All things considererd I believe that most dignified, charitable, and fair conclusion for Lady Thatcher is that she was an extraordinary politician. But she certainly was not a saint any more than the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Anticipating a veritable avalanche of denials from the hard right I have taken the trouble to back up the charges against her with solid evidence. I have said that she ran down the Royal Navy and then belatedly called it into an action for which it was ill-equipped.

She scrapped the Shackleton which was the support vessel for the Falklands. What clearer signal could she have sent to Argentina that she had forsaken the Falklands! Argentina invaded and she rushed the fleet to sea with much of the essentials already scrapped.

All of the calamities can be traced to a single error on the part of her government - the lack of airborne radar. In a very real sense the fleet was worse of than in 1939. Throughout the 1950's and sixties the fleet was protected by airborne radar in the form of the Fairey Gannet seen here (opposite). They were reputed to be the ugliest aircraft that ever flew. Two contra-rotational propellers on the same shaft kept them in the air. They flew from our aircraft carriers. They were scrapped and until they were replaced the fleet was naked at sea.

Nonetheless, the fleet was sent. It is commonly understood by the top brass of the Royal Navy that if they lost one of their two carriers the whole campaign was sunk. Their only protection was losing themselves in the vast emptiness of the South Atlantic. Sadly, the Atlantic Conveyer demonstrated what would happen if they were found by the Argentinians.

Once at war in the Falklands, they expected to be attacked from Argentina but they were blind without radar. To make up for some of this inadequacy they had to send some destroyers near to Argentina to perform sentry duty without any protection. It was only a matter of time before they were attacked and sunk. Despite that, as one went down it had to be replaced.

Because the Atlantic Conveyor was not protected by radar, the helicopters needed to take the troops to war were at the bottom of the sea. It was fortunate that elite troops of the paras and commandos were able to march the 80 miles across country to reach the war. The Welsh Guards were by no means capable of this and returned to their ship.

The consequence of this was that they had to be ferried round the headland and were caught in a surprise attack by the Argentinian Air Force. They died not because they were courageous heroes but rather because they were not fit for purpose. Airborne radar would have made attacks such as the ones I have listed quite impossible.

If we are to take a dispassionate and objective look at the individual without the hyperbole we could liken her to Charles de Gaulle. He was regarded suspiciously by natives of other countries and at home France was divided over him. He survived more assassination attempts than any modern leader. Hitler and Thatcher had only two attempts on their lives.

Both were extraordinary individuals but I have never heard anyone claim that Hitler was a saint.

I also believe that by the left criticising Thatcher in the gross way that it has, it has promted the right to go well over the top.

She won't be the last leader to be quietly dissected by history and revealed as simply flesh and blood.

The helicopter that you see here is the airborne radar that replaced the Gannet, but well after the Falklands War had been won by a whisker. The radar dish is encapsulated in a pneumatic plastic dome which collapses when the aircraft is at rest.

Some browsers might be interested in coming upto speed with my case against Greater Manchester Police. Here is an unsolicited email from the PCC telling me that now they are on the case.

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