Margaret Thatcher had many remarkable achievements in her long career, but one of the more curious and far-reaching was her invention of ‘Mr Whippy’ ice cream. Before she embarked on politics she had worked as an industrial chemist for a food company, and it was in the research laboratory that she came up with the discovery. So the woman dubbed the ‘milk snatcher’ in the 1970s, because of her decision as Education Secretary to withdraw the automatic entitlement to free school milk, should really be celebrated for her pioneering contributions to the dairy industry and youthful happiness. Of course many Tory MPs of the Eighties, relishing the smack of firm government under her leadership, associated her with the word ‘whippy’ in a very different, far less innocent context.
Mrs Thatcher’s crucial role in Britain’s dessert heritage is just one of many intriguing facts contained in this enjoyable, wide-ranging book about the decline of the modern Conservative Party. Though he covers certain aspects of Tory history, stretching right back to the sixteenth century, Wheatcroft concentrates his attention on the