A Portrait of the Iron Lady
A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Algora Publishing New York
paper) — ISBN 978-0-87586631-4 (case laminate: alk. Conservative Party (Great Britain)—Biography. or by any means. 4. Includes bibliographical references and index. 5. DA591.085’8092—dc22 [B] 2008036677
Front Cover: 1983. Prime ministers—Great Britain—Biography. Thatcher. Title.© 2008 by Algora Publishing. First Lord of the Treasury and Conservative Member of Parliament for Finchley. stored in a retrieval system. England.com No portion of this book (beyond what is permitted by Sections 107 or 108 of the United States Copyright Act of 1976) may be reproduced by any process. I. Margaret. or transmitted in any form.The Rt.T47B58 2008 941. Honorable Margaret Thatcher is the Prime Minister. 1952Margaret Thatcher : A portrait of the iron lady/ John Blundell. without the express written permission of the publisher.London. 3. Great Britain—Politics and government—1979-1997. paper) — ISBN 978-0-87586-632-1 (ebook) 1. All Rights Reserved www. Women prime ministers—Great Britain—Biography. ISBN 978-0-87586-630-7 (trade paper: alk. John.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data — Blundell. 2. p. © Bettmann/CORBIS
Printed in the United States
.John Blundell has been one of the most effective champions of the freeenterprise economic model which has delivered progress and prosperity around the world. Therefore he is very well placed to explain to Americans the beliefs and principles which underpinned what became known as “Thatcherism.” — Lady Thatcher.
CAP CBE CBI CCO CFSP CIA CPC CPS CUNY ECB EDA EEC ERM ESU EU FCS FSB GCSE GDP HM HMS IEA IMF IRA IVP JFK LSE LUCA MIT MORI MP NATO NCB NFSE Air Raid Precaution Adam Smith Institute British Airways British Airports Authority British Broadcasting Corporation Bank for International Settlements British Overseas Airways Corporation British Petroleum Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Church of England Common Agricultural Policy Commander of the Order of the British Empire Confederation of British Industry Conservative Central Office Common Foreign and Security Policy Central Intelligence Agency Conservative Political Centre Centre for Policy Studies City University of New York European Central Bank European Defense Agency European Economic Community Exchange Rate Mechanism English Speaking Union European Union Federation of Conservative Students Federation of Small Business General Certificate of Secondary Education Gross Domestic Product Her Majesty Her Majesty’s Ship Institute of Economic Affairs International Monetary Fund Irish Republican Army International Visitor Program John F. of E.List of Acronyms
ARP ASI BA BAA BBC BIS BOAC BP BSE C. Kennedy Airport London School of Economics London University Conservative Association Massachusetts Institute of Technology Market and Opinion Research International Member of Parliament North Atlantic Treaty Organization National Coal Board National Federation of Self-Employed (Later FSB)
NHS NI NUM OECD OM OUCA OUGCA PBS PM POW PPS QC RAF RPM SAS SAU SBS SDI SUNY THF TUC UCS USAF USE USSR VAT
National Health Service National Insurance National Union of Mineworkers Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Order of Merit Oxford University Conservative Association Oxford University Graduate Conservative Association Public Broadcasting Service Prime Minister Prisoner of War Parliamentary Private Secretary Queen’s Counsel Royal Air Force Retail Price Maintenance Special Air Service Social Affairs Unit Special Boat Service Strategic Defense Initiative State University of New York The Heritage Foundation Trades Union Congress Upper Clyde Shipbuilders United States Air Force “United States of Europe” Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Value Added Tax
Ed Feulner and Brooke Rollins for hosting me. Dr. The buzz I got from those events is still with me. William Culleton III.Acknowledgements
This is not a work of scholarship. Anthony Haynes. and US Ambassador Robert Tuttle for their help in this regard. editing. fact-checking. I thank Bridgett Wagner. I thank Lord Hunt of the Wirral. and Robin Sillars. Rather it is a very personal interpretation of a very special life. From the start this book has been all about explaining the Thatcher phenomenon to people overseas. and far more weight to. Christine Blundell. For a range of typing. Rebekah Nordeck. The book was inspired by the enthusiastic reactions to speeches I have given about Lady Thatcher to The Heritage Foundation in Colorado Springs and in Washington DC as well as to the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Dallas. research and other help I thank in alphabetical order: Clare Batty. especially in the USA where she is so admired. Lisa Schwartz.
. The usual disclaimer applies. Chairman of the English Speaking Union. The only piece of remotely “original” research appears in Chapter 5 where I give much more detail on. Margaret Thatcher’s 1967 and 1969 visits to the United States than any previous biographer or in my case hagiographer.
For all those who believed in free markets and private property rights under the rule of law before 1975. There were not many of us and we know who we are.
I suggest you simply address her as “Prime Minister” or “Lady Thatcher. For the sake of simplicity I have adopted the following protocol: As a young girl — Margaret As a college student and young professional — Miss Margaret Roberts As a young wife in the 1950s — Mrs. titles and honors.Protocol
Lady Thatcher has had many names. Margaret Thatcher MP In her many jobs — the relevant title In “retirement” — Lady Thatcher Should you ever have the honor of meeting her. Denis Thatcher As an MP — Mrs.”
Table of Contents
Preface Introduction 1. Launching 4. Battling the IRA
1 11 17 25 35 45 53 63 71 77 83 89 93 99 107 113 121 127 131
. Liberating the Economy 12. Reflections 8. Opposition I 6. Elected 5. Selling Off Public Housing 14. Going to War 15. Leader 9. Education Secretary 7. Opposition II 10. Reforming the Unions 17. Privatizing the Commanding Heights 13. University 3. Power 11. Childhood 2. Beating the Miners 16.
Dealing with Brussels 21. Family Denis Carol Mark 24. Resignation 22. Befriending America 19.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
18. Ten Lessons Postscript: What Remains to be Done Further Reading
137 141 147 155 165 173 173 177 178 181 181 182 184 186 187 189 191 197 207 211
. Kicking Down the Wall 20. Retirement 23. Men Alf Keith Ronald Alfred Alan Ralph 25. Her World 26.
. Prime Minister (1979–90) to her post-Prime Ministerial life (1990 to date). reads widely. Ballroom dancing was another passion as is music. piano player. Hayek. In her youth she was a great singer. A. really terrific company. Her interest in politics is different from 99% of other politicians I have met. indeed I have met her in every job she has held from Education Secretary (1970–74). family and country have dominated her life. award winning poetry reciter.1 walker. On every occasion she has impressed me with her insights and intellect. both Nobel Laureates. the opera and the arts. she retains an interest in science (her early training). Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition (1975–79). deputy Chancellor of the Exchequer (1974–75). Shadow Environment Secretary (1974). She is an immensely fascinating and entertaining person.Preface
I have met Lady Thatcher on many occasions. While faith. enjoys musical outings and as I write is even pictured in the Sports Section of my newspaper watching tennis at Wimbledon. amateur actress and debater. Of the many leading figures I have met around the world she is joint number one with Milton Friedman and F. Like President Reagan she honestly cared about her fellow
1 Rupert Brooke’s “These I have loved” was a lifelong favorite.
My first recollection of her is as Secretary for Education and Science. nearly four years in Cabinet as Secretary of Education. We used to go as delegates from FCS to visit her and tell her what was on our minds and how things were on campus.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
men and women and was deeply passionate about making the world a better place. She could get right to the heart of any issue and shine light on it faster than anyone I have ever met except maybe Milton Friedman (F. She could hack through mumbo-jumbo with a sharp scythe — take you off at your knees rather than your ankles. or maybe alert is a better word. Hayek being less combative and more reflective).
. not part of the leadership.. She was always master of her ground while being ruthlessly probing and terrifyingly insightful on anything new we might have to say. three in the Shadow Cabinet. This meant I covered lots of polytechnics and other universities as well as London University. I think we used to prepare at the rate of one day for every 15 minutes in her presence. I was Chairman of the Conservative Association at the London School of Economics (LSE) at the time followed by another year as Chairman of the London University Conservative Association (LUCA) which acted as London Region of the Federation of Conservative Students (FCS). She was twenty years in the making. And you have to be nimble when you are with her. My predecessor as Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Ralph Harris (later Lord Harris of High Cross) often told me about also going to see her as Education Secretary in the early 1970s
1 Backbench as opposed to frontbench.e. intelligence and training in science and law to bear. six shadow3 posts. A. Her range of policy experience was huge by the time she became Prime Minister: after a brief spell as anything but an ordinary backbench1 MP2 she had had a junior ministerial post. As Prime Minister she was a problem solver bringing her determination. 2 MP stands for Member of Parliament. 3 In the British system every government minister is shadowed by a member of the official opposition party. And she was like that with everyone. brief spells in two more senior Shadow Cabinet slots and four years as Leader of the Opposition. i.
’ “The best we can do for you is to keep out of your way.Preface
as he and colleagues were attempting to establish the University of Buckingham. Ralph and chums sat there while junior ministers prevaricated — umm’ed and ah’d — about this curious new idea. “Oh. the UK’s first private college. “Let me know if my Department throws up obstacles to your progress and I will deal with them. Get the government out of the way! This was her great knack. having been called to an emergency Cabinet meeting over the Leila Khalid matter — whether or not this captured terrorist should be returned.
She knew exactly what they wanted to hear. My year as regional chairman of the FCS finished with a wonderful dinner in the House of Lords sponsored1 by the masterful historian Lord Blake. Some 200 people were standing out there and staring at me as I thought to myself.” she opened. you can’t expect help from us. Everything had been meticulously planned and at the appropriate moment the head table of eight trooped in.” they finally blurted out as if this was bound to disappoint the Buckingham delegation. Without pause she perched on the corner of a settee and launched into an exact analysis of the delegation’s thinking:
“Now. Not surprisingly it is currently rated number one on the National Student Satisfaction survey and has been for some time. It was March of 1974 so just days after Mr. From the way she said ‘help’ they knew she meant ‘hindrance. Before they could respond. Heath’s first defeat of that year. in walked Education Secretary Thatcher direct from Cabinet. They arrived and she was not there. “We’ve
1 “Sponsored” in this case does not mean he paid for it but rather that he booked the room — which was very generous indeed as he would have been severely limited to two or three events a year at most. her great ability to get right to the heart of the matter. I had invited her to address us as Education Secretary but she appeared as Shadow Environment Secretary.
. The evening stands out in my memory for three reasons.” she concluded. you certainly do not want and do not expect any ‘help’ from my Department.
Oops. unreal almost. Why is everyone standing up? Why aren’t they sitting down?” Just as I was about to panic Mrs. She was the queen. Wherever we took her. She was running (see below) to be leader of the Tory Party.” she said. My speech a few minutes later was truly awful and totally inappropriate as I basically did nothing but crack a few jokes at her expense. She knocked us all dead. Phew! Later that evening she commented on the supply of wine to the top table. I was running to be the first Conservative elected onto the Board of the LSE student union for something like 15 years since John Moore1 (later to serve Prime Minister Thatcher in Cabinet)2 had been president in say 1960.” She stuck her hand in her purse and passed me some folded money. I was involved in welcoming her to a north London constituency.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
forgotten something here. She took over. She was just superb. Oh yes! “Benedictus benedicat. she charmed everybody. Later that year. you fool.
. Only months later we were both running for high office. It was just the right amount. something is wrong.” We sat down. with Mrs. philosophically and photogenically perfect opportunities dropped in our lap. “I can’t have a young man like you buying my drinks. I explained that it was my job as retiring Chairman to handle that.” It was uncanny.
1 Now Lord Moore of Lower Marsh.” she hissed.” by Charles Murray. I got elected to my sordid little union job looking after the student bar known as The Three Tuns just a week or two ahead of her. This time however it was out in public as it was election time and she was pushing the agenda discussed below. On gaining the latter he purchased 100 copies of the famous US analysis of welfare. and ordered all his top officials to read it and write a paper on how its insights might influence UK policy. Thatcher still as Shadow Environment Secretary. That was the afternoon I glimpsed the political future and what we might expect. “Losing Ground. “Oh no. 2 He served Prime Minister Thatcher in Cabinet as Transport Secretary and later Health and Social Security Secretary. lower case “q. Thatcher’s left foot kicked my right ankle: “Grace. She was very gracious on the night — but see below.
This led the then Tory leader, Edward Heath, to send me a letter of congratulation. The letter was intercepted by the left at the LSE and leaked to the press. When eventually a full report appeared in The Daily Telegraph it concluded with words to the effect that (unfortunately for Mr. Heath) Mr. Blundell was already working hard for Mrs. Thatcher. The day she became leader of the Conservative Party I introduced a motion of congratulation in the LSE student union — of course it was defeated. When she was Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition I met her several times on various issues. The first time was when, soon after she became Leader, she inherited from Ted Heath the task of addressing the LUCA annual dinner for the second year running. She glanced to her right, down the top table, spotted me and started her speech by saying she hoped this was the London University Conservative Association and not the London University Comedians’ Association! Ouch! Squashed! We often went to see her prior to 1979. I report below on her response to my idea that we give all public housing units away to sitting tenants. At that same dinner one of my chums (let’s call him Peter — he ended up in Cabinet) said that she was putting too much emphasis on economic freedom and not enough on personal or social freedom. “Take cannabis,” he said. “It’s freely available, so why not recognize reality and legalize it?” He added, “My friend knows exactly where to get it!” “Peter,” she said, “my detective is sitting outside. I want you to call him in now and give him details of your friend!” Well, he ducked and dived, wriggled and weaved, and she let him off the hook. We had other memorable moments. Later, when Michael Forsyth was national Chairman of FCS, I was his national Vice Chairman responsible for publicity. Mrs. Thatcher’s approaching birthday seemed to me to be a wonderful opportunity for us. About a week before the big day we started brainstorming in a pub called The Marquis of Granby, just off Smith Square and around the corner from Conservative Central Office. What could we or should we do? Eventually we settled on the idea of turning up at her Flood Street, 5
Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Chelsea home with a very, very large bouquet of red roses at about 7:30 a.m. Michael would present it to her against a backdrop of enthusiastic young London students that I would recruit. Everything was quickly arranged and the media alerted. On the morning of the big day I first picked up Michael in Hugh Street in central Westminster and then this huge display of red roses from a famous florist in Berkeley Square. The arrangement could barely fit in the taxi and we lost several heads en route. When we pulled up there was a massive bank of cameras and a solitary policeman but not one student. “Wait here,” I sternly told Forsyth as I was in a bit of a panic. I jumped out, scanned the street again and finally walked up to the policeman. “I wonder if you have seen any students?” I asked nervously. “Oh, yes, sir,” he replied, “Mrs. Thatcher saw them standing out here twenty minutes ago and invited them all into her home for a cup of tea!” “Should I say you are ready, sir?” he finished. The students duly emerged and formed a backdrop. Mrs. Thatcher appeared; Michael presented the roses and the pictures went out all over the world. I believe he has given her roses for every birthday since then. On the day of the general election that propelled her into 10 Downing Street the swing to the Conservative Party was such that a tour of London seats was arranged, not safe or even Labour marginal seats but that middle level of reasonably safe Labour constituencies. I was helping (in a private capacity) the Conservative candidate in West Norwood where I was at the time a councilman on Lambeth Borough Council. At some point that afternoon of May 3 she burst into our HQ at 495 Norwood Road, London SE27 with her entourage. She was radiant and she clearly knew she was going to win — but she did not win that particular seat. It was a long reach. I have three major personal memories of her as Prime Minister; only three because I worked in California and Virginia from April 1982 to January 1993.
The first was in January 1982. I was at the time Press, Parliamentary and Research Officer of the National Federation of Self-Employed (NFSE, which today goes by Federation of Small Business or FSB). Our new Chairman was David Dexter, an accountant who hailed from the Prime Minister’s own county of Lincolnshire. David persuaded her to come to lunch and to address his National Council in a private 2nd floor room at the Imperial Hotel, Russell Square, a major Bloomsbury venue say one mile from Downing Street. Unfortunately her only son, Mark, was missing in the Sahara at the time on a car rally and he had been missing for several days.1 The stress had been increased by reports that he had been found — only for such news to be later proved false.2 Mr. Dexter’s speech of welcome for the event had been press released some days earlier. The result was about 200 pressmen and dozens of cameras outside the hotel. Her staff and security formed a protective wedge and she had only a few feet to walk to me. As she did so voices were calling out for news of Mark. Against instructions she broke step and tried to answer saying something such as “there’s no news and I’m very worried.” I think this was the fifth day of Mark’s six days missing. At this point she was clearly breaking down and two large men, one on each side, picked her up by the elbows and came directly toward me very quickly. I led them to my left, their right, out of the lobby and into an empty function room. We quickly sat her down at some random table and her staff stood in a line blocking the view from a window to the outside courtyard. “What would you like, Prime Minister?” I asked. “Black coffee, please,” she replied. As The Daily Telegraph reported on its front page the next day — every paper had it on page one — “Next a young man [me] burst from the room, collared a waiter and said ‘Get me a black coffee and make it quick.’” Stories that she sobbed in public for 30 seconds or more are complete and utter nonsense. She quickly composed herself and went on to ace the meeting. The hotel staff (mostly new immigrants) presented her with a huge bouquet and David Dexter told her that to mark her visit the Federa1 He was found safe and sound after six days. 2 The local army was totally chaotic.
Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
tion was sending a substantial check to the charity recommended by her office. Living just outside Washington DC I had the opportunity in 1987 to hear her address The Heritage Foundation (THF). By this time she was clearly getting a little antsy about people (all men) claiming credit for “Thatcherism.” This was the cue for her famous line: “But remember while the cocks may crow, it’s the hen that lays the egg.” That was the evening President Reagan sat down next to Joe Coors and said “Oh good, it must be ‘Miller Time’!” Three years later I was invited to a party at London’s Reform Club for the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Social Affairs Unit (SAU). I turned up on time. As I walked up the steps in a business suit I realized that Sir Antony Jay, co-author of the famous British TV series Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, was next to me in black tie. We fell into conversation and entered the event. An hour later we joined up again as the Prime Minister was working the room. She turned from the group next to us and spotted Tony in his tuxedo — the only one in the whole room. “Ah, Tony,” she said, “you must be going to somewhere important later?” “No, Prime Minister,” he replied contritely. “I misread the invitation!” So I heard the author of Yes, Prime Minister say, “No, Prime Minister” to the then Prime Minister. In fact, a few weeks later she was no longer Prime Minister. When I became Director General of the IEA I found we had already published a collection of speeches, by my predecessor Lord Harris, under the title of No, Minister. So when he turned seventy and I published the best of his articles, I had no hesitation in calling them No, Prime Minister. As I recount below, she has never retired and to this day in her eighties keeps a very busy diary. I see her often and she keeps a keen interest in all that is going on as we will read below. Some years ago I was at a round-table of forty people with Lady Thatcher. After dinner we enjoyed remarks from a distinguished guest. Then came questions. Most present were fairly senior types from the 8
he stood. but there was one man even younger. I sat Lady Thatcher to his right — where else? Come the moment when gifts were present9
. “Speak up.” she said. “Stand up and throw your voice. At 45.” said Lady Thatcher in a very arch voice. We want to hear what you have to say. Arthur Seldon CBE and Lord (Ralph) Harris of High Cross. I concluded by saying that Sir Denis’s place had been taken for the night by Mr. He started a third time. X MP. He tried again but clearly did not measure up. my wife tells me. tall. this young man was actually the leading expert in the room on our topic for the night. The problem was that nobody could hear what he was saying. I quickly recruited a Tory MP friend who is a generation younger than Lady Thatcher. To tell the truth. We sat down to dinner. At Ralph’s 80th in December 2005. who were the IEA’s editorial and general directors.Preface
media. YOUNG MAN!” she commanded again. “SPEAK UP. Lady Thatcher’s office asked if she and Sir Denis could attend and I replied yes. She has a great sense of comic timing — she does not only tell jokes when they are scripted by her speech writers. he threw.” commanded Lady Thatcher. Still no good. I was hosting a dinner once for a famous politician from overseas. “Young man. “Nobody told me!” The whole room erupted and just roared with laughter. handsome in a battered kind of way. young man.” Turning bright red. industry and politics. straight and. but then she does not need to. I was pretty young. She glared down the table. a 31-one-year-old representing his boss. Into the vacuum of space and time immediately following the guest’s remarks the young man proffered an interesting question. Sir Denis failed to show and I faced having an empty chair at dinner. On the night. the civil service. “Really. I tapped on a glass to get attention and made a few announcements. they listened and at the end they (the men) all applauded. A great personal joy for me over the past 15 years has been organizing significant birthday parties for the late Dr.
