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Hitchens’ Ode to Thatcher

Peter Hitchens has written a thoughtful reflection on the news of Margaret Thatcher’s passing:

That’s why, even though I don’t share the adulation that so many do, and even though I think that Lady Thatcher’s long-term legacy will be smaller than many claim, I’ll always back her against the silly critics who could never see the whole woman, nor give her any credit for anything, or grasp just how extraordinary and exceptional her rise had been, from her quiet home and first beginnings.

Hitchens’ reflection is a fair and unsentimental one, and in his way he pays Thatcher a much greater compliment by acknowledging how impressive she was without having to resort to the excessive, idolatrous praise that so many people feel the need to offer to departed political leaders. He has written here at TAC and elsewhere describing how Thatcher’s successes have been exaggerated and oversold, which makes these remarks so much more meaningful than if they had been written by one of her cheerleaders. Here’s Hitchens again:

I was lucky enough to travel, crammed into the seats at the very back of her majestic, obsolete and noisy RAF VC-10, on several of her foreign trips, and she was generous with her time on those journeys, sometimes too generous as she loved discussing foreign policy but seldom provided any news, let alone gossip. You couldn’t help being impressed by her. She always knew what she was talking about. If she didn’t know a subject, she studied it until she did. She wasn’t going to be bested, or shown up by anyone.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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