Cover 9781785906831

‘They say that distance lends enchantment, yet after many decades I can still feel the sheer horror of those last weeks of that election and what would have happened to all we had done over the previous eight years if we had lost.’

In ten years, Margaret Thatcher won three elections. The first saw a woman returned as Prime Minister for the first time in history; the second crushed the most left-wing manifesto the country had ever seen; and the third consolidated the course of the nation until today.

Mrs Thatcher gave the role of running that last campaign to David Young, then Secretary of State for Employment, a man for whom it held the most significance of all three. Young came into government determined to reverse the worst of the 1970s – oil price rises, union militancy, the three-day week and the Winter of Discontent, when for six full weeks everything closed and even the bodies lay unburied.

As he surveyed the scene at the beginning of 1987, he could see the seeds that had been sown over the previous eight years beginning to grow, but they were still very fragile.

In lucid, powerful prose, Young’s remarkable diary of that pivotal campaign puts us in the room with the key players; brilliantly recreates the gut-wrenching tension, claustrophobia and sometimes paranoia; observes how personality clashes threatened to derail it from within; and reveals a very different Margaret Thatcher to the one we think we know from print and film.

Crucially, it reminds us what was at stake: not just the election but the future of the British enterprise society.


"The exciting tale told in this book takes the reader into the eye of the storm."

Charles Moore

“I greatly enjoyed these diaries. It’s not just a depiction of an important moment in political history, it’s a brilliant description of what it is like working at the centre of a national election campaign. It brought it all back for me. If you haven’t been there, this is the next best thing.”

Daniel Finkelstein

“A gripping fly-on-the-wall account of the Downing Street characters who drove enterprise to the centre of political thinking in Britain.” 

Sara Murray, founder of
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  • Hardback, 352 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785906831
  • 10 June 2021
    Available to pre-order
  • £20.00

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  • ISBN: 9781785906947
  • 10 June 2021
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