The Iron Lady’s magnetism

New books cast the Thatcher-Gorbachev relationship in a harsher light

The World Today Updated 11 December 2020 Published 11 December 2015 2 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

Margaret Thatcher’s statement that Mikhail Gorbachev was a man ‘one could do business with’ heralded the beginning of the end of the Cold War. But what did she really mean? Recent memoirs cast new light on the stormy Thatcher-Gorbachev relationship.

It was clear after their first meeting at Chequers, the British prime ministerial retreat, in 1984, that they had a rare bond. Thatcher’s interpreter, Tony Bishop, recalls ‘palpable human chemistry at work… a flirtation that was pleasurable and stimulating but ultimately “safe” and “platonic”,’ according to the second volume of Charles Moore’s authorized biography of Thatcher, Everything She Wants.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.