Portrait of a leading lady
Margaret Thatcher had all of her chores neatly lined up at the weekend.
First, there was the kitchen to tidy. Then the bathroom, a dash around with the duster, and on to the shopping and the laundry.
After that, she had to tidy up the Tory Party, polish off Ted Heath and give Britain a good spring-cleaning.
With Margaret Thatcher it's sometimes a bit hard to tell whether she wants to be Prime Minister or Housewife of the Year.
As she put it: “What people don't realise about me is that I am a very ordinary person who leads a very normal life.
“I enjoy it—seeing that the family have a good breakfast. And shopping keeps me in touch.”
But she added: “Oh, yes, I do like power. I like being in a position to do things, instead of just talking. But I have never been ruthless and I would never ride roughshod over other people.”
Mrs. Thatcher applies the same slightly Puritan sense of order, decency and respectability to politics that she does to her sparkling Chelsea home.
In her Britain, there would be no dust on the shelves.
Like her friend Sir Keith Joseph, she believes that morality and politics converge.
“Morality has a great deal to do with society,” she said. “If you don't take that into account, you end up in a decadent, undisciplined society.
“One of the problems now is that some people mistake liberty for licence.
“They insist that they can do whatever they like. They say it doesn't matter how indecent things are, or what is on television when children are watching.
“But you can't have liberty without order and restrictions.
“People say I am middle-class, but I learned that philosophy in a very ordinary home in a small town.”
The middle-class label and talk of her luncheon-club hats irritate her.
Another thing that makes Mrs. Thatcher angry is the way talented people are driven out of Britain by high taxes.
“Racing—drivers, actors, even pop-stars, all go off to Switzerland,” she said.
“We should want success. We should want the best—yes, even if it's only a pop star.”
Mrs. Thatcher may not know much about pop stars, but she's learning very quickly about success. That, really is her philosophy.
She believes quite firmly in the right of a small town grocer's daughter from Lincolnshire to aspire to the highest office in the land.
Without, of course, neglecting the dusting.