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margaret thatcher Quotes

Margaret Thatcher Quotes

Birth Date: 1915-05-10 (Monday, May 10th, 1915)
Date of Death: 2003-06-26 (Thursday, June 26th, 2003)


margaret thatcher life timeline

Margaret Thatcher (Roberts) marries Denis Thatcher at City Methodist in London.Thursday, December 13th, 1951
Margaret Thatcher puts down an early day motion censuring the government, which leads to the defeat of the Labour government of James Callaghan.Thursday, March 22nd, 1979
Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher becomes the United Kingdom s first female prime minister as the Labour government is ousted in parliamentary elections.Thursday, May 3rd, 1979
Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.Friday, May 4th, 1979
A parcel bomb is delivered to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street.Tuesday, November 30th, 1982
Brighton hotel bombing: Margaret Thatcher survives an IRA bomb, which shredded her bathroom barely two minutes after she had left it.Friday, October 12th, 1984
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that the People s Republic of China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 is signed in Beijing by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.Wednesday, December 19th, 1984
The Anglo-Irish Agreement is signed at Hillsborough Castle by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.Friday, November 15th, 1985
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opens the last stretch of the M25 motorway.Wednesday, October 29th, 1986
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France Francois Mitterrand sign the agreement to build the tunnel under the English Channel (Eurotunnel).Wednesday, July 29th, 1987
Margaret Thatcher becomes the longest-serving British Prime Minister in the 20th Century.Sunday, January 3rd, 1988
Margaret Thatcher s new local government tax, the Community Charge (commonly known as the poll tax ), is introduced in Scotland.Saturday, April 1st, 1989
Margaret Thatcher resigns as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.Thursday, November 22nd, 1990
The British Conservative Party chooses John Major to succeed Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.Tuesday, November 27th, 1990
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joins the House of Lords as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven.Tuesday, June 30th, 1992


    • In considering our traditional ties with the Commonwealth we should remember that it now differs greatly from the entity which existed 20 or 30 years ago. Many of us do not feel quite the same allegiance to Archbishop Makarios or Doctor Nkrumah or to people like Jomo Kenyatta as we do towards Mr. Menzies of Australia.
    • I don't think there will be a woman Prime Minister in my lifetime.
    • I wish I could say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had done himself less than justice. Unfortunately, I can only say that I believe he has done himself justice. Some Chancellors are macro-economic. Other Chancellors are fiscal. This one is just plain cheap.
    • If a Tory does not believe that private property is one of the main bulwarks of individual freedom, then he had better become a socialist and have done with it.
    • She's ruled by a dictatorship of patient, far-sighted determined men who are rapidly making their country the foremost naval and military power in the world. They are not doing this solely for the sake of self-defence. A huge, largely land-locked country like Russia does not need to build the most powerful navy in the world just to guard its own frontiers. No. The Russians are bent on world dominance, and they are rapidly acquiring the means to become the most powerful imperial nation the world has seen. The men in the Soviet politburo don't have to worry about the ebb and flow of public opinion. They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns. They know that they are a super power in only one sense-the military sense. They are a failure in human and economic terms.
    • People from my sort of background needed Grammar schools to compete with children from privileged homes like Shirley Williams and Anthony Wedgwood Benn.
    • My job is to stop Britain going red.
    • People are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture ... We are not in politics to ignore peoples' worries: we are in politics to deal with them.
    • I hate extremes of any kind. Communism and the National Front both seek the domination of the state over the individual. They both, I believe crush the right of the individual. To me, therefore, they are parties of a similar kind. All my life I have stood against banning Communism or other extremist organisations because, if you do that, they go underground and it gives them an excitement that they don't get if they are allowed to pursue their policies openly. We'll beat them into the ground on argument... The National Front is a Socialist Front.
    • I can't bear Britain in decline. I just can't.
    • Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.
    • I have thought long and deeply about the post of Foreign Secretary and have decided to offer it to Peter Carrington who - as I am sure you will agree - will do the job superbly.
    • Pennies don't fall from heaven, they have to be earned here on earth.
    • We are not asking for a penny piece of Community money for Britain. What we are asking is for a very large amount of our own money back, over and above what we contribute to the Community, which is covered by our receipts from the Community.