There is much scope for her to be influenced between triumph and disaster. We should certainly be able to hope for something better from her — but I suspect that she will need to be exposed to the humanizing side of your character as much as to the pure welfare market-monger. paper flew in all directions and she handed it back. But she is inclined to be rather too dogmatic for my liking on sensitive issues like education and might actually retard the case by over-simplification. “Fortunately the computer survived!” On becoming Director General of the IEA. I found the following in the archive. on January 1. Before he knew what was happening. Unfortunately the gift wrap was too tight for Ralph. 1993. As the Financial Times diary column put it the next day. Many of her economic prejudices are certainly sound.” Fortunately it was the former. The then IEA Editorial Director Arthur Seldon CBE had written on October 24. as follows: “May we hope for better things from Margaret?” Geoffrey Howe replied: “I am not at all sure about Margaret. Lady Thatcher yanked it out of his hands. 1969 to a rising Tory MP. my Executive Assistant Clare was in charge. Geoffrey Howe.
. reportedly her favorite think tank.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ed. One of the gifts was a brand new laptop computer.
annual price increases were 16. 1979 and ended on March 28.” the United Kingdom’s winter of 1978–1979.3% and 13. and Scottish Nationalists — depending on the issue of the moment. This happened on only one other
.5%.3%) to annual double-digit price increases1.2
1 In the six years from 1974 through 1979.” —Richard III. thus precipitating a General Election. 16.4% so what you could buy for £100 in 1974 cost £240 in 1979.8%. both left and right. under Prime Minister James Callaghan. Decades of abject policy failure culminated in three months of anarchy. 24. It started on January 3. The Labour Government.2%. helped by opportunistic Liberals. William Shakespeare
It was called the “Winter of Discontent. 8.0%. Ulster Unionists.Introduction
“Now is the Winter of our Discontent. 1979 when Her Majesty’s Government lost a no-confidence motion by just one vote. Successive British governments. struggled desperately to hold onto power. 15. 2 Minority governments may lose many day-to-day votes and still press on governing but not a vote of “no confidence” which necessitates a visit by the Prime Minister to Buckingham Palace to ask Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to dissolve Parliament and call a General Election. had not only failed to bring the labor unions under the rule of law but also given the country dire levels of currency inflation leading (with one exception of 8.
Such atrocities included the disruption of gas supplies and the closure of gas stations. when the first Labour government (a minority one) had also fallen. Following speeches. the picketing of major ports. At one point British Rail issued a five-word press notice: “There are no trains today. strikes by trash collectors and even an unofficial strike by grave diggers.2%. picket lines. It was grim! Very grim indeed! What had the country come to when pregnant women were denied medicals. she was that afternoon driven to Buckingham Palace
occasion in the 20th century. Margaret Thatcher MP from her constituency of Finchley in north London to her Party headquarters (Conservative Central Office) at 32 Smith Square in the heart of Westminster. exactly four months after it had all started. Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin won the ensuing General Election. Early the very next day. kisses (or rather just one kiss for her staunch ally Russell Lewis) and toasts. oil refineries and manufacturers of “essentials” resulting in the laying off of over 1 million workers. May 4. as Labour bled red and the Conservatives gained + 62 net seats. this swing propelled Conservative Party Leader Mrs. The British polity was seared by a series of iconic images such as closed gas stations. namely 1924. disabled people’s homes were blockaded and trolleys carrying meals for old people were smashed to pieces? And at the General Election on May 3. hospital support staff — not doctors — deciding which patients should be treated and which turned away without treatment and “if people died. strikes by hospital support staff. Reports of food shortages around the country began to appear as distribution channels were disrupted. so be it” as one union man said. the biggest since 1945.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
The list of industrial atrocities committed during those three months still influences British politics today nearly three decades later.
. On that occasion Ramsay MacDonald asked the King to dissolve Parliament.” Full (rather than empty!) coffins piled up in specially hired empty factories amid speculation by senior medical officers for health that they would soon have to be dumped out at sea. and the ubiquitous giant mountains of waste piled to the sky on street corners and in parks and squares that became nothing but a rat-fest. the electorate took its revenge with a swing from Labour to Conservative of 5. strikes by ambulance drivers including refusal to attend 911 calls.
See Appendix II for British General Elections 1945–2005. and of the 22 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Britain ranked 19th. To be. Heath.
. This only ever irked her when. 1990 when John Major followed her for 6 ½ years until he went down to a record defeat on May Day 1997 to Tony Blair. The situation was so desperate that “serious” commentators opined that Germany and Japan had been “lucky” to have had the American USAF by day and the British RAF by night blow up its old factories. with President Reagan. 1980–1984. At the start of that period the French Ambassador had said that Britain was suffering from “degringolade” or falling down sickness. Attlee. She was Prime Minister for 11 ½ years from that spring day in 1979 until November 28. the Thatcher era can be fairly said to extend the full 18 years from 1979 to 1997. Given no clearly defining Major philosophy or goal (he was very much the quiet middle-manager type). and Callaghan. long-forgotten figures who were or had been heads of state.” She was in the last chance saloon. Foreign Secretary.Introduction
where the head of state Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II graciously invited her to form a new government.1 And from there she was driven to No 10 Downing Street with a good workable majority of 43 to become her nation’s first (and still only) woman Prime Minister2 and only the fourth elected lady leader of a country in recent world history following Sirimavo Bandaranaike (Sri Lanka) 1960–1965. She was also the first woman in British political life to hold any of the four top jobs. say. In day-to-day terms Prime Minister Thatcher “ran the country” but she was never head of state. Eden. one of the two leaders of the free world. Macmillan. and Golda Meir (Israel) 1969–1974. 2 As Prime Minister she was not head of state. ten years later (as a senior world leader of vast experience and with a track record second to none) protocol at various international meetings put her behind many insignificant. Churchill. Britain was the “sick man of Europe. 1994–2000. thus help1 Margaret Thatcher was Her Majesty the Queen’s 9th Prime Minister following Messrs. Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister. 1970–1977. In corporate terms Her Majesty the Queen is CEO and the Prime Minister is COO. Douglas-Home. namely Home Secretary. yet have to stand well down the receiving line must have been truly galling. Wilson. Indira Gandhi (India) 1966–1977. a Conservative majority of +21 becoming a New Labour majority of +177. the West German Ambassador had said Britain had “the economy of East Germany”.
What was needed. Ownership of shares by individuals had gone from 7% to 23% and astonishingly among trade union members from 6% to 29% — in other words from below the national average to well above! Finally the percentage of the work force belonging to a trade union had dropped from just over 50% to 18% and days lost to strikes from 29. 2 Such a high percentage of home ownership has obvious positive benefits.5m. the unions were out of control (“running the country” even) and the nationalized industries were under performing. It had become a nation of entrepreneurs with self-employment doubling from 7% to 14% of the workforce. As Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson (later Lord Lawson) was to remark. Home ownership (as opposed to private renting or public housing) had also leapt from 53% to 71%2. So the Brits were told by all sides. and gobbling up billions in subsidies.5m to 0.A.3 and as we will see tax rates were slashed.” The socio-economic group we call “the middle class” had leapt from 33% to 50% of the population. To meet him is to understand why Missouri is known as the “show me” state. was stability not change.
1 In the late seventies Economics Nobel Laureate F. However. Even the French GDP was streets ahead of the British. But 18 years later Britain had jumped from 19th to 2nd place on the OECD ladder. unaccountable. The British (in particular the English majority) play cricket and it was simply assumed just like baseball that you had your turn at bat and then the others had their turn. the British venture capital industry hardly existed at all in 1979 but a mere six years later was twice the size of “its counterparts in the rest of the European Community taken together. was raised in Kansas. Hayek commented to the author. The UK surely does not have the vibrant private rental sector one sees in the United States. 3 All figures in this paragraph are from a speech to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) by Sir Robert Worcester of Market and Opinion Research International (MORI) in 1998.
. Radical policy solutions were pooh-poohed. it was believed. while born in Missouri. And they believed it. So it was a waste of time to do anything radical as the other side would only get back in next time and undo everything.1 Inflation was rampant. Sir Robert.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ing them to build new ones while Britain struggled with old capital. it does detract from labor mobility. “I do not think the solution to Britain’s problems is to blow up all its capital!” He found the idea so preposterous as to be laughable.
The transformation was stunning on many fronts. Post-Thatcher even the institutionally left leaning British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has had to extend its coverage of the private business sector quite considerably such is the interest in capitalism by employees. Pre-Thatcher a sclerotic union dominated economy was typified by surly service. It is not only the story of her life but also an examination of the ideas. and circumstances surrounding key events. This book is my personal portrait of Margaret Thatcher. The choice and level of quality and service that had so stunned me on my first visit to the US in 1974 was becoming commonplace in the UK of 1997.
. poor products and a craven business class. After all she did not operate in a vacuum. entrepreneurs and shareholders. interests. And both service and product quality have been improved many times over. the woman who was the pivotal point of the rescue of a country. the woman who woke up her nation and made it once again a world leader and player.
You have to give yourself 100%. self-employed backbone of Britain who were pulling themselves and their families up the
1 “Modest” is perhaps a better word but “humble” is more in use. a major transport artery. Iain Duncan Smith. Like her predecessor Edward Heath and her next four successors as Conservative Party leaders (John Major.1. It was also connected by water canal and railroad. William Hague. in the United Kingdom’s east coast county of Lincolnshire.000 and while it had wealthy prosperous areas it also had meaner.
. and Michael Howard — but not the current leader David Cameron) Margaret came from what is often patronizingly called “humble”1 stock but what was in effect the hard working. 1925 under the sign of Libra (the scale) and above her parents’ grocery store on North Parade. Prior to Margaret its most famous former resident was the scientist Sir Isaac Newton. rougher neighborhoods. Childhood
“No woman in my time will be Prime Minister — or Chancellor or Foreign Secretary — not the top jobs. Her home had no bath and no running hot water. Grantham. including one right behind the shop where she was born and raised. In Margaret’s youth the population was circa 30. Anyway I wouldn’t want to be Prime Minister.”
Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on October 13. Grantham was a moderately important regional “market” town which owed a lot to being on the Great North Road.
There was more fluidity between the two systems than critics credit. Her hometown of Grantham is often called “provincial” in a condescending way. He towers over her early life both physically (at over six feet tall) and intellectually. a major leftist leader in Parliament. Alf left school at twelve or thirteen (reports disagree) and gravitated immediately to food distribution and retailing. However. had four generations of nearby Northamptonshire shoemakers as his ancestors while her mother. Beatrice Stephenson. Alfred Roberts. Margaret was much later to use this fact to devastating effect in a parliamentary debate as a carpenter would have been socially and economically well above a tuck shop assistant. starting as an assistant in the “tuck shop”2 at a prominent “public”3 school. her husband Denis Thatcher. Self employment is written all over Margaret’s family tree. you went to the local grammar school and probably stayed until you were 16 or 18. implying a restricted outlook and a lack of big city smarts. Her grocery-store entrepreneur father. 3 British “public schools” are in fact private. you went to the local “secondary modern” and left at. 2 A “tuck” shop is found in nearly every UK boarding school. In Margaret’s time every child in the nation took an exam at the end of 5th grade called the “11+. say. if you failed. Margaret bringing home lots of books every week for him from the local public library.1 If such narrowness was indeed a danger then it was surely nullified ten times over by Margaret’s father. 14. It is the place where students spend their allowance or pocket money on items to supplement their school diet. just as a public house or pub is open to anyone who can pay the price
. and her great friend Ronald Reagan by a country mile.” If you passed. Alf Roberts was arguably the single greatest influence on Margaret. Margaret and older sister Muriel (born 1921) grew up in the apartment over the shop. beating out her political mentor Keith Joseph. see the story of her adviser Sir Alan Walters in Chapter 24. A carpenter at the same school was the father of Eric Heffer. They are called “public” because they are in a very real sense open to any member of the public to apply who can pay the fees. had had her own small business.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
economic and social ladders on their own initiative and had truly great hopes for their children. as reportedly the best-read man in the area. Margaret
1 The phrase “provincial grammar school girl” has four words of which three were put downs in her youth. polish and refinement. Those eighteen years (until she left for Oxford University) of close exposure to and involvement in the daily routine and the problem-solving and decision-making that come with running your own business were to form a major building block of both her political philosophy and her approach to life and work.
And during World War II he was an Air Raid Precaution Warden (ARP) as German bombers pounded Margaret’s hometown. Magistrate. They were in effect senior greybeards elected by the directly elected councilmen. and a wireless (radio) only when Margaret was about to turn into her teens. Methodism was often a rich breeding ground for socialism and pacifism but not for Alf and his little Margaret. Even then there were only three stations. In his 2008 memoir From House to House. The injured pilot beds down on the ticket room floor but is soon roused by ARP Warden Roberts. church three times and Margaret playing the piano in Sunday school. he was first been treated in the south of England and then sent to the north east for specialist treatment in Newcastle.
. It was of course a different era with none of the appliances we take for granted. Badly injured. Alderman. Reading and sustained adult conversation around the dinner table were the order of the day. no television at all. Even she balked at the fourth service in the evening after doing morning service and two Sunday schools! Alf also found time to be a councilman. “Private” education would be understood to mean the hiring of private tutors. former Conservative MP Sir David Mitchell tells the story of a constituent who had been an air force pilot in World War II. who insists on taking the man home and giving him a good bed for the night. Childhood
grew up in a home that was far from wealthy but Alf and her mother do seem to have built a sound business mostly immune from economic downturns. Alf was a lay preacher of renown and Sundays meant no newspaper. Next morning a young girl called Margaret makes him breakfast before leaving for school. aiming for its munitions factory and killing scores of civilians. While he was nominally a member of the Liberal Party.1.1 Mayor (often accompanied by Margaret). the traditional 19th century advocates of
of a pint. The train is very slow and makes many stops. 1 Aldermen no longer exist in British politics. It gets to Grantham and the passengers are told that a heavy ongoing bombing raid will prevent the train from advancing. He had been shot down over the English Channel and rescued by the Air Sea Rescue. The Roberts were serious. very serious Methodists. and prominent Rotarian.
and to save. The cornerstone of his philosophy was individual responsibility and a favorite book was John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. he ran as an independent or rate-payer’s (i. Deeply patriotic he had on six occasions. From both she learned to be careful with every penny.e. And apparently she lapped it up. Beatrice was a seamstress or dressmaker apparently with her own micro-business when she married Alf at the age of 28 and had Muriel and Margaret when she was 33 and 37. Why this distinction? Men in parks would disturb the peace of the Sabbath — men watching movies inside would not! Margaret’s mother Beatrice was more practical. From her Margaret learned how to run a household and above all how to organize her time. So it was total immersion in public affairs from the day she was born for this bright little girl Margaret. it was Beatrice who gave her the personal time-management tools that made her so effective and so hard to keep up with. Beatrice was born and bred in Grantham. This raised important dinner time discussion issues in the Roberts household. A compromise solution was reached: the movie theater could open but not the parks. to waste nothing. Sundays were sacrosanct but the pilots and crew deserved their R&R. tried to volunteer during World War I — a war which took the life of his younger brother — only to be turned down for medical reasons. And it was not all theory. Her father was the cloakroom attendant at the railroad station and her mother a farm girl turned factory worker. to live within your means. possibly more.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
free trade and free markets. loved every minute of it and at an age when other little girls might have been home with Mom.
. It was so flat that airfield construction was very easy and it was near the east coast and therefore closer to Germany than most other parts of the UK. Margaret would be out with Dad attending a University outreach lecture or getting books from the library or struggling with quite difficult philosophy texts. If Alf gave her the foundations of her later philosophy. With the entry of America into World War II came the USAF to the great flat areas of Margaret’s south east Lincolnshire. tax-payer’s) candidate and was through and through a conservative.
That great classic Mr.”
“Although in later years I would speak more readily of my father’s political influence on me. She furnished the house with good quality dark mahogany items purchased at sales. it was from my mother that I inherited the ability to organize and combine so many different duties of an active life. Childhood
She was an ardent Methodist (just as well!) and a great saver. When a teacher implied that Margaret had been “lucky” to win the recital prize.1. She managed the household. Smith Goes to Washington. It is easy to imagine her empathizing with the
1 Margaret inherited this passion for dark mahogany.”
Margaret was something of a precocious child. She could read before starting grade school and was quickly bumped up a year. Beatrice lived just long enough to see Margaret enter Parliament but died in 1960. Beatrice also took the girls on holiday every summer. well-organized cook. Margaret too learned to play quite well but growing amounts of schoolwork led her to stop in her mid-teens when she had to cram years of Latin into a few months. She played the piano and sang contralto to Alf’s alto. tacking cottons were re-used! She was. supported my father in his public life and as Mayoress. was a big hit with young Margaret. an excellent. stepped in to run the shop when necessary.” she says. As shop keepers Mom and Pop Roberts could never vacation together.1 Beatrice made most of Muriel and Margaret’s clothes buying top quality fabrics again at sales times. which was surely good grounding for later public speaking. And she claims that it was the twin combination of the works of Rudyard Kipling and the products of Hollywood shown at her local movie theater that opened her mind to the wider world. displayed a series of practical domestic talents such as dressmaking and was never heard to complain. entertained. meaning she would eventually be eligible to go up to university at age 17 and not the more usual 18 or 19. according to Margaret. did a great deal of voluntary social work for the church. She had learned to play piano and recite poetry aloud to audiences (winning prizes since she was 10). Of her mother Margaret has written:
“She had been a great rock of family stability. the 10-year-old gave her a lecture on the value of hard work and preparation. starring James Stewart.
. which led her to build a small collection of silver as “it looks so good in such a setting.
As well as piano. helped his high school in Dallas.” He wanted free trade to knock down “barriers between peoples” remarking that “I want to see the countries all wide open. golf. And it takes singleness of purpose to reach an objective.” Heady stuff and just the sort of rhetoric she would later adopt and for which she would become world famous. Once in DC. It takes crises to give courage. Long walks in the countryside around Grantham were a big part of her life and she has clear. movies and the company of her pal Margaret Goodrich she enjoyed board games but reports on her athletic skills are mixed ranging from her own selfdeprecating remarks to one account of her fine play as a field hockey center half. Her image of being anti-sport stems from her aversion to her husband’s favorite game. However it is doubtful that she ever saw Ronald Reagan in a movie. And walking — she seems to have walked everywhere. He was a staunch opponent of tariffs which he regarded as “malevolent” and “flying in the face of American ideals. at least during her youth.” To be more accurate she also wore trousers when visiting oil rigs or being taught how to drive a tank. She would walk a mile to school. TX win the state championship. with or without Pop Roberts. sport was never really that big in her life. She played at centre-half and rose to be captain. It takes fight for principles to make fortitude. refuses to give up his principles and is framed. Iain Sproat: “At school Margaret was the youngest on the (field) hockey team.1 Whichever. After Kipling another great favorite (introduced to her by Alf of course) was Walt Whitman whose views were broadly liberal in the classical European sense.
1 In late 2007 her grandson. Smith butts heads with the corrupt political machine. She did enjoy skiing — it was the only time she wore trousers. Michael Thatcher. a mile back to school and a mile back home. Needless to say the movie has a happy ending. not even with sport-aholic husband Denis later in life. strong memories of walking by the dole queues of the depression years.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
young politician (Jefferson Smith played by Stewart) chosen to fulfill the unexpired term of a deceased Senator.
. a mile back for lunch (cheaper that way). This led to the following quote in the press from former Tory Sports Minister.” Tariffs make the rich richer and the poor poorer he observed. “I hate it root and branch. poetry recitals. was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and regularly appears in lists of Top 100 movies ever made.” And that “it takes struggles in life to make strength.
Alf and Margaret set their sights on Somerville College. and Margaret was on her way. Oxford.1.
1 “O” levels (now called GCSEs) are taken at about age 16.1 This normally takes say several hundred hours of classroom tuition and homework and even though she was now maturing intellectually and had a private tutor it was still quite a remarkable feat. a prerequisite even for chemistry and not taught at her school. Childhood
Above all however the Roberts household was one where you all worked hard and never wasted a second. For decades grammar school students aspiring to “Oxbridge” (“Ox” from Oxford and “bridge” from Cambridge) faced a strategic dilemma: to apply in “12th Grade” or to return to school for what is effectively “13th Grade?”2 Margaret opted for the former while her teachers. including headmistress Dorothy Gilles. Early on in grade school Miss Harding’s history lessons — probably the closest the curriculum ever got to actual politics — had inspired Margaret but she eventually decided that Miss Kay’s chemistry classes were showing her a vision of a future in which she could play a big part. 2 In the British system the “12th Grade” was called “the Upper 6th” and the “13th Grade” was called “third year Sixth Form. And this was to pay off handsomely as Margaret approached university years. The other problem was more subtle. Alf raided his savings to pay for a tutor and eight weeks later she was at what Brits call ‘O’ level standard. She became Joint Head Girl of School but two weeks later a telegram arrived — somebody had dropped out of Somerville. The very young Margaret — remember. But there were two problems to overcome. At first it looked as if the teachers were right. typically wanted her to do the latter. She failed to win her scholarship and she entered “13th Grade” to try again.”
