Well it’s no surprise that the highlight of the two weeks in London was meeting Margaret Thatcher (or Baroness Thatcher more formally).
We were extremely privileged to have her attend. On medical advice she rarely does functions since 2002, but she has always had a soft spot for the IYDU, of which she is incidentally the Patron.
The reception was held in a private apartment next to the Thames. But that under-states it. The apartment takes up the entire second to top floor of one of the largest buildings and you get the most magnificent view up and down the Thames from all four sides of the apartment.
It’s hard to put into words what meeting Margaret Thatcher is to someone like me who started to follow politics just as she became UK Prime Minister. She shows how one person can make a difference. Her impact was huge on both the UK and the world.
When I was at school, most of the population believed that a global nuclear war against the USSR was probable in the next couple of decades. Movies were done showing this. The doomsday clock was updated regularly (I doubt anyone has checked it for the last ten years). If you’re on the centre-right like me, you thank Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan for winning the cold war and not surrendering with unilateral disarment as many wanted. And even my American friends concede Mrs Thatcher was the dominant one of the pair.
Now if you think those of us from the Anglo-sphere were keen to meet Lady Thatcher, well that is nothing compared to the huge number of Eastern Europeans in attendance. They quite literally see her as the person who did more to secure their freedom than any other person.
With so many in the room, obviously one didn’t get much time with her, but I did mention how I had worked for NZ’s 1st female Prime Minister (of whom she approved), and of course thanked her. She posed of course for a group photo with Kiwis and Aussies.
I’ll blog more photos of the meeting and functions later. Plane back home about to leave!