What can be done to shut her up? Baroness Thatcher is out of touch and ill–informed. Since she knows that her reputation still counts for something in the world she should be exceptionally careful before she makes statements that are untrue and will certainly be widely misunderstood. By saying “I have not heard enough condemnation from Muslim priests” (of the terrorists attacks on the United States) she opens herself to the criticism that she relies on hearsay rather than facts. Where would she have heard this “condemnation” for herself? Dr Zaki Badawi, principal of the Muslim College and chairman of the association of mosques in Britain, said: “On the Friday after the attack every mosque in Britain – except two run by charlatans – made their main sermons a condemnation of the attacks. We have also written numerous articles, letters and given comments to that effect.” Is Baroness Thatcher calling Dr Badawi – and those other leading Muslims who have said the same thing – a liar? Margaret Thatcher also said that she had not been in touch with Tony Blair in the past three weeks, and added, “Former prime ministers should be careful about offering advice in any other than a public forum”. If this a generally accepted political convention an exception should be made for the Baroness; it would be much better for everyone if her advice were to be kept private. The government has wisely said nothing about her intervention but Michael Heseltine, when asked about it on BBC radio, said, “It is difficult to find words to express my horror at what she said. It is inaccurate and can only make things worse with the racist tendency in Britain.” An apology from Lady Thatcher would not come amiss.

Ray Fleming