. The first was Margaret’s lack of Latin. she was already a year ahead — was rejected.
nights on fire-watch. the growing flow of mature often married ex-servicemen anxious to make up time and get on with 25
So in early October 1943. However. And you graduated with both a Bachelors and a Master’s degree. I asked her just over 60 years later “are you more proud of being the first lady Prime Minister or the first scientist Prime Minister?” “Oh. University
“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. It was war-time: blackouts. definitely scientist. starting in 1944. There had been a lot more it turned out to her desire to get into Oxford in 1943 rather than 1944 (as proposed by her teachers) than had originally met the eye. This is because British children spend 14 years in grade school not 12 — they go from age 5 to 18 as opposed to say 6 to 17. queues and no sugar in your tea were the order of the day. Miss Margaret Roberts arrived at Oxford to study Chemistry. Most British degrees take three years as opposed to four in the United States. Chemistry at Oxford was an exception — it was a four year degree with the final year being devoted full time to a major piece of original research.” she replied instantly and typically without a doubt. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top.2. rationing. right about her 18th birthday. but should get you pretty near. scientist.
Miss Roberts initially found Oxford to be “cold and strangely forbidding” and in her memoirs she adds: “I arrived. Hodgkin went on to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry two decades later in 1964 and was awarded the second ever Order of Merit (OM) to a lady by Her
1 (1899–1993) Vaughan was the famous clinical pathologist who worked at Harvard in the 1930s on pernicious anemia.e.2 Then only 33. Indira Gandhi. rather homesick and apprehensive…” However. Kennedy School of Government. This is not what Miss Roberts wanted and she escaped it by the skin of her teeth. Her college Somerville had been set up as a Hall in 1879 and was one of the first for women. Shirley Williams MP later Lady Williams of Crosby and from 1988 to 2000 a Professor at Harvard’s John F. she joined the Oxford Bach Choir. Somerville turns out to have been a kindergarten for female politicians including Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Dame Janet Vaughan was a socialist and did not hide her views. Episcopalian) Lady Margaret Hall. She was assigned to Somerville’s most famous (until Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher got into her stride) alumna and teacher. namely Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994). but had not become a full college of the university until 1920.
. Edith Summerskill MP) and one time Labour Party leadership hopeful Mrs. Led by Dame Janet Vaughan1 its students faced no religious tests or obligations unlike its contemporaneous and deeply Anglican (i. She was the third woman to get the Nobel in Chemistry. Shirley Summerskill MP (daughter of Dr. Iris Murdoch. 2 Hodgkin as in the left-leaning Thomas Hodgkin she had married in the late 1930s.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
their lives led to the temporary introduction of two year degrees.. She viewed Miss Margaret Roberts as a cuckoo in her college nest and in the four years their lives crossed Janet never once invited Margaret to the many social events she hosted. and Dorothy Sayers are also alumnae. a Methodist Study Group and of course the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA). Novelists Vera Brittain (mother of Shirley Williams). In the Choir she sang first alto and it was by odd coincidence led by Thomas Armstrong father of Sir Robert Armstrong who was to become Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet Secretary in the eighties. after Marie Curie in 1911 and her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie in 1935.
and Miss Roberts just did not have it. and former Commons Speaker. was or “her determination by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances. She took her time — after all. Betty Boothroyd in 2005. She adds that Hodgkin was “a brilliant scientist and gifted teacher. University
Majesty the Queen in 1965.2. There is an interesting philosophical connection between Wedgwood and Thatcher as the former attended the first ever meeting in 1947 of the Mont Pelerin Society (a group of classical liberal scholars) many of whom such as Friedman and Hayek were to influence the latter. Working with a German refugee scientist she pushed forward on a new scientific frontier suggested by Hodgkin’s own work. quotes Hodgkin on Thatcher as follows: “I came to rate her as good. OUCA and finding a comfortable place of worship
1 Between Dorothy Hodgkin and Margaret Thatcher were historian Cicely Veronica Wedgwood in 1969 and hospice movement founder Dame Cicely Sanders in 1989. That required money. The Nobel. There were a few girls studying at Oxford from “northern” grammar schools but female students were mostly public (i. Lady Thatcher herself was admitted to the Order of Merit in 1990 as the fifth female OM1. One could always rely on her producing a sensible. private) school girls with the resources to exploit all Oxford had to offer. according to the citation. In between long walks. After Margaret came the opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland in 1991. the choir. In the Thatcher memoirs Hodgkin is described as an “ever-helpful tutor” who got her some modest college grants to see her through.” John Campbell. ballerina Dame Ninette de Valois in 1992.” Her fourth-year dissertation reports another biographer Hugo Young was effectively to be Hodgkin’s research assistant.. she had four years.
. well-read essay and yet there was something that some people had that she hadn’t quite got… She was not absolutely devoted to it (chemistry).e.” But as Campbell asks: “Why should she be? She had no intention of becoming a chemist except in the short term. They failed but she nevertheless got her degree and the chemistry puzzle they worked on was not cracked until 1980. The OM for Hodgkin was the first awarded to a lady since that given to Florence Nightingale in 1907.” She was later honored with her own stamp by the British postal service and the picture on that stamp shows her just as Miss Roberts would have known her. one of Thatcher’s many biographers.
1 The first was Rachel Willink just a few terms earlier — she was the daughter of Henry Willink. she threw herself into OUCA and by her 4th and final year (1946-1947) she became its second ever lady President. Her generation was deeply grateful for the chance to study at Oxford University and above all at a time of world war they realized the debt they had to those who served while they merely studied. Churchill’s Minister of Health. One long term lesson she learned at Somerville was the importance of small units. Wilson (’64–’70 and ’74–’76). Indeed 25 British Prime Ministers have graduated there and Prime Ministers Attlee (’45–’51). Starved of a possible debating career in the Union. Of course she was known to be a Conservative as she rose through the ranks of OUCA. Margaret Roberts found Oxford overwhelmingly left wing although less fractious than the 1930s. The war of course put quite a damper on party political activity. Macmillan (’57–’63). long afternoons in the laboratories. The overwhelming orthodoxy was an overarching role for big centralized government. she seems to have kept such ideas to herself at church and within the Choir. Eden (’55–’57). Interestingly. As an expression of her own indebtedness she volunteered two nights every week to serve meals to USAF personnel from the nearby Upper Heyford base in a forces canteen. Douglas-Home (’63–’64). While chemistry labs might need to be organized at the university level there was a lot to be said for living in small colleges. Heath (’70–’74). The famous Oxford Union debating society. where so many politicians have and still do cut their teeth. Margaret Roberts was therefore the first Lady President without high “connections. one might argue! Oxford was important to Margaret Roberts in many ways.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
(the Wesley Memorial Church) there were lectures and. No other university has come close to its domination of recent British politics. while she never hid her political views and would knock on any door. as a budding chemist.000 for the first time in two decades.”
.1 She led resurgence in OUCA during the fall of 1946 as membership passed 1. did not admit women as members until the sixties but Miss Roberts would attend as a silent auditor and observe from the gallery and take it all in. an early insight into the principle of subsidiarity.
like her. Christ Church. History (did not graduate because of WWI). Johns. and one of the cleverest and most thoughtful men of his era. As Foreign Secretary in 1976 he took Henry Kissinger to watch Grimsby play a soccer game against Gillingham in Blundell Park. Christ Church. For her first two years she lived in college. Secretary of Education ’65–’67. or very young and waiting for the draft. Other notable contemporaries were Tony Benn. infirm. PPE. He was famously to say. and Economics (PPE). was a Labour modernizer of his day and later. Politics. for her last two she moved out into private rented accommodation or what the British call “digs. In her final two years. Jesus. Balliol.1 Her time at Oxford can be split in two on several fronts.4 who was to pen The Future of Socialism.”2 For her first two years there were more women than usual. “If there is one thing I will do I will smash every ******* grammar school in the country. William Rees-Mogg later Editor of The Times. socialist son of Lord Stansgate and father of Hilary Benn who currently serves as a Labour minister.
. Their majors were Law. MD in 1964. and Anthony Crosland. politics was clearly her first love and destiny. It was there at Oxford that she first got to know many whose paths would become entwined with her own including Edward Boyle who was later a Conservative MP and education minister. Chemistry. large numbers of veterans returned or entered and this changed the whole atmosphere and added a lot in her view. Kenneth Tynan. Anthony Wedgwood Benn. then the Hon. the controversial
1 Their colleges were respectively University. Kenneth Harris. Robin Day3 a Liberal who was later to be a member of her law chambers and who went on to pioneer a particularly rude and combative form of TV interviewing. and Blair (’97–2007) have served Her Majesty the Queen (and her father before her) as Prime Minister for all but fourteen years since the 1945 General Election and all are Oxonians. and Law. Oriental Languages. Somerville. Grimsby. 4 Crosland married Susan Catling of Baltimore. the men were at war and those left behind were either older. who was to become a prominent political journalist and write a biography of her called simply Thatcher.2.” and much of her time as Education Secretary was spent undoing his policies. Philosophy. and St. 3 It is not clear if they actually overlapped. member of the House of Lords. While she studied chemistry. 2 “Digs” is an abbreviation of “Diggings” and to be in “Digs” is to share various facilities and to have certain meals provided by the landlady. Balliol. University
the returning troops of World War I had been promised “a land fit for heroes” and had walked slap bang into the UK’s depressed 1920s. as was Ludovic Kennedy. The Sleaford Gazette of June 29 described her as “very youthful” and her opening words were. Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon (1940) and Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945). Lewis’s (Screwtape Letters (1942) and Abolition of Man (1943)). and direct pretty much everything. After all. She was extremely active both for Quentin Hogg in Oxford and.” namely the government would own.” The cry went up: “As in war.A. Colm Brogan’s Who Are ‘The People’ (1943) and Our New Masters (1947). she rubbed shoulders with many Conservative Party leaders and she was to meet so many talented young people between say 1943 (going up) and 1953 (birth of her twins) that by the 1970s to watch the evening TV news was to catch up on what your old “chums” were up to. author and broadcaster and Liberal candidate for Rochdale in 1958. “I speak as a very young Tory”. F. This time they were “not to be cheated. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (1944). while Churchill had been running the war and going overseas. when term ended and she went down. so in peace. Attlee been running the coun-
. As President of OUCA. But there were other influences at Oxford as she continued to read widely most notably C.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
yet influential British theatre critic and writer who died in 1980 was a contemporary. but then she used that to her advantage as it was her generation which would “bear the brunt” of much needed changes she claimed. for whom she was a “warm-up” speaker aged all of 19 years and 9 months. A generation earlier. However the national mood was strongly in favor of governmentsponsored safety nets.S. Midway through her four years at Oxford came the 1945 General Election that was to see the victorious war leader Winston Churchill trounced by the socialist Clem Attlee. it had worked in war hadn’t it — when we all set aside personal ambitions and pulled together! If it worked in war then surely it would work in peace and in any case. control. hadn’t nice Mr. for Squadron Leader Worth back home in Grantham. the journalist (including for Newsweek).
a dog’s breakfast of socialism and corporatism with a few odd bones for the free marketeers. a loud. such is its hold on the British people. Churchill was reportedly not at all happy with it.2. and the establishment of a nationalized health industry spun as the National Health Service (NHS) and soon to replace the Church of England in the British psyche. Margaret Roberts was thrilled to be around so many — hundreds if not thousands — fellow Conservatives but the lack of clearly articulated opposition to the evils of socialism and its first cousin communism left her despondent.1 For many decades the UK’s three main parties have held their annual conventions over a three week season stretching from late September through mid October — it comes at the end of the summer recess and before Her Majesty the Queen opens the new Parliament. University
try? And Churchill did not help his cause by insisting that the socialists would need a “Gestapo” of their own to implement their policies. With Churchill out and her exams behind her. the expansion of welfarism.
. Margaret Roberts started her final year at Oxford by going as an OUCA representative to her first Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool. jolly. Not to be confused with guacamole. Those were the glory years of collectivism with the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy. Yorkshire’s even tonier Harrogate and a rejuvenated Manchester getting into the lineup in recent times. To her the whole meeting had an air of the inevitability of socialism and a clear sense that conservatives had to learn how to accommodate rather than confront such arrant nonsense. Coney Island kind of resort town of Victorian origin on the coast of Lancashire in northwest England where the staple diet is fish and chips with mushy peas. Little did the authors realize what was to come!
1 Mushy peas are peas that have been mushed to the extent they are easy to smear all over every forkful of your meal. Such japes always seem to take place at seaside resorts and for decades the Conservative and Labour parties went turn and turn about between the north’s Blackpool and the south’s Brighton with the southwest’s tonier Bournemouth. Even in 1988 Prime Minister Thatcher was forced to say “the NHS is safe in our hands”. This unease was further reinforced in May 1947 as she prepared to leave Oxford and her party published its Industrial Charter.
her spirits were tremendously boosted by Winston Churchill’s speech in Fulton. Just seven months later. albeit in training. She read all she could find for a year or more on the effects of the bombing but fully bought into the American explanation that the bombing helped to bring the war to an end. “In a great number of countries. on the sea. As a scientist. the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization. in March 1946. 1945 and March 5. 1945. On the contrary there will be an overwhelming assurance of security. Bucharest and Sofia. The first was a dire warning about communism. seeking to lay no arbitrary control upon the thoughts
. Communist fifth columns are established and work in complete unity and absolute obedience to the directions they receive from the Communist center.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Two dates are etched deeply in her memory from those last years at Oxford: August 6. and all are subject. in one form or another. Except in the British Commonwealth and in the United States where Communism is in its infancy. Missouri to Westminster College. This was the kind of clear anti-communist message she longed to hear. Vienna. 1946. far from the Russian frontiers and throughout the world. precarious balance of power to offer its temptation to ambition or adventure. and in moral force. Prague. with all that such cooperation implies in the air. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. It contained two main themes. all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere. Berlin. Belgrade. there will be no quivering. all over the globe. Budapest. “If we adhere faithfully to the Charter of the United Nations and walk forward in sedate and sober strength.”
“If the population of the English-speaking Commonwealth be added to that of the United States. Warsaw. she had a fair understanding of the science behind the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6. seeking no one’s land or treasure. and in science and in industry.”
The second was a powerful exposition of the history and special ties which bind the US and the UK so firmly together in “The Special Relationship. not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.
How far could she go?
. the high roads of the future will be clear. if all British moral and material forces and convictions are joined with your own in fraternal association. while pursuing outside interests as well. not only for our time but for a century to come. not only for us but for all. Alf’s daughter was well launched on a career and into society. with high marks.”
Having earned a degree.2. University
Living in the lovely town of Colchester. twice fought a Labour held parliamentary seat. They have to be earned on earth. They would have been in their mid to late twenties making her by far the youngest member.
. She eschewed the Young Conservatives which was a glorified marriage bureau at the time and instead focused on the ’39– ’45 Group which was an older and more serious group of thinkers of the war generation. got rejected for several safe seats. was finally adopted for a safe seat and got elected to Parliament with a huge majority. Essex which lies east of London and north of the Thames Estuary. qualifying as a tax barrister.”
Between the summer of 1947 and the fall of 1959 Margaret Roberts/Thatcher was characteristically busy. she bused to work with colleagues and quickly joined the local Conservative Party.3. Launching
“Pennies don’t fall from heaven. Inter alia. reveling in its policy discussion groups. wrote and spoke often in the Conservative interest. She also switched to the law. Following several months of job interviews the young Margaret Roberts opted for a firm called BX Plastics based in Manningtree. and had twins Mark and Carol. married Denis Thatcher. she started her career as a research chemist.
she had no private income and she was not on her party’s list of approved candidates yet she so impressed officials of the Dartford. to put her on the approved list of candidates post ante. she would have been way down the list. Third. say. First. If she had tried to go as one of.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
In the fall of 1948 the Conservative Party’s annual conference was scheduled for the Welsh seaside resort of Llandudno and she arranged to attend representing the Oxford University Graduate Conservative Association.” After three rounds of interviews Margaret Roberts emerged as the candidate on January 31.000.
. The Tory Party ranked Dartford as “a most hostile part of the county. While Kent lies east of London and south of the Thames Estuary and is often called “the garden of England. Because the local Tories were never ever going to win such a seat they had nothing to lose — what the heck they thought. Margaret Roberts quickly realized that the Essex to Kent journey through two separate central London stations made for an impossible schedule and she quickly resigned from BX Plastics. February 1949 was a trebly important month. Within a year the 1950 General Election
1 This was a bit of a backdoor way in. rather than just its officers) at her formal adoption meeting. at a celebratory dinner for senior constituency officers that very night. and took up lodgings or “digs” in her constituency of Dartford. joined J Lyons in central London as a research chemist. six representing Colchester. let’s have some fun with this incredibly dynamic. she managed to persuade her party’s HQ. 1949 aged 23! She has since speculated that the size of the Labour majority helped in her selection.1 She was days short of turning 23. she met businessman Denis Thatcher who had been at her adoption meeting and very much liked what he’d seen and heard. Second. Kent constituency that they asked her to apply to be their candidate. Conservative Central Office. dropping her off at Liverpool Street Station for a late train back to Essex. energetic woman who is so young and beautiful we might get a little national publicity. Later that evening he drove her into central London.” it also has its rougher industrial areas of which Dartford was one and Labour held it with a huge majority of 20. she got the support of the whole of the constituency membership (all 100%.
The Socialists were very annoyed about this until they learned that the same facilities were open to them but never asked for. She had also made a great impression on her party’s regional agent Beryl Cook. she was very attractive. canvassed on the doorstep in the afternoons. Conservative Party Vice 37
.” The same archive reports The Daily Telegraph contains another memo dated two years later in which John Hare.000. It was utterly exhausting even for a fit 24-year-old but she gained first national and then international exposure of a very flattering nature. really genuine ones. Miss Roberts has visited and spoken to the workers in very many factories. Launching
was underway and she attended to paperwork in the mornings.000 to around 14. single. Sir David Mitchell recounts that he was one of Margaret Roberts’ warm-up speakers. they have too much respect for her. The Daily Telegraph. recently revealed that it had discovered a memo in the Conservative Party archive at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in which Cook writes of Margaret Roberts: “Every meeting she has had has been packed and people turned away. and Denis (ten years her senior and already divorced — but see later) had proposed and — after serious thought — she had accepted. She excels at questions and always gives a straight and convincing answer. a leading British newspaper. At the end of the evening Denis took David for a drink and commented: “If you can hear the woman you love making the same speech twenty-one times and you still love her. She was the youngest woman running for Parliament. but they were the people who could not get into the meeting. was she articulate.3. They had the grace to acknowledge that she got there first. and spoke at meeting after meeting every night. When the meeting ends people crowd round her — generally Socialists — to ask more questions. When the hall was next door to a cinema the manager rushed out — he thought there was a fire because so many people were leaving. Margaret Roberts had made a swingeing cut in the socialist majority in Dartford from around 20. She is never heckled. my word. it’s going to be all right!” This was nearly ten years before TV was to impact elections at all and it was very hard physical work. literate and. Labour’s gigantic majority in Parliament was cut from 146 to 5. she was close to London and the media.
Nothing I said deterred her. slightly Bohemian part of London on the better side of the River Thames between Westminster to the north. writes: “She is a remarkable young woman who is not to be deterred from pursuing a political career in spite of her recent marriage and the possibility of producing and bringing up a family. George’s Square Mews. Coincidentally (or was it?) she moved into the Pimlico district just as Ealing Studios. as in our short interview she struck me as being a woman of immense personality and charm with a brain quite clearly above the average. Margaret Roberts was quickly readopted by her friends in Dartford.
1 Unlike the US. It was not far from Denis’s apartment and. Discovering an old treaty they secede from the UK and become a micronation — if you are not a resident then you need a passport to enter. she might have been tempted to look for a better (even a winnable) seat elsewhere1 but there is no evidence of anything but 100% loyalty to the folks in Dartford who had had the courage to select her in the first place. Passport to Pimlico is a classic British movie whose message must have appealed to the young politician. an interesting. Labour and everybody else in the country knew another General Election was not far off — months. Miss Beryl Cook describes her as the best woman candidate she has ever known. One even gets Scots representing English seats. a Ford Prefect.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Chairman. not years. In a nutshell the residents of Pimlico become sick and tired of petty bureaucracy and post-war rationing (which actually exceeded that of the war and did not disappear until the mid 1950s).” With a majority of only five. and she moved out of the constituency to a small apartment in St. or interests are needed though they might help at the margin. I would also agree. I did my best to warn her of the horrors of life in the House of Commons especially in so far as this life affects the home. in charge of Parliamentary candidates. hence the movie’s title. Chelsea to the west and Victoria and Belgravia to the north west. Pimlico. British political candidates are completely free to apply for their party’s nomination anywhere in the country. family. No local ties. was marketing Passport to Pimlico starring Margaret Rutherford and Stanley Holloway. Having done so well in 1950. then a top UK film maker.
