The Fall of Thatcher - and the last man in

Wiliam Waldegrave was head downing the foreign office assembling a mass coalition to take on Saddam Hussein. His boss kept on changing - the perfect scenario as number two, allowing him to essentially run the show. He was in and out of Downing St and thought nothing of a summons for another meeting. But instead of discussing the latest deployment in the Middle East, he was offered the job of Secretary State for Health. Visibly surprised, Margaret Thatcher rightly deduced it was time for whisky.

Just three weeks later he was again one on one with the Iron Lady. This time he was the last in series of cabinet ministers called in to advise whether she could survive in power. From fighting Saddam - to making it into the cabinet - to helping read the last rites - all in under a month.

The pace of events mitigates against detailed recollection. Instead Waldegrave has a lingering impression of jackals around a wounded animal. There is nothing seemly about political assignation - even though Waldegrave was far from her inner circle. He had been a right hand man to Ted Heath. But another way should have been found to end her reign - even though no-one contributed to the fall more than the victim herself.

As to why the party deserted her - he again cites feelings rather specific areas of disagreement. MPs felt she was just slightly losing her touch - accusing Neil Kinnock of being a communist - promising to go on and on. Admiration was giving way to unease - but how to end it? It was a dilemma in abeyance until Geoffrey and Michael Heseltine cast it into plain sight. And while Thatcher was still sans pareil on the world stage - on the more mundane front of keeping her foot soldiers happy - she was no longer interested. She could no longer manage the duality of both fighting the cold war and schmoozing backwoodsmen in marginal seats. Her fall is a lesson for all politicians that you can never turn your back on your troops, no matter what victories you are bringing home.

He also cites the desertion of her allies. Much is made of November 1990 as the moment her many critics had their moment. This is true - but they could because staunch supporters such as Peter Lilley also thought it was time for her to go. If there was a betrayal, enemies were not the only ones at it.

Ben Monro-Davies