Some fascinating insights into the inner workings of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet 30 year ago (from the Guardian):
Looking at the first cabinet she appointed in May 1979, it was a
miracle that half of them made it in the first place. Nowadays
ministers are supposed to be "with the programme"; that lot were, so
far as she was concerned, away with the fairies. She used the term
"wet" to describe those who were too spineless to make the reforms she
demanded, and it became a badge of honour among the liberally-minded,
one nation Tories whom she came to despise. Of Sir Ian Gilmour, it was once said that he was "so wet, you could shoot snipe off him."
Thatcher was a militant follower of Milton Friedman and succeeded in ramming through policies that would change the face of Britain forever. As the economy was deregulated, nationalized companies sold off and social spending slashed, unemployment spiraled and the chasm between rich and poor widened to its greatest point in British history. Thatcher's legacy was one of violence abroad (Northern Ireland and the Falklands) and disregard for the poor at home. Britain still has not recovered from the Thatcher years as chronic underfunding of public services left a crumbling transport infrastructure and two tiered education system widely derided in mainland Europe. A good leader, maybe, but not a good Prime Minister.