. She did however obtain her first car. their ongoing romance was very much a mid-week affair. given that her weekends were taken up with politics and his with refereeing rugby union football games.
She had become great friends with a remarkable character called Sir Alfred Bossom. Next door is 11 Downing Street. 2 Wesley’s Chapel was built by John Wesley. turning 26 just twelve days before. Bossom moved to Dallas. where he worked on many buildings including the Adolphus Hotel for Adolphus Busch. followed by 12 Downing Street. Denis Thatcher was Sir Denis Thatcher
. Scenes in the movie of the free residents of Pimlico cut off by the UK government were redolent of the Blockade.3. The General Election did indeed follow quickly on October 25 in the fall of 1951. After working for Carnegie Steel in Pittsburgh on social housing for workers. on August 12. Launching
Some of the scenes were particularly on target politically. 1949 at Dartford Football Ground where he chaired a county-wide Conservative Party Rally and she warmed up the audience for a major speech by Anthony Eden. He was made a Baronet in 1953 and a life member3 of the House of Lords in 1960. I suspect. The former is for life only while the latter passes on down the generations. an architect. After making his fortune Bossom returned to England and entered politics. slashed another good chunk off of her opponent’s majority getting it down to just over 12. They had met soon after her 1949 adoption. it became Wesley’s London base. Bossom. founder of Anheuser-Busch. 3 A life member of the House of Lords is distinct from a hereditary member. home of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Kent from 1931 to 1959. had moved to the US in 1903 to build skyscrapers and marry Emily Bayne from New York City in 1910.1 Margaret Roberts and Denis Thatcher now chose December 13. Margaret Roberts. 10 Downing Street.000 on an 85% turnout. Designed by George Dance Junior and opened in 1778. This was the era of the Berlin Blockade and the subsequent year long airlift after President Truman had told General Lucius Clay not to charge down the autobahn with his tanks as that might lead to yet another war. The Conservatives won with a workable majority of seventeen and Winston was back in No.
1 Downing Street has been the official London residence of over 50 British Prime Ministers going back over 250 years. is a hereditary title. the founder of Methodism. home of the Chief Whip. Conservative MP for Maidstone. A baronet abbreviated to Bt. 1951 to be married in Wesley’s Chapel2 on City Road in London. In the US the Chancellor of the Exchequer is called the Treasury Secretary.
But Bossom was clearly the leader that day. In early 1953 she discovered she was pregnant and to her great surprise twins Mark and Carol were duly delivered by caesarean operation on Saturday.” However. Thatcher settled down to enjoy a fairly affluent lifestyle. her party was in power and she had a lovely apartment in a fashionable district. say. But to Mrs. the United States National Bank. after the ‘31 General Election. MagnoliaMobil Petroleum Building. in all innocence of what was happening. it is said that on first hearing the name Bossom. 5 that Bossom led the toast to the happiness of the newly-weds. 1 Bossom was very active in the 1920s building New York’s Seaboard National Bank for his father-in-law Samuel G. He also renovated Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. Bayne. so his title passed to his son Mark and will one day pass to his son Michael in Dallas. 5 that Margaret left to get married. Maple Terrace Apartments. She had always been interested in the law since Alf’s days as a magistrate and lunches with visiting legal officials. 5 Carlton Gardens. it was at No. Denis was doing well. the Cabinet by announcing he was “off to Bossom’s. and it was in his home at No. 5 that they held their reception. Father Alf Roberts was of course present and must have delighted in the event and seeing his younger daughter so well set. Thatcher idleness is a sin and she was soon studying hard to become a barrister. (in Houston) Petroleum Building (in Galveston). It was from No. war time restrictions were coming off. half thinking she could combine her chemistry with the law and take a run at the patent bar. He left the House of Commons as Margaret Thatcher entered and after four years in the Lords died in the early fall of 1964. Thatcher was that on their big day he turned over to them his London home at the prestigious address of No.” that is. not bosom or bottom but Bossom! Bossom’s importance to Miss Roberts and Mr.1 Following a honeymoon in Madeira.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Bossom had become a great drinking pal of Churchill’s who would famously end serious meetings of. and in Texas building the following: (in Dallas) American Exchange National Bank. August 15 a few weeks early while Denis. Winston said “Bossom? Bossom? Neither one thing nor the other. watched England play day one of a key interBt.
. the new Mrs. An annual lecture in his memory still runs under the direction of the Faculty of Building of the Royal Institute of British Architects. the bank’s president.
Back home she organized life with a nanny and hit the law books duly passing in December and joining Chambers2 as a pupil. But attorney Thatcher was no narrow technician. the Constitution of Liberty is the book she famously smashed down on a table at a meeting of some of her rather pink (socialist) policy advisers while leader of HM Opposition (1975–1979) and declared stoutly: “This is what we believe in!”
1 The Ashes is the name given to a series of games of cricket played by England and Australia since 1882. Despite this. What could possibly top that? Sitting impatiently in hospital waiting to be released (in the 1950s moms and babies often stayed in the hospital for 2 even 3 weeks) she set herself the goal of passing the bar exams just four months later. Launching
national cricket match versus Australia at a ground called The Oval in South London. Before she could change her mind she signed the paperwork and sent it off with her check. Why I Am Not a Conservative.
. 2 Chambers are groups of barristers and barristers are attorneys who are allowed to plead in court and undertake public trials.3 She was over the next two years to spend time in four different sets of Chambers sampling different areas of law before rejecting patents (too little work) and selecting the tax bar (no shortage there!). 3 Pupils are trainee barristers. When Australia beat England for the very first time. Legislation. The US has played Canada at cricket since 1844.3. To non-cricket players this might sound trivial but to sporting Englishmen such as Denis it was huge: a son and a daughter and the Ashes in the space of just a few days. a small cricket item was cremated and the ashes put in a terracotta urn. Her deep study of Dicey is probably responsible for her view that the rule of law is far more important for liberty than any system of one man one vote. Four days later on Wednesday August 19 England won and a trophy called the Ashes1 came back home after nearly 20 years. She also returned to Hayek with his Constitution of Liberty in 1960 and later his three-volume Law.V. and Liberty which came out between 1973 and 1979. as opposed to solicitors who prepare the cases for the barristers. Dicey’s The Law of the Constitution which stressed the importance of the rule of law and warned against attacks upon it. The former contains as an appendix Hayek’s famous essay. She delved into the philosophy of law and discovered A.
At any time the Prime Minister can go to Her Majesty the Queen and ask for Parliament to be dissolved and a general election called. Indeed it is said that some past Prime Ministers have not been beyond pump priming the economy a little so that it might boom at just the right moment.000 miles from home and practically in the enemies’ backyard. Bush over the first Gulf War: “This is no time to go wobbly. her government. This is a very powerful and useful weapon for any sitting Prime Minister as he or she can chose a date that suits his or her Party.1 She tells in Volume I of her memoirs of how Suez taught her four key lessons: 1) Don’t go to war unless you are “determined and able to finish it”.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
As a new mom she deliberately chose not to be a candidate at the May 25. The ensuing Suez debacle in 1956 engraved itself on her political consciousness. the latter speculates that Churchill’s extended tree included three Pilgrims. by his grandson Winston S. Churchill. she felt very much out of the real action and she fretted.” Such lessons sure stood her in good stead 25+ years later when she took on the Argentineans over the Falkland Islands 8. However. It was a major embarrassment for her country. and 4) “he who hesitates is lost. They also come in handy when she advised President George W. 3) Make sure all you do is “in accord with international law”.2
1 Churchill’s mother was Jennie Jerome of Brooklyn whose father Leonard Jerome edited the New York Times. much as she was in demand as a speaker. 2) Don’t find yourself on the opposite side to the United States “in all major international crises affecting British interests”. George!” Another General Election beckoned by May 1960 at the very latest with either the spring or fall of 1959 likely as those last months of any government are mostly wasted times with the inevitable election looming and the Prime Minister’s room to move shrinking. no Parliament may exceed five years. In Churchill’s American Heritage. 2 Under the largely unwritten British constitution (some of it is written down but not in one place or uniform manner and in any case is being quickly taken over by the European Union based in Brussels). it did not sit easy with her. 1955 General Election which saw the Conservative majority soar to a very comfortable 54 — a mandate for new Conservative Prime Minister Anthony Eden. IN. Macmillan’s mother was Helen (Nellie) Artie Tarleton of Spencer.
. and her party and it quickly led to the departure of her leader Anthony Eden and his replacement by Harold Macmillan who shared with Churchill the great distinction of having an American mother. three Presidents. an astronaut and an Iroquois Indian woman.
privately) educated. who were the more openly hostile. She took advice on what to wear and researched the area and local issues well. she squeaked through. and so she felt confident she could play the MP-mom gig. But all was not plain sailing. coming top on the first ballot 36 to 35 and top again on the second ballot 46 to 43. She was alone but this time.3. all in their 40s and all public school (i. where the sitting MP. Sir John Crowder. She relayed this information to Conservative Central Office (CCO) near Parliament where the Chief Agent for London was only too happy to try to assist this rising star. Launching
Having fought so well in 1950 and 1951 and having made such an impression on party bosses Mrs. Denis Thatcher was now entitled to consider only safe seats in or close to London. A rump of half-a-dozen disillusioned (mostly female) activists continued to try to make life difficult and when she was later presented to the full membership. not the men. And even if she did take it on and win. while nobody voted against her. despite the same barrage of personal questions. 150 to 250 applicants. wouldn’t her kids suffer? Her defense was that she had the support of her (reasonably wellheeled) husband and a first class nanny and that she had managed to organize her life as a barrister-mom. as time and again in places such as Orpington and Maidstone and Beckenham and Hemel Hempstead she would reach the final three or four out of. In July 1958 she put her name forward for Finchley. She made the final four with three men all accompanied by well-groomed stay-at-home wives. was retiring. Today female candidates are much encouraged and it is hard to conceive of the depth of opposition she faced and the sheer guts and tenacity needed to win through. CCO staff can play a major role in helping or hindering a career. in north London. the traditional 43
. And it was the women.e. say. Her speech was honed to perfection and by now her public speaking confidence was such that she could and did perform without a single note. Denis was off on his annual month-long sales trip to Africa and had no idea of what she was up to.. deliver a great speech only to be sandbagged at Q&A by hostile (usually female) questioners asking how could such a young mother with two young children possibly take on the terribly onerous job of being an MP. Again it looked to be a rerun of the last four years of such experiences.
She was just 5 days short of turning 34.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
“unanimous” was in fact only an “overwhelming.260.500 to 16. the twins had just turned 6 — she was on her way. The election rolled around 14 months later and on the October 8. The only question was how far she would go.” Days later Denis learned of her adoption as he changed planes in Nigeria and picked up a discarded copy of the London paper called the Evening Standard. 1959 Margaret Thatcher duly became MP for Finchley with a majority up by 3.
Those with seats well away from the capital mostly maintain the principal home in or very near to the constituency with some small utility apartment in Westminster or neighboring Pimlico or Lambeth. and you would achieve nothing.
.4. near Farnborough in his home county of Kent. breakfast was a key meal of the day when all four Thatchers could be together. While Finchley was well up in north London. they purchased a large home with a garden well south of London. whatever the day might hold. Thatcher decided otherwise. and Mrs. Those with London.” Early on as an MP: “Of course you have doubts but I have not just come to this out of the blue. Elected
“If you set out to be liked you would be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime. Mr. Thatcher always drove home. Each week the Whips Office sends around a timetable of business for the coming week. are not forced to maintain two homes and again tend to live in or very near to the constituency. Anything underlined three times is obligatory.”
New Members of the House of Commons face interesting decisions regarding domestic arrangements. especially central London seats. There was a three-line whip1 for breakfast!
1 In Parliament a three-line whip is something you disobey at your peril. This was their sole residence and regardless of the lateness of the night Mrs. To her.
of E. Free votes are rare as is rebellion against the Whip.” In other words Margaret’s family breakfasts would be close run things today. with prayers and often go on into the evening. Fortunately the local C. To this day she worships within the C. the majority of the government of the day is not impacted. or Episcopalian in the US) and the Thatchers had no wish to confuse the twins by observing different forms of worship. However “the atmosphere was like a men’s club. and the pairing system4 where she was lucky to find a socialist acquaintance from her Dartford days who was now a northern Labour MP and happy to be her “pair”5. It is made up of all Conservative backbenchers but frontbenchers may attend also. 4 The pairing system allows you to have a buddy in the other main party with whom you agree not to vote at certain times. the advice of more senior members.” commented a
1 Proceedings in Parliament used to start every day at 2:30 p. of E. paperwork. of E. and speech writing before the then 45 minute (today more like a good hour) ride to Westminster for lunch. and prayers at the start of business at 2:30 p.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Following the school run (Mark and Carol were soon to go to boarding schools) Mrs. There was and is no substitute for hours spent on the green benches6 lapping up the procedures. thus freeing up your diary. Denis was a member of the Church of England (C. In recent years the hours have become more “family friendly. if not impossible. The induction of Mrs. 2 The 1922 Committee was formed in 1923 but takes its name from the 1922 General Election.1 Church attendance featured every Sunday. but not as often as she would prefer as she does not like to drag her permanent security detail away from their families on the Day of Rest. points of order and style of speaking and debate and she dutifully put in those hours until she was confident she knew the ropes.
. 3 The Whips Office is far more important in UK politics because MPs vote nearly always on party lines as dictated by the Chief Whip who sits in Cabinet. say.m. An MP with a young family today would be more likely to be home for an early evening supper than for breakfast. Because they both abstain. 5 A “pair” occurs when two MPs of opposing parties agree that both will not vote at certain times. establishment was Low Church. the Whips Office3. Thatcher would attend to correspondence. and therefore acceptable to Methodist Margaret. 6 The benches in the lower house or Commons are green while those in the upper house or Lords are red. Margaret Thatcher MP into the procedures and highways and byways of the House of Commons was greatly helped by meetings of the 1922 Committee2. not High.m.
Along with 309 colleagues.
. and third no serious opposition from a pressure group or some such that will lead to an opposing MP talking out your Bill. She staked out a spot for herself four rows back (as is only right for a backbencher1) and below or south of the central gangway. she duly put forward her name and was totally astounded to come third. 3“Talking out a Bill” happens when an MP opposed to it simply talks so long there is not time for a vote. So what was the issue? The British press had long enjoyed the statutory right to attend meetings of local town and city councils and to report on proceed1 MPs are either frontbenchers as in they speak from the front row officially for their party — this includes Ministers and Shadow Ministers — or they have no such responsibility and therefore are backbenchers. a lawyer. Soon after Parliament convened on October 20. 4 A closed shop is a situation in which only union members may work at a particular place. it was too boring and her heart was not in it. whether from the government or the opposition side. second the support of the Government or at least no active opposition from it. Indeed when more than half of the 600+ members turn up then the surplus has to stand or sit on the floor or steps as indeed they do. British MPs do not have assigned seats in the chamber. In Westminster the overwhelming majority of bills introduced are proposed by the Cabinet. And she could get interested in it and passionate about it. Second she considered a Bill to outlaw the union closed shop4 but the Whips Office felt this was far too controversial. Elected
female colleague.3 First of all she considered selecting a certain technical legal matter to remedy but even to her. She’d never won a raffle in her life and now here she was in a prime position to legislate. It was to this very spot that she returned 31 years later to see out her last months in the Commons before entering the Lords. 1959 it was time for the annual ballot to select which backbenchers would be given Parliamentary time to introduce their very own Private Members’ Bills2. It would have to wait! Finally she settled on a civil liberties come first amendment issue that had been briefly mentioned in her Party’s Manifesto and that might enjoy widespread cross-party support. 2 A Private Member’s Bill is a proposed law introduced by a member of parliament. To get your own Bill turned into an Act you need three things: first the sheer luck to come in the top few slots — only the top two or three stand any real chance.4.
She had thought of speaking on some of the technical monetary issues raised by Lord Radcliffe in his recently published Report on the
1 Public Choice theory is the use of economics to study the actions of voters. the other volume was dedicated to Denis. It was all a very cozy arrangement between the councilmen and their paid officials but it was an outrage and Mrs. the newspaper editors and journalists to support it and the local authority councilmen and their officers to oppose it. starts with at least five minutes on the marvels of your predecessor who is clearly second only to the Pope. goes on to a five-minute segment on your new constituency which makes the Garden of Eden sound like a slum. Now she faced another decision. On both sides of the Thatcher Bill groups sprang up. and finishes with five minutes on something non-controversial. Private Members’ Bills were debated on Fridays.
. She knew this from observation and to counter it she wrote personal handwritten letters to all 250 Conservative backbenchers asking them to attend. A former Attorney General comes forward to help on drafting and a junior Minister from the relevant department is magically at your elbow and this is how she came to meet her greatest ally Sir Keith Joseph Bt.” The result was that many billions of dollars of taxpayers’ monies were being spent in secret.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ings. politicians and bureaucrats as self-interested maximizing agents. She had yet to make her first or maiden speech in Parliament. The whole experience was also for her an introduction into the economics of politics or what is now called Public Choice theory1 or the Virginia School of Political Economy as pioneered by James Buchanan (Nobel Prize 1986) and Gordon Tullock of northern Virginia’s George Mason University. She became so close to Keith that she dedicated one of her two volumes of memoirs to him. This right however did not extend to committees and even the full council could bar the press by declaring itself to be a “committee of the whole council. This normally runs to 15 minutes. her family and all who worked for her while Prime Minister. Margaret Thatcher MP was outraged. Most members tried to get away back to their constituencies on Thursday evenings so the Commons was often empty. When the Government approves of the choice of such a Bill then the path forward suddenly clears.
huge for a Friday — her letters had paid off splendidly. she became the junior Minister for Pensions and National Insurance (NI)3 responsible to Cabinet Minister John Boyd-Carpenter.4.1 but she could not prepare her Bill and at the same time draft the 30-minute speech that would be needed to introduce it. She felt it would harm her chances of advancement. traditional Tory values were being ignored. He kindly met her at the front door on her first day — she was so touched by this
1 She had a deep interest in monetary policy as early as 1959. On the big day the turnout was about 200. 3 National Insurance is the UK’s social security. a door opened and in the fall of 1961. So when one of only three wanted to leave government. All three female members of the government showed solidarity by their presence and after a speech given without any notes her bill advanced by 152 to 39. socialism and communism were not being vehemently countered with free-market arguments. All this boiled over in her one and only revolt against the Whip in 33 years as an MP. though not without some epic fights as it went through all its stages — quite an education for a brand new MP. so this was significant praise.
. uniquely (as far as I can discover). Elected
Working of the Monetary System. 2 A very high number of new MPs were elected in 1959. Opposition spokesmen said her speech was clearly of frontbench (as opposed to backbench) quality and the press hailed it as the best maiden speech by any of the new intake of 1959. Despite this early success. She spoke and voted in favor of the caning and birching of violent young offenders. Some 68 colleagues joined her and it was the biggest revolt of this whole period of Conservative Party rule namely 1951–1964. On the other hand. but willing and able women were in short supply among Conservative backbench MPs and the Government could not be seen to be reducing their numbers in the ranks of Ministers. she often felt out of step with “modern” Conservative thinking. so that. just shy of 36. her maiden speech was one introducing a Bill.2 The Bill duly became an Act of Parliament and thus the law of the land. To her there was too much appeasing of special interests such as the unions and too great a propensity to rush after the latest leftist fad.
Over the next three years she served three different Ministers. It was a case of over promising. The Ministry for Pensions and National Insurance no longer exists. as the United States Social Security program does. A year after Douglas-Home became Prime Minister. at the outset Lord Beveridge had suggested a 20-year wait to allow funds to build up. To Mrs. this was not much more than a vague irritant compounded by the ethnicity and attitude of the man saying “non. India. he lost the fall 1964 General Election and socialist Harold Wilson moved into 10 Downing Street with a majority of four. This French rejection was nothing but a minor trade matter. Margaret Thatcher MP was just right for handling them. and many on the right. and the analytical tax-lawyer mind brought by Mrs. In early 1963 President Charles de Gaulle vetoed Britain’s proposed entry into the Common Market (later renamed the EEC or European Economic Community and then the EU or European Union). for whom this was absolutely meat and potatoes — if not milk and honey. She relished the grind of mastering all aspects of the complex problem and then mastering her socialist opponents. but once the plan caught the public’s fancy it became difficult not to introduce the benefits immediately. South Africa. Two days after her 39th birthday she held her own seat in Finchley.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
gesture that she made sure she always did the same later as Education Secretary. Today pensions are with the Department of Work and Pensions and NI is with HM Revenue and Customs. based on an optimistic scenario and implying. Back in 1961 the system’s flaws were apparent. thus making the plan even more unsound. and so on. that taxpayers’ pension contributions are linked to their pension entitlements. albeit with a majority cut to
. the Brits had their special relationship with the United States and with their Commonwealth of some 50 countries including Canada. Pakistan. In all fairness. Australia. as first Macmillan and then Sir Alec Douglas-Home shuffled the deck chairs on the sinking Conservative liner.” After all. New Zealand. Margaret Thatcher MP.
