She was, beyond a doubt, the greatest British political leader since Winston Churchill and, like him, she was cordially hated by many grandees of the party she led.
The entire British establishment, from the royal family down, often wished she would just go away. In the end, a Cabinet cabal proved too much for her and drove her into exile.
Britain hates talent, at least in its rulers. Maggie Roberts wasn’t just talented – she was the incarnation of everything the 20th century British establishment loathed.
She was female, a trained scientist, aggressively middle class, personally assertive, openly nationalist, got on well with Jews and was utterly opposed to the mix of tepid socialism and stale one-nation Toryism that constituted the middle ground of British politics during the disastrous generation following World War Two.
Modern Britain’s greatest leaders are deeply disliked, often as much by their own party as their opponents. If Churchill’s fellow Tories had been able to pick a successor to Neville Chamberlain in 1940, as Europe crumbled around them, they would have picked the peace-minded Lord Halifax over Churchill. Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair were similarly hated – even as they dominated British political life.