Intellectuals were probably more important in the career of Margaret Thatcher than in that of any previous Conservative Prime Minister. Quite so, the reader may assume, they loathed her. True, most of them did, but not all. We have a paradox: the Conservative Prime Minister most loathed by intellectuals was also the one most helped by them. But they were two different sorts of intellectual. The English-speaking world tends to think of intellectuals as left-wing. Common observation suggests that most are. But by the time Mrs. Thatcher became Leader of the Opposition in 1975, a civil war had lately broken out within the academy. Left orthodoxy—about how to manage the economy, about how to eradicate poverty, about how to deal with the Soviet Union, about whether the Third World was invariably in the right, about whether the permissive society was a good thing after all—was under challenge. Several pillars of the old New Statesman-Observer...

 
Popular Right Now