The contemporary Conservative party has always loved a glamorous blonde: Thatcher, Heseltine and obviously Boris, but for most Conservative MPs and activists- including, I’m sure, many of the new intake – Margaret Thatcher will always be their No. 1. Yesterday the Tory Titan held informal talks with her successor as Tory leader and Prime Minister, David Cameron. Whilst the sight of Mrs Thatcher returning to Downing Street is nothing new, after all it has become almost customary for the Iron Lady to be the first recipient of an invitation to tea from an incoming Prime Minister – “Labour” Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown included, what made this meeting unique was the fact that it is the first time in over a decade that she has returned to the site of her former glory as a guest of a Conservative Prime Minister.
The sight of the frail and fragile (but ultimately fabulous) Mrs Thatcher being helped from her car by David Cameron almost certainly brought a lump to many Conservative throats and the poignancy of the timing of this meeting should not go unnoticed. Mrs Thatcher was a leader who took tough and unpopular decisions in the national interest at a time when our economy was in peril and our society was in turmoil. Thirty years later and in the aftermath of yet another wreckless Labour government, the task facing the occupant of Number 10 is none the less daunting. It is true, judging by her frail state Mrs Thatcher “may not be long for this world”, as one commentator put it, but her legacy is ultimately timeless.
If anything David Cameron faces a task far greater than Thatcher particularly considering the fact that despite following in Maggies footsteps and inheriting an economy on the brink of ruin and a national social fabric arguably splitting at the seams, he has the added headache of being head of a coalition government which will ultimately blunt his axe and limit his legislative licence. Only time will tell whether Cameron is made of Maggie’s mettle and can ultimately overcome these obstacles to prove himself to be the salvation of the nation or whether the weight of the task he faces will prove all to great for the one time “Heir to Blair” and he will join the likes of Edward Heath in the Pantheon of Wets.