Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Margaret Thatcher in her own words

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Margaret Thatcher was renowned for her no-nonsense turn of phrase.

"I wasn't lucky. I deserved it" - Comment on receiving a school prize, aged nine.

"There is no alternative" - Comment made on several occasions about her economic policy, giving rise, through the initial letters of the word, to her nickname "Tina".

"I am not hard - I'm frightfully soft. But I will not be hounded" - Interview, 1972.

"It will be years - and not in my time - before a woman will lead the party or become Prime Minister" - Speech, 1974.

"Let our children grow tall, and some taller than others if they have it in them to do so" - Speech in United States in 1975.

"I've got a woman's ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it" - Speech, 1975.

"I stand before you tonight in my green chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my fair hair gently waved. The Iron Lady of the Western World? Me? A cold war warrior? Well, yes - if that is how they wish to interpret my defence of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life" - Speech in 1976 after the Kremlin dubbed her the Iron Lady.

"Britain is no longer in the politics of the pendulum, but of the ratchet" - Speech to the Institute of Public Relations, 1977.

"I can trust my husband not to fall asleep on a public platform and he usually claps in the right places" - Interview, 1978.

"Votes do not fall from the trees like ripe plums. They have to be fought for" - Private meeting of Tory candidates before the 1979 general election.

"Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country" - Election campaign, 1979.

"If a woman like Eva Peron with no ideals can get that far, think how far I can go with all the ideals that I have" - Interview in 1980.

"I love argument, I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that's not their job" - Interview, 1980.

"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. The lady's not for turning" - Speech at Conservative Party conference, 1980.

"No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money as well" - Television interview, 1980.

"A crime is a crime is a crime" - News conference in Saudi Arabia, 1981, rejecting any view that there could be political reasons for IRA terrorism.

"We should rejoice at that news" - On the recapture of South Georgia during the Falklands conflict, 1981.

"We knew what we had to do and we went about it and did it. Great Britain is great again" - Comment at end of Falklands conflict.

"In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman" - Speech 1982.

"The battle for women's rights has been largely won" - Interview, 1982.

"Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth" - Interview, 1982.

"I owe nothing to women's lib" - Interview, 1982.

"Victorian values were the values when our country became great" - TV interview, 1982.

"I am painted as the greatest little dictator, which is ridiculous - you always take some consultations" - Interview, 1983.

"We are the true peace movement" - Interview, 1983.

"Oh, I have got lots of human weaknesses. Who hasn't?" - Interview, 1983.

"And what a prize we have to fight for: no less than the chance to banish from our land the dark divisive clouds of Marxist socialism" - Speech to Scottish Tories, 1983.

"The National Health Service is safe in our hands" - Conservative Party conference, 1983.

"State socialism is totally alien to the British character" - Interview, 1983.

"Young people ought not to be idle. It is very bad for them" - Interview, 1984.

"I love being at the centre of things" - Interview, 1984.

"This is a man I can do business with" - After her first meeting with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

"That is the scale of the outrage in which we have all shared. And the fact we are gathered here, now, shocked but composed and determined, is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail" - Tory conference, 1984, a few hours after the Brighton bomb outrage which nearly killed her.

"This is a day I was not meant to see" - the Sunday following the Brighton bomb.

"I think, historically, the term 'Thatcherism' will be seen as a compliment" - Speech, 1985.

"Why, Marks and Spencer of course. Doesn't everyone?" - When asked where she bought her underwear, 1986.

"I don't mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say" - Interview, 1987.

"There is no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women, and there are families" - Interview, 1987.

"I am certain we will win the election with a good majority. Not that I am ever over-confident" - Comment during 1987 election campaign which she won with a three-figure majority.

"I think I have become a bit of an institution - you know the sort of thing people expect to see around the place" - Speech, 1987.

"Had we gone the way of France and got 60% of our electricity from nuclear power, we should not have environmental problems" - Speech, 1988.

"What's wrong with British water" - When presented with French Perrier water at a lunch in 1989.

"We are a grandmother" - On the birth of her grandson, Michael, February, 1989.

"The Chancellor is unassailable" - Comment about Nigel Lawson only days before he resigned from the Government in 1989.

"I fight on. I fight to win" - Statement on November 21, 1990, after she was forced into a second ballot in the leadership battle, but she in fact withdrew before it occurred.

"Having consulted widely among colleagues, I have concluded that the unity of the party and the prospects of victory in a general election would be better served if I stood down to enable Cabinet colleagues to enter the ballot for the leadership" - Statement the following day.

"It's a funny old world" - Comment after her decision to quit in November 1990, pointing out that she had never lost an election in her life, yet had been forced to stand down.

"I'm enjoying this" - An interjection in a rumbustious speech she made in the Commons only hours after announcing she would quit.

"The Mummy returns" - During the 2001 general election campaign after passing a poster publicising a film of that name.

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