While reports that the then-PM Margaret Thatcher spent the 80s demonizing mineworkers, the real shock has been the leaked accounts of her unsavoury management of cabinet meetings. Not only did she insist on the ‘pick of’ the custard creams, she would regularly ‘yawn’ during AOB and draw unfeasibly large penises all over the Minutes.
Ignoring meeting protocols, Mrs Thatcher often fabricated verbatim conversations with the lyrics from Glibert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore. She would also laughingly give apologies for absence for ‘scruples’. ’empathy’ and ‘that loser, Heath’. Such was her disdain for informal notes, she was once caught re-editing Hillsborough reports with the melted end of a chocolate hobnob.
Meetings would habitually over-run while the Prime Minister sent out for ‘more ginger nuts’. Cabinet papers show that Geoffrey Howe was frequently bullied and forced to sit wearing only his underwear ‘every time there was a pit closure’. While regular agenda items included ‘hiding Michael Heseltine’s pen’, ‘laughing at northerners’ and something obliquely referred to ‘Cecil and the soggy biscuit game’.