I spent most of my early adulthood wishing she was no longer in Number Ten, and much of my later journalistic career was spent in areas such as South Wales and the North-East where the impact of her policies had been most adversely felt.
As Journal political editor from 1997-2004, much of my work revolved around the question of how the region should tackle the North-South divide which, if not created by her, was certainly sharply exacerbated during her long premiership.
So in the unlikely event that anyone has come here expecting to read another syrupy paean of praise to the Iron Lady following her death this week, it’s probably best to look away now.
Many millions of words have already been written and spoken about the woman who led Britain for 11 tumultuous years, but ultimately the debate seems to come down to the question of whether she saved the nation, or destroyed it.
Probably the answer is a bit of both. Looked at in the round, the Thatcher legacy suggests a strange ambivalent power for good and bad which seems to run through most of the policies with which she is most closely associated.
Take the iconic right to buy scheme, for instance. Yes, it enabled council tenants to buy their own homes, and the dramatic increase in social mobility it fostered helped break down the class barriers which held Britain back in the post-war years.
But the downside was that housing policy ceased to be a debate about who could build the most homes, and became instead a question of who could do most to artificially inflate the value of the increasingly limited number of homes available.
Then there were the employment laws. It is beyond question that prior to 1979 the power of the union barons had got out of hand and that Mrs Thatcher’s changes helped restore a measure of democracy to a nation in danger of becoming ungovernable.
Yet in smashing the unions, she also ushered in an era of job insecurity which has had a baleful effect on the national psyche.
I could go on. Deregulation of the City of London made it a world financial centre that spawned untold riches for Britain’s financial services industry, but led directly to the banking crisis that caused the 2008 crash and the subsequent recession.
Even the Falklands War, by rolling back the post-Suez defeatism in which British foreign policy had been enmeshed since 1956, paved the way for Tony Blair’s disastrous intervention in Iraq twenty years later.
When assessing the Thatcher legacy, therefore, the key question becomes could we actually have had the good without the bad? Was there, despite what the Iron Lady herself said, an alternative?
I would like to think so. While the challenges of globalisation would eventually have forced British industry to become more competitive, the impact of this would have been slower and less brutal than the wholesale destruction of our manufacturing base in the early 1980s.
It has to be remembered that, far from being an historical inevitability, Mrs Thatcher was in fact a very lucky Prime Minister.
Labour in 1980 put itself out of serious contention for power by choosing the wrong leader and then splitting, while a couple of Exocet missiles in the wrong place in 1982 might have sunk not just the Falklands task force, but her premiership with it.
For me, the most interesting counterfactual question about Mrs Thatcher is what would the country have been like had she never become Prime Minister or, alternatively, been ousted in 1982-83.
Had a Tory wet like Jim Prior or a Labour moderate like Denis Healey run Britain in the 1980s, and invested the proceeds of North Sea Oil in social reconstruction rather than tax cuts, would we have ended up with Swedish-style social democracy rather than US-style neo-liberalism?
Since those days, we seem to have become a politically more united country, but a much more economically and socially divided one.
And if forced to make a judgement, I think I like the Britain she created rather less than the one which she destroyed.