A Force of Nature

“You must start with beliefs. Yes, always with beliefs.”. Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)

Keene Associate  Andrew Cumpsty has been closely involved with the Conservative Party since his student days. A former Leader of the Reading Borough Council, he met the late Baroness Thatcher on numerous occasions. Here is his personal tribute to her.


Margaret Thatcher was a true force of nature, a once in a lifetime politician who profoundly changed the UK and World politics, through her iron belief in what was right for our nation.

She took us from a time of real austerity, a time when I had to revise for my exams by candlelight, when grandparents were not able to be buried because unions forbid it and when it took months for the phone you ordered to be delivered.

From this grey and dismal period in the 70s, she built the foundations for two decades of growth, prosperity and more for more. It took determination and grit, but my god the lady had what it took. I was truly fortunate to meet with her several times, once for a most memorable private afternoon tea at the Party Conference at Bournemouth. There were only four of us present, but for two hours she took questions, giving answers that demonstrated huge wisdom, sensitivity and a passion for the debate of ideas.

And now, five/six years into the post New Labour finanacial crisis, with the distinct likelihood of shortages of basic utilities like water, and electricity, once again we find the UK in need of such a figure.  She delivered to the UK a generation of stability, enterprise and opportunity.  Through my deep sadness of her passing, I am reminded of what she said to me at that magical last meeting with her. “You must start with beliefs. Yes, always with beliefs.”

Once again, the UK faces a tough and uncertain future, with massive challenges. The one lesson we need to learn from her courage and success is that we need politicial leadership that builds policy from with beliefs and then have the nerve, wisdom and determination to see them through for the good of the nation. Maggie did, which is why she remains our greatest peacetime Prime Minister.

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