Today, Wednesday 17 April, as the late Margaret Thatcher is finally laid to rest; let us take a minute to observe a respectful silence and remember the life and achievements of undeniably the greatest peacetime Prime Minister of the last century (and some argue with justification the greatest British Premier ever). Radical and reforming, taking on the reins of power after a period of national crisis when, at times, all seemed lost, the beneficial impact of this pioneering administration on UK politics, and on the country as a whole, remained undiminished 30 years on. This was a Prime Minister with a vision, and the courage and determination to see it come to fruition, something we all have cause to be thankful for even now.
What is more, this was a Prime Minister who can quite fairly be said to have saved this country in hard times when all was chaos and confusion, from enemies without and within; a pivotal and inspirational figure when conflict raged, and an outstanding leader and innovator in times of peace; someone who dared against all precedent to think outside of hidebound tradition and vested interests, and who managed to find a gloriously better way.
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Britons all, the toast is to our Greatest Prime Minister, with all the thanks and deep, abiding respect due to a national hero. I give you:-
Clement Richard Attlee,
1st Earl Attlee
(3 Jan 1883 – 8 Oct 1967)
Oh and – bye, Thatch.