Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 March 2015

Calculating, tactical and caustic... Margaret Thatcher's agenda was devoid of any consensus or consistency

The Anglo-Irish Agreement signing at Hillsborough between Mrs Thatcher and Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald in 1985
The Anglo-Irish Agreement signing at Hillsborough between Mrs Thatcher and Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald in 1985
Riots in west Belfast during the hunger strikes in 1981
Margaret Thatcher chatting to SDLP leader John Hume in 1981
Margaret Canning meeting the RUC in 1990
File photo dated 12/08/1987 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis walking on the Trevose golf course, Cornwall, on the first day of their summer holidays. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 13/07/1950 of Margaret Hilda Roberts, the Conservative candidate for Dartford, on her way to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Baroness Thatcher in Downing Street...Prime Minister David Cameron helps Baroness Thatcher as she leaves Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 8, 2010. Prime Minister David Cameron today welcomed his predecessor Baroness Thatcher to 10 Downing Street for a private meeting. See PA story POLITICS Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Max Nash/PA Wire...A
1987: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, enjoys a cup of tea at the opening of the South Mimms Motorway service area, watched by the press on June 6, 1987 in England. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 1: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher poses inside Number 10 Downing Street in London, England on April 01, 1984. (Photo by Express/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 04, 1979: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts (b 1925), with her husband Denis Thatcher (1915 - 2003), waves to the crowds outside the Conservative Party headquarters on May 4, 1979 in London, England. (Photo by John Minihan/Getty Images)
1967: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Conservative politician and future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher speaking at a party conference on Octobe 21, 1967 in England. (Photo by Harry Dempster/Express/Getty Images)
1984: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher shares a joke with American President Ronald Reagan, at No. 10 Downing Street, on June 5, 1984 in London, England. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1983: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her German counterpart, Helmut Kohl, at a press conference at Number 12 Downing Street on April 22, 1983 in London, England. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1986: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Nancy Reagan, the wife of US president Ronald Reagan, meets British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at Number 10, Downing Street on July 22, 1986 in London, England. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 10 NOVEMBER: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. (L-R) Liberal Party Leader David Steel, former Labour Leader James Callaghan and Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher carrying wreaths of poppies during a Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph on November 10, 1980 in Whitehall, London. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1951: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Margaret Roberts, Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent and youngest woman candidate in the election, talking to dustmen during her election campaign in October 4, 1951 in England. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
File photo dated 8/12/07 of Baroness Thatcher who joined Falkland Islanders and former servicemen in London to honour all those who lost their lives in wars in the South Atlantic. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire
File photo dated 04/05/2000 of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sitting beside her portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
File photo dated 4/1/79 of Margaret Thatcher in an inter-ship jackstay for her high-speed shortcut across the Pool feature of the 25th London International Boat Show which she opened at Earls Court in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Libray filer dated 23/11/2001 of the head of the puppet Margaret Thatcher on display at a Sotheby's auction of Spitting Image puppets. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Toby Melville/PA Wire
Librray filer dated 10/11/00 of Sir Denis Thatcher (left), accompanied by his wife and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (centre), after receiving his first honorary degree from the University of Buckingham in Buckinghamshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire
New premier Thatcher clashed with ministers... File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Margaret Thatcher waving from the doorstep of Number 10 Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 30, 2009. Thatcher swept into Downing Street determined to push through a programme of swingeing spending cuts and radical economic reform. But official papers released today by the National Archives in Kew, west London, under the 30-year rule show how the new Conservative Prime Minister initially struggled to impose her vision on her Cabinet colleagues. See PA story RECORDS Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire...A
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
File photo dated 12/10/77 of Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher with 16 year old Rother Valley schoolboy William Hague, after he received a standing ovation from delegates at the Tory party conference in Blackpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
