Thursday 8 December 2016

Gun-boat diplomacy mastered by a lucky general

Published 09/04/2013 | 05:00

Margaret Thatcher was a lucky general. Lucky in the excellent advisers who surrounded her; lucky in the enemies who underestimated her, like Arthur Scargill and General Leopoldo Galtieri; lucky to lead a party with whose prejudices she was in tune and of which most members worshipped her.

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Lucky, too, in the circumstances in which she won the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1975 and the British premiership in 1979.

The Labour Party had run out of ideas and vigour. Harold Wilson and his successor Jim Callaghan could do no more than hold the line. They could not do even that much in the 1978-79 'Winter of Discontent' when lowly-paid public service workers revolted and the rubbish piled up in the streets.

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