Yesterday we saw a state sponsored funeral for Lady Thatcher, Britains first female Prime Minister. Whatever you may or may not think of Thatcher, she certainly provoked a strong reaction. What has truly amazed me is the sheer hypocricy of the Conservative Party towards Thatcher and her legacy.
I was reminded of this yesterday in Mill Hill Broadway by a chap I've known for years, who was a staunch supporter of Thatcher. In 1997 I got into a conversation with him in Mill Hill Broadway whilst doing some campaigning for Labour. At the time he told me he would be voting for Tony Blair. He said he would never forgive the Tories for "stabbing Thatcher in the back". Thatcher won three elections for the Tories. What did she get for her troubles? She got dumped when the going got tough. Whilst the membership of the Conservative Party still loved her, the people who run the show knifed her in the back for their own reasons. In doing so, they nearly destroyed the Tory Party.
I was reminded of this. My acquaintance suggested that Blair was probably the only politician of the time who genuinely recognised Thatchers achievements. Blair honoured Thatcher and sought her counsel. It has only been recently that Tories have dared resurrect her image. Now they are nailing the Thatcherite mascot to their mast. For the past 23 years, the talk has been of "detoxifying the Tory brand". This really meant dumping Thatcherism and nailing the lid down on her legacy. Cameron came to power as a "moderniser". In truth this meant someone who had no association with the Thatcher era.
It is odd to think that Blair saw huge electoral advantage in cosying up to Thatcherism (and won three elections) whilst the Tories dumped it and have struggled ever since. What is fascinating is to see how two faced the Tory Establishment have suddenly rediscovered their love of the ghost they've spent 23 years trying to bury. It is odd to think that despite all of the eulogies, the Conservative Party is probably the one place where Thatcherism has been dead for years. One must wonder what she made of Cameron leaping under the duvet with Clegg. I can't ever imagine Thatcher snuggling up to Jeremy Thorpe.
At the end of the day, I think the reason is that, whatever you thought of Thatcher, she was probably a tad more attached to her principles than the current lot.