Meet the young adult fans of Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A recent study has revealed that two-thirds of under 34's embrace Margaret Thatcher's legacy.

The research project into the legacy of Thatcherism, led by the University of Sheffield, showed that two-thirds of 25 to 34-year-olds in Britain supported the former Prime Minister’s values, policies and beliefs.

We spoke to three young Thatcherites about why they like the Iron Lady.


Callum Smiles, 23, Actor, Whitby

Favourite thing about Margaret Thatcher?

Callum says his favourite thing about Ms Thatcher is how she dealt with the mines, claiming there's "no room for sentiment in business".

"A lot of people fail to acknowledge with the mines is that mining is a business, and Maggie Thatcher I thought, was right to treat it that way.  No room for sentiment in business is there?" he said.

"I thought she dealt with them really well because they were becoming inefficient at the turn of the century."

He added that the former Prime Minister was as "ballsy as leaders come".


Have you ever faced criticism for your views?

"A friend once said 'You know what, everything about you I hate, but because it's you, I love it'," he said.

The actor is currently the "only Brexiteer in the cast" in his latest production, and said he was just one of two Conservative voters on his acting course at the University of Central Lancashire.

He added: "I just haven’t heard any arguments that are better than what I’ve heard from the Leave side."


What do your family think?

“I don’t talk politics with my siblings, so I don’t know what they think, but my grandparents and parents are fans."


Do you own any Maggie memorabilia?

“Can't say I do, but now I’m going to look at some.”



Alex Sayer, 31, Political activist, Lincoln

Favourite thing about Margaret Thatcher?

Alex says Margaret Thatcher is her "inspiration".

"I think that she’s timeless really," she said. "She believed in herself and the party believed in her. She failed election after election but she carried on. She studied after she’d had her children. She was very proud of her background, she had poise. She had humour as well, and her sayings are so true. They carry on. They just go on throughout time."


Do you own any Maggie memorabilia?

The political activist was once in possession of Margaret Thatcher's phone, and currently owns a Downing Street-themed tie "with a little Number 10 on it".

"I knew somebody from the Foreign Office that had got the phone that she’d used when talking about the Falklands war and I had that for about 18 months or so. It wasn’t actually mine. A piece of history.

"I was given as a gift a signed copy of The Path to Power, but I felt that I couldn’t accept it because it was so good."


Have you ever faced criticism for your views?

Alex admitted she kept her views on Margaret Thatcher private.

"I keep my views to myself," she said. "Although I’m involved in the [Conservative] party, I don’t talk politics to my friends that aren’t in politics. It’s two halves really.

"You need to respect other people’s beliefs and let them get on with it."

The political activist added that she thought it had become "fashionable" to dislike Margaret Thatcher and her values.

"There is an unwritten rule that it’s ok to talk badly about Conservatives," she said.


Favourite policy?

“It’s more her beliefs than the policy. It’s more the individual. Standing by her convictions."



Philip Sheppard, 22, University student, Croydon

Favourite thing about Margaret Thatcher?

Philip said he thought Ms Thatcher was a "delightful woman", and seeing her at the helm of the Conservatives gave him hope that anyone could become a political leader.

"I thought anyone could be leader because here we go, we’ve got a woman Prime Minister. At the time Tony Blair was in power so I thought most politicians were male, so I was pleasantly surprised. I came across her from a historical, politically-neutral perspective.," he said.

The aspiring solicitor added that he first came across Ms Thatcher in a Horrible Histories comic segment about the poll tax riots, which he says was a "fairly negative" first experience of the former PM.


Do you own any Maggie memorabilia?

"I’ve got her biography which I won in a quiz where Jacob Rees-Mogg was the quiz master," Philip said.

“I wouldn’t have a picture of Thatcher anywhere, but I do admire her as a person.”


Have you ever faced criticism for your views?

"I don’t think people have been too hostile to me," he said. "It’s only on the doorstep that people have been hostile to me, but that’s me as a Conservative, not me as a Thatcherite," he said.

Philip added that many of his peers saw Ms Thatcher as "some sort of bogeyman".

"People want me to explain my views a bit more, but once they realised that I’m coming from an angle where Thatcher actually came from a more lowly background than a lot of people you associate Conservatives with, the fact that she worked hard, encouraged hard work, and a meritocratic system, I think people get where I’m coming from.

"We see Thatcher’s success as more in hindsight rather than what it was at the time."


If you could ask her one question, what would it be?

“How do you make Thatcherism cool? That’s the question I want to ask her.”