Baroness Thatcher

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 8th April 2013

It has just been announced that Baroness Thatcher died a short time ago.

I had a very high regard for her and met her on several occasions. After I’d been mugged within BBC Television Centre, she made a point of coming over to me at a Charity Event and asking how I was.

When Margaret Thatcher came to power this country was in a parlous state and we were held to ransom by the Unions – dinosaurs who couldn’t or wouldn’t see that the world was changing and one could not keep to the old ways of closed shops and ‘everybody out’. Mind you that slumbering dragon is rearing its head again and isn’t it interesting how their leaders are on massive salaries and also enjoy enormous perks. Are they so different from the Heads of Industry – I think not. They are full of belligerence and ‘hate’ and couldn’t give a damn for the rest of us who are not cosseted by being in a Union. The days of wicked Mill lords and sending little children down mines and up chimneys are long gone but to listen to the Union Barons, you’d think those days were waiting just around the corner.

Mrs. Thatcher was defeated over the Poll Tax which was badly explained to the public and which was vehemently opposed by those who had the most to lose. Quite frankly, as I said recently, if there has to be a local tax then those earning should pay it which is much more fair than lumping a rateable value on a house which might have only one inhabitant who might need to use/call on the social and public services. Whereas a house with five working adults still only pay the same rate and there are more of them to call on the services for which we all pay.

I attended the Conservative Wembley Rally in 1987 and was asked to read out a letter sent to the conference by Sir Yehudi Menuhin. I was proud to do so but totally taken aback by the vitriol heaped on me by the press and even by the Telegraph. It also cost me some Corporate work – one Council up North phoned my agent to cancel my services as a presenter at a conference. They were quite upfront that the job was cancelled because of my politics. I’m no rapant fascist but I was brought up to believe in hardwork, duty and personal responsibility.  Mrs. Thatcher sent me a delightful letter of thanks commencing with a hand written 'Dear Jan (If I may) and signing it with a little postscript.  She didn't have to spend the time - a round robin would have sufficed.  I think she was an intrinsically good person.

Mrs. Thatcher was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth.  She lived above her parents' grocery shop and attended a Grammar School.  Although she and Dennis did achieve wealth, they knew 'how the other half lived'.  The same cannot be said for our privileged hierarchy today.  Most of the high ranking people in Government have private means, were public school educated went to Oxbridge and are really out of touch with the rest of us.  You bet they didn't have to think about turning down their heating this last winter or looking to see what savings they could make in household expenses. I'm sure it is an apochryphal story by it is said that when Marie Antoinette was told the populace were starving and had no bread, she is purported to have said 'Let them eat cake'.

I've also met Carol Thatcher who was charming and in Cape Town met her brother for which the same cannot be said.  He treated my son with something akin to contempt for trying to make conversation with him.  We were in a group and introduced to him - he could barely bring himself to be civil.

Anyway, I’m very sorry to hear of her death and sad that her last years were blighted by senile dementia.  It is a great shame that there is absolutely no one in Government today who can even remotely fill her shoes.  And that is what we need - a Strong Leader who is not afraid to make difficult choices in the short term for the long term good.

This photo was taken at a Charity Event.  Esther Rantzen and I are standing on either side of Mrs. T - others in the photo - Bob Monkhouse, Duncan Goodhew, Mary Parkinson, Lord Feldman and Lord Lawson, Adam Faith, Lynsey de Paul - in no particular order and there are others whose names I cannot remember.  I've posted a couple of photos in the Gallery  of myself with 'Maggie'.

I'm so glad it has been decided to give her a proper 'State' funeral.  She deserved it.  In the 20th Century there were really only two great Statespeople, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher and both of them had their detractors.  No one in  a position of power can be 'all things to all people'. They have to make difficult and unpopular decisions for the greater good of the populace.  Winston Churchill was no saint and did some pretty despicable things during the war (his appalling treatment of the Poles) but he had to think of the bigger picture.  

Margaret Thatcher - RIP


Having watched the news last night, I was absolutely appalled and horrified at the attitudes of certain elements of the community with regard to the death of Margaret Thatcher - some were having parties to celebrate the event.  What ignorant souls they must be if they are unable to see that the world was  and still is changing beyond imagining.  Yes, the demise of the mines was very sad but the upsurge of Eastern nations like China and India and the advent of even cheaper coal would have spelled the end of the Coal industry in this country - the industry as we knew it.  To have continued to extract the coal would have cost more and more until our coal would have been priced out of the market.  And as for that murdering ....... Gerry Adams - how dare he hold forth about the blood on Mrs. T's hands when his own are covered. 

I repeat that I am appalled.  She is dead - show some respect even if you didn't agree with her policies.


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