the County Council offices in Kingston upon Thames today Margaret Thatcher’s name came in a discussion about cuts. I’m not blessed with wit or a fast acting brain, but on this occasion I said something that brought a smile to every one’s faces. I said,

“Enough, I’ll hear nothing said against the ‘Blessed Margaret’ today, it’s her birthday.”

Revisiting Margaret Thatcher’s eulogy to Ronald Reagan

Released today are many of Margaret Thatcher’s papers from her first year in power. See them online, including an introductory commentary, at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.

Not initially bothering to read the latest papers, I browsed the website and lighted on Margaret Thatcher’s eulogy to President Ronald Reagan in 2004 [Text of speech]. A truly masterful and poignant speech. Why this speech? I believe Ronald Reagan to be America’s finest post-war president, and up there with the all time greats. And, of course I’m a fan of Margaret Thatcher, being proud to have once met her. Remember, together they defeated Soviet communism, and without going to war. Here are a few snippets from the speech:

“Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union. He won the Cold War, not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.”

“Yet his ideas, so clear, were never simplistic. He saw the many sides of truth. Yes, he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion, but he also sensed that it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform. Yes, he did not shrink from denouncing Moscow’s evil empire, …”

Did you spot it, of course you did, reference to the evil empire. Wonderful.

Living national treasure

It appears to me that Margaret Thatcher is evolving into a living national treasure, like a stately sailing galleon appearing slowly from over the horizon, and to the surprise of all to be suddenly found in harbour ready to moor.

Not only did Monday’s Daily Telegraph have an article on the ‘Enduring legacy of Margaret Thatcher’. It included a YouGov poll HERE, showing that voters from all parties viewed her as Britain’s greatest post-war prime minister, and that “at her peak she would sweep to power today”.

But the Guardian reports HERE that the equally finely featured Lindsay Duncan is to portray Margaret Thatcher in a BBC2 drama about the former prime minister’s final days in office.

Now which of the men in her cabinet was it that said she had beautiful ankles, I just can’t quite remember.

You must read this about the Blessed Margaret

There are entertaining extracts in the Sunday Times today from a book* by Ferdinand Mount, Margaret Thatcher’s head of policy in the 1980’s.

You’ve got to read the extract. Illuminating, inspiring and revealing.

I’m not a great one for autobiography, but do enjoy them when they’re able to look forward, rather than look backwards. So I particularly liked the final paragraph of the extract, where Ferdinand Mount talked about the changes that David Cameron has brought to the Conservative Party.

“Instead of talking the whole time about taxes, immigration and the EU, he broadened the debate to include family breakdown, climate change and social inequality – the subjects that people outside politics had been worrying about for years.”

* Cold Cream:My Early Life and Other Mistakes, by Ferdinand Mount, to be published by Bloomsbury on April 14th.