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A worthless memoir

The memoirs of former Conservative party treasurer, Alistair McAlpine, reveal a politically shallow egotist. Bruce Anderson says he contributed far less to Thatcherism than he imagines

By Bruce Anderson   May 1997

Schizophrenia was crucial to Margaret Thatcher’s political genius. At moments she could seem suffocatingly conventional, as if she were the perpetual president of a Tory suburban ladies’ committee. Yet she was also in the grip of an endless dissatisfaction. As Lord McAlpine says, her lament was that “Every day (as PM) you are faced with a number of options, none of which is truly acceptable to you.” In order to widen these options, she would behave like Christ in search of disciples, summoning the most unlikely candidates in the hope that they could help her to transform British politics. None…

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