What Mrs Thatcher was not

Apr 10th, 2008 | By | Category: Cross Channel

The Editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph had a quiet morning this morning. He must have had, because he started sending emails to everyone on his mailing list advertising a very special supplement in the papers this weekend:


Start building your Thatcher DVD collection with the first episode, The Making of Margaret, free inside The Daily Telegraph on Saturday and The Falklands, free inside The Sunday Telegraph this weekend.

Dear Ian,

Margaret Thatcher was the Western World’s first female leader who enjoyed 11 years in office. I am delighted that we are able to bring you this exclusive collection of Thatcher DVDs portraying the political and personal life of Britain’s only female Prime Minister.

This fantastic collection focuses on all of the major events and factors that shaped her premiership from the Falklands War and confrontations with the unions to the charisma and personality she put into politics. The DVDs contain rare archive footage and exclusive interviews from those who came to know her best including Sir Bernard Ingham and Lord Howe.

Don’t miss your copy of The Daily Telegraph this Saturday so you can start building your Thatcher collection with a further seven DVDs free with your paper between Sunday, April 13 to Saturday, April 19. Until then, for more information on all of the DVDs that

make up the collection click here .

Kind regards,


William Lewis




There would be a temptation to respond to Mr Lewis in various ways, but instead there is just one point with which I would want to take issue. “The Western World’s first female leader”, really?

“The Western World” is not a geographical term, it would include Australia, New Zealand and Japan, it is a term applied to countries sharing particular cultural, political and economic characteristics. Taking the Western World in those terms, Margaret Thatcher was ten years behind the first female leader.

In 1969 another country elected its first female prime minister. It is one that shares cultural, political and economic features common to the West; one that, at the time, had a strongly European population; one that even plays football in Europe and participates in the Eurovision Song Contest. On 17th March 1969, Golda Meir became leader of Israel.

Mrs Thatcher may have been many things, but she was not the Western World’s first female leader, unless the Daily Telegraph is to say that in 1969 Israel was not part of the West.

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  1. Golda Meir is regularly forgotten.
    Why is she so easily air-brushed from history?

  2. Grannymar,

    The policies of the Israeli government have alienated people allowing anti-Semitism to slip in under the radar. I have heard so called “liberal” people say astonishing things that they wouldn’t dare say about any other group of people.

    The turning away from Israel has meant that even the Daily Telegraph, which I read on Saturdays and during holidays, has forgotten about Golda Meir.

  3. I’d forgotten about her too. Indira Ghandi came to mind (although not in the ‘western world’ I admit). Is it anti-semitism or anti Israel? I must say I don’t think of it as a Jewish state but rather just an increasingly defensive nation. Enjoy your DVD’s! (Shame it’s not the life of Merv Hughes!)

  4. Baino,

    I agree with you, it is the Israeli state, and not all of it is in favour the security policies, and only a tiny part of it is Zionist. However, I have met anti-Semitism presenting itself in the guise of being against the Israeli government.

    I always think of Merv as the archetypal Australian 😉

  5. I still associate Maggie with maternity care???

    My first child was born after a long night in labour, as the sun rose on 08/06/83 and I was then subjected to a full day of non-stop news coverage of Maggie’s re-election to power, loudly blaring from a TV in the middle of a large post-natal ward.

    Give me labour/Labour any day 😉

  6. Well spotted. Hmm, an eight-DVD collection, not for the faint-hearted then. I waited many a year for that reign of terror to end, and have no wish to revisit those years. Not that the current lot are any improvement.

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