A word of praise for James Hardy of the BBC. His report on last night's unveiling of Margaret Thatcher's statue struck just the right tone. Having been a journalist on the Daily Mirror, I suspect that James is not a card carrying Tory, but he capture the mood of the occasion beautifully.
Two anecdotes from the evening. My informant tells me that another person who acquitted himself well was Speaker Michael Martin. He led Lady Thatcher into Members' lobby from the chamber of the House of Commons. Assorted Tory MPs and 'old lags' from Thatcher Cabinets of years gone by were gathered to greet her. There was a touching moment when she saw Geoffrey Howe, who immediately held out his hand. Not a word was exchanged, but I'm told it was one of those 'moments' when words would have been superfluous.
It was also good to see John Major attending. A few years ago he wouldn't have been seen dead in her company. Time heals, I suppose.
An amusing exchange occurred when a Conservative MP questioned an 'Old Labour' MP as to why he was there. "I would have thought you would rather anyone else had a statue erected here," said the Tory. "Look mate, if it stops that bastard Blair from getting a statue, it's got to be a good thing," said the Labour MP. "No, no, you don't understand," replied the Tory, "In this new technological age, Blair won't be getting a statue, there will be a permanenet moving hologram of him on the ceiling of Members' Lobby." Just for a moment the Labour MP believed it.
From what I have seen of the pictures the statue captures Lady T perfectly. I hope to see it in the 'flesh' this afternoon. Apparently, if the doors of the Chamber are open, the statue is clearly visible if you're speaking at the Opposition Despatch Box. What greater inspiration could David Cameron have?!
One final thing. Somebody in the Commons has a sense of humour. Were the statue of Lady T able to look down, what would she see? A small bust of Edwad Heath on a shelf. How very appropriate.
Anyway, I'll be on TalkSport at 10.20 talking about Lady T should you be listening to Mr John Gaunt this morning!