LONDON - 2005: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Former leader of the Conservative party, Margaret Thatcher arrives at the Houses of Parliament on October 20, 2005 in London. (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)
Library filer dated 8/6/1988 of Margaret Thatcher standing in the shell of London's old Battersea power station, when she renamed the site 'The Battersea'. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 21/2/07 of Former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher in front of a bronze statue of herself, inside the Palace of Westminster, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Johnny Green/PA Wire
File photo dated 13/9/07 of Gordon Brown with Baroness Thatcher as she leaves her old official residence at 10 Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire
File photo dated 04/05/2000 of former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher sitting alone as she waits for the start of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 06/12/1990 of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with former US President Ronald Reagan at Claridges, in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
File photo dated 12/10/84 of the upper floors of the Grand Hotel Brighton, severely damaged in the aftermath of an IRA bomb, which was planted during Tory Party conference week. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Library filer dated 3/5/1989 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher outside 10 Downing Street, in London, with her son Mark, daughter-in-law Diane, and two-month-old grandson Michael. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Library filer dated 26/1/1990 of Margaret Thatcher toasting Julie Goodyear and the cast of Coronation Street when she visited the Rovers Return at Granada Television Studios in Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
LONDON - 2006: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival The Rt Hon Baroness Margaret Thatcher (L) and daughter Carol Thatcher watch the match between Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium and Amelie Mauresmo of France during the women's final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 8, 2006 in London, England. Baroness (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - 2009: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Baroness Thatcher waves from the front door of her home after returning from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital following an operation on her broken arm on June 29, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 8: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British Prime Minister David Cameron greets former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street on June 8, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON - 1987: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Conservative Party Chairman Norman Tebbit waving to supporters from the Conservative Headquarters on election night. Original Publication: People Disc - HM0459 (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
LONDON - 2006: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher poses next to a recently created portrait of herself on August 1, 2006 in London, England. Baroness (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - 2009: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah (L) greet Lady Thatcher at Downing Street on November 23, 2009 in London. Baroness (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON - 2008: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Lady Margaret Thatcher walks with Chelsea pensioners (L-R) John Walker, Charles McLaughlin, David Pultney and John Ley during a photocall for the announcement of the naming of the new firmary at the Royal Chelsea Hospital on February 14, 2008 in London, England. Baroness (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
File photo dated 12/10/77 of Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher with 16 year old Rother Valley schoolboy William Hague, after he received a standing ovation from delegates at the Tory party conference in Blackpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 09/11/1959 of Baroness Thatcher, with her children Mark and Carol, aged 6, at their home in Farnborough, Kent. The BBC has said today they have no plans for Carol, after she referred to a tennis player as a 'Golliwog'. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 3, 2009. The daughter of the former Prime Minister made the remark after filming last Thursday during a conversation with the show's presenter Adrian Chiles and several guests. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
British politician Margaret Thatcher talks to a policeman outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
British politician Margaret Thatcher outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Conservative Leader Margaret Thatcher ariving at Tory Headquarters in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 12/08/1987 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis walking on the Trevose golf course, Cornwall, on the first day of their summer holidays. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 13/07/1950 of Margaret Hilda Roberts, the Conservative candidate for Dartford, on her way to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Baroness Thatcher in Downing Street...Prime Minister David Cameron helps Baroness Thatcher as she leaves Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 8, 2010. Prime Minister David Cameron today welcomed his predecessor Baroness Thatcher to 10 Downing Street for a private meeting. See PA story POLITICS Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Max Nash/PA Wire...A
