Margaret Thatcher quotes

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Margaret Thatcher

Birthdate: 13. October 1925
Date of death: 8. April 2013
Other names: Margaret Thatcherová, Margaret Hilda Thatcher

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was a British stateswoman who was 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 have been appointed. 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 have come to be known as Thatcherism.

A research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his Conservative government. In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition and became the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.

On moving into 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives intended to reverse high unemployment and Britain's struggles in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and an ongoing recession. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation , flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher's popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and increasing unemployment, until victory in the 1982 Falklands War and the recovering economy brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her decisive re-election in 1983. She survived an assassination attempt in 1984.

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987. During this period her support for a Community Charge was widely unpopular, and her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership. After retiring from the Commons in 1992, she was given a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords. In 2013 she died of a stroke in London at the age of 87. Always a controversial figure, she has nonetheless been lauded as one of the greatest, most influential and widest-known politicians in British history, even as arguments over Thatcherism persist.

Works

Quotes Margaret Thatcher

„There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers’ money.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Conservative Party Conference (14 October 1983) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/105454
Second term as Prime Minister
Context: Let us never forget this fundamental truth: the State has no source of money other than money which people earn themselves. If the State wishes to spend more it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay – that ‘someone else’ is you. There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers’ money.

„I shall never stop fighting. I mean this country to survive, to prosper and to be free“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Federation of Conservative Students Conference (24 March 1975) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102663
Leader of the Opposition
Context: I shall never stop fighting. I mean this country to survive, to prosper and to be free... I haven't fought the destructive forces of socialism for more than twenty years in order to stop now, when the critical phase of the struggle is upon us.

„We believe that everyone has the right to be unequal but to us every human being is equally important.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to the Conservative Party Conference (10 October 1975) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102777
Leader of the Opposition
Context: Some Socialists seem to believe that people should be numbers in a State computer. We believe they should be individuals. We are all unequal. No one, thank heavens, is like anyone else, however much the Socialists may pretend otherwise. We believe that everyone has the right to be unequal but to us every human being is equally important.

„Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Often attributed to Thatcher, but originally said by Jesse Carr, head of Teamsters Union Local, in Newsweek, Vol. 88 (1976), p. 77
Misattributed

„In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to members of the National Union of Townswomen’s Guilds, delivered at the Royal Albert Hall (May 20, 1965) ; as quoted in Why Women Should Rule the World, HarperCollins (2008), Dee Dee Myers, p. 227 : ISBN 0061140406, 9780061140402 . The Margaret Thatcher Foundation http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/101374 gives the following additional information : MT spoke on the theme ‘Woman – No Longer a Satellite.’ The Evening News report of this speech is the origin of a phrase often attributed to her : ‘In politics, ... (etc., as above).’
Backbench MP

„The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to the Conservative Party Conference (10 October 1975) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102777
The last sentence is widely paraphrased as "The trouble/problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."
Leader of the Opposition
Variant: They’ve got the usual Socialist disease – they’ve run out of other people's money.
Context: And I will go on criticising Socialism, and opposing Socialism because it is bad for Britain – and Britain and Socialism are not the same thing... It's the Labour Government that have brought us record peace-time taxation. They’ve got the usual Socialist disease – they’ve run out of other people's money.

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„And I will go on criticising Socialism“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to the Conservative Party Conference (10 October 1975) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102777
The last sentence is widely paraphrased as "The trouble/problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."
Leader of the Opposition
Context: And I will go on criticising Socialism, and opposing Socialism because it is bad for Britain – and Britain and Socialism are not the same thing... It's the Labour Government that have brought us record peace-time taxation. They’ve got the usual Socialist disease – they’ve run out of other people's money.

„You can't build a secure future on dishonest money.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Conservative Party Conference (11 October 1985) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/106145
Second term as Prime Minister
Context: We will not reflate... Past governments have tried that. Past governments have deliberately created inflation in the hope of reducing unemployment. It always finished up with worse inflation and worse unemployment. Mr President, You can't build a secure future on dishonest money. And there is a fundamental truth, from which no government can escape.

„Despite the new look of these Communist parties, despite the softness of their voices, we should be on the watch for the teeth and the appetite of the wolf.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Christian Democratic Union Conference (25 May 1976) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/103034
Leader of the Opposition
Context: In some European countries, we now see Communist parties dressed in democratic clothes and speaking with soft voices. Of course we hope that their oft-proclaimed change of heart is genuine. But every child in Europe knows the story of little Red Riding Hood and what happened to her in her grandmother's cottage in the forest. Despite the new look of these Communist parties, despite the softness of their voices, we should be on the watch for the teeth and the appetite of the wolf.

