Although Maggie's politics were execrable, and she bullied her colleagues to the point of resignation and revolt, to ordinary minions like me she was absolutely charming. She would engage with us as soon as she boarded, and, surprisingly she was not averse to coming and sitting jump and just chatting.
I remember one occasion when we were flying her to some important inter-governmental conference somewhere, there was some terribly important debate taking place in the Commons. It was so important that it was being broadcast live on R4 and she wanted to hear it, so she spent the entire flight on the jump seat listening to R4 on the HF through a pair of headphones perched on her coiffured bonce.
But I guess it was her niceness which eventually saved her.
We had been called out in the middle of the night to rush her somewhere terribly important and urgent (I can't remember where). They had scraped together two pilots and an aircraft at no notice, but no hostie, and she went wherever it was with no staff, so there was just the three of us at FL410.
I remember this conversation which took place between the other guy and me, only with our eyes. We looked at the cabin oxygen valve, then at our own separate oxygen masks, then up at the Bleed Air Valve switches, then our watches. The fact is that if we had turned one off, put two on, then turned both off for, say 20 minutes, then turned everything back on, she would have quietly drifted away, and no-one would ever have known what had happened.
But to us she was a very kind, gentle, pleasant lady - everyone's mother, really - and, despite our political loathing of the woman, we just couldn't find it in ourselves...
Suppose an earlier crew has asphyxiated her and, say, Heseltine had been PM. Would the Falklands, Miners' strike, etc have played out the way they did, or was she merely the point of a spear propelled by events?