New premier Thatcher clashed with ministers... File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Margaret Thatcher waving from the doorstep of Number 10 Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 30, 2009. Thatcher swept into Downing Street determined to push through a programme of swingeing spending cuts and radical economic reform. But official papers released today by the National Archives in Kew, west London, under the 30-year rule show how the new Conservative Prime Minister initially struggled to impose her vision on her Cabinet colleagues. See PA story RECORDS Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire...A
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 24th January 1950: When not engaged in her political work in Dartford (Kent) where she is standing as Tory candidate, Miss Margaret Roberts, youngest candidate for the general election, is busy with her work as a research chemist. Margaret Roberts went on to become Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 7th December 1962: Conservative MP Margaret Thatcher has fun on a ski run in Battersea Park with instructor Joe Hoki. (Photo by Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. circa 1950: Conservative candidate Margaret Roberts accompanies four voters on the piano in a sing-song after a brief political argument in the bar of The Bull Inn, Dartford. (Margaret Roberts married Denis Thatcher and went on to become Prime Minister.) (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher covering her face with her hand at the 1985 Conservative Party Conference. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. Conservative politician and future prime minister Margaret Hilda Thatcher, wiping dishes whilst a nurse looks on. (Photo by Chris Ware/Getty Images)
File photo dated 10/06/1983 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher waving to well-wishers after her election win. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 09/11/1959 of Baroness Thatcher, with her children Mark and Carol, aged 6, at their home in Farnborough, Kent. The BBC has said today they have no plans for Carol, after she referred to a tennis player as a 'Golliwog'. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 3, 2009. The daughter of the former Prime Minister made the remark after filming last Thursday during a conversation with the show's presenter Adrian Chiles and several guests. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 11/05/83 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher receiving Soviet writer Aleksander Solzhenitsyn at No 10 Downing Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Issue date: Monday August 4, 2008. Tributes were being paid today to Nobel-prize winning author and Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who has died aged 89. Solzhenitsyn, whose books chronicled the horrors of the Soviet gulag system, died last night of heart failure, according to his son Stepan. See PA Story DEATH Solzhenitsyn. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
British politician Margaret Thatcher talks to a policeman outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
British politician Margaret Thatcher outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Conservative Leader Margaret Thatcher ariving at Tory Headquarters in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 10/06/1983 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher waving to well-wishers after her election win. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at St Angelo Airport outside Enniskillen inspecting the 39 Field Regiment of Royal Artillery in 1981.
A crowd gather at Free Derry Corner in Londonderry, to celebrate Margaret Thatcher's death
The Union flag flying at half mast above Westminster after Margaret Thatcher's death
The Union flag flying at half mast over Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh following Margaret Thatcher's death
The Union flag flying at half mast above 10 Downing Street in London after Margaret Thatcher's death
Revellers celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher in Glasgow
Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, on a visit to Belfast. 29/8/1979. Richard Needham can be seen to the right of Mrs Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, on a visit to Belfast. 1981. Mrs Thatcher talks to guests during a dinner held at Stormont. 5/3/1981
Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, on a visit to Belfast. 1981. The Prime Minister Mrs margaret Thatcher greets the guests arriving for dinner at Stormont. 5/3/1981
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The Union Flag is lowered to half mast at the Houses of Parliament after the death of Baroness Thatcher
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Baroness Margaret Thatcher has died
Margaret Thatcher at the Churchill Museum Opening, Cabinet War Rooms, London
Flowers laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death this morning after a stroke
Margaret Thatcher fielding questions with Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe (background), at a press conference, in London
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009
File photo dated 11/05/83 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher receiving Soviet writer Aleksander Solzhenitsyn at No 10 Downing Street, London
File photo dated 14/11/04 of Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair during the annual National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, London
