I rather think too much is being made by some Conservatives about the visit of Margaret Thatcher to Downing Street. Has she really lost her marbles to the extent that she has been gulled into acting as a propaganda tool by Gordon Brown? I doubt it, somehow. I suspect the Great Lady knew precisely what she was doing.

Goodness knows, I dislike Gordon Brown and all his works and when I first saw her pitching up outside No. 10 I was taken aback to see her in the company of so dishonest and dishonourable an individual. But now I am puzzled, I confess, at all the Conservative Vitriol Throwers who seem to be out and about making a fuss over this.

Firstly the sensible point is made that there is nothing unusual in a modern politician seeking the advice and counsel of a predecessor, even one of another party. There are many matters touching upon the British National interest which are above Party and upon which an incumbent Prime Minister might find it most valuable to have an experienced, knowledgeable and somewhat dispassionate viewpoint. So he is plainly entitled to ask for advice (let us face it, he needs it, does he not?) from wherever he can get it; we should be pleased and proud that he has chosen to ask one of the greatest Conservative Prime Ministers ever for advice. I note that he does not seem to have asked John Major in for a pie and a pint!

And what enormous experience she has to share: she can point to a political life going back fifty years and more and eleven years as one of the world’s great political leaders upon which she can draw. She may no longer be an active politician, but surely that experience is worth tapping into? In that sense she is like HM The Queen who has fifty-five years political experience under her belt, which experience any sensible PM should tap into.

Secondly I think that this is not quite the coup for Brown that he thinks it is. Huge swathes of the Left are considerably more shocked than the Right is at her visit and it has done Brown no favours at all in that quarter, given the visceral hatred they have for her. Many people will also remember the excoriating attacks Brown made on Mrs. Thatcher when she was in office and will think that this little tea party has more than just a whiff of rank hypocrisy about it. They will, one suspects, also spot the purpose behind it, on his part. It is a piece of mischief making and unsubtle propaganda which tells us an enormous amount about Gordon Brown and how he tries to use people and manipulate situations and people without any visible sense of shame.

I say ‘tries’, because I do not think he succeeded where Lady Thatcher was concerned. She is rather the one who has come out of it with her reputation burnished. As for the notion that Brown somehow metaphorically mugged a little old lady of her handbag, that is nonsense. If you doubt it, just think about that striking dress. I am sure that was her statement of the day. That dress was every bit as meaningful as a thousand words, you may think.

Finally, I suspect Cameron will have choked on the cucumber sandwiches for a second or two but quickly moved on. There was a bit of a dig at him in her visit but not one to set great store by. It was more a reminder by Lady Thatcher of her existence and her place in our history than meant to denigrate him. The sensible thing for him to do now would be quietly to arrange through the usual channels to meet with her, perhaps have lunch with her, news of which may then quietly be leaked after a decent interval. Honour will then be satisfied.

Let us move on.

Advertisements