Good politicians are hard to find.
Her two and a half years as health and social security minister (during which time she was still smoking like a chimney) seem to have left a deep nostalgia for a time when politics was less humdrum. â€śWillie Whitelaw used to come in when I was doing the enormous social security Bill and bellow: ‘Morning, Jean. How many millions are you losing us today?â€™ Those were the days. Life was fun.â€ť
She has always played to the gallery, but not at the expense of a proper seriousness about the issues in hand. She relished being called a â€śfat old scrubberâ€ť by her critics for suggesting with typical practicality that sheep should be used to detonate Falklands minefields. â€śMy point,â€ť she said at the time, â€śwas that you can put a sheep out of its misery and eat it. You canâ€™t do that to a man.â€ť