There was a day in 1988 when John O'Sullivan had breakfast with U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, having resigned as one of her chief advisers to become Editor of National Review, then flew to Washington D.C. and had lunch with U.S. President Reagan. Of course, his sacrificing his British career was to be nullified by his subsequent betrayal and ruin by Bill Buckley in 1997. But at the time we could not know that and things looked very promising both for John and for the Anglosphere
Because of this connection, I spent quite a lot of time with Lady Thatcher, as she became after she left office, at a National Review Institute meeting in Italy in the early 1990s. Deprived of the meat of power, she was like an ravening beast, dominating the conference by sheer force of imperious character, interrupting speakers from the floor (and interrupting her own speech from the podium to ask me, seated quite innocently if jetlagged in a front row, whether I wasn't feeling well—said with a sudden surprising feminine concern).
She told me that she was thinking of buying a house in Dallas—she loved Texas and her son was then married to a Dallas woman. I had spoken at the conference about immigration, in the wake of my 1992 National Review cover story, to her apparent approval, and commented that I was concerned about the demographics of Texas, right on the front line of out-of-control legal and illegal immigration, especially of Mexicans.
She reacted with horror. "I don't like Mexicans," she said. "Mexicans will be the ruin of America."
At least, that's what I remember her saying. Obviously I wasn't recording the conversation and memory can play tricks. But of her instantly grasping the Reconquista threat, and of the intensity of her reaction to it, I have no doubt whatever.
Just as I wrote when Reagan died, Thatcher's success was so dramatic that the two parallel crises that brought them both to power—the Cold War and inflation—are now discounted and forgotten. A whole new range of problems have materialized—most importantly from VDARE.com's perpective nation-breaking immigration and the National Question. On these, their record was more mixed, if it exists at all. This is the generational nature of politics.
(At least in Reagan's case. Thatcher was disgracefully silent during the British elite's hysteria over Enoch Powell's prophetic immigration speeches. But after all, as Powell himself once said to me philosophically, she was a politician. It has more recently emerged that she was privately an admirer).
But, as with Reagan, Thatcher's real value was her courage and character. She abruptly broke with a statist and appeasement consensus that was certainly as dominant as immigration enthusiasm today. And it brought her brilliant success.
Eventually, immigration patriot politicians will erupt in the same way.