Mrs Thatcher in Carnival walkabout
Mrs Thatcher paid her annual visit to Finchley Carnival on Saturday—she has turned up regularly for 20 years. They may jeer at the Prime Minister in Toxteth. In Finchley she is still surrounded by adoring crowds.
There was one dissenting voice in her 2½-hour stay. As she was clapping the Saffron Majorettes from the platform, a large bearded man shouted from outside the enclosure: “Is this your idea of a free society, Thatcher? Ho, ho, ho.” As security men, Special Branch, police and dog handlers looked towards him, the man bolted into the crowd.
Mrs Thatcher seemed determined to show she was unafraid of any tension. She caused consternation to the police on her arrival in Victoria Park when she stopped her car and started an unscheduled walkabout. In the enclosure she told the organisers: “There is no trouble. All our usual people are here. I think it is going to be marvellous.” She made it clear she was there as MP for Finchley and Friern Barnet and refused to discuss anything but the carnival with the national media.
She was officially welcomed by the chairman of the organising panel, Mrs Doris Curtis, and was in her usual place alongside the Mayor as the winning floats came into the arena. Mrs Thatcher, accompanied by husband Denis, presented football awards, posed for photographs, watched the opening arena events and had tea in the VIP tent with civic dignitaries. When Carnival Queen Kwan James had trouble cutting the fruit cake, Mrs Thatcher took over and served her hosts.
She insisted on watching the majorettes before going to the charity marquees and delayed her departure time by half an hour. In the packed marquee she, as usual, bought tea towels, chatted to stallholders and signed autographs, when she signed a get-well card for nine-year-old Maria Kaltino, who is in Barnet General Hospital, the Prime Minister said: “I do hope the little girl gets better.”
Her anxious bodyguards often had trouble keeping pace with her—and Mr Thatcher often got left behind. Mrs Thatcher, who spent pounds on the charities, bought three bitter lemon drinks for 40p when she arrived at the refreshment tent. Her husband arrived after they had been drunk. Told that he had missed a bitter lemon he smiled and said: “I can miss that with equanimity. If it was a double gin I would be worried.”