Wednesday 21 February 2018

The past is all that is left for a befuddled Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher, who is nearing her 86th birthday, at times thinks she is still PM, writes John McEntee

As Margaret Thatcher stares out of the bullet-proof glass in the bay windows of her well appointed first-floor sitting room in Belgravia's Chester Square this autumnal morning, does her mind go back to a summer 30 years ago? A summer when Taoiseach Charles Haughey arrived at Downing Street with the gift of a Georgian silver teapot (the meeting had been "wonderful", concluded the old rogue).

Whatever meanders through her mind on the occasion of her 86th birthday on October 13 (a day after Eamon de Valera would have been 129), the former Iron Lady, Britain's greatest peace time prime minister, will not be thinking of either the present or the future.

Physically and mentally frail,her short-term memory gone, there is no more hand-bag swinging, no more emphatic declarations of "Out, Out, Out" to progress in Anglo- Irish relations, no more rejoicing at victory over the Argentinians, no more lambasting of the trade unions.

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