    • No-one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money as well.
    • Gentlemen, there is nothing sweeter than success, and you boys have got it!
    • To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. [laughter] The lady's not for turning.
    • Economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul.
    • My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.
    • Just rejoice at that news and congratulate our forces and the marines. .. Rejoice.
    • Defeat-I do not recognise the meaning of the word!
    • The right hon. Gentleman is afraid of an election is he? Oh, if I were going to cut and run I'd have gone after the Falklands. Afraid? Frightened? Frit? Couldn't take it? Couldn't stand it? Right now inflation is lower than it has been for thirteen years, a record the right hon. Gentleman couldn't begin to touch!
    • I came to office with one deliberate intent: to change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society - from a give-it-to-me, to a do-it-yourself nation. A get-up-and-go, instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Britain.
    • It was a lovely morning. We have not had many lovely days. And the sun was just coming through the stained glass windows and falling on some flowers right across the church and it just occurred to me that this was the day I was meant not to see.
    • I personally have always voted for the death penalty because I believe that people who go out prepared to take the lives of other people forfeit their own right to live. I believe that that death penalty should be used only very rarely, but I believe that no-one should go out certain that no matter how cruel, how vicious, how hideous their murder, they themselves will not suffer the death penalty.
    • I have made it quite clear - and so did Mr Prior when he was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland - that a unified Ireland was one solution. That is out. A second solution was confederation of two states. That is out. A third solution was joint authority. That is out. That is a derogation from sovereignty.
    • At one end of the spectrum are the terrorist gangs within our borders, and the terrorist states which finance and arm them. At the other are the hard left operating inside our system, conspiring to use union power and the apparatus of local government to break, defy and subvert the law.
    • I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together.
    • We must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.
    • Don't you think that's the way to persuade more companies to come to this region and get more jobs-because I want them-for the people who are unemployed. Not always standing there as moaning minnies. Now stop it!
    • Socialists cry 'Power to the people', and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean-power over people, power to the State.
    • From France to the Phillipines, from Jamaica to Japan, from Malaysia to Mexico, from Sri Lanka to Singapore, privatisation is on the move...The policies we have pioneered are catching on in country after country. We Conservatives believe in popular capitalism-believe in a property-owning democracy. And it works! ... The great political reform of the last century was to enable more and more people to have a vote. Now the great Tory reform of this century is to enable more and more people to own property. Popular capitalism is nothing less than a crusade to enfranchise the many in the economic life of the nation. We Conservatives are returning power to the people. That is the way to one nation, one people.
    • In a decision of the utmost gravity, Labour voted to give up Britain's independent nuclear deterrent unilaterally. Labour's defence policy-though 'defence' is scarcely the word-is an absolute break with the defence policy of every British Government since the Second World War. Let there be no doubt about the gravity of that decision. You cannot be a loyal member of NATO while disavowing its fundamental strategy. A Labour Britain would be a neutralist Britain. It would be the greatest gain for the Soviet Union in forty years. And they would have got it without firing a shot.
    • A world without nuclear weapons may be a dream but you cannot base a sure defence on dreams. Without far greater trust and confidence between East and West than exists at present, a world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.
    • I, along with something like 5 million other people, insure to enable me to go into hospital on the day I want; at the time I want, and with a doctor I want.
    • (The Community Charge is) the flagship of the Thatcher fleet.
    • Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay.
    • 'They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.'
    • The freedom of peoples depends fundamentally on the rule of law, a fair legal system. The place to have trials or accusations is a court of law, the Common Law that has come right up from Magna Carta, which has come right up through the British courts-a court of law is the place where you deal with these matters. If you ever get trial by television or guilt by accusation, that day freedom dies because you have not had it done with all of the careful rules that have developed in a court of law. Press and television rely on freedom. Those who rely on freedom must uphold the rule of law and have a duty and a responsibility to do so and not try to substitute their own system for it.
