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Admirers and detractors alike agree that Margaret Thatcher’s premiership changed the country. The final years of her tenure continue to fascinate and we are joined by two insiders from this crucial period.
Employment Secretary David Young was drafted in to run her 1987 campaign and his diaries Inside Thatcher’s Last Election reveal paranoia, personality clashes and a very different woman from the one we thought we knew.
People Like Us: Margaret Thatcher and Me is a unique account of her final 18 months at No. 10, by Caroline Slocock who became the first-ever female private secretary to any British Prime Minister and, as a left-wing feminist, an unlikely ally during this tumultuous time.
Lord Young of Graffham, one-time solicitor, left the law to become a serial entrepreneur. In 1979, he gave up his business interests to become full-time special adviser to Keith Joseph, and he entered the Cabinet in 1984, becoming Employment then Trade and Industry Secretary. After his time in government, he became executive chairman of Cable & Wireless until 1995, and on retirement he founded Young Associates. Twenty-one years after he left government, he returned as a full-time enterprise adviser to the Prime Minister and served for the whole coalition parliament in No. 10, publishing reviews on small firms and enterprise. In 2015, he was made a Companion of Honour.
Caroline Slocock was the first woman Private Secretary at No. 10 and was Private Secretary (Home Affairs) between 1989 to 1991 to Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
Zoe Strimpel is an author, broadcaster and historian of gender in Modern Britain. She is a flagship columnist for the Sunday Telegraph and co-presents Hyped!, a podcast that unpicks the hype around recent cultural products. She is the author of What the Hell Is He Thinking? All the Questions You Ever Asked About Men Answered (2010), The Man Diet: One Woman’s Quest to End Bad Romance (2012) and Seeking Love in Modern Britain: Gender, Dating and the Rise of ‘The Single’ (Bloomsbury, 2020).