1 The Conservative Party was also tired after thirteen years in power. Elected
some 9. If a new Beatles record album was 19 shillings and 6 pence in a local shop. it prevented retailers from competing on the basis of price cuts. Consumers saw this as a rip off because it prevented retailers from offering discounts. This practice was ended (which by the way allowed for the creation of the supermarket. Third. Under that system there was no shopping around. First. pretty much ignoring the so-called bread and butter matters that interest the electorate. which did not then exist in the UK. Douglas-Home had campaigned on his own turf. it was 19 shillings and 6 pence in every shop in the land.
. Based on an IEA report by Professor Basil Yamey of the LSE. but small business proprietors. Second. And the socialists could always outbid them on the public spending front. well. namely international issues. the suddenly cheeky and irreverent British press had savaged the old patrician Douglas-Home who had had to resign from the Lords and win a seat back in the Commons in order to lead. tainted by scandal. stayed home at best. It was almost a miraculous result for several reasons. in other words. annoyed with the French veto.000 by a determined young Liberal named John Pardoe (later MP for North Cornwall. 1966 to 1979).1 This move by Edward (Ted) Heath (President of the Board of Trade) was warmly supported by his colleague Margaret Thatcher.4. Heath had stopped the practice of having manufacturers stamp the prices of products on the packaging. a natural conservative constituency. and for Richard Branson to start Virgin) but it cost the Conservatives dearly and at 39 she was to spend the first half of her next decade in opposition. muddled over economic policy. the Conservatives had alienated the small business vote by abolishing Retail Price Maintenance (RPM) in the immediate run up to the election.
Starting as Shadow Minister for Pensions.1 Ted Heath quickly trounced all before him. Margaret Thatcher MP increased her own majority to 9. Shadow Minister for Transport. The Conservatives moved rapidly to dump Douglas-Home and elect a new leader. and Shadow Minister for Education. Margaret Thatcher at first had wanted to support her north London constituency neighbor Reginald Maudling (Barnet) but had been convinced by her now close friend Sir Keith Joseph that Ted was the better candidate. with Liberals now in third. Harold Wilson duly asked Her Majesty the Queen to dissolve Parliament and in March 1966 came back with a majority of +97. Now each MP was to have a vote.500 over Labour. over a six-year period she mastered five new and different Shadow briefs: Shadow Minister for Housing and Land. Shadow Minister for Tax.”
The closeness of the 1964 result meant a second General Election as in ’50/’51 would come sooner rather than later.5. These last three were in the Shadow Cabinet. Shadow Minister for Fuel. Opposition I
“I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil. and I believe that in the end good will triumph.
1 Previously leaders had “emerged” through consultation.
Nowadays MPs carry pagers but in the 1970s being within the bell meant Margaret could go home in the evenings. to allow abortion if the health of the child or mother could be compromised. It was sold in 1972 and the funds released went in part to purchase the Flood Street. It fully matured however with two long coast to coast tours in early 1967 and early 1969. However. so MPs can vote according to their conscience. Her love affair with America — as already noted — had begun in Grantham and blossomed during World War II. she voted to decriminalize homosexual conduct in private between consenting adults over 21. the first run by the US Government’s International Visitor Program (IVP) and the second by the English Speaking Union (ESU). 2 Free vote means no Whip. The swinging ’60s saw a tsunami of social legislation hit Westminster. often with parties allowing a free vote. and against a bill to abolish the death penalty for murder. Chelsea home where the Thatchers lived from 1972 up to the move to No.000 (economy) inflation adjusted to today. on which they personally did a great deal of painting and decorating. In the 1960s such fares were very expensive — say $10. Work in the Shadow Cabinet was a big disappointment. 10 Downing Street in 1979.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
On the personal front the Thatchers sold their home in Farnborough and rented a 7th floor apartment at Westminster Gardens on Marsham Street. with the children now in their teens and many of their boarding school chums living in London. There were so many philosophical differences between its members that any serious discussion of principle would inevitably lead to cracks and divisions. She felt she was there as “the statutory woman” who was not expected to say much at all. near Tunbridge Wells. One consequence was that people tended to go
1 “Within the bell” means close enough to Parliament to be able to get there and vote before the lobbies close. What a curious mix! For a conviction politician she seems to have taken an extraordinarily pragmatic case-by-case view of matters.”1 They also purchased a big eight-bed “pile” at Lamberhurst. Lamberhurst was underused.
. close to Parliament and “within the bell. These days trans-Atlantic flights are cheap thanks to deregulation and people think nothing of a quick trip to the United States. The highlights of the late sixties were her first visits to the United States.2 For the record. against making divorce easier.
5 Cultural Affairs. February 20 and spent two days finalizing her itinerary. 1st Secretary at the US Embassy in London. add a zero! Of the other ten Parliamentarians selected in 1967. Two previous female Senators were appointed although one (Hattie Carraway of Arkansas) was subsequently elected. she met a score or more of top DC officials from Senator Margaret Chase Smith1 through every conceivable economics/tax agency to the Departments of State and Defense. she visited a Du Pont facility in Wilmington — an odd choice until one realizes that Denis was accompanying her. To adjust those for inflation.
1 Margaret Chase Smith was in 1948 the first lady elected to the Senate in her own right. Margaret Thatcher MP had been talent spotted by William J Galloway. 4 Education.” Overall he felt she was “the outstanding lady in the House of Commons at that time.5. Her first with the IVP was to last 6 weeks and her second with the ESU some 29/30 days. Extensive research on her trip by Giles Scott-Smith concludes that the American officials making her appointments were selling her “as a possible future PM” and nobody “raised any questions about that description” although it was twelve years to come and she had yet to be so branded in the UK. Opposition I
for much longer trips than now.
. at his own expense. three were to serve Margaret in Cabinet. People chosen were totally free to devise their itinerary with a program officer and were paid a per diem of $25 or $30 for VIPs. and 1 Community Affairs. John McGregor and Francis Pym. 5 Information. Over the next week. through Thursday. March 2. namely Patrick Jenkin. One of his big jobs was monitoring the Conservative Party. He noted that “she didn’t hesitate to express her views” and that she was “a politician who was not seeking support for her own personal advancement. 2 Government Affairs. 2 Labour. On Friday. She landed in Washington DC on Monday.” Note the “the”! The US Embassy had 30 invites to issue to Brits in 1967 and allocated them to 11 Parliamentarians. She was also the first lady to be nominated for the US Presidency by one of the major parties when she came second to Goldwater at the 1964 Republican National Convention. March 3. Galloway wrote of her that she has a “very strong will” and “high standards of ethics and morals” with “tremendous self-confidence” he commented.
Houston.” She had been back in the UK from her State Department International Visitor Program visit for only a few weeks when on July 14 Sir John Slessor of the English Speaking Union (ESU) wrote to her saying that following her “recent highly successful visit” to the US the ESU was “most anxious” to have her speak to its branches there. Thatcher continued to Atlanta. Indeed. Chicago. Omaha. It is also noteworthy that other than fleeting visits to friends in Florida and New Jersey she did no sightseeing at all. She thought his permission was a formality but he argued that a number of matters needing her attention might possibly come up at that time. After visiting with other friends in New Jersey and attending a performance of “Il Travatore” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. McPheeters. Director of the Speakers Department at the ESU’s US National Headquarters in New York. Next. How the ESU knew of her visit and how its officers could call it “highly successful” is not explained. Meetings routinely ran on well past their scheduled close. she had already been gone for six weeks in term time. Reports of her many daily appointments contrast her forthright views on pretty much any and every topic with her charm.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
After a very short break (maybe only one night) with friends in Delray Beach. she flew out on Thursday. March 30. the summer was discussed but it was noted that “she never lets anything interfere with her children’s summer holidays. San Francisco. In 1987 Galloway wrote to Prime Minister Thatcher to congratulate her on her third victory. New York. Heath again intervened.” so the third week of September would be the earliest she could start. Mr. Florida. and Mrs. Possibly she felt the few days devoted to Denis’s interests had to count against any R&R. The idea of mid-October to mid-November was rapidly rejected by Frances L. In her reply she referred to the 1967 visit and wrote “I have been eternally grateful for the wonderful experience it gave me. Boston. A tour at this time 56
. He wanted her at the Tory Party Conference ending October 12. At first it was suggested she go for March of 1968 but Edward Heath refused her permission to be away for such an extended period. and Albany. Los Angeles.
specializing in taxation matters. she says. Thatcher that it would be “a waste and a pity” if that was the only time she could find. and was appointed their official spokesperson for several different Departments. Katharine Winn at the ESU’s London offices requested “chatty and personal biographical notes” — something more interesting than the Conservative Party supplied as “the Americans…. she will almost certainly be one of its leading Ministers. like everything of this kind to have the ‘personal angle. although this is an age of rapid scientific development.” they settled on March 1969 and Heath gave full permission in writing. Thatcher as the twins would be home for the spring break. The ESU ruled out May because “it is begining (sic) to be very hot in the southern states.’” After a lot of “bullying” by ESU London staff she personally dropped off at its West End offices several sheets of House of Commons stationery on which she had scribbled the following profile of herself:
Margaret Thatcher has had three separate careers in addition to being a housewife with a family. When the Conservative Government lost the election in 1964 she became active on Opposition. second Treasury. She then turned her attention to Law. When the Conservative Party wins an election. There was a policy of discouraging speakers at such times and they felt so strongly about getting Mrs. taking degrees in Chemistry at Oxford University. Opposition I
would straddle the November 5 Presidential election of Nixon versus Humphrey. children are finishing school and people are thinking more about summer vacations than Anglo-American relations. Finally focus moved to early 1969.5. April was difficult — indeed impossible — for Mrs. To help sell her to the US Branches. There are far too few people in politics. During the ten years she has been in Politics she has made rapid progress up the promotion ladder. With McPheeters reporting “unusual interest in your coming.” wrote McPheeters to Thatcher. After two years she was made an Under-Secretary to the Department of Social Security. She became a Member of Parliament in 1959 for a North London constituency. She maintains that her two earlier careers have been a great help in her political life. who are trained Scientists. for a time she did Scientific Research. third Fuel and Power and now Transport. qualified as a barrister and practiced for 7 years. At present she is the only woman in the
. She was first trained as a Scientist. an appointment which she held for three years. first Housing. and Law is an excellent training for anyone who has the responsibility for law-making through the legislature.
and insists on going to Opera or to concerts from time to time. With this record and background. She enjoys cooking and likes to collect international recipes wherever she goes. Carol has already visited the United States. Thatcher has a flat in London. She also likes art and would not wittingly walk past an Art Gallery without going inside to look at the paintings. Thatcher offered four speeches as follows: ŪŪ “The Challenge to Democracy” ŪŪ “Preparing for the Future — Britain and America” ŪŪ “Race Relations — Problems in the British Commonwealth” ŪŪ “The Final Political Problem — Freedom versus Communism. and half an hour by car from her constituency. just five minutes away from Parliament. an industrialist. many countries in Europe. Denis Thatcher. Mr. She says that if you work with your brain most of the time. but is educated in England.” Here is how she described the first two to the ESU: 58
. She loves music. who is a Director of Chemical and Oil Companies. Mrs. she does a lot of speaking and lecturing.” Unlike her earlier trip however she was never touted as possibly the first female PM. Boy–Girl twins Mark and Carol were born in 1953. spent six weeks on a coast to coast tour of the United States which she enjoyed enormously. and in 1967. In private life.
It is very interesting to see how she saw herself at the time. as one of her school friends lives near Washington. the Middle East. 45 miles out of London.” She is also promoted as a “first-class speaker. struggles to look a bit younger but enjoys every moment of her crowded life. and a good deal of broadcasting. she married in 1951. Mrs. Reaction from the Branches was quick and positive and there were soon worries she would be over-worked as she could give them “only” 29 days.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Edward Heath Shadow Cabinet. it is particularly satisfying to do something with your hands. and a country house in Kent. She has visited West Africa. The final vital statistic — born in October 1925. and are now at boarding school. She is very practical in Household matters and has done a good deal of the interior decoration of the house herself. ESU staff in both London and New York peppered their US contacts with extraordinarily enthusiastic letters about this “extremely pretty and attractive… up and coming Cabinet Minister” who is “a very good advertisement” for the UK and “one of our very bright girls in Parliament.
her secretary called the ESU asking whether all of the $15 per diem allowance could be advanced on landing at JFK. What can we do as nations to solve these problems?” Her outward flight on March 1 from London Heathrow to JFK was booked “economy” on BOAC1 and a £5 10 shillings insurance policy was purchased. more protest. Bearing in mind the inability of each nation to impress its theories on others. She has to fill in Section 3 of Form T! Just days before she left the UK. and re-affirms our ability to overcome these problems. when material prosperity and Education has reached a higher standard than ever before. In the late sixties British travelers were still restricted to a £50 currency allowance. and an attempt to analyze some of the causes. Margaret Thatcher MP “although she is not a widow.
1 BOAC was the nationalized airline British Overseas Airways Corporation. He replied saying he could not do this automatically and needed Bank of England permission.” Under the title “Preparing for the future: Britain and America” she says: “This talk explains the special relationship between our two countries in the past and its relevance to the future. each pursues its own ends.” she had had occasional bad experiences on her 1967 trip on the money.” Then there was the question of money.
. long since privatized as British Airways or BA. B. In those less stressful days she was asked to report to Victoria Station in central London only 90 minutes before take off at Heathrow! She complained repeatedly to the organizers of her trip that they tended to call her The Honorable Mrs. While she was described as “not in the least grasping. are we experiencing more violence. 145 Sloane Street. London asking for more than this. and its significance in the coming years. Why. The ESU wrote to her Bank Manager. less tolerance. Denis Thatcher MP when she was not entitled to “The Honorable” and much preferred Mrs. Mr. ready cash. Opposition I
Under the title “Challenge to Democracy” she says: “This is a discussion of the present discontent and shortcomings in our Society.5. C. less faith and more doubts about the future of our democratic system? The lecture concludes that there is much to be optimistic about. Hewett at The Midland Bank. It discusses the tendency towards nationalism and separatism in the nations of the world.
Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
transport and hotel front. Washington DC. Palm Beach. on March 14. a New York City map would be in with her plane tickets. The ESU ladies quickly assured her office that she would be very well looked after. and Los Angeles where she was to address the World Affairs Council. Birmingham. “Her opening meeting in New York had been a great success. they pointed her toward an important collection she might visit near the Cosmopolitan Club. the ESU was more thoughtful. On other matters. Nashville. McPheeters in the NYC ESU office:
“She came. Back east she moved on to Orlando. She conquered! Which of course can mean only one person — the stunning Mrs. From Florida Mary R. Given she could take so little sterling. Having said that. reported back to Frances L.
. Denis Thatcher. Branch Secretary of the Central Florida ESU in Winter Park. started on March 1 in New York City and after a speech at SUNY New Paltz moved west to St. then to San Francisco. The ladies at ESU London suggested Mrs. 122 East 66th Street. Louis and Kansas City. she wanted a wad of dollars to hand. Oh — and to help. Margaret Thatcher talk to Mrs. who you so kindly arranged for us to have as our speaker for the Annual Luncheon of the Central Florida Branch. Forest Ridge. Taggart. Atlanta. still marked Mrs. Ladies on such long tours with multiple one-night stops and many different types of functions faced particular wardrobe issues. Kent who had just done a long tour of the United States. Mrs.” “People and Places. She saw. Wareham had lectured in the Southern states on such topics as “Fleet Street and Newspapers. Kathleen Wareham of Three Corners. Her itinerary.” her secretary Miss D Powell was told in a March 13 letter from the ESU. Rave reviews soon started flooding in to ESU in NYC and London and from there to her House of Commons office. Mrs. Baltimore and finally Philadelphia on March 29. then she was to take the airport bus into central Manhattan and then find the Cosmopolitan Club.” And knowing of her love of art. Denis Thatcher MP.” and “Britain in the Reign of Elizabeth II. Keston. Thatcher was also told that if McPheeters failed to meet her at JFK. Indianapolis.
” Here is the ESU minute of her remarks at that lunch:
New York: First engagement was a Ladies Luncheon. The lunch invite describes her tour as “highly successful. Winter Park: Audience consisted largely of retired professional people. Don’t know if we’ve had anyone ‘go over’ better!” And while the audience in Nashville was described as small (but see below). Kansas City: Rather a similar branch. delightful to talk to but elderly. Thatcher had to answer questions for 1 hr and 10 minutes. Thatcher is charming and her talk was tops. arranged by BIS. It was badly organized but gave her an opportunity to see something of the Student problem. Very English. “Mrs. Atlanta: Spoke to a Business Men’s Luncheon. Opposition I
There were 150 members and guests present and each and every one was charmed not only by the speaker’s good looks but her very brilliant talk…our grateful thanks for your help in making this the outstanding program of the year. Mrs. which developed into one woman Brains Trusts.”
McPheeters also heard from James (Jim) H. and enormous numbers of students. Palm Beach: Very monied! Full meeting. Two months later Sir John Benn of the ESU hosted a lunch for her to report back. Parker III in Kansas City. More interesting audience with a wider age range. They have colossal funds. the publicity was eye-popping. Los Angeles: Spoke for the World Affairs Council. It was useful to
. In the US state universities have no power to refuse students. Hectic weekend including TV appearances etc. It was a triumphant march and she flew back just as the twins got out of school.5. She was told afterwards that in their experience it was rare to find a good woman speaker. Attended private Dinner parties. unconnected with the ESU. Some English Brains Drains! Was shown transit system. St Louis: In addition to speaking. Went very well. audience included members of the Diplomatic Corps. and there is little to no contact between them and their teachers. San Francisco: Excellent hospitality. Business men etc. and found the audience was not well informed on World Affairs. Next day spoke to New York State University at New Paltz. Was told that they did not have enough MPs as speakers.
“The excitement I felt has never really subsided. The investment by the State Department and the ESU was to pay handsome dividends. No problem with colored people. Good questions and contacts with Universities. Indianapolis: Not a very thriving branch. She accepted. Baltimore: Elderly. Excellent ESU meeting.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
talk to them and Mrs. From the woman’s point of view she should take a large supply of Cocktail and Evening Dresses. Could do with some more rest periods. Televised live. Washington: Appeared on TV as well as speaking to the branch. Nashville: The nicest branch of all! The members had their feet on the ground. Many questions were asked about Students in the UK. She later wrote. Good Mayor. These two back-to-back extended trips to the United States totaling 10+ weeks were clearly extraordinarily important in her personal and political development. She was 44 and in the Cabinet.
. Philadelphia: Not particularly interesting. and McPheeters in NYC (ESU) wrote a congratulatory note to Winn in London (ESU). Birmingham: Very good people at the top. 1970. Thatcher thought they had great potential. in the way of know-how and diplomacy and that each Nation is complementary to the other. GENERAL COMMENTS: Felt that the British still have much to offer the Americans. Ted Heath defeated Harold Wilson and quickly moved into Downing Street with a majority of +31.” She also went to the USSR and had a very different experience and set of reactions! On June 18.
A little over a year later Margaret Thatcher was in Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Science. and had more distant objectives in view than just parochial ones. The next day he invited Margaret Thatcher to join his Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Science.
and some taller than others and they often have it in them to do so.”
For nearly four years she served in the government of Edward (Ted) Heath as Secretary of State for Education and Science. Coupled with this was the ideological rift on education within her own party. We start first with her life as Education Secretary then examine her role as Cabinet Member. Education Secretary
“It sometimes strikes me that more people are interested in education for reasons of egalitarianism than for reasons of education. Churchill’s Education Minister 1951 to 1954.
.” “Let our children grow tall. When a Prime Minister wishes to appoint an outsider (a very rare circumstance).1 Cabinet colleague Jim Prior reports that Ted Heath called him before her appointment and said “I’ve been discussing who we might need as our statutory woman. then the person in question is either made a member of the Lords very quickly or a by-election has to be equally quickly arranged in a safe seat (by making the incumbent a Lord).” She entered a department wedded to central planning and the idea that nanny or “the man in Whitehall” knows best.6. On the left of the Conservative Party there were many who favored the abandon1 British Cabinet Members are answerable to Parliament and therefore must be members of either the House of Commons (lower house) or House of Lords (upper house). the first being Florence Horsburgh. Most are members of the former. She was only the second woman to serve in a Conservative Cabinet.
and her brisk action woman do-it-today-not-tomorrow style grated.