„I place a profound belief—indeed a fervent faith—in the virtues of self reliance and personal independence.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

On these is founded the whole case for the free society, for the assertion that human progress is best achieved by offering the freest possible scope for the development of individual talents, qualified only by a respect for the qualities and the freedom of others...For many years there has been a subtle erosion of the essential virtues of the free society. Self-reliance has been sneered at as if it were an absurd suburban pretention. Thrift has been denigrated as if it were greed. The desire of parents to choose and to struggle for what they themselves regarded as the best possible education for their children has been scorned.
Speech to Conservative Central Council (15 March 1975) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102655
Leader of the Opposition

„We who believe in strong defence are the true peace party.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Young Conservative Conference (12 February 1983) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/105252
First term as Prime Minister
Context: Peace is not bought cheaply. It cannot be won without cost. The cost of Britain's defence is the price we pay to prevent war. The money for our armed services is truly our “peace tax”. What a cruel irony it is that the word “peace” has been hijacked by those who seek one-sided disarmament. It's ironic because if only one side disarms, the other is far more tempted to aggression. Unilateralism makes war more likely. We who believe in strong defence are the true peace party.

„They are pointing to the steady and remorseless expansion of the Socialist State.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Conservative Central Council ("The Historic Choice") (20 March 1976) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102990
Leader of the Opposition
Context: There are others who warn not only of the threat from without, but of something more insidious, not readily perceived, not always deliberate, something that is happening here at home. What are they pointing to? They are pointing to the steady and remorseless expansion of the Socialist State. Now none of us would claim that the majority of Socialists are inspired by other than humanitarian and well-meaning ideals. At the same time few would, I think, deny today that they have made a monster that they can't control. Increasingly, inexorably, the State the Socialists have created is becoming more random in the economic and social justice it seeks to dispense, more suffocating in its effect on human aspirations and initiative, more politically selective in its defence of the rights of its citizens, more gargantuan in its appetite—and more disastrously incompetent in its performance. Above all, it poses a growing threat, however unintentional, to the freedom of this country, for there is no freedom where the State totally controls the economy. Personal freedom and economic freedom are indivisible. You can't have one without the other. You can't lose one without losing the other.

„Help me to liberate those who create wealth—and to make the wreckers run for cover.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Article for the News of the World (29 April 1979) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/104052
Leader of the Opposition
Context: In this over-governed country of ours, the creative majority have too little freedom, and the tiny minority of wreckers have too much licence. The government I shall form next weekend will decisively reverse this state of affairs. Help me to liberate those who create wealth—and to make the wreckers run for cover.

„Socialists don't like ordinary people choosing, for they might not choose Socialism.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Conservative Party Conference (13 October 1989) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/speeches/displaydocument.asp?docid=107789
Third term as Prime Minister
Context: 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." Mr President, the trouble with Labour is that they're just not at home with freedom. Socialists don't like ordinary people choosing, for they might not choose Socialism.

„Which is the one most likely to get results? The one who says, come on you can do it. That's me.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for IRN (28 November 1980) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/104452
First term as Prime Minister
Context: It's like a nurse looking after an ill patient. Which is the better nurse? The one who smothers the patient with sympathy and says ‘never mind, dear, there there, you just lie back and I'll bring you all your meals. I'll bring you all your papers. Just lie back, I'll look after you’? Or the nurse who says ‘Now, come on. Shake out of it. I know you've had an operation yesterday. It's time you put your feet to the ground and took a few steps. That's right, dear, that's right. Now get back and take a few more tomorrow’... Which is the one most likely to get results? The one who says, come on you can do it. That's me.

„The record is clear, printing money doesn't create jobs, it only creates more inflation.“

—  Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Conservative Trade Unionists (Annual Conference) (1 November 1980) http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/104439
First term as Prime Minister
Context: If simply printing and spending more money would cure our problems we should by now be one of the wealthiest nations in the Western world.—In the lifetime of the last Labour Government the amount of money in the economy went up by £20 thousand million but the number of jobs did not increase. Indeed, unemployment doubled and prices more than doubled too.—In the last three years (1976–79) the amount of money in the economy went up by 50%; but yet only 4%; went into output, the rest into higher prices and imports. The record is clear, printing money doesn't create jobs, it only creates more inflation. But there is another word for printing money—they call it “reflection”. It is a cosy word but a fraudulent device. It cuts the value of every pound in circulation, of every pound the thrifty have saved. It means spending money you can't afford, haven't earned and haven't got. You would accept that it is neither moral nor responsible for a family to live beyond its means. Equally it is neither moral nor responsible for a Government to spend beyond the nation's means, even for services which may be desirable. So we must curb public spending to amounts that can be financed by taxation at tolerable levels and borrowing at reasonable rates of interest.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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