Rt Hon David Davis is the Member of Parliament for Haltemprice and Howden
Great national leaders are created by three things: circumstance, conviction, and courage. It is the national circumstances that define the need for greatness, their personal convictions that give the answers to the nation's problems, and their individual courage that delivers the actions demanded by those convictions.
By any measure Margaret Thatcher was a great national leader, probably the greatest peacetime leader in modern times.
The circumstances that brought her to lead our country were dire. We were not so much bankrupt as economically broken, with our industries growing less and less competitive and the nation less and less able to pay its way. Worse, our economic bankruptcy was more than matched by the intellectual bankruptcy of a British establishment that had given up the fight.
We have forgotten today how the received wisdom of the 1970s was that the government's job was to manage decline, and we would be astonished by the rose-tinted view taken of left-wing dictatorships by the intelligentsia of the day. The march of history was against us.
That, at least was the view of the Establishment, including many in the Conservative Party.
Margaret Thatcher fractured that cosy consensus. It is said that she did not "do" consensus. Indeed the last words she said to me whilst she was still Prime Minister were "Consensus is only worthwhile if it is the right consensus."