People Like Us: Margaret Thatcher and Me by Caroline Slocock
(Biteback Publishing, 2018)

People Like Us: Margaret Thatcher and Me

by Caroline Slocock

As a young civil servant, Caroline Slocock went to work at No. 10 Downing Street during the last eighteen months of Margaret Thatcher s prime ministership. It was a pivotal time in her career and life. She was the only other woman in the Cabinet Room when Mrs Thatcher eventually resigned, brought down by her closest political allies. As a left-leaning English Literature graduate, she was against much of what Thatcher stood for, but as she worked for her she became fascinated by the challenges Thatcher faced as a powerful woman, and the way that she was demonised. Based on diaries Slocock kept at the time, this extraordinary book examines how, although Margaret Thatcher is considered by many to be the ultimate anti-role model for feminists, she had to fight hard to change the status quo and fulfil her ambitions, a feature common to all successful and aspirational women.

Misogyny and stereotyping still plague how we see Margaret Thatcher and continue to affect our view of women now, Slocock believes, and women today have more in common with Margaret Thatcher than they are prepared to admit. The Iron Lady, the Spitting Image hag, the witch or, as Hilary Mantel put it, the ‘psychological transvestite’ do no justice to the truth. It takes a woman who experienced the woman to rewrite Margaret Thatcher’s story.


This is a book of multiple fascinations. As an insider's view of the final phase of Margaret Thatcher's extraordinary premiership, it would succeed on its own but Caroline Slocock's account is much, much more than that. As the first woman to work as a civil service Private Secretary at No 10, her observations illuminate the place of women at the top end of public service in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is also deeply interesting on how to keep civil service impartiality in a No 10 suffused with ideology. People Like Us is as rich in its human story as it is with the high politics. Historians will dip into People Like Us as if from a well.”
- Peter Hennessy
She was no feminist but this book reveals that Margaret Thatcher was much more complex than her public persona would convey. Caroline Slocock’s unique insight challenges us to reassess our first woman Prime Minister and reflect on the misogynistic way women in power and public life are still treated. Margaret Thatcher was no sister to me, but after reading this book I feel I can be a sister to her.”
- Sam Smethers, chief executive, Fawcett Society