.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ment of selectivity and its replacement with comprehensive education for all. In Birmingham alone. While her civil servants were “professional. Her most notorious policy however was to withdraw “free” school milk for 7. The
1 British governments consult through Green Papers and set out policy in White Papers. they were replaced by a new circular stressing local needs.” the ethos of the world of education was overwhelmingly socialist in the sense that it was driven by notions of “equality.to 11-year-olds and to increase school meal charges. The withdrawal of these circulars had been a clear manifesto commitment and on her eighth day on the job they were withdrawn. Even as the foundations of the Berlin Wall were being chipped away. indeed within just twelve days of the election and eight days of entering her department.” like most of America’s public school system. She had inherited two socialist policy circulars to the local authorities which run education on a day-to-day basis in the UK. not even her focus and determination could turn back the tide of comprehensivization that was then sweeping the country. One circular demanded that all such authorities submit to the Department plans for going totally comprehensive. The second said that authorities which refused to submit such a plan would be deprived of capital funding. Arguably her finest moment as Education Secretary came in her first month. In the late sixties and early seventies a group of British education policy experts with a passion for reform as well as a sense of humor published the Black Papers. the wise use of resources and a presumption against upheaval. While she saved many grammar schools. the long serving careerist officials of both her Department and the teachers’ unions were inordinately friendly toward each other. The truth of the matter is that she landed in that job just as the wave was cresting and without her presence many more such good schools would have been closed. which moved from Conservative control to Labour in 1972. while on the right the authors of the Black Papers1 championed choice and vouchers. She instinctively and intellectually sided with the latter while the political reality of the day rested with the former. Her detractors revel in pointing out that she killed more grammar schools than any other Education Secretary. she rejected over half its plans and saved eighteen grammar schools.
It was only when Margaret Thatcher MP became Prime Minister that it was given a Royal Charter and could then use those previously banned words. Thatcher. 3 This was the University of Sussex. not only for the social enhancement of the university — athletic clubs and societies and so on — but also to support other social causes. Even then the relevant education minister (Rt. Dr. A second-year law student named Tony Baldry successfully sued the local Student Union President on the grounds that such payments were ultra vires.e. including the union dues. Britain had no private universities then. Sir Rhodes Boyson MP) told the author that Departmental officials were so hostile to a private university that all correspondence from Buckingham was hand delivered by messenger to him at home: “If they’d sent it to the Department it would have been ‘lost’!” In “retirement” Margaret became Chancellor of Buckingham. 2 In 1976 the University of Buckingham was established as a private institution.1 And few students realized what was going on. They were closed shops.3 She proposed to take the funds going directly from the authorities to the unions en bloc and instead give such monies to the students themselves individually who could then shop around between the various activities on offer. The socialist government of the day refused to let it be called the University of Buckingham and award traditional “degrees” so it was “University College at Buckingham” and awarded a License. You had to join. with only days to go before graduation. Education Secretary
former led to the often heard chant by marching demonstrators: “Mrs.6.
. near Brighton. or as daughter Carol said.. i.
1 The late Lord Harris of High Cross used to tell the story of how he and his daughter Angela managed not to pay student union dues at the University of Bradford until.” And it earned her the title of most hated woman in Britain from a tabloid newspaper called The Sun. It was a step too far. south of London. she was told her qualification would not be conferred unless she paid the union. quite large amounts. my mother was public enemy #1. as usual taking her duties very seriously indeed. in one case paying to replace free school milk at primary schools adjoining a campus. He won and Baldry versus Feintuck was a landmark case. Hon. outside the scope for which funds could be used. otherwise your degree would not be conferred on you at graduation.” She also moved forward suggestions to reform campus student unions.2 If you were accepted to a university then (unless you were quite well off) all your fees were automatically paid by your local education authority direct to the university. Milk Snatcher. Baldry later worked for Margaret Thatcher and became an MP and junior Minister. The unions then used such funds. “When I was at university.
and her ideas on defunding their student unions. “greater freedom of choice” and “greater freedom of regulation and freedom from interference. she and her Education Department began to pale against bigger broader issues. all looked fine. stressing “the security and independence of personal ownership”.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
She came out of her 3+ years at Education with three advantages: she now knew firsthand how government at the highest levels worked or often did not work. cutting public expenditures. she had become a top class performer at the Dispatch Box1 in the Commons. The Conservative Party Manifesto of 1970 was of a populist right wing free-market nature. The first sign of what became known as U-turns came with the bailing out of Rolls Royce in early 1971 which went directly against the policy of no “lame ducks. and from then right up to his defeat in February 1974 Heath (and his Cabinet) went in a totally opposite direction.” In early 1972. The two current boxes were gifts of the Government of New Zealand when Parliament was rebuilt after being hit by a German incendiary bomb in World War II. Ministers and Shadow Ministers however move to one of two wooden boxes which can be used as lecterns on which they spread out papers and files. If her time at Education can be described as an undergraduate course in applied politics then her time in Cabinet was her master’s and her PhD.
. and she had had much firsthand experience countering the strong views of the left over issues from “free” school milk. moves to control the unions began and income tax and corporation tax were cut. Spending cuts were implemented. To begin with. and creating a better climate for free enterprise. the combination of a major strike at a northern bankrupt ship-building firm called Upper Clyde Shipbuild1 Backbench MPs called on to address Parliament by the Speaker do so by simply standing up in their seats. By the spring of 1972 it lay in tatters. grammar schools.” Specific promises included the reduction and reform of taxes. incentives for saving. The boxes contain bibles used to swear in new members. However as the Heath government of 1970 to 1974 ground along. “greater freedom of opportunity”. an end to nationalization. however.
a three-day working week was instituted to save energy4 and another major confrontation with the heavily left-leaning National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was bearing down. In the end Heath won the popular vote by over two hundred thousand5 but came second in seats to Harold Wilson’s Labour.6.2 A new breed of corporatist socialism was the order of the day and by 1973 Heath was lashing out against a company called Lonhro as “the unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism. 10 Downing Street.” Unfortunately for Prime Minister Heath. After a weekend of failed talks with smaller parties. knowing full well they were completely unelectable at the ballot box. rout. Education Secretary
ers (UCS) plus an industrial dispute with the coal miners plus unemployment topping one million led to a full scale retreat. His industrial relations strategy collapsed.6
1 TUC Trades Union Congress the UK’s AFL-CIO. Out went any idea of relying on the self-correcting mechanisms of the market economy. 4 Interestingly industrial output did not drop much (if at all) and certainly not the 40% one might expect showing just how much over manning existed then. Had he gone for early February he might well have won but instead he opted for February 28. Instead the entrance is manned 24 hours a day. inflation3 and interest rates soared. 3 Inflation was soon to hit close to 30%. and bad news piled up. a statutory pricesand-incomes policy of the sort President Nixon was also introducing. or even flight. Indeed the far left in the unions. The burning question of the day on all lips and minds was “who rules: the miners or the government?” Prime Minister Heath dithered. and tripartite talks with the unions (TUC)1 and big business (CBI). massive daily intervention in all aspects of the economy. so if you did not double your salary every 28 months you fell behind.8%. Bush in 2000 but garnered fewer Electoral College votes. 1974.2% in 1975 but one annualized monthly rate hit 29. Also the Wilsons did not move back into the apart-
. Heath resigned and Wilson once again had the keys to No. 297 to 301. clearly not wanting an election. were clearly trying to protect their interests by other means. 10 and it does not have a key hole. just as US presidential candidate Al Gore officially won half a million more votes than George W. In came the inflation of the currency. 6 There are no real keys to No. The highest annual rate hit was 24. 5 In the UK you can win the popular vote but still lose on seats won. matters went from bad to worse. 2 The CBI is the Confederation of British Industry the UK’s NAM.
Throughout.2 Such policies may be motivated by a desire to limit inflation. Rt. Loyalty runs deep in Margaret’s veins and she was a team player while privately harboring serious doubts on virtually every single one of the main economic policy issues. she kept lines open to the economic liberals in her own parliamentary party such as John Biffen MP. 10 (which Mrs.3 At times she thought of resigning but realized that such a gesture would have been utterly futile. but without freely moving prices. She also followed with interest a lively moment when Britain’s “Milton Friedment atop of No. and the great misogynist Heath had her parked at the end of the long Cabinet table — just where he could not see her.
. Heath was the leader of her party and Prime Minister of her country.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
What of Margaret Thatcher throughout these tumultuous months? By her own accounts she played little if any role at all. 2 It was as if Heath was deliberately putting the free marketers into jobs they would find unacceptable. which is shortened to Rt. She and her chum Sir Keith Joseph were the chief free market economic liberals in the Cabinet but Heath kept them in big-spending departments and outside his economic policy inner circle.1 but he was put in charge of implementing the single most anti-market of all of Heath’s policies. Hon. 3 The size of the Cabinet varies but is usually in the low twenties. Hon4 Enoch Powell MP. markets are busted instruments. This was after all a woman who had nearly made her maiden speech in 1959 on monetary policy. Then they were joined by a third such economic liberal. meaning he was not just a barrister appearing in court to plead cases but rather a very senior one. Margaret Thatcher was still very much the statutory woman. This inevitably means that those to the far left or right on that side can be easily ignored. Jock Bruce-Gardyne MP. Geoffrey Howe QC. namely that on controlling prices and incomes. and Nicholas Ridley MP who had resigned as a Heath minister over statutory price and incomes controls. 4 Senior members of Parliament are made members of Her Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council and thereafter enjoy the title Right Honorable. Mary Wilson had so disliked) from 1964–1970. And we have to recall that Heath had unexpectedly beaten Wilson in 1970. Instead they remained at their home in 5 Lord North Street and Harold commuted the few hundred yards. 1 QC stands for Queen’s Counsel. The Prime Minister chairs it not from an end but rather from half way down one side.
clashed with his boss Prime Minister Heath over loose monetary policy.” Professor Alan Walters (later to be her personal economic advisor for two spells). If you favored a market economy. Walters predicted it would lead to inflation and he was asked to leave. 2 Under the 30-year rule.3 In retrospect. published by the IEA in 1971.
.6. As the government’s economic policy unraveled.1 However Heath’s own advisers2 had predicted trouble. Education Secretary
man. in which he argued that Brussels was dominated by an interventionist spirit. the courts would not be affected and British law would prevail as always. She and 99% of other economic liberals were very much in favor of this move. and Heath has since been accused of knowingly and willingly tying Britain’s hands by signing over important economic decisions to an unelected group of bureaucrats overseas in Brussels. How well would she learn it?
1 Conservative MP Rt. labor and capital. so Britain moved closer to and finally joined the European Economic Community (EEC). official documents of the era have been released in recent years and show a clear pattern of deception. The arguments presented were purely ones of free market economics: it was all about the free movement of goods. but he was right and Heath was wrong. We now know Heath’s top constitutional advisers were warning him that signing the Treaty of Rome meant a serious surrender of sovereignty. with the points being made that the UK was not giving up any sovereignty. 3 In 1972 Heath told the British that joining the Common Market would not erode national sovereignty and that worries about losing independence were completely unjustified. her first taste of Cabinet government can be summed up as a long lesson in how not to govern. or Common Market. Enoch Powell warned of the changes as did journalist Russell Lewis in Rome or Brussels?. as it was called. Hon. it was hard to be against the Common Market. Political ramifications were downplayed.
there was annual pressure from the media for reform. On the housing front inflation. planning costs and delays. local government and zoning. While some “green” issues came under its umbrella it was mostly concerned with housing. On local taxation. 2 “Green Belt” is the concept of declaring thousands of square miles of land around cities unavailable for development. In the meantime Ted Heath promoted Margaret Thatcher to Shadow Environment1 Secretary. Every outlet carried endless stories about the unfairness of a property-value based system which charged a widow us-
1 This was a new department created during Heath’s premiership by amalgamating the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and the Department of Transport.. called rates. pay your bills on time. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.7. support the police.
.. high interest rates. the “green belt”2 policy and other impediments were making the dream of home ownership more and more distant for many and suddenly an issue again to the forefront of British politics. Reflections
“My politics are based . on things I and millions like me were brought up with. put by a nest egg for a rainy day. and she reveled in mastering a raft of housing and local taxation issues. live within your means.”
With no overall majority Harold Wilson was bound to go back to the country very soon to ask for a clear mandate and working majority.
Chief Administrator (then
1 He was later a key advisor to Sir Geoffrey Howe over the suspension of exchange controls. See Chapter 21. She had from her earliest days in politics felt that her party was too slow to criticize the left and too quick to embrace socialist fads. In addition to these three an unlikely cast of characters was assembled. she was never entirely happy. and he was a second cousin to Nicholas Ridley MP. Her close friend Keith Joseph was in the Shadow Cabinet with her but had no departmental portfolio. to help first time buyers on the mortgage deposit front. the former journalist and communist machine gunner in the Spanish Civil War. 2 Alfred was later famously to declare “I invented Margaret Thatcher. Chief Guru was Joseph’s fellow Jew. rather he had a wide brief to reexamine policy. which she gladly accepted. Alfred Sherman. a family of five consuming far more. Heath’s own economic advisor Adam Ridley1 sat on the board and Keith Joseph invited Thatcher to become his Vice-Chairman. say. In the end she went into the fall 1974 general election as Shadow Environment Secretary on four related platforms: to give those living in public housing the right to buy their own homes with a one-third discount off fair market value.2 Chief fundraiser was Nigel Vinson.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ing tiny amounts of local services exactly the same as. Soon after the February 1974 general election he received Heath’s permission to establish a new body called the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) to help him in this endeavor. to cap mortgage interest rates at 9½% by means of tax relief to the lenders rather than subsidies. While she had rebelled but once and never dreamt of leaving. fairer system. It was also too quick to shoot its messengers and too slow to examine the content and real detail of the message.”
. a successful businessman “on loan” from the Board of Trustees of the free market IEA. She had never felt totally comfortable in her home in the Conservative Party. yet to be devised. While she was having a very good summer that raised her profile and standing in her party and around the country. deeper waters were being explored elsewhere. And it never seemed able to give the electorate an internally consistent message based on principle. and to abolish the current local tax system of rates and replace it with a new.
Meanwhile another General Election threw her to the front on the housing and local taxation issues but as expected Harold Wilson got a somewhat clearer mandate leading the Conservatives by 319 to 277.7. not like the IEA which had been pumping out free market studies for two decades by then. who wore many hats. The CPS was not a think-tank as such. Finally there was a somewhat mysterious. Surrounded by people who had been preaching a consistent free-market approach for years. In practical terms this meant the government would be walking on eggshells. concerned with policy dots and commas. academics and Conservative politicians were pushed into thinking the unthinkable by Joseph. whose sense of humor and orderliness kept the place running. rich. 73
. fashionable and iconoclastic character named Martin Bendelow. It was primarily a talking shop where journalists. not Ted Heath. She also began to immerse herself in the writings of and lunches at the IEA on the corner of Lord North Street (named after the unfortunate British Prime Minister who lost the American colonies) and Great Peter Street. challenging virtually every populist policy tenet of the past three decades and lumping them all together as “socialist. With other parties in the picture this meant an overall majority of just three. The source of his wealth became apparent when he was jailed for cocaine trafficking. Margaret Thatcher became increasingly involved with the CPS and its mission and this challenged her to read and think more widely than past years as Education Secretary had allowed. Reflections
and later for many years) was another ex-journalist Gerry Frost. And it was not a do-tank.” regardless of who had been in power at the time. Its other role was to act as a high level secretariat for Joseph as he began a series of major public lectures around the UK. wheeling and dealing on many fronts to keep a day-to-day majority. once in 1966 and twice in 1974. For the Conservatives. people such as its Directors Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon and many academics and intellectuals. Sherman and Frost. she began a thorough wide-ranging period of reflection on what she wanted to achieve and how she was going to achieve it with Keith Joseph — preferably with him as Conservative leader and Prime Minister. it meant Ted Heath had lost three out of four general elections.
of course.1 Even his great friend and Cabinet colleague Jim Prior described Heath as “unapproachable” and “given to rudeness” showing “boredom quickly if he finds people uninteresting”. But as the BBC election night coverage ended in the dawn light of October 10.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
If he had been a likeable. pleasant man then the Conservative Party might have overlooked 1966 (he’d only just become leader then) and counted 1974 as one giant election — and hadn’t he won the most votes in February 1974? His few friends said he was really “1 and 1” or even “2 and 1. I jotted down the last lines of his speech as follows: “I. Bob McKenzie. He was a household name in the UK for the “swingometer” he used on BBC television to translate percentage swings into actual numbers of seats. The Tories wanted and needed new leadership and the consensus was that it was a two horse race between Keith Joseph and William (Willie) Whitelaw. as shown below:
William Whitelaw Robert Carr Keith Joseph Peter Walker Jim Prior Margaret Thatcher 5-4 7-4 7-2 10-1 10-1 50-1
1 In 1994 the author hosted a lunch party for over 50 opinion leaders at the IEA in Westminster to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Heath introducing legislation in the House of Commons to abolish resale or retail price maintenance. the odds were stacked against her.” 2 McKenzie was an LSE graduate and taught at the school from 1949 to his death in 1981. 1974. a Canadian-born political scientist and psephologist tossed another name into the pot — namely that of Margaret Thatcher. with Robert Carr a third possible. affable.” But Heath was a surly. the former of the new right and the latter of the old Heathite left. have been far too busy advising world leaders to engage in something as comparatively trivial as writing memoirs. His 15-minute speech (given without notes) was utterly brilliant although he made one significant error when he claimed that records (like books and certain medicines) had been exempted. bitter bruiser. perceived as self-important and needlessly offensive. Not true! This speech came between the publication of Margaret’s two volumes of memoirs (1993 and 1995) and their publication was clearly irking Heath. He also chaired the discussion sections of each episode of Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose.” not “1 and 3.2 Despite the plug Margaret Thatcher received from Bob and the favorable coverage she had been receiving in The Spectator from Patrick Cosgrave.
It wasn’t looking good for her.7. Fifty-to-one in a six-horse race are very long odds.
was to put them on the pill.1 The leftist chattering-classes exploded instantly in righteous indignation. Obscure bishops. If you’re Classes 4 or 5 take the pill. fed permissiveness and subverted morals.” to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. Unfortunately for Keith it contained a passage about the balance of the UK’s population being threatened by the large and rising numbers of children being born to young unmarried mothers in the lower classes (classes 4 and 5). Just over a week after the ballot boxes closed he spoke in Birmingham on how socialism undermined the family. ask a woman. He was trying to do for social affairs what he had been doing so well for economic affairs. polytechnic lecturers and two bit novelists queued up to denounce “the mad monk” as a eugenicist. If you’re Classes 4 or 5 you’ve no right to be alive. ask a man. Leader
“In politics if you want anything said. pop performers.”
. If you’re Classes 4 or 5 take the pill. It made Margaret Thatcher’s own experience as the infamous “milk
1 Hence the student song: “If you’re Classes 4 or 5 take the pill. he said. If you want anything done. And this was hardly new or even seriously contestable material.”
Within days of the fall 1974 general election Joseph’s chances of ever leading the Conservative party had fallen to zero. the least able to raise kids. The solution.8.
Thatcher’s immediate response was that somebody had to stand both against Heath and as standard bearer for a new conservatism. while for once reaching out to Conservative MPs. and that if Keith Joseph was not willing then she surely was.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
snatcher” look tame in comparison as Joseph was pilloried and found his home and wife besieged by antagonistic journalists for weeks. not weeks. Heath meanwhile was doing everything he could to delay the inevitable (namely a new election for party leader). On Thursday. A reshuffle in early November played very much to her talents as a tax barrister and detail maven. Mrs.
. not only in command of a major quite technical brief but also in control of the most severely critical debating chamber in the world bashing up senior leftists seemingly at will and bringing her own side to their feet cheering like they had not done for over a year. Keith Joseph broke the news to Margaret Thatcher that he would not stand. The vicious reaction to the Birmingham speech had broken the nerve of this unfailingly polite and scholarly man. Within days.” he lamented to his PPS David Mitchell MP. “I would not get the answers right often enough. this gave her ample opportunity to shine in the Commons before the very men (mostly) and women who would soon be voting either to reaffirm Heath or to go for an alternative. He had been Employment Secretary and Home Secretary in the Heath government.” And later: “We have to rethink everything!”
1 The Shadow Chancellor was Robert Carr. the constituency which would soon decide his fate and quite possibly elect his successor. he reportedly welcomed the idea of help from Margaret Thatcher despite his being firmly in the Heath leftist ideological camp. Only the details had to be ironed out. so I will stand. She was absolutely brilliant. What a breath of fresh air! As November dragged on it became clearer by the day that a new election would take place for the Conservative Party leader. She proclaimed: “Somebody representing our point of view has to stand. for she was made deputy Shadow Chancellor1 in charge of opposing the upcoming Finance Bills. November 21.
choice. and mumbled: “If you must”. November 25 (after discussing it all with Denis over the weekend)1 she saw Heath and broke the news. but he stood ready as ever to support her: “You must be out of your mind. ŪŪ Any member of the Parliamentary Party wanting to stand needed only a proposer and a seconder.
