Tuesday, August 20, 2013

John O'Sullivan Reviews New Margaret Thatcher Book: Margaret Thatcher From Grantham to the Falklands

I will definitely be checking this out.

"How had the shy, socially insecure undergraduate managed to get so far?"

"The answer is twofold: Though she had been socially insecure, she was always politically self-confident, and the male-chauvinist Tory party gave her the warm welcome that the progressive women dons at Somerville College, Oxford had denied her. Its principal, Janet Vaughn, later said that Thatcher “was set as steel as a Conservative. .  .  . We used to entertain a good deal at weekends, but she didn’t get invited. She had nothing to contribute, you see.” 

"By contrast, the middle-aged men who ran the Tory party from the engine room to the bridge relished the arrival of this clever and pretty young woman who, as soon as she stood up to speak, became a forcefully glamorous performer who could out-debate veteran socialists and bring audiences to their feet. Though she encountered a little antiwoman prejudice (often from other women) in her search for a winnable constituency, it was more than outweighed by the favoritism that senior male Tories displayed towards her and her advancement. She was elected to the House of Commons two days after her 34th birthday and became a junior minister two years after that."