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This year's Party Conference should honour Margaret Thatcher

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By Paul Goodman

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Parliament will honour Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday.  But what will the party do?  I gather that Grant Shapps is mulling the options.  The Party Chairman is much taken by Barak Obama's use of volunteers during last year's election, but recognises to that be effective, they must be trained.  That may mean a training school or college of some.  Which in turn may mean naming it after Baroness Thatcher.  (By the way, Shapps will have his eye on Ed Milband's own plans for recruiting an army of community organisers, which have involved the American campaigner Arnie Graf.)

Whatever happens, something special should be done to honour Baroness Thatcher's memory at this year's party conference, and I believe Shapps is already thinking of ways to do so.  It isn't easy finding very senior former Ministers from the Thatcher years who left her government on relaxed terms with her. (Nigel Lawson, anyone?  Geoffrey Howe?  And by the way, anyone seen Michael Heseltine today?) Lord Tebbit was one of her original "Gang of Four", but has always been very much his own man. Shapps is a great admirer of Cecil Parkinson, who remains as sharp as ever.  Whatever the party does at its conference, Lord Parkinson should certainly be involved.


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