    • Mr. Chairman, you have invited me to speak on the subject of Britain and Europe. Perhaps I should congratulate you on your courage. If you believe some of the things said and written about my views on Europe, it must seem rather like inviting Genghis Khan to speak on the virtues of peaceful coexistence! ...The European Community is one manifestation of that European identity, but it is not the only one. We must never forget that east of the Iron Curtain, peoples who once enjoyed a full share of European culture, freedom and identity have been cut off from their roots. We shall always look on Warsaw, Prague and Budapest as great European cities...To try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging and would jeopardise the objectives we seek to achieve. Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European is ironic that just when those countries such as the Soviet Union, which have tried to run everything from the centre, are learning that success depends on dispersing power and decisions away from the centre, there are some in the Community who seem to want to move in the opposite direction. We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.
    • A man may climb Everest for himself, but at the summit he plants his country's flag.
    • We have become a grandmother.
    • Human rights did not begin with the French Revolution...[they] really stem from a mixture of Judaism and Christianity...[we English] had 1688, our quiet revolution, where Parliament exerted its will over the was not the sort of Revolution that France's was...'Liberty, equality, fraternity' - they forgot obligations and duties I think. And then of course the fraternity went missing for a long time.
    • Imagine a Labour canvasser talking on the doorstep to those East German families when they settle in, on freedom's side of the wall. 'You want to keep more of the money you earn? I'm afraid that's very selfish. We shall want to tax that away. You want to own shares in your firm? We can't have that. The state has to own your firm. You want to choose where to send your children to school? That's very divisive. You'll send your child where we tell you.'
    • We've beaten the Germans twice and now they're back!
    • I believe that the royal family are a focus of patriotism, of loyalty, of affection and of esteem. That is a rare combination, and we should value it highly.
    • It seems like cloud cuckoo land... If anyone is suggesting that I would go to Parliament and suggest the abolition of the pound sterling - no! ... We have made it quite clear that we will not have a single currency imposed on us.
    • The President of the Commission, M. Delors, said at a press conference the other day that he wanted the European Parliament to be the democratic body of the Community, he wanted the Commission to be the Executive and he wanted the Council of Ministers to be the Senate. No. No. No.
    • I am still at the crease, though the bowling has been pretty hostile of late. And in case anyone doubted it, can I assure you there will be no ducking the bouncers, no stonewalling, no playing for time. The bowling's going to get hit all round the ground. That is my style.
    • I fight on, I fight to win.
    • Paddy Ashdown: ...this is an agreement which the right hon. Lady will be entitled to regard with a certain pride and satisfaction as she looks back on the twilight days of her premiership...
    • Margaret Thatcher: ...The first eleven and a half years have not been so bad-and with regard to a twilight, please remember that there are 24 hours in a day.
    • It is a great night. It is the end of Socialism.
    • The trouble with you John, is that your spine does not reach your brain.
    • We could have stopped this, we could still do so... But for the most part, we in the west have actually given comfort to the aggressor.
    • [It is a] killing field of the like of which I thought we would never see in Europe again [and is] not worthy of Europe, not worthy of the west and not worthy of the United States... This is happening in the heart of Europe and we have not done more to stop it. It is in Europe's sphere of influence. It should be in Europe's sphere of conscience... We are little more than an accomplice to massacre.
    • Douglas, Douglas, you would make Neville Chamberlain look like a warmonger.
    • I could never have signed this treaty. I hope that that is clear to all who have heard me.
    • I am not sure what is meant by those who say that the Party should return to something called 'One Nation Conservatism'. As far as I can tell by their views on European federalism, such people's creed would be better described as 'No Nation Conservatism'.
    • The fightback begins now!
    • On my way here I passed a local cinema and it turns out you were expecting me after all, for the billboards read: The Mummy Returns.
    • I might have preferred iron, but bronze will do. It won't rust. And, this time I hope, the head will stay on.
    • No theory of government was ever given a fairer test or a more prolonged experiment in a democratic country than democratic socialism received in Britain. Yet it was a miserable failure in every respect. Far from reversing the slow relative decline of Britain vis-a-vis its main industrial competitors, it accelerated it. We fell further behind them, until by 1979 we were widely dismissed as 'the sick man of Europe'...To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches.
    • The significance of the Falklands War was enormous, both for Britain's self-confidence and for our standing in the world...We had come to be seen by both friends and enemies as a nation which lacked the will and the capability to defend its interests in peace, let alone in war. Victory in the Falklands changed that. Everywhere I went after the war, Britain's name meant something more than it had. The war also had real importance in relations between East and West: years later I was told by a Russian general that the Soviets had been firmly convinced that we would not fight for the Falklands, and that if we did fight we would lose. We proved them wrong on both counts, and they did not forget the fact.
    • The star of that year's conference was undoubtedly the Swedish conservative leader-since Prime Minister-who delivered a speech of such startling Thatcherite soundness that in applauding I felt as if I was giving myself a standing ovation.
    • For my part, I favour an approach to statecraft that embraces principles, as long as it is not stifled by them; and I prefer such principles to be accompanied by steel along with good intentions.
    • We now know that bin Laden's terrorists had been planning their outrages for years. The propagation of their mad, bad ideology -- decency forbids calling it a religion -- had been taking place before our eyes. We were just too blind to see it. In short, the world had never ceased to be dangerous. But the West had ceased to be vigilant. Surely that is the most important lesson of this tragedy, and we must learn it if our civilisation is to survive.
    • The habit of ubiquitous interventionism, combining pinprick strikes by precision weapons with pious invocations of high principle, would lead us into endless difficulties. Interventions must be limited in number and overwhelming in their impact.
    • I should therefore prefer to restrict my guidelines to the following:
    • The West as a whole in the early 1990s became obsessed with a 'peace dividend' that would be spent over and over again on any number of soft-hearted and sometimes soft-headed causes. Politicians forgot that the only real peace dividend is peace.
    • Never believe that technology alone will allow America to prevail as a superpower.
    • But if Saddam had been in a position credibly to threaten America or any of its allies - or the coalition's forces - with attack by missiles with nuclear warheads, would we have gone to the Gulf at all?
    • For every idealistic peacemaker willing to renounce his self-defence in favour of a weapons-free world, there is at least one warmaker anxious to exploit the other's good intentions.
    • Successful entrepreneurship is ultimately a matter of flair. But there is also a fund of practical knowledge to be acquired and, of course, the right legal and financial framework has to be provided for productive enterprise to develop.
    • It is always important in matters of high politics to know what you do not know. Those who think they know, but are mistaken, and act upon their mistakes, are the most dangerous people to have in charge.
    • Singapore's success shows us that:
    • All corporatism - even when practised in societies where hard work, enterprise and cooperation are as highly valued as in Korea - encourages inflexibility, discourages individual accountability, and risks magnifying errors by concealing them.
    • My father, more perceptive than many, wryly commented that by the time I was an adult there might not be an Indian Civil Service to enter. He turned out to be right. I had to settle for British politics instead.
    • Patched-up diplomatic solutions designed to answer the needs of the moment rarely last, and as they unravel they can actually make things worse.
    • North Korea desperately needed the foreign currency which this lethal trade could bring; its role as chief 'rogue' reinforced its prestige among anti-Western states, near and far; and it could also hope at the right moment to extort new instalments of Danegeld from America and her allies.
    • Constitutions have to be written on hearts, not just paper.
    • You only have to wade through a metric measure or two of European prose, culled from its directives, circulars, reports, communiques or what pass as debates in its 'parliament', and you will quickly understand that Europe is, in truth, synonymous with bureaucracy - to which one might add 'to', 'from' and 'with' bureaucracy if one were so minded.
    • What we should grasp, however, from the lessons of European history is that, first, there is nothing necessarily benevolent about programmes of European integration; second, the desire to achieve grand utopian plans often poses a grave threat to freedom; and third, European unity has been tried before, and the outcome was far from happy.
    • 'Europe' in anything other than the geographical sense is a wholly artificial construct. It makes no sense at all to lump together Beethoven and Debussy, Voltaire and Burke, Vermeer and Picasso, Notre Dame and St Paul's, boiled beef and bouillabaisse, and portray them as elements of a 'European' musical, philosophical, artistic, architectural or gastronomic reality. If Europe charms us, as it has so often charmed me, it is precisely because of its contrasts and contradictions, not its coherence and continuity.
    • Not that this appears to affect the intentions of the political-bureaucratic elite, which in Britain as elsewhere in Europe believes that it has an overriding mission to achieve European integration by hook or by crook and which is convinced that History (with an extra0large 'H') is on its side.
    • Every Prime Minister needs a Willie.
    • I think Essex Man will vote for a Conservative Government.
    • If my critics saw me walking over the Thames they would say it was because I couldn't swim.
    • If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.
    • If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.
    • It may be the cock that crows, but it is the hen that lays the eggs.
    • It's a funny old world.
    • Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it.
    • Of course it's the same old story. Truth usually is the same old story.
    • Of course, people tell me that I shouldn't gloat. Well, I am gloating.
    • One only gets to the top rung of the ladder by steadily climbing up one at a time, and suddenly all sorts of powers, all sorts of abilities which you thought never belonged to you- suddenly become within your own possibility and you think, 'Well, I'll have a go, too.'
    • People think that at the top there isn't much room. They tend to think of it as an Everest. My message is that there is tons of room at the top.
    • Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.
    • To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects. If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.
    • To wear your heart on your sleeve isn't a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best.
    • We were told our campaign wasn't sufficiently slick. We regard that as a compliment.
    • When you've spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it's exciting to have a real crisis on your hands. (On the Falklands conflict.)
    • You don't tell deliberate lies, but sometimes you have to be evasive.
    • You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
    • Margaret Thatcher is the greatest living Englishwoman.
    • She was a tigress surrounded by hamsters.
    • The Prime Ministers who are remembered are those who think and teach, and not many do. Mrs. Thatcher... influenced the thinking of a generation.
    • Her strong points were her iron will. I've never known a will like it in politics and I've known a few politicians in my time in various countries. I've never known a man or woman faintly like her, she was as tough as they come, and anything that required guts and will she could do for you. Anything that required sensitivity, she couldn't, she had none.
    • The Prime Minister, shortly after she came into office, received the sobriquet as the 'Iron Lady'. It arose in the context of remarks which she made about defence against the Soviet Union and its allies; but there was no reason to suppose that the right hon. Lady did not welcome and, indeed, take pride in that description. In the next week or two in this House, the nation and the right hon. Lady herself will learn of what metal she is made.
    • Is the right hon. Lady aware that the report has now been received from the public analyst on a certain substance recently subjected to analysis and that I have obtained a copy of the report? It shows that the substance under test consisted of ferrous matter of the highest quality, that it is of exceptional tensile strength, is highly resistant to wear and tear and to stress, and may be used with advantage for all national purposes?
    • Of all the elements combined in the complex of signs labelled Margaret Thatcher, it is her voice that sums up the ambiguity of the entire construct. She coos like a dove, hisses like a serpent, bays like a hound [in a contrived upper-class accent] reminiscent not of real toffs but of Wodehouse aunts.
    • Loathsome, repulsive in almost every way.
    • [She has a] patronising elocution voice [and] neat well-groomed clothes and hair, packaged together in a way that's not exactly vulgar, just low. [It fills me with] a kind of rage.
    • Petain in petticoats.
    • Margaret Thatcher always gave me headaches.
    • What does she want, this housewife? My balls on a tray?
    • A pity she did not understand them!
    • She behaves with all the sensitivity of a sex-starved boa constrictor.
    • For us she is not the iron lady. She is the kind, dear Mrs. Thatcher.
    • Don't think of her as a politician. Think of her as a one-woman revolution - a hurricane in human form.
    • There's one thing I know I'd like to live long enough to savour, That's when they finally put you in the ground, I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down.
    • Car aucune femme sur la planete N's'ra jamais plus con que son frere Ni plus fiere ni plus malhonnete A part, peut-etre, Madame Thatcher
    • Bus stop rat bag, 'Ha Ha charade!' you are. You fucked up old hag, 'Ha Ha charade!' you are. You radiate cold shafts of broken glass. You're nearly a good laugh, Almost worth a quick grin. You like the feel of steel, You're hot stuff with a hatpin, And good fun with a hand gun. You're nearly a laugh, You're nearly a laugh But you're really a cry.
    • Brezhnev took Afghanistan. / Begin took Beirut. / Galtieri took the Union Jack. / And Maggie, over lunch one day, / Took a cruiser with all hands. / Apparently, to make him give it back.
    • A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.
    • Victorian values.
    • Diana Gould, who had a televised confrontation with Mrs Thatcher in 1983
    • margaret thatcher

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