Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thatcher and Cameron - in Government's Waiting Room

Well, it's not every day you wake up with the party you organised last night splashed across the papers. But that is the ego-pleasing situation I found myself in today. As well as the above story in the Express, photographs of David Cameron with Lady Thatcher appeared in the Telegraph, the Mirror and the London Evening Standard today.

So what was this great event? As you may have seen from the blurb at the top of this blog, one of my activities outside work is researching my doctoral thesis on the role of the Opposition in British politics. During my trawls of the archives I uncovered papers about how in 1976 Margaret Thatcher secured the use of the current Shadow Cabinet Room for her team. Using this material and archive photos of Shadow Cabinets meeting there under successive Leaders of the Opposition, I put together an exhibition called "Government's Waiting Room", which I launched in the Shadow Cabinet Room last night.

I was of course delighted by the turnout of VIPs - Lady Thatcher had accepted my invitation a couple of months ago, but I was asked to keep it quiet due to the obvious media interest. She was joined by all the other surviving Conservative Leaders except for John Major, who was out of the country. We also had a number of members of the Shadow Cabinet from the 1970s, including Tom King, Norman Fowler and Sir Teddy Taylor. The late Lord Hailsham and Angus Maude were represented by their sons, both now MPs, Douglas Hogg and Francis Maude.

Lady Thatcher was on top form, and clearly enjoyed herself at the photocall and the reception afterwards. She gave me a few words of advice on effective opposition, but you'll have to wait to read my finished thesis before I pass those on!

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