The British Conservative Party opened its annual conference with a video tribute to Margaret Thatcher, who died this year. Then activists paid homage in the approved free-market manner: by shopping.
The official “Our Maggie” stall at the conference center in Manchester, northern England, was piled with Thatcher-branded merchandise. The “Little Iron Lady” baby vests sold out immediately. “Iron Baby” bibs were still available. Party members were offered the prospect of drying their crockery with a tea towel quoting her comment that “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
The back of the stall was stocked with “Our Maggie” beer, described as “a golden hoppy ale” that offered “a good balance of malt and fruity hop on the nose and the palate.” Absent was a planned ironing board cover, rejected because it turned out to be a fire risk.
“It wasn’t very heat-proof,” Scott Seaman-Digby, the party’s commercial director, said as he unpacked more baby vests. “We thought it could be potentially dangerous, because it melts.”
John Glen, a Tory Member of Parliament, showed off his new cuff links. On one sleeve: “You Turn If You Want To,” and on the other: “The Lady’s Not For Turning.”