By Tim Montgomerie
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Newly-released papers from Lady Thatcher's personal archive have been widely reported today. One that caught my eye was Ken Clarke's opposition to the Falklands War. The man who was a regular thorn in Margaret Thatcher's side but was then a very small Tory beast is reported to have said that Britain should “blow up a few ships but nothing more”.
In terms of thorns in her side The Independent's Andy McSmith has highlighted Maggie's own list of people who she regarded as on her side and against her. Only Cecil Parkinson, Norman Tebbit, Keith Joseph and Nigel Lawson were seen as truly one of us. Nigel Lawson, of course, failed to stay true by the end of the 1980s. Normal Fowler also appears in the "for us" list but only gets a half mark!
In the list of opponents Michael Heseltine doesn't even merit a mention. Mrs Thatcher's Chancellor – Geoffrey Howe – is listed. The man who would later precipitate the successful leadership contest against her wasn't, it seems, trusted from the beginning.
David Cameron would be unlikely to produce a similar list but if he did? I suspect he'd regard Osborne, Letwin, Maude and Gove as his staunchest allies. I don't think he'd see the likes of Hague, May and Shapps as "against us" but they'd probably only get ½ annotations on a Thatcher list.