Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s notes | 5 November 2015

Plus: the house that Jacques built; ministers cannot comply with international law; more on Prof Sir Geoff Palmer; and cosmetic surgery

It is good to learn that the current management of the V&A want to reverse their predecessors’ lack of interest in Margaret Thatcher’s clothes. The museum’s original refusal showed a lack of imagination about how women have tried to gain greater power in a man’s world, and how clothes tell this story. Museums love to have suits of medieval armour. They reveal the amazing combination of defensive utility and elegant display which the age required. Even better if the armour was worn by a great warrior on a great occasion, like the Black Prince at Crecy. Mrs Thatcher’s clothes were her armour on her fields of battle — in Parliament, on television, in Moscow, at her party conference after the Brighton bomb. They helped her win. I hope a generous donor will step forward to buy them for the nation at this late stage. If the V&A doesn’t take them, the clothes would look well in the Imperial War Museum.

In political reality, George Osborne must be right that member states not in the eurozone cannot prevent those who are from integrating further. But the trouble with his ‘We want to help you do what you want, so long as you protect our position outside the zone’ offer is that the further integration will be a disaster across the entire Continent. It sounds logical to say that the travails of Greece etc. have proved the need for banking union, fiscal integration and so on, but in fact the development of a de facto central government for the zone would pile Pelion on Ossa, forcing Germany, who would have to pay, to create a form of imperium over it. Obviously Britain is better out than in, but the greater need is to stop trying to repair and extend the house that Jacques Delors built, and arrange for its orderly demolition.

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