John Lloyd at the Financial Times:
At the peak of her powers in the mid-1980s, Margaret Thatcher confronted enemies within the UK and without, some of them created by her own abrasive nature. But the most important were systemic and largely independent of her, and her engagement with them was of global importance. No surprise, then, that the second instalment of Charles Moore’s three-volume authorised biography of the late prime minister should be devoted just to this pivotal five-year period, 1982-87.
From a domestic UK perspective, the episode that loomed largest was the 1984-85 miners’ strike. The trade unions were then getting a measure of the government’s determination to reduce their powers, a policy made starkly apparent by the ending of union representation (albeit with overwhelming staff acquiescence) at the GCHQ secret communications centre in Cheltenham.
To Arthur Scargill, leader of the National Union of Mineworkers, this played to his default position of full-throated militancy. So too did the replacement of the National Coal Board’s corporatist leadership by the free market-inclined Ian MacGregor, a Scots-American business executive.