X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

‘She was Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Lady Gaga; all rolled into one’ – Steve Hilton on Margaret Thatcher

10 April 2013

4:48 PM

10 April 2013

4:48 PM

Tomorrow’s Spectator includes a three-page symposium on Margaret Thatcher from a selection of her friends colleagues, admirers and sparring partners. Here’s the full version of what Steve Hilton – No.10’s strategy officer from 2010-2012 – has to say about our first female Prime Minister.

I was lucky enough to meet Mrs Thatcher (as I will always think of her) on a few occasions, and one in particular stood out. We talked about Communism, and my family’s experience in Hungary. I was feeling incensed at the time because of the way in which the ruling elite dabbled in capitalism for their own personal enrichment, but denied the opportunities of enterprise to most people. ‘Yes!” she exclaimed, ‘I hate that. Hate it. That’s how elites always behave! It’s the trahison des clercs!’

This seemed to provide validation for my own suspicion of, and instinctive hostility towards, elites and establishments of any kind. That’s why Mrs T was such an inspiration to me, and I suppose why I was so upset — much more than I had imagined I would be – to hear the news of her passing. I didn’t know Margaret Thatcher, so I can only describe what she represented to me.

[Alt-Text]


I saw her as thrillingly anti-establishment; as much of a punk – and as brilliantly British — as Vivienne Westwood who once impersonated Margaret Thatcher on the cover of Tatler. In today’s techno-business jargon, Thatcher was the ultimate political disruptor – determined to shake things up, unleash competition, challenge and confront vested interests and the old ways of doing things. That’s why she was so transformative. Yes, change on that scale and in that way is not just exhilarating but can be uncomfortable too. Yes it brings casualties. But it is progress. To be against Margaret Thatcher, queen of disruption, is to be against progress — the favourite word of the left.

And it was her character that was the key. The virtues most admired and valued in today’s culture – innovation, energy, daring – defined her. She was Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Lady Gaga; all rolled into one, and a thousand times more consequential than any of them.

Oh, and here’s a final story – not mine, but one that I cherish and re-tell whenever I want to capture the audacity of her governing style (and I don’t want to hear from anyone that it’s not true!).

So hostile was she to the BBC (and more importantly to the fact that people were forced to pay for it), that she regularly convened meetings in Downing Street with scientists and engineers, urging them to invent and put on sale a TV set that couldn’t pick up BBC stations. It is the sheer magnificent unreasonableness of this that I so admire. Because if you want to change things, being reasonable doesn’t get you very far. In politics and government, it is unreasonableness that improves people’s lives.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close