. Immediately she declared her candidacy however her enemies went to work. 3 At 30% inflation prices double every 2⅓ years. Former Prime Minister Douglas-Home had been asked to look at the rules (used only once before for Ted’s own election nearly a decade earlier) and had come forward with the following: ŪŪ There would be an annual election for leader. private property. And the contrast between the way she handled the pressure and the way Keith had handled his difficulty only weeks earlier was truly stark and duly noted by fellow MPs. thrift and decentralization. She was just 49 and it was as if her whole life had been building up to this very moment. Months earlier she had given an interview to a magazine for retirees many of whom were on fixed incomes and were being ravaged by 20% inflation2.” 2 At 20% inflation prices double every 3½ years. ŪŪ The franchise was limited to Conservative MPs. You haven’t got a hope. Leader
On Monday. Some reports have him predicting “you’ll lose!” To her it was both futile and arrogant to deny past failures.
1 He thought she was mad to try and would lose. He reportedly glared. Her leadership would stand for individual responsibility. soon to be all but 30%!3 In the interview she had mildly suggested that if you saw two or three cans of something you use regularly at a low sale price then buy them all. Next came the issue of the rules for the election. Her party had lost four of the last five elections because many people felt that too many Conservatives had effectively become socialists. law and order. The “hoarding” scandal erupted around her but she weathered it more than gamely and in the end her down to earth housewife’s insights probably did her more good than harm. use one now and save a couple for the next time because they will have surely gone up in price. turned his back on her.8.
what would she do? If both ran they would split both anti-Heath feelings and the “right” vote. and returned to the UK via Switzerland. Neave was a remarkable character.4 They were joined by TV producer Gordon Reece. 2 “The Duke” had been a Director (even Chairman) of Lonrho a year earlier when Heath had held it up for general ridicule. On the second ballot only 140 would be needed. As soon as du Cann was out of the running.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ŪŪ To win on the first ballot you needed 50% of all eligible to vote and you needed to have a margin of victory of 15% of those entitled to vote over your nearest rival. This opened up a clear path. Massachusetts was Ed Clark who ran for President of the US in 1980 on the Libertarian Party platform. Christmas beckoned with no decision and it was not until Wednesday January 15. a top. MP for Streatham in south London. and ŪŪ If still nobody had won. supposedly escape-proof German prisoner of war camp in World War II. Angus Maude MP (who with Neave had been cruelly mistreated by Heath years earlier) and journalists such as
1 Given 276 MPs this meant that to win on the first ballot Mr. then at a second ballot one week later (at which new candidates could enter) only 50% of all eligible to vote +1 was needed to win. Would he run? If yes. 3 Neave later served at Nuremberg with the International Military Tribunal. France. having escaped from Colditz Castle. A team of supporters quickly formed around her. then the top three would go forward to a third ballot at which MPs would have a first choice and second choice vote. 1975 that du Cann declared he would not run. Spain and Gibraltar. Once home he became an intelligence agent at MI9 whose sole job was to build underground lines of safe homes on the European continent so that others might emulate his feat. so there were scores to settle. his chief aide Airey Neave MP moved to her camp as campaign head. Heath had also sacked Du Cann as Party Chairman in 1967.3 His chief lieutenant was the American educated William (or Bill) Shelton.2 the powerful and newly re-elected Chair of the 1922 Committee and arch Heath critic.
. Heath had to have a minimum of 138 and be 42 ahead. 4 Shelton’s classmate and close friend at Tabor Academy in Marion.1 The third and final relevant issue was the matter of Edward “The Duke” du Cann. ŪŪ If nobody won on the first ballot. He too had suffered at Heath’s hands and also had a major score to settle.
1975 Margaret Thatcher spent the day battling socialism in the Committee Room of the Finance Bill while her colleagues voted on her future close by. Neave and Shelton were relentless. Hugh Fraser. Leader
The Daily Telegraph parliamentary sketch writers1 John O’Sullivan and Frank Johnson (who wrote “the Tories need more men like her”) and the blind editorialist T. They sit high above the UK’s House of Commons and daily write satirical. Wisely. Heath’s Common Market negotiator Jim Prior. many of the people observing her were her constituents for this election. at least.8. Edward Heath Mr. both at its Committee Stage2 and when it came back to the House of Commons. 4 The second round was known as “the coward’s round” because brave people do not have to wait and see how the first round went. Margaret Thatcher Mr. On Tuesday. In the late afternoon Neave brought her the news:
Mrs. Neave told Thatcher that she ought to focus on the Finance Bill and do her utmost to shine. February 4. who oddly enough had applied to be MP for Finchley back in the late 1950s. going over lists of names constantly and not checking off somebody as a definite supporter until they had several clear pieces of evidence from different sources. often very funny. Hugh Fraser Abstentions Total 130 119 16 11 276
Within hours Heath and Fraser announced they would stand down and four new candidates suddenly threw their hats into the ring4 namely arch-Heathite William Whitelaw.
. 2 The Committee Stage of a bill is when the real nitty gritty detail is discussed. “Peter” Utley. E. After all. By contrast Heath’s team was much more relaxed and outwardly confident. This last name must have
1 Sketch writers do not exist on US newspapers. Matters were further complicated when a true backbencher and total no-hoper. 3 Brother of Lord Lovat (war hero) and husband of Antonia Fraser (author). columns about the goings on before them.3 entered the fray. boasting that they would win on the very first ballot. Heath’s Transport Minister John Peyton and Thatcher’s fellow free-market advocate Geoffrey Howe.
Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
both rocked and disappointed her. Surely Geoffrey had been on her side in the first ballot and was he now about to split the free-market right thus depriving her of victory possibly? She need not have worried.1 Her courage in taking on and seeing off Heath, her base of 130 votes and her rolling, well-managed bandwagon swept all before and a week later the figures were:
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher Mr. William Whitelaw Sir Geoffrey Howe Mr. James Prior Mr. John Peyton Abstentions Total 146 79 19 19 11 2 276
What had she gotten into?
1 Howe’s intervention did come close to sending the whole process into a 3rd round as he took 19 votes and Margaret Thatcher was only 6 over the winning line of 140. Had a 3rd round proved necessary, however, there would have been only one candidate, Margaret Thatcher!
9. Opposition II
“What Britain needs is an Iron Lady.” “I usually think that epithets signify more about the author than about the subject.”
There was huge interest in the novelty of a woman who could — given the Government’s tiny majority — very rapidly become Prime Minister and the first female leader of the western world. Everywhere she went the police miscalculated the expected size of the crowds that would turn out by a factor of ten. As soon as word of her presence spread, people flooded out to see her out of interest and curiosity. And foreign leaders such as Henry Kissinger and Pierre Trudeau stopped by to check her out and to have their photos taken with this attractive vivacious 49 year old. Her first job was to appoint a Shadow Cabinet. In some quarters it was assumed she would purge the Heathites and appoint members of the “Goldwater tendency,”1 as some of her enemies called it. Rightly or wrongly she did just the opposite. First she asked Heath for his help, offering him a senior job. He turned her down flat and spent the rest of his life resisting her inexorable rise. It has been called the “longest sulk in history.” Second, she appointed a Shadow Cabinet to unite her deep1 As in Senator Barry Goldwater, who ran for US President in 1964 on a free-market platform.
Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ly divided troops. Whitelaw, who had been runner-up to her on the second round, was made deputy leader. A whole raft of ardent Heath henchmen was given top jobs.1 From her own philosophical perspective, however, Sir Geoffrey Howe became Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Sir Keith Joseph had overall policy coordination while three no-nonsense greybeards were moved into key jobs: Lord Peter Thorneycroft2 as Party Chairman, Airey Neave MP as head of her personal office as well as Northern Ireland spokesman, and Angus Maude MP as overseer of the Conservative Research Department. It was more of a peace offering than the Heathites had dreamed possible. Indeed one wonders how many of these men present at her first Shadow Cabinet meetings had voted for themselves or other men and not for her. She readily and openly admitted that as a woman her voice could at times be a problem in the rowdiness of the House of Commons. Any attempt on her part to overcome vicious leftist barracking, often alcohol fuelled and of a deeply offensive sexist nature, pressed her voice up an octave and into screeching territory. She obtained serious professional help on a whole range of issues from tone and timbre to wardrobe colors and eye contact. Actor Sir Laurence Olivier was very helpful. When Jim Prior commented on her new deep, sexy voice, she replied: “What makes you think I wasn’t sexy before?” The Labour Party in the House of Commons was indeed very well organized, ferocious and deeply patronizing in its attempts to undermine her, and as she addressed them across the Chamber she knew that many at her back were just waiting for her to fall. In addition to Olivier, TV media expert Gordon Reece transformed how the TV media networks were approached. Instead of the media having to take whatever bones got chucked its way, now everything was carefully planned and choreographed to suit the news schedule.
1 Reginald Maudling: Shadow Foreign Secretary; Ian Gilmour: Shadow Home Secretary; Michael Heseltine: Shadow Industry Secretary; Jim Prior: Shadow Employment Secretary to name but four. 2 She always admired Thorneycroft for his 1958 resignation as Chancellor along with junior Treasury ministers Nigel Birch and Enoch Powell over what they felt to be an unwarranted and unjustifiable increase in public expenditure. Macmillan dismissed this incident as “a little local difficulty” and this phrase is often used today to insinuate the very opposite.
9. Opposition II
One immediate result was that her Fall 1975 speech to her Party Conference, her first as Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, was a rollicking foot-stomping success as she attacked socialism as the arch enemy of freedom and presented a principled conservatism rooted in private property, markets, liberty, smaller government, choice, and the rule of law. The 3,000 or so constituency delegates loved it — what a change after decades of lukewarm government paternalism, easily labeled socialism, dressed up as middle-of-the road conservatism. Margaret Thatcher had three problems with the middle of the road. First, you get run over by traffic from both sides. Second, as the Labour Party moved to the left, so the middle moved with it. Third, Labour tended to introduce new entitlements which were hard to unpick, so there was a ratchet moving the political scenery ever closer to the left ever closer to her much hated Moscow and ever further from her much loved USA. There was much to keep Opposition Leader Thatcher busy over the next four years. Her mail box was huge, her diary was full, her Cabinet needed constant attention and steering, she had to perform in Parliament and there was a lot of thinking and evangelizing to be done both inside and outside her party. And all the time she had to be ready for a snap general election as the socialists’ overall majority finally disappeared in November 1976. The big issue was the economy: how to heal the sick man of Europe. To her it was not brain surgery. If you lived within your means (as in taxes not to exceed expenditures); if you brought borrowing down and paid off debt; if unions were brought under the rule of the law; and if monetary expansion could be stopped thus halting overall increases in the price level, then all would be well. Oh, and no more bailing out lame duck industries. Within all of that the two big issues were the unions and inflation. The 1970-1974 Conservative government had tried and failed to deal with the unions and had indeed been brought down by one union namely the NUM. How would things be different now? Inflation was just as tricky. It is almost comical now to look back and read the many explanations proffered at the time for rapidly rising prices from unions and wages to the weather and the Arabs. Fortunately the IEA had been bringing Chicago School Nobel-winning (1976) 85
While she had no problem with monetary theory.1 It was from Friedman that the British intellectual classes learnt that inflation is always and everywhere a disease of money.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
economist Milton Friedman to London regularly as well as publishing and widely distributing his tracts. The equation reads: MV = PT The amount of money around (M) multiplied by its velocity of circulation (V) equals the price level (P) multiplied by the number of transactions (T) in the economy. It was the economic equivalent of E=mc2 and she was enraptured. Chatting with the doorman. crippling taxation. in the universities and in and around Westminster. and b) totally under state control. namely one that is a) totally self sufficient. If daily strikes. A money supply increase now equalled inflation in 18 months’ time. loony tune union leaders. And politically. Rhodesia and Northern Ireland. “Belong to the Friedmans?” I asked. the need to borrow £2. first written out by Chicago’s Irving Fisher but later popularized by Milton Friedman. and interest rates in their teens were not enough then add trouble with Iceland. However the economy was in such seemingly irreversible decline that the Opposition was batting on a very good wicket to use a well recognized cricket allusion. I pointed to the white Cadillac at the garage entrance bearing the license plate MV PT. From Galbraith to Economic Freedom. there was data and the data fitted like a glove. 2 In the ’80s the author visited Dr. Unemployment Versus Inflation?: An Evaluation of the Phillips Curve.2 This appealed to Thatcher’s scientific brain and. record inflation.
. a crumbling currency. Monetary Correction: A Proposal for Escalator Clauses to Reduce the Costs of Ending Inflation. completely mystified. Friedman at his San Francisco apartment. most of her Cabinet was intellectually committed to Keynes and bitter debates raged in the press. Print extra money now and in about 18 months prices would go up. There was even an equation for it all.5 billion from the IMF. monetarism (with its 18 month lag) meant that the high inflation of the first year and a half of Labour was all down to her own party. and far left wing leaders such as Tony Benn demanding Britain become a siege economy. “How did you guess?” he asked. what is more.
1 See Friedman’s Inflation and Unemployment. a Prime Minister (Wilson) drinking a bottle of brandy a day and convinced the secret service was plotting to kill him.
as in local property taxes. However by the following year he was a broken man and made way for James Callaghan a. in Red Ted’s borough of Lambeth were going up 30% to 40% each year. Prime Minister Wilson won the 1975 Referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Economic Community 67% to 33% on a turnout of 65% with Thatcher’s support. Smiling Jim. While Wilson had been on the verge of a breakdown he had been for Opposition Leader Thatcher a tough foe at the Dispatch Box given his huge experience.9.a. Callaghan was a different matter despite his utterly patronizing attitude toward her and she grew in confidence as her performances soared. Her close friend and adviser. Rates.” There was “Red” Ted Knight and “Red” Ken Livingstone.k. Ralph Harris wrote: “Cheer up: things are getting worse!”
. As 1977 and 1978 ticked by her big chance got closer by the day. both so very prominent in local government in London at that time. Abolishing the Monarchy and nationalizing all undertakers (after all if profit is evil then profit from death must be doubly so!) are typical of the ideas they pedaled. Opposition II
It is hard for Brits to recall today not only the dire state of the economy but also the reason why Benn and others were called “the loony Left.
on March 30 during this period of phony war between the parties as they geared up for the real thing. In 1931 the General Election was a Tuesday and in 1918 it was a Saturday. However. may we bring faith Where there is despair.”
British General Elections are called by or forced on Prime Ministers at very short notice. and I will get through… very rarely did I have as many as six. may we bring hope. Margaret Thatcher lost her
1 These words of St.1” “Give me six strong men and true. may we bring harmony Where there is error. they did get air time! It has since been claimed that while she was told they were the words of St. may we bring truth Where there is doubt. Francis of Assisi were quoted by the new Prime Minister on entering 10 Downing Street.
. 2 British General elections are traditionally held on Thursdays but there is nothing to stop other days being selected. Francis they were in fact some more modern anonymous verse. Callaghan had lost a vote of confidence 311-310 on Wednesday March 28 and an election could have been held as early as Thursday. Power
“Where there is discord. However he successfully argued for Thursday2 May 3 as the Government needed a few days to tidy up business.10. April 26. Two days later. They were chosen for her by a speech writer called Ronnie Millar and all one can say is that they are not really appropriate or remotely Thatcherite.
wartime escapee hero and Thatcher’s right hand. to dry out what had been a very wet. Courageous. 2. As he drove up the steep incline of the exit a mercury-tilt based bomb exploded underneath his auto and blew off both his legs. success is rewarded and genuine new jobs are created in an expanding economy. The immediate explanation was that this ex-intelligence officer was slated to get the job of Northern Ireland Secretary and the IRA and INLA feared he might be a great deal more effective than his socialist predecessors.
.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
great friend and ally Airey Neave. to review the legal immunities enjoyed by trade unions and to guarantee that individual workers could go about their daily routines free of bullying intimidation. To restore incentives so that hard work pays. true. Not for the last time was she to be robbed of close friends by murdering Irish terrorists. pusillanimous draft manifesto1. The distinction or rather usage goes back to a 1952 speech on prohibition by Mississippi lawmaker Noah S “Soggy” Sweat Junior. and two that the CIA had done it to promote American policy of a united Ireland. To restore the health of our economy and social life. He lived for his beliefs and now he has died for them. a splinter from the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The main planks were tax cuts and restoring law and order but there were significant pledges on the union front namely to make secondary picketing illegal. soggy. Airey Neave.
1 In British politics. She led tributes to him saying “he was one of freedom’s warriors. by controlling inflation and striking a fair balance between the rights and duties of the trade union movement.” The Winter of Discontent gave her the chance to firm up. Other theories to emerge regarding who was to blame were one that the Brits own intelligence services had done it because they feared a massive shake up once Neave was in the Cabinet. Overall it was summarized as follows: 1. theories galore surfaced over the years as to the exact who and why. To uphold Parliament and the rule of law. As with so many such killings. 3. was dead an hour later in nearby Westminster Hospital. staunch. About 3pm that afternoon he got into his car at Westminster in the deep underground car park beneath the grounds west of Big Ben. Responsibility for his murder was claimed by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). “wets” are to the left and “drys” are to the right.
In the United Kingdom. 5.3m 1. and concentrating welfare services on the effective support of the old. and Scotland and her travel schedule was often leaked so as her Battle Bus drove from town to town hundreds of well wishers lined the road with a wave. freedom and liberty and much more damning on the union question than her colleagues back at Party HQ wanted. To strengthen Britain’s defenses and work with our allies to protect our interests in an increasingly threatening world.1 To her Heath’s vision was as bad for the country as the socialists’ and her Party Chairman received a good dressing down. at rally after rally. a short campaign. but parties are instead allowed free broadcasts. To support family life.10. was much more forthright and full of references to choice.5m 4. she won handily with a majority of 43 over all others:
CON LAB LIB OTHER 13. However. She had little time for the professional pollsters who were capable of showing her 20 points ahead one day and 1 point behind the next. With Easter intervening it was. paid political advertising on television or radio is illegal. a message or a bouquet. by helping people to become homeowners. She crisscrossed England. raising the standards of their children’s education. On election eve her HQ staff informed her that the numbers looked so good that a hastily arranged tour of Labour-held seats with quite good majorities had been put together.or five-minute slots on each of the five terrestrial TV channels. four. But they were stuck back in the “village” of Westminster which has but one industry (politics) while she was out and about in the country meeting real voters and feeling them respond positively to her message of hope and change. even by British standards. However her rhetoric on the road.
4. the division between her message and the vision of party bureaucrats (too many still in place from Heath’s era) became ridiculously stark when they suggested that Heath should do a Conservative Party Political Broadcast. Wales. the disabled and those who are in real need. While the idea of unseating the likes of John Fraser MP in Lambeth’s West Norwood — one of her stops — proved too ambitious. the sick.7m 11. Minor parties have to run a substantial number of candidates before they qualify.7m
339 269 11 16
Compared to Oct ’74
+62* -50 -2 -10**
1 Party political broadcasts are “free” three-.
7m votes garnered 16 seats. held by her great ally Teddy Taylor.3m voters gained it a mere 11 seats whereas the more concentrated 1.1 Number 10 Downing Street was to be her home for the next 11 years. And Margaret Thatcher had discovered Reagan Democrats well ahead of the President as the biggest swing to her had come from blue collar skilled workers and fully 33% of that had come during the campaign as she banged on about the unions.2 million) were the biggest since Attlee’s historic victory in 1945. coming mostly 3rd. Would she. could she. ** “Other” parties such as those in Scotland and Northern Ireland tend to be very regional whereas the Liberal Party of 1979 did fight nationwide. But he was soon back in Parliament in 1980 as the Member for Southend East following the death of Sir Stephen McAdden. Cathcart.
.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Both the swing (5.2%) between the two main parties and the margin (2. namely Glasgow. deliver?
1* She lost only one seat. Hence its 4. 6 months and 24 days.
if you want to. Brits could now move around freely — they no longer needed to go to their banks weeks ahead of time. Primary legislation was needed formally to abolish the exchange controls. Wood in a 1978 IEA monograph. That was down to 3 per cent by 1979. the lady’s not for turning. but someone1 had spotted that to “suspend” the exchange controls legislation was not required. Liberating the Economy
“To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase. Miller and John B. The UK accounted for 20 per cent of world trade in manufactures in 1955 but only 10 per cent by 1979. to beg for foreign
1 Robert W. I have one thing to say. and the effect was the same. One of the earliest and most bold reforms was to break free of the Exchange Controls. It had exported 33 percent of the world’s cars in 1955. the U-turn.11. You turn. (These were the controls on the amount of sterling one could take abroad that had been introduced at the start of World War II. passport in hand. Exchange Controls for Ever?
