The Iron Lung Lady

Paul Costello relates the disturbing tale of how Margaret Thatcher made a living after being PM: She entered into a lucrative deal with Big Tobacco.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

6 thoughts on “The Iron Lung Lady”

  1. … and her Chancellor Health Secretary, later John Major’s Chancellor, the widely-admired Ken Clarke, became the Vice-Chairman of British-American Tobacco, while BAT was making active efforts to help its distributors evade UK customs duties: in order, as Clarke testified before a Commons committee, to “remain competitive in both the taxed and the untaxed markets.”

    All of which made sense, in retrospect, of the Thatcher Government’s strong opposition to effective EU tobacco controls.

    [Comment updated to move Clarke’s Chancellorship from Thatcher’s government to Major’s.]

    1. Mark,

      If you’re going to write things like “Mitt Romney’s often distant relationship with consensus reality has drawn criticism in this space” you should make sure your relationship with consensus reality is close. Clarke was never Thatcher’s chancellor, and indeed was not a particularly close political ally, though it’s certainly true that Clarke was openly a friend to big tobacco.

      Indeed, Blair’s links with Tobacco advertising were far more significant than Thatcher’s links with big tobacco, and based on overt political donations rather than donations to a charitable foundation after she left power. Yet neither you nor Keith care to mention that.

      Maybe it’s the despicable conduct of the Republican party in the US driving you to it, but this site is becoming increasingly partisan and less interested in evidence based-analysis. Perhaps you should change the name to “The Left-based community”

      1. Tristan: less interested in evidence based-analysis.

        If you wished to criticize others for lack of evidence-based analysis, then you should have troubled to read this website’s extensive postings on Blairite Labour and Cameron Tory policies toward addictive substances before making the specious claim that there has been a lack of balance in this area.

        1. I know there have been a lot of good articles here – I guess I just feel the site is shifting more to political point scoring.

  2. Mrs Thatcher was I suspect more widely admired abroad than at home.

    BTW, I’ve seen the new biopic starring Meryl Streep in an Oscar-bid role. I saw it in Spanish so I can’t judge the performance fairly, but visually it was all externals and I didn’t get much of insight into what made Mrs T tick. The director made the strange choice of doing it all as a series of flashbacks, so Streep spends most of her time as an ancient doddering around with Denis’ ghost. This is pointless. We all end up doddery if not dead, achievers and also-rans. The irony is trivial.

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