From Alfred Roberts to Mark Thatcher in three generations

The padarox of Thatcherism is piquantly embodied in the history of her own family. Think back to Alfred Roberts in his Grantham grocery, the small town shopkeeper, patriot and preacher, husbanding the ratepayers’ pennies and raising his clever daughter to a life of Christian service, diligence and thrift.  Then look forward to the future Sir Mark Thatcher, an international ‘businessman’ posessed of no visible abilities, qualifications or social conscience, pursued from Britain to Texas to South Africa by lawsuits, tax investigations and a persistently unsavoury reputation.  Imagine what Alfred would have thought of Mark.  It is well known that Denis – a businessman of an older generation – took a dim view of his son’s activities. Yet for Lady Thatcher Mark could do no wrong. The world in which he acquired his mysterious fortune was the world she helped to bring to birth: the values he represents are the values she promoted. Torn between pious invocations of her sainted father and fierce protectiveness towards her playboy son, Margaret Thatcher is the link between two utterly opposed moral systems which reflect not only the ambivalence of her own personality but the story of Britain in the twentieth century: From Alfred Roberts to Mark Thatcher in three generations.

– John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, Volume Two

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