Drumlanrig: How Margaret Thatcher failed in her French connection

Snippets from the past week in the world of politics

How Margaret Thatcher failed in her French connection

As cinemas prepare to screen The Iron Lady, it has brought back plenty of reminiscences from Mrs T’s time in charge, including her former official photographer, Jason Fraser. Interviewed by CNN, he recalls her relationship with French president Francois Mitterrand. Mrs Thatcher “used all of her feminine guile”, said Fraser. This Mitterrand found “terribly frustrating”.

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He adds: “Once I travelled with the French president and he was looking at a newspaper article and it had Margaret Thatcher in it and he just said: ‘I can’t take it any more! What are we going to do with this woman?’” And that was someone on the other side of the Channel.

Backhanded acts of kindness

The Iron Lady has also had veteran Scottish Tory grandees reminiscing. Lord Sanderson of Bowden spoke of the unsolicited and unreported acts of great kindness that she carried out when she was in No 10, before adding ruefully: “Mind you, if you weren’t up to the mark when it came to your work, she would blast you from here to eternity.” Meanwhile, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie seemed more enamoured of Meryl Streep than Mrs T. “If anyone can do Maggie justice it is her,” the noble lord said. “Just look what she did with something as thin as Mamma Mia.”

Ed Miliband’s twit tweet proves a blockbuster

Ed Miliband’s rocky start to the year reached farcical proportions on Friday when the Labour leader, tweeting about the sad death of TV presenter Bob Holness, below, noted how he would always be remembered for fronting up “Blackbusters”. Coming after he had reprimanded Diane Abbott for a her own badly worded tweet about how “white people” like to divide and rule, the timing could not have been worse. Reports yesterday pinned the blame on Miliband’s Scottish-born press aide Kenny Young, who – it was claimed – had done the typing. This is grossly unfair on the estimable Young. Only a twit would get someone else to tweet for him.

Brewing up coffee while Holyrood burns

At Holyrood, the parliamentary term does not start until next week, but one or two politicians were hanging around, such as the SNP’s Christine Grahame, who was caught up in a fire alarm last week. Grahame was heard to say: “They can burn the bloody building down, as long as they don’t get the coffee shop.” For the record, the parliament and coffee shop are still standing.