In June of 2002, Peter Mandelson wrote an article for the Times in which he declared, “We are all Thatcherites now.” This might have seemed an odd statement to come from a Labour ex-spin doctor but, given the direction that the Blair government was taking at the time, one can at least understand the rationale behind it.
After the recent death of Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron said on Radio 4, “I think, in a way, we’re all Thatcherites now,” which rather suggests that he’s actually resorted to lifting ideas from New Labour. Still, desperate times and all that.
Margaret Thatcher, of course, had clear political direction: she was possessed of determination and integrity; she had firmly held beliefs and she was prepared to fight hard to defend her position on a wide range of policies, standing up for what she thought was right in the face of any and all opposition. Say what you like about her, Thatcher was totally up-front and people always knew exactly what they were going to get when they voted for her.
No wonder Nick Clegg has said that he is not a Thatcherite.