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04/09/2013

Nelson Mandela thanked her, she was the workers' champion: Thatcher's biographer

Maggie thatcher

Her biographer would beg to differ: graffiti in west Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Peter Mulhypeter/AFP/Getty Images)

Charles Moore, Margaret Thatcher's authorized biographer, is the former editor of the London Daily Telegraph, newspaper of the British establishment. He has been working on Thatcher's biography since 1997. Moore was given full access to her papers and spent many hours interviewing her in her London home as she declined from ill health.

The agreement was that the book, Not For Turning, would not be published until after Thatcher's death. The first volume will be on the shelves after her funeral next week. Moore, a respected editor and elegant writer, no doubt has a bestseller on his hands as the world can't get enough of this British icon. What will he say?  

In this article he addresses some of the most common criticisms against Thatcher. 

She supported South Africa's apartheid regime after the rest of the world imposed tough sanctions against the government.

Moore writes: "Her fierce opposition to sanctions against white South Africa was based on the idea that they would keep on hitting the wrong people – the oppressed blacks – and bring about revolution. As a result, Britain was the country most successful in persuading the apartheid government to move. Mrs Thatcher had much more to do with the eventual release of Nelson Mandela than most of those more obviously on his side. He came to No 10 and thanked her."

Thatcher believed in extreme individualism with no sense of collective society when she declared, "there is no such thing as society."

Moore writes: "She meant that ''society’’ is made up of individuals and their families who all have responsibilities. If they do not discharge those responsibilities, society cannot thrive. Her doctrines were, in essence, social doctrines. She believed in individual freedom, but as part of a rule of law, and a devotion to the nation in which a citizen lives. She saw this model as existing best in Britain and in those English-speaking countries – notably the United States – born of similar traditions."

Hamida Ghafour is a foreign affairs reporter at the Star. She has lived and worked in the Middle East and Asia for more than 10 years and is the author of a book on Afghanistan. Follow her on Twitter @HamidaGhafour  

Comments

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What is more 'precisely true,'is that Thatcher changed her mind about Mandela and the ANC. She honestly thought them "terrorists" in the beginning. But in time, she 'turned.' First, she urged PW Botha to consider releasing Mandela. Then, later, when PW had a stroke and was replaced by FW de Klerk, FW went to 10 Downing where Thatcher told him the jig was finally up: she could no longer stand alone against sanctions. In the end, as it turns out, she - together with other Western nations - helped set Mandela free and bring an end to apartheid. It's a story little told. I hope Moore tells it.

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