File photo dated 24/10/2000 of former Conservative Prime Ministers Sir Edward Heath and Baroness Thatcher check their watches as they listen to the debate at the Conservative Party Conference annual conference in Bournemouth. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. November 1976: Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher makes a 'victory' sign outside her home in Chelsea, London. (Photo by John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. October 1985: British prime minister Margaret Thatcher looking pensive at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street, London, at the start of her third term in office. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts, as the Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent, and before she married husband Denis. (Photo by Chris Ware/Getty Images)
1980: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Conservative politician and first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher speaks at the Tory Party Conference on in Brighton, East Sussex circa 1980. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1985: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British prime minister Margaret Thatcher holds a chimpanzee in 1985. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
File photo dated 08/11/05 of Margaret Thatcher at the memorial service for former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, at Westminster Abbey in central London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
The death of former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher has divided opinion across Northern Ireland
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, London, in 1989, 10 years after they moved in
Prime Minister David Cameron pays respects to Margaret Thatcher
Meryl Streep has paid tribute to Baroness Thatcher
Geri Halliwell has tweeted about Margaret Thatcher's death
Morrissey has attacked Baroness Thatcher after the former prime minister died
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Foreman Mr Robert McCullough of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher at the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Library filer dated 8/6/1988 of Margaret Thatcher standing in the shell of London's old Battersea power station, when she renamed the site 'The Battersea'. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 4/1/79 of Margaret Thatcher in an inter-ship jackstay for her high-speed shortcut across the Pool feature of the 25th London International Boat Show which she opened at Earls Court in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton
People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton, south London
20/6/2001 Baroness Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, seated in the House of Lords, London, for the State Opening of Parliament
Members of the armed services will line the route of Baroness Thatcher's funeral procession to St Paul's Cathedral
A man lays a bunch of flowers outside the home of Lady Margaret Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death
Margaret Thatcher pictured with her husband Denis in 1999
Margaret Thatcher waves to well-wishers after her 1983 election win
Margaret Thatcher arrives at 10 Downing Street after winning the 1979 election
Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
Margaret Thatcher at the Tory Party Conference in Brighton in 1980
Baroness Thatcher's death left some Twitter users with the impression that the singer Cher had died
Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has died following a stroke
Jose Manuel Barroso hailed Baroness Thatcher as a 'great stateswoman'
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Mrs Thatcher talks to Siobhan O'Hars (left) and Katherine O'Hare during her visit to Rathmore Grammar School, Finaghy. 19/6/1978 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Hands across the counter as the Prime Minister margaret Thatcher shakes habds with shoppers during a tour of Belfast City centre. 28/5/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. In the driving seat...Margaret Thatcher is shown the interior of a GT dawb sports motor by director of the Belfast Tool and gauge Company, David Woods, during her visit to the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. 14/11/1975 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
1975: Margaret Thatcher takes over from Edward Heath as the new leader of the Conservative Party. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher arriving at RAF Aldergrove, Belfast. 28/5/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. 5/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Durham Miners' Association general secretary David Hopper described Baroness Thatcher's death as 'a great day for all the miners'
A bouquet is laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in Chester Square
Flowers are laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in London
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
Visit of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at St. Angelo Airport outside Enniskillen where she is pictured inspecting the 39 Field Regiment of Royal Artillery who presented her with a beret by Col Kit Faith, 6th March 1981
File photo dated 29/05/1987 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, waist-deep in blackcurrent bushes, bringing the agricultural scene into focus during a visit to Appleford Farm, Rivenhall, near Witham, East Anglia
File photo dated 04/12/1985 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with Queen Elizabeth II prior to a dinner at 10 Downing Street, London, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Prime Minister's office
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said Baroness Thatcher was 'the reason I came into politics'
File photo dated 24/10/2000 of former Conservative Prime Ministers Sir Edward Heath and Baroness Thatcher check their watches as they listen to the debate at the Conservative Party Conference annual conference in Bournemouth. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

