Conor Burns, a close friend of Margaret Thatcher, gave a fascinating interview with Radio 4's The World at One today about his memories of the Iron Lady. Like so many accounts, it focused on Thatcher's disregard for opinion polls and focus groups. Burns said:
'I think it’s a failure of politics that looks too much at focus groups and too much at public opinion polls. Again, I remember last November showing her a poll in one of the Sunday papers and it showed that we were nine points behind, and she asked when the next election was, and I said it wasn’t for another two and a half years and she said: ‘that’s not far enough behind at this stage.’ She sort of took a view that to do things that were right did entail unpopularity until people saw that what you were doing was working and she always had confidence that what she was doing would work and coincide with the electoral cycle, which is, despite the fact that she’s been written up as this incredibly controversial, divisive figure, which is why she won three general elections and was in power for 11 and a half years.'
He added that she might be 'much more honest about the state of Britain's finances, she'd be pointing out the debt as well as a deficit' if Thatcher were in power today. You can listen to the full interview below: