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Quotes by Margaret Thatcher

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Wikipedia Summary for Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, (née Roberts; 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013) was a British stateswoman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold that office. A Soviet journalist dubbed her the "Iron Lady", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As prime minister, she implemented policies that became known as Thatcherism.

Thatcher studied chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford, and worked briefly as a research chemist, before becoming a barrister. She was elected Member of Parliament for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970–1974 government. In 1975, she defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition, the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. On becoming prime minister after winning the 1979 general election, Thatcher introduced a series of economic policies intended to reverse high inflation and Britain's struggles in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and an oncoming recession. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Her popularity in her first years in office waned amid recession and rising unemployment, until victory in the 1982 Falklands War and the recovering economy brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her landslide re-election in 1983. She survived an assassination attempt by the Provisional IRA in the 1984 Brighton hotel bombing and achieved a political victory against the National Union of Mineworkers in the 1984–85 miners' strike.

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term with another landslide in 1987, but her subsequent support for the Community Charge ("poll tax") was widely unpopular, and her increasingly Eurosceptic views on the European Community were not shared by others in her cabinet. She resigned as prime minister and party leader in 1990, after a challenge was launched to her leadership. After retiring from the Commons in 1992, she was given a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher (of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire) which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords. In 2013, she died of a stroke at the Ritz Hotel, London, at the age of 87.

A polarising figure in British politics, Thatcher is nonetheless viewed favourably in historical rankings of British prime ministers. Her tenure constituted a realignment towards neoliberal policies in the United Kingdom, with debate over the complicated legacy attributed to Thatcherism persisting into the 21st century.

Home is where you come to when you have nothing better to do.

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.

Constitutions have to be written on hearts, not just paper.

Conservatives have excellent credentials to speak about human rights. By our efforts, and with precious little help from self-styled liberals, we were largely responsible for securing liberty for a substantial share of the world's population and defending it for most of the rest.

Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas?

Longer Version:

Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.

Forget that I'm a woman. Forget the accusations that I am a Right Winger demanding privilege -- I had precious little privilege in my early years.

I was turned out because I said to Europe no, no, no. That no, no , no has now turned into yes, yes. Two yes's not three because he got the Social Chapter out and he's reserved his position on the single currency.

We are not prepared to consider special category status for certain groups of people serving sentences for crime. Crime is crime is crime, it is not political.

We're saying to anyone who dares to attack us, Do not do it, you couldn't win, the result would be devastating! I think you're saying the same.

Good Conservatives always pay their bills. And on time. Not like the Socialists who run up other people's bills.

Most women are far more intelligent than people give them credit for.

In my view dictators do not surrender. They have to be well and truly defeated.

Remember, George, this is no time to go wobbly.

The wisdom of hindsight, so useful to historians and indeed to authors of memoirs, is sadly denied to practicing politicians.

I want a capital-earning democracy. Every man and woman a capitalist. Housing is the start. If you're a man or woman of property, you've got something. So every man a capitalist, and every man a man of property.

The lesson is clear. Inflation devalues us all.

I think perhaps we manage our revolutions much more quietly in this country.

Obsolete weapons do not deter.

I do not understand the unilateralists. If they hated nuclear weapons as much as I do they would want them down in the world as a whole. I am the true disarmer, I keep peace and freedom and justice with it.

I love his music because he was my generation. But then again, Elvis is everyone's generation, and he always will be.

Socialists have always spent much of their time seeking new titles for their beliefs, because the old versions so quickly become outdated and discredited.

Reagan did not suffer from the dismal plague of doubts which has assailed so many politicians in our times and which has rendered them incapable of clear decisions.

The Prime Minister is stealing our clothes but he is going to look pretty ridiculous walking around in mine.

It must be a conviction Government. As Prime Minister I could not waste time having internal arguments.

I would not wish to be Prime Minister, dear.

It will be years -- not in my time -- before a woman will become Prime Minister.

I wouldn't be worth my salt if I weren't attracting some controversy and criticism. Everyone in the world who has done something in life has attracted criticism.

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.

We must not fall into the trap of projecting our own morality onto the Soviet leaders. They do not share our aspirations, they are not constrained by our ethics, they always consider themselves exempt from the rules that bind other states.

Let our children grow tall and some taller than others if they have it in them to do so.

Making change tolerable is one of the duties of Government.

When you stop a dictator, there are always risks. But there are greater risks in not stopping a dictator.

I couldn't live without work. That's what makes me so sympathetic towards those people who are unemployed. I don't know how they live without working.

One hopes to achieve the zero option, but in the absence of that we must achieve balanced numbers.

People are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture.

The United States is contributing massively to the defence of Europe and we should be very grateful.

John Gummer just did not have the political clout or credibility to rally the troops. I had appointed him as a sort of nightwatchman, but he seemed to have to sleep on the job.

I calculate that I was responsible for proposing the elevation to the Lords of some 214 of its present numbers.

They Federalist European Politicians divide their time between court room, prison and debating chamber -- giving a whole new meaning to the term 'conviction politician'.

Let me give you my vision: A man's right to work as he will, to spend what he earns, to own property, to have the state as servant and not as master. These are the British inheritance. They are the essence of a free country, and on that freedom all of our other freedoms depend.

Free enterprise has enabled the creative and the acquisitive urges of man to be given expression in a way which benefits all members of society. Let free enterprise fight back now, not for itself, but for all those who believe in freedom.

People from my sort of background needed Grammar schools to compete with children from privileged homes like Shirley Williams and Anthony Wedgwood Benn.

It took us a long time to get rid of the effects of the French Revolution 200 years ago. We don't want another one.

Whether manufactured by black, white, brown or yellow hands, a widget remains a widget -- and it will be bought anywhere if the price and quality are right. The market is a more powerful and more reliable liberating force than government can ever be.

Israel must never be expected to jeopardize her security: if she was ever foolish enough to do so, and then suffered for it, the backlash against both honest brokers and Palestinians would be immense -- 'land for peace' must also bring peace.

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?

One only gets to the top rung on 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.'

We have been ruled by men who live by illusions ... the illusion that there is some other way of creating wealth than hard work and satisfying your customers.

What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner 'I stand for consensus'?

In my lifetime all our problems have come from mainland Europe and all the solutions have come from the English-speaking nations across the world.

But the whole history of America is quite different from Europe. People went there to get away from the intolerance and constraints of life in Europe. They sought liberty and opportunity; and their strong sense of purpose has over two centuries, helped create a new unity and pride in being American.

Socialism lays an bad egg by killing the capitalism that lays the golden eggs.

When you take into public ownership a profitable industry the profits soon disappear. The goose that laid the golden eggs goes broody. State geese are not great layers.

I'm back... and you knew I was coming. On my way here I passed a cinema with the sign 'The Mummy Returns'.

I'll stay until I'm tired of it. So long as Britain needs me, I shall never be tired of it.

On George H.W. Bush: By 1990 I had learned that I had to defer to him in conversation and not to stint the praise. If that was what was necessary to secure Britain's interests and influence, I had no hesitation in eating a little humble pie.

There is a nonsense about intelligent women not being beautiful.

Any leader has to have a certain amount of steel in them, so I am not that put out being called the Iron Lady.

I am not immortal, but I've got a lot left in me yet.

I have made it quite clear that a unified Ireland was one solution that is out. A second solution was a confederation of two states. That is out. A third solution was joint authority. That is out-that is a derogation of sovereignty.

All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail. It must be business as usual.

Gentlemen, if we don't cut spending we will be bankrupt. Yes, the medicine is harsh, but the patient requires it in order to live. Should we withhold the medicine? No. We are not wrong. We did not seek election and win in order to manage the decline of a great nation.

A man may climb Everest for himself, but at the summit he plants his country's flag.

I was asked whether I was trying to restore Victorian values. I said straight out I was. And I am.

I never hugged him, I bombed him.

It's the Labour Government that have brought us record peacetime taxation. They've got the usual Socialist disease -- they've run out of other people's money.

I might have preferred iron -- but bronze will do. It won't rust. This time I hope, the head will stay on.

Let us, then, draw together in the name, not of jingoism, but of justice.

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.

Object to merit and distinction, and you're setting your face against quality, independence, originality, genius against all the richness and variety of life. When you hold back the successful, you penalize those who need help.

Freedom is not synonymous with an easy life. ... There are many difficult things about freedom: It does not give you safety, it creates moral dilemmas for you; it requires self-discipline; it imposes great responsibilities; but such is the nature of Man and in such consists his glory and salvation.

Let's make it clear: the Conservative Party has no plans for new NHS charges.

I'm not a good butcher but I've had to learn to carve the joint. People expect a new look.

I went to Oxford University -- but I've never let that hold me back.

Gentlemen, I have spent the night thinking about this Peruvian (peace) initiative and I have to tell you that if it is your decision to accept then you will have to find another Prime Minister.

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.

Everything a politician promises at election time has to be paid for either by higher taxation or by borrowing.

A quick cure is a quack cure.

It is one of the great weaknesses of reasonable men and women that they imagine that projects which fly in the face of commonsense are not serious or being seriously undertaken.

Well, there's a lot to react against!in response to the accusation that she was a reactionary.

The fact that seasoned politicians can say such ridiculous things -- and get away with it -- illustrates the degree to which the new dogma... has swept through the left-of-centre governing classes.

Rooster, maybe well crows, but the eggs still bears the chicken.

They are all a rotten lot. Schmidt and the Americans and we are the only people who would do any standing up and fighting if necessary.

We should not expect the state to appear in the guise of an extravagant good fairy at every christening, a loquacious companion at every stage of life's journey, and the unknown mourner at every funeral.

I applaud strong government, but not overweening government sustained by cronies, ciphers and a personality cult.

There is no week, nor day, nor hour, when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their supreme confidence in themselves, and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance. Tyranny may always enter--there is no charm or bar against it.

It's okay, Chancellor, you can touch them. Sometimes I just strip down to a tank top and stare at these guns in front of a mirror all day long.

Isn't a policy of conventional weapons, with the terrible bombs raining down, with the missiles, with the aircraft, with the submarines, with the torpedoes, with the tanks, with chemical weapons -- isn't that based on the possibility of threat?

Marxists get up early to further their cause. We must get up even earlier to defend our freedom.

To be free is better than to be unfree -- always. Any politician who suggests the opposite should be treated as suspect.

The Nuremburg trials were attacked at the time as 'victor's justice'. And this is precisely what they were -- and were intended to be.

I think Essex Man will vote for a Conservative Government.

Women have plenty of roles in which they can serve with distinction: some of us even run countries. But generally we are better at wielding the handbag than the bayonet.

The National Health Service is safe with us. The principle of adequate healthcare should be provided for all regardless of ability to pay must be the function of any arrangements for financing the NHS. We stand by that.

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.

In the Conservative Party we have no truck with outmoded Marxist doctrine about class warfare. For us it is not who you are, who your family is or where you come from that matters, but what you are and what you can do for your country that counts.

The legal system we have and the rule of law are far more responsible for our traditional liberties than any system of one man one vote. Any country or Government which wants to proceed towards tyranny starts to undermine legal rights and undermine the law.

I don't think any woman in power really has a happy life unless she's got a large number of women friends ... because you sometimes must go and sit down and let down your hair with someone you can trust totally.

This business of the working class is on its way out I think. After all, aren't I working class? I work jolly hard, I can tell you.

The woman's mission is not to enhance the masculine spirit, but to express the feminine; hers is not to preserve a man-made world, but to create a human world by the infusion of the feminine element into all of its activities.

We need a free economy not only for the renewed material prosperity it will bring, but because it is indispensable to individual freedom, human dignity and to a more just, more honest society.

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... To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukemia with leeches.

I shan't be pulling the levers there but I shall be a very good back-seat driver.

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