Miranda Sawyer
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Miranda Sawyer
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Just why did all those Tory boys fancy Margaret Thatcher?

Just why did all those Tory boys fancy Margaret Thatcher?
It’s the expression that does it. Meryl Streep, a brilliant actress, has pinpointed Margaret Thatcher’s “mother knows best” look. The one she used with interviewers, ministers, royalty, Reagan.

The one that reduced almost every man she met into a pant-moistening little boy, thrilled and scared and oops-I-need-the-toilet all at once.

She was mummy, nanny and matron all rolled into one exciting package: exciting, that is, if you had once been a sad little 12-year- old, sent away to an all-male boarding school.

Ripped from the bosom of their real mother as children, as adults such public schoolboys were attracted to the bust substitute – the bustitute – of Margaret Thatcher.

They knew she might take their eye out with her pointy bra, mind, but then she was the Iron Lady.

Just as some women can’t resist bad boys, some men can’t resist bully-birds. Maggie was a quintessential bully-bird, a force of nature without sympathy for anyone weaker, or less advantaged, or not as sure of themselves.

A woman who would grab a bull by the horns, make it cry and then force it to blow its nose properly into a hanky.

Weak little Tory boys, married to quiet mice from the Shires, found her masculine femininity utterly irresistible.

Thatcher reduced incorrigible flirts like Alan Clark to jelly, made Willy Whitelaw quake in his soft shoes. No doubt she made a young David Cameron want to cry, in a funny way that he couldn’t tell his mum about.

Even Jon Snow, that most formidable of interviewers, confessed last week he could “never quite forget that she was a woman”.

He told how she would tap him imperiously on the knee as she informed him what a stupid question he had asked. “She was very early into Lycra tights,” he remembered. “They screamed as she crossed and uncrossed her legs.”

They were right to.