It won't be easy to put a clean spin on Margaret Thatcher's contribution to Northern Ireland, though many will want to.

She is regarded as a murderer by republicans who blame her for the deaths of hunger strikers, yet it is clear that while she talked down their demands in public she made overtures to reach a deal with them.

She said that Northern Ireland was as British as Finchley, yet outraged unionists by bringing the Irish Republic into the governing of the place.

Everybody had occasion to be angry with her.

Dublin was appalled by the "Out, Out, Out" response to the proposals of the New Ireland Forum, which made her look nothing but intransigent, right on the eve of her constitutional compromise.

That was the distinctive style of her, she could present herself as almost maniacally inflexible – "the lady's not for turning" – and then get away with compromises that weaker or more ameliorative leaders could not have pulled off.

While she was cutting and slashing in Britain, she endorsed several economic and social measures in Northern Ireland which plainly contradicted her philosophy. So we had an expansion in public housing while she was selling off council houses in England and Wales, and we had fair employment legislation while she was arguing for greater freedoms for employers to do as they pleased.

She was responsible for the broadcasting ban and the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

She was gone from office before the real start of the peace process, but against all advice from unionists she had poured huge efforts into bringing stability here, both with security measures and attempts at political compromise.

Unionists in the two big parties, the Ulster Unionist Party led by James Molyneaux and the DUP by Ian Paisley, pooled their clout and suspended their rivalry in response to the Anglo-Irish Agreement of November 1985.

In unionist lore this is still regarded as a betrayal, but it was a stepping stone towards the peace process and the kind of compromises that would be required through it.

Then again, can one really imagine that Mrs Thatcher knew where it would lead? It's doubtful.

She said afterwards that she had expected the Agreement to bring security rewards, tougher action by the Irish police and army against the IRA. Yet there was nothing about security in it.

The defter thinking in Whitehall was that the Agreement would shore up the political prospects of the SDLP and stem the rise of Sinn Fein, which had been making electoral gains and taking seats in councils.

However, that plan may have relied on the hope that the SDLP, following the signing of the Agreement in Hillsborough, would enter the rolling devolution Assembly established by then-Secretary of State James Prior. It declined to, and that Assembly collapsed with Ian Paisley and others in the end being physically carried out by the RUC.

Yet some unionists realised that a change had come that would not be reversed without negotiation and compromise. These included the younger thinkers like Peter Robinson in the DUP and Frank Miller in the UUP, who two years later joined explorative secret talks with other parties in Duisberg in West Germany.

What none of them would have known then was that Germany would be changing a lot faster in the coming years than Ireland would. The Anglo-Irish Agreement provided for a British-Irish Secretariat at Maryfield in east Belfast and this became a focus for routine protest. This was not joint authority but it appeared to have the seeds of it, and the Irish government came to be consulted and to assume the right to have a voice on nearly everything.

Twelve years after the Agreement a key unionist demand, even while conceding cross-border bodies in the Good Friday Agreement, would be the abolition of the Maryfield Secretariat.

Tony Blair said in his memoirs that he misheard them and thought they were talking about the Murrayfield rugby ground, but that he would have been happy to scrap that for them, too, to get them on board.

The cross-border bodies were not a dilution of the Anglo-Irish Agreement but essentially a sign of the unionist reconciliation with Dublin involvement. And that had been made possible by Thatcher bringing Dublin in without even consulting them.

The very model of a three-stranded process of negotiation was shored up in the Anglo-Irish Agreement by Thatcher guaranteeing that no deal excluding Dublin and cross-border arrangements would ever be possible.

In that sense she laid a cornerstone of the peace process.

But was she an angel or a devil?

She was in power through the hunger strikes and though she sounded off with a contempt for the prisoners and a determination to let them die, she secretly opened channels to try to avert that.

She was enraged by many incidents, the murder of her friend Ian Gow and the attempt to wipe out her whole cabinet with a bomb at the Grand Hotel in Brighton in 1984.

Thatcher had a sense that Northern Ireland was important in part because she had felt the heat of the blast, yet she was more tactically political than vengeful.

She was in office when the solicitor Pat Finucane was murdered by the now-acknowledged collusion of security forces and a question hangs in the air about how much she knew about that.

Could the woman who had ordered the sinking of the General Belgrano when it was steaming away from the Falklands have given the nod to the murder of a solicitor who had family links to the IRA?

Infuriated by the Ballygawley bus bomb which killed eight soldiers, she introduced a ban on members of paramilitary organisations and their political associates being heard in the media.

That is remembered as a folly, for the voices were overdubbed by lip-syncing actors; yet the removal of that ban became a useful hand to play in the exchange of concessions with the IRA later on.

Margaret Thatcher's career at the head of Government was long enough for her to annoy everyone she had previously endeared herself to, including most of her ministers.

It is little surprise then that her record in Northern Ireland is so ambiguous.

She was an annoyance and a facilitator.

Caustic in her manner, she was at least tactical in her politics, more interested in outcomes than in the gut satisfaction of having crushed those who offended her.

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