The annual cache of old Whitehall documents provides much-need rations for the starving press over the quiet weeks around Christmas and New Year, and this year a memo from 1985 concerning race riots is proving particularly nourishing.
On the menu is Oliver Letwin, current chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (a trust fund for Lizzie Windsor) and former policy wonk in the Tory government of Margaret Thatcher, for penning a memo in November 1985 on the social malaise in inner cities that led to riots in Tottenham and Brixton.
Have you ever wanted to play a game of Top Trumps with Conservative leaders as your cards? No? Not even a bit?
Okay, so the premise of this strange game from Conservative Home is dubious, but the analysis of Tory leaders on obvious metrics of electoral success is revealing.
Source: Conservative Home
Matt Smith and Peter Hoskin point out some clear problems with it:
“Aside from the positions of Thatcher and Cameron, the relatively low ranking of Winston Churchill stands out. Seventh place is not a flattering finish for a man who has come to symbolise Britain’s resilience and fortitude in the face of global conflict.”
This nods towards the general inadequacy of judging a politician purely on whether they can win or lose seats, and even the importance of metrics more widely.
After all whilst Churchill faced the Nazis, Margaret Thatcher faced a Labour party in disarray and William Hague the most electorally successful Labour leader of all time, Tony Blair.
Sure, you can only play the opponents in front of you. But before one gets carried away praising a particular pol it is worth considering the state of the opposition, their own party, and most importantly the state of the country and wider world.
A further analysis from Smith can be found on his website.
Image Credit – Margaret Thatcher via Robert Huffstutter
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush suggested on Wednesday that British prime minister Margaret Thatcher should be put on the American $10 bill.
Talking in a televised debate for Republican candidates vying to run for the White House, Bush was quizzed on his preference on which woman should feature on American money, and used the opportunity to praise the Milk Snatcher.
“I would go with Ronald Reagan’s partner, Margaret Thatcher,” he said, referencing the close relationship between the British prime minister and the American president of the same era, both revered in Republican circles.
“Probably illegal, but what the heck?” he added, explaining Thatcher probably wouldn’t pass because she is not American.
“A strong leader is what we need in the White House, and she certainly was a strong leader that restored the United Kingdom into greatness.”
Shortly after this suggestion a subsidiary of Al Jazeera, a Qatari-backed media group, threw together a mock-up of what the Milk Snatcher bill might look like:
Under plans from the US Treasury a woman will be added to an American bill for the first time in 2020 to celebrate 100 years since women were given the vote in the States through an amendment to the country’s constitution.
Candidates other than Thatcher for the bill included the wife of candidate Mike Huckabee, the mother of candidate Ben Carson and Ivanka Trump, daughter of the Donald.
In entirely unrelated news Bush also admitted during the presidential debate that he had smoked marijuana 40 years ago.
Image Credit – Margaret Thatcher on US $10 bill by Al Jazeera