JOHN CAMPBELL CONCLUDES his monumental biography of twentieth-century Britain's greatest peacetime prime minister with the Latin tag: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. Margaret Thatcher's eleven and a half years in government shaped today's Britain, in the same way that life for the preceding generation was defined by decisions taken in the mid-l 940s. Campbell seeks to enable us to assess her long-term legacy. Given the irrational feelings Margaret Thatcher still arouses (only recently would the BBC screen a Falklands War drama that depicts her responding to news of casualties with anguish), it will probably not lead many to revise their own assessments; but it ought to.
Her achievements were many. First, Thatcher put the Great back into Great Britain. That Chirac or Schroder would not dare to patronise Blair in the fashion of Giscard or Schmidt talking to Callaghan is attributable to Thatcher's restoration of Britain's fortunes. Although, as Campbell shows, the Tory belief that warships