If Margaret Thatcher was born in the 1970s she’d probably be called Claire, and would now be a moderniser.
She would be portrayed as a hard working mother of two, juggling kids and a career. Dennis would be put in yellow washing-up gloves and filmed doing the recycling. The new Tory leader would stage mind-mapping sessions in her stylish Notting Hill kitchen/dinning room, with toys scattered across the floor.
Being the sharp political operator she is, Claire Thatcher would realise that only a clean break from the past is enough. Tax, Europe, Immigration, crime and the family, would be no-go areas. She would resist the Tory old-guard who demanded any retreat to the comfort zone.
Claire Thatcher would be touring schools talking to teachers, and visiting hospitals. The focus would be on work-life balance, and on climate change and global poverty. She might even have changed the party logo.
Eighteen months ahead she would analyse the polls for approval, and she would get it; a consistent lead in all the major polls conducted since her election, mainly due to higher ratings on soft issues such as schools and hospitals. The last time the party polled this high for this long was in the late 1980s.
She might have neglected to mention grammer schools, worried that it might provoke an internal dispute and remind people of the old Tory party.
Her response to Ian Duncan Smith’s social policy report might have deliberately confronted the group’s argument that family breakdown is responsible for our fractured society. Using the available evidence, she might have made a strong case that it is poverty in specific areas that needs to be challenged, perhaps making use of some of the group’s education proposals.
By sticking to her agenda, and not wobbling under right-wing pressure, she might not have suffered much from a Brown bounce.
Her speech to conference in October 2007 would be a critical moment, when she would tell delegates that she “is not for turning”, and when she would emerge as the Prime Minister she would become.