. Prime Minister Thatcher’s Chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe suspended exchange controls. Under the socialism of both parties the British economy was atrophying. It was a brilliant move.”
From being a dominant trading nation Britain’s presence on world markets had shriveled.) In late October 1979.
To replace the areas of economic dereliction created by the planning authorities.. Thatcher authorized 21 “Enterprise Zones. It was liberating. Flanked by Geoffrey Howe and Keith Joseph. The first budget of June 1979 set the tone: interest rates and monetary policy to control inflation. Mrs. so no opposition could muster. to the east of the City (i. They only had to remove the cobwebs of bureaucracy. the defeat of the miners’ union. Dividend controls were scrapped. The UK abandoned all price controls. the reform of the unions and Thatcher’s attitude towards the EU — all very important.e. This altered the entire spirit of the Government. her entry into 10 Downing Street marked the repudiation of Keynes and the post-war Butskellite consensus. It was plain to any observer that these bleak derelict acres were not caused by the depredations of “capitalism” but rather the mortmain of local authority sloth. 94
. But this chapter will focus on the broader economic philosophy and thinking. No government spending was needed. the financial district). evolved into one of the greatest commercial regeneration areas ever experienced. The general view was that if Prime Minister Thatcher had done nothing else over the term of her Parliament it would be voted a success just because of this one reform. and tax spending rather than income. Centralized pay controls ended. Office Development Permits ceased.” The one in London. In later chapters we will read of denationalization. So did Industrial Development Certificates. And 900 bureaucrats in the Bank of England could now be redeployed. the principles which guided her. A striking aspect of this significant relaxation was that outside the Prime Minister and the Treasury ministers nobody was consulted. All three had read Hayek and Friedman and knew their brief backward and forward.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
currency — the tiny amount released being duly noted in said paperwork. The Isle of Dogs. awoke from the torpor of municipal squalor and emerged as an entirely new and vibrant part of London. contracting out. Limits on hire purchase were abandoned. interview after interview. Several square miles of London’s docklands. sale of public housing. and we will examine the relentless way she set about selling her economic vision in speech after speech.
In the face of tough times every previous government for decades had caved in. Prices are always moving relative to each other but inflation is the dilution of the currency by the state.
The Thatcher government replied:
The Government has read with interest the four points to which these 364 economists subscribe. This was contrary to the established consensus. The Government. Liberating the Economy
“Pay as you spend is better than pay as you earn. who are all present or retired members of the economics staffs of British universities. But experi-
. Such policies are directed in particular to fostering the more effective working of market forces and the restoration of incentive [sic]. and ŪŪ the time has come to reject monetarist policies and consider urgently which alternative offers the best hope of sustained recovery. However. however. and has itself set out its thinking on this in evidence to the Treasury Select Committee. She. ŪŪ there are alternative policies. agree [sic] with the substantial school of economists which do [sic] believe that there is a strong connection between monetary growth and the rate of inflation.” said Chancellor Howe again and again. the Government’s supply side policies have been designed with the objective of raising both output and employment specifically in mind. as the Thatcherites were to say. reflated and gone for wage and price controls. He (not Prime Minister Thatcher) also famously coined the phrase. erode the industrial base of our economy and threaten its social and political stability. saw inflation was a disease of money supply and not the result of particular prices rising. So far as output and employment are concerned. “there is no alternative” or TINA.11. ŪŪ present politics will deepen the depression. and her Chancellor. it was the budget of 1981 that really turned matters around and set the basis for 25 years of growth. are convinced that: ŪŪ there is no basis in economic theory or supporting evidence for the Government’s belief that by deflating demand they will bring inflation permanently under control and thereby induce an automatic recovery in output and employment. Prime Minister Thatcher knew better and pressed ahead to defeat inflation and restore fiscal responsibility. 364 British economists went berserk and signed the following letter to the Times:
the dynamic of both ever improving the private sector.” she said in the car back to Number 10 (perhaps a little unfairly). they are unable to specify any such agreed alternatives. the Government totally disagrees with the assertion that present policies will deepen the depression and weaken the UK’s industrial base. Could she name two economists who agreed with her? Two as opposed to 364! “Yes. By the end of the 1990s they were emulating her. which had seemed to be Socialist planning. He lost his seat at the next election and has since failed to be re-elected.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ence has shown that injections of monetary demand can at best have limited effect.” “A good job he did not ask for three. It may be that this shift in perception is Mrs. still high 96
. The future. For these reasons. It was the transformation of attitudes that to this day really made the difference. One unknown Tory MP Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler went from obscurity to total obscurity by crossing the floor to join the newly formed Social Democratic Party or SDP. She and (as her cabinet improved over the years) a growing percentage of her senior colleagues in the parliamentary party and the party at large were unashamedly pro free-market and pro tax cuts. It wasn’t just holding her nerve in 1981 but also the ongoing rhetorical artillery barrage. Michael Foot — the then Labour Party Leader — challenged the Prime Minister across the Dispatch Box in Parliament. New horizons opened up as the thickets of controls were abolished. It is conspicuous that although the 364 economists assert that there are alternative policies. The top tax rates had been brought down from 83% on earned income and 98% on so-called “unearned” to 60% and then 40%.
It is hard to recall how tough this battle was. In the beginning of her Premiership her opponents were vehement in their hostility to economic freedoms. Countries pursuing policies broadly of the kind being implemented here are those with the strongest industrial base.” she fired back: “Alan Walters and Patrick Minford. Thatcher’s greatest triumph. and are ultimately counter-productive. suddenly became free market.
” The twin star of the series was a ubiquitous civil servant called Sir Humphrey Appleby.11. Young economists in training in the sixties salivated at the idea of being a trainee at the regional electricity board. The idea that the man in Whitehall really knows best was finally put to rest and buried with the brilliant comedy series “Yes. By a subtle process the brightest and best no longer sought sinecures in the armpit of the state but fortunes in the markets. Even leftists of all parties today acknowledge the need for a vibrant private sector and low taxes to encourage it. I once heard him say to a cheeky interlocutor: “I learnt my public choice economics from James Buchanan via the IEA. Minister” followed by “Yes. Liberating the Economy
but a huge drop. (Indeed years later it came out that the writers Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn had interviewed a number of top civil servants and advisers and that many of the TV farces were based on reality.) Jay had also studied “the economics of politics” as pioneered by James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock of George Mason University in northern Virginia.” The whole balance of society shifted. in other words a safe job in a nationalized industry. The British public laughed at his every line but deep inside they knew he was real and they learnt a lot. Prime Minister. Interestingly the Thatcher era marked a clear break in the type of person to lead the party and their economic background as this chart shows: Leader Churchill Eden Macmillan Douglas Home Heath Thatcher Major Hague Duncan Smith Father Lord Baronet Publisher Lord Small business Small business Small business1 Small business2 Small business3 97 Education Independent Independent Independent Independent State Grammar State Girls School State Grammar State Comprehensive State School
. But by the eighties it was off to the City and a job in the private sector. Jay in particular to this day acknowledges this influence on his scripts.
The party of Butskellism became the party of Thatcherism.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
1 — Failed
Small business Small business2
State Grammar Independent
2 — Small to medium
3 — Not clear
After a false start under Heath a commitment to free enterprise came to dominate Margaret Thatcher’s party. It was the confidence that the country could thrive that primarily explains Mrs. Her citizens were free to follow the price signals of the market. Save for the transformation of western Germany post-World War II. Britain ceased to be embarrassed by itself and came alive again. Margaret Thatcher’s three consecutive electoral victories. Whether this will continue under the more patrician Cameron is not clear but it will be very hard to displace.
. The State was no longer commanding and coercing. when the US reversed policy and set about rebuilding its economy with the Marshall Plan. no European nation had experienced such a reversal and revival of fortunes.
but you pay twice to meet the ever increasing deficits of the capital investment. and a third of the population was in public housing not even able to choose the color of the paint on their government issued metal front doors.12. Privatization was to change all that. Privatizing the Commanding Heights
“The lesson has been that when you nationalise an industry not only do you pay a higher price for its product. The rubric of privatization covered all three moves. badly run and losing money. we believe in turning workers into owners. First came the “Right to Buy” scheme which gave sitting tenants in public housing a statutory right to purchase at a discount linked to the number of years spent paying rent — this is discussed in detail in Chapter 13. local communities were fiefdoms of municipal socialism that kept the streets dirty and the trash left to rot. Third was the “denationalization” of major companies moving them from public to private ownership. Selling Off Public Housing.”
When Margaret Thatcher came to power the commanding heights of the economy were in state hands. Second there was the “Contracting out” of public services such as trash removal to private firms.” “Labour believes in turning workers against owners.
. It was to have three main prongs.
The argument went as follows: “If we denationalize then the other lot. Yes it meant better services at lower cost but did the savings go to tax cuts or to yet more state provision of services? Finally there was a strong anti-denationalization thread. The intellectual case for “contracting out” came from an American MIT-trained engineer turned policy wonk. Steel had been nationalized in the ’40s. John Major (Prime Minister Thatcher’s successor — see Chapter 21) was judged by local government officers to have been the “best” Housing Committee Member (1968–1971) in the history of Lambeth Borough Council meaning he vastly increased people’s dependency on the state. Instead. new families housed in socialist projects jumped 66% and new construction of such project housing went up 130%. i. will only renationalize it when they get back in next time or the time after and that is very unsettling for the management — what management needs is stability to build world class organizations.1 And contracting out could be a two-edged sword. Vice Chairman ’69–’70. Some Tory local government leaders were almost as wedded to having a large stock of public housing as their socialist counterparts were.. just as happened with Fiat in Italy and with Volkswagen in Germany? Surely it would be very difficult to renationalize a widely-held business.e. It was IEA author Russell Lewis — the man Margaret Thatcher kissed on election night 1979 — who solved this dilemma. He pointed out in Goodbye to Nationalisation (1971) that steel in the past had been sold back to a small group of people. “contracting out” and “denationalization” got off to slow but steady starts before moving up the gears as the ’80s unfolded. This must have been unsettling. head of the Reason Foundation in Santa Barbara and author of a little book called Cutting Back City Hall.
. While the “Right to Buy” was quickly enacted and went off with a bang. the socialists.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Not all of the Prime Minister’s Tory followers were necessarily in favor of such policies. he asked. what if steel had been sold to hundreds of thousands of small owners.” There was some truth to this argument. Bob Poole. denationalized in the ’50s and renationalized in the ’60s. In this book he explained how all you needed to
1 He was a Committee member ’68–’69. Comparing his three years with the three socialist preceding years. and Chairman ’70–’71.
usually at half the cost and sometimes at one third. He served as Secretary of State for Scotland 1995–1997.000+ copies. Professor Steve Savas. The author imported and sold quantities of this book. including one to Westminster City Councilman Michael Forsyth. Examples of “contracting out” are not limited to street cleaning and trash collecting but include road maintenance and a myriad of other services. The Audit Commission. Funnily enough many such firms are run by former local government officers who jumped ship from the public sector to the private sector and bid and won many early contracts knowing full well where the savings could be made. “contracting out” spread like a contagious disease throughout the country.” two for the Conservative Political Centre (CPC) and one for the newly formed Adam Smith Institute (ASI).12. at any time. Privatizing the Commanding Heights
run a city was a CEO. after serving as a Councilman for Westminster City Council. Capita started out as a two-man operation in 1984 based at the Chartered Institute of Public Financing and Accountancy. will save between 20 per cent and 40 per cent. Everything — literally everything — could be outsourced and he littered his book with examples and figures. For everything a city might want to do Poole found examples of private provision.
. By 1992 with “contracting out” in full swing it was operating 15 different sites. claimed councils saved 17 per cent on contracts by merely rehearsing the idea — their staff teams reformed their ways. led by the Westminster City Council. became MP for Stirling 1983–1997. a lawyer to review contracts and a secretary. who has studied the results of contracting out. the local city public accounts watchdog. To this day ASI says this pamphlet is its best seller of all time at 20. and any place.
1 Michael Forsyth. Yet it was still worth doing as the savings achieved averaged 22 per cent when roles were sub-contracted out to competing commercial enterprises. Today the annual value of such contracts is estimated at £28 billion or $56 billion and a whole new industry has been established. These monographs translated Poole’s work into an English context and. of Baruch College/CUNY. A prime example is Capita.1 Forsyth proceeded to write three short monographs on “contracting out. He was elevated to the House of Lords in 1999 as Lord Forsyth of Drumlean. offers what he terms “Savas’ Law” — that contracting out any service.
denationalization was very much a domestic one which has now been exported to many parts of the world from Argentina to Australia and from Brazil to Bahrain. treasury and financial services. The socialist claim was that primary industries and services owned exclusively by the state would serve the broader public interests far better than the “chaos” of the market. information technology and software services. at the time of grave financial crisis in 1977 Callaghan had sold off a chunk of British Petroleum (BP). The rate of return on all the state’s ventures. The claim seemed enhanced by the war effort where the government had commandeered resources to one end. Yet nationalization was an economic disaster. leading to poor business performance and an ongoing drain on the Exchequer. It was not just a matter of stemming the red ink of subsidies. human resources. But there had been no concerted campaign to get these loss-making behemoths out of the public sector and into private hands. Heath had sold off the travel agency Thomas Cook.e. pubs) in Carlisle!1 More seriously.. Indeed British expertise in this area is so high that whole firms of consultants go all over the world selling anything from pension provision to software solutions and human resources to financial services. During World War I the government took them over so as to monitor and control the consumption of alcohol by these key workers.000 million expressed in 1982 prices. The total cost of capital write-offs and grants since World War II was given as £40. Ireland and India. Denationalization had flickered in the ’70s.5 billion and a staff of 27. Mr. the Channel Islands. never exceeded zero. and four public houses (i. necessarily placing the interests of all ahead of the interests of the few. it was also a matter of exposing them to competition and the real world and developing wider public ownership of shares. large or small.000 at 250 sites all over the UK.
. While “contracting out” was an imported idea.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Today it offers back office administration.
1 The story goes that these four pubs were the only ones in a neighbourhood where munitions workers lived. strategic support and more and has a turnover of $3.
The inventory of nationalized bodies that were brought to the market is formidable. British Petroleum 2.” as in: 1. incentives to keep shares long term. Amersham International 3. former Chancellor Nigel Lawson sets out a decade of sales. matching programs — buy one. Nine have names starting or incorporating “British” or “Brit. British Steel Then there were eleven electricity companies and eleven water companies. Privatizing the Commanding Heights
The big difference between the early 1970s and early 1980s was that the intellectual groundwork had been much better done by people who really believed in it and there was much greater political will. British Airways and 9. and no limits on the number of preferential shares that could be bought — once only. These ideas neutralized or converted opposition within the state’s industries. British Gas 8. Finally there were seven others for a total of 38: 1. National Freight Corporation 4. British Telecommunications 6. British Shipbuilders and Naval Docklands 7. Associated British Port Holding 5. in that case. discounts. In The View From Number 11.12. get one free. British Aerospace 3. Jaguar 6. National Power 103
. Rolls Royce and 7. Individuals no longer acted as sullen trade unionists but as active investors. A key strategy was to involve the workers in every case by using a variety of tactics: offers of free shares. Everyone’s self interest became engaged in the success. Enterprise Oil 5. programs that reserved a certain percent of the float for staff and pensioners. Cable and Wireless 2. Britoil 4.
” Initially it took real courage on the part of Prime Minister Thatcher and her ministers to force these rusting hulks out into the market. albeit at a much slower pace. These big companies were slothful because it was illegal to compete against them! Now in the private sector with their monopoly status going or gone they had to wake up or wash out. Once private they were very much owned by the people and open to constant monitoring. The sheer burden of losses made it imperative to reform them and make them commercially viable. Yet such was the success of the policy senior management of state corporations started to lobby ferociously to be the next in line for liberalization.200 staff in 1990. It is possible to criticize the wave of privatization as failing to break up monopoly status enough — BAA plc still owns all of the major UK airports as its public ancestor British Airports Authority did. as the pioneers of this great movement all bask or doze on the red leather benches of the House of Lords. These flotations had to appeal to the stock market. Elsewhere the author has summed up the benefits of this program as follows:
. Key to understanding what went on under her leadership was not just the movement from the public to the private sphere but also the gradual removal of statutory monopoly laws. A further key to understanding is that when they were “public” nobody really owned them and they were effectively private secret fiefdoms captured by the employees and managers. And even today.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Every single one of these companies was transformed.100. by 1995 after privatization it employed a mere 5. To monitor and police these newly created companies a new profession arose of “regulators” who could intervene to open markets up. privatization continues around the world and even under New Labour. In some cases astonishing levels of over-manning were revealed as in National Power which pre-privatization employed 17. Captive markets were a guarantee of revenue — and dividends. As former Prime Minister Blair himself once said “What matters is what works.
ŪŪ More innovation: Brits used to have two choices of phones: white or black.12. you choose the time when they come to serve you. ŪŪ Better quality: Anybody using a British phone today knows the connection is faster. In the past they were judged and manipulated by politicians and the managers often found themselves set political goals such as creating jobs in a marginal area. journalists can investigate. for example. ŪŪ More openness: Accounts are published. ŪŪ Better management: The electricity generators have halved their costs since privatization. Telecommunications in particular have benefited. electricity and railways) were very vulnerable to strikes which have now all but disappeared. There has been a real influx of private sector management. ŪŪ More choice: The UK is now the only country in the world where even the smallest household consumer can choose between competing natural gas and electricity suppliers. Domestic gas consumers have. Indeed 80% of all days lost to strikes in the UK today occur in the Post Office which was not privatized! By 1990 British industry had changed beyond all recognition. MPs get their questions answered and all Brits have a far greater knowledge of what is actually happening. ŪŪ Now whole shops stocking an incredible variety of equipment are a common sight. ŪŪ More investment: once privatized a long term view could be taken rather than the annual trip to see the Minister. ŪŪ Better measures: The privatized companies are now judged by the market and the managers are free to set goals. Privatizing the Commanding Heights
ŪŪ Lower prices: Competition and the rooting out of bureaucratic practices inevitably lead to lower prices.
. clearer and more reliable — as well as being cheaper. seen their bills cut by £1 billion since competition was introduced. ŪŪ Less corruption: 20 years ago there was a three month waiting list for a new phone and a £50 bribe (£200 or $400 at today’s price levels) was needed to get to the top of the list — today. ŪŪ Fewer strikes: These industries (particularly coal.
Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Privatization was dismissed by its critics as “selling off the family silver” but it solved many problems and it created a body of expertise that became attractive around the planet. Whatever explanation one chooses.
. British companies were attributed with an acumen and competence that could be applied on every continent. Some argued on the grounds of liberal competitive capitalism. Liabilities became assets. Before these adventures under her leadership the world had only experienced the slow accretion of industries into state ownership. Others saw it as a hitherto unnoticed source of revenue. The British processes excited policy makers in every nation. The British auction of its otherwise unrewarding industries was a true alchemy. it succeeded in producing the desired results.
This was almost pure patronage for the Labour Party. This depressed the 107
.13. Firstly the socialists realized that having large numbers living in public housing (or council housing as Brits call it) was a good vote-winner. Selling Off Public Housing
“People will not value them (their homes) unless they pay at least something. the norm in Britain was to rent one’s home privately. Secondly the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restriction Act 1915 had brought in as a temporary war time measure a means for central government to control rents and protect tenancies.” So the percentage living in public housing began to rise from close to zero in 1900 to over 30% by the 1970s. the rest owned their home or were in social housing of one sort or another. As the prominent socialist and later Cabinet Minister Herbert Morrison put it so neatly.” The Conservatives had nothing to say other than to agree the gaunt municipal housing estates were the future. they would “build the Tories out of London. Local elections were as crude as the slogan. “Vote Labour and we’ll get you a council house.” — comment from Margaret Thatcher to the author
When Prime Minister Thatcher’s father Alf was a young man. Over the next few decades that was all to change. About 90% of the population did so.
there were rumblings in some of the more intellectual corners of the Conservative Party about the size of the public sector. Thirdly over time tax relief was given on mortgages for house purchases making that option much more advantageous. The overall impact of these three moves was as follows:
Private Rental 1914 1979 90% 10% Privately Owned 9% 53% Public 1% 37%
Local authorities in the UK had always had the ‘right to sell’ — after all it was their property and they were free to dispose of it. In a wealthy country. After World War II. This made no sense and was indeed offensive to those in real need. not a handout. however. and that they would at some point purchase these homes. Only a foolish owner would rent a property as the tenants had far greater rights. The tabloid press loved to regale Brits with photos of successful men driving topof-the-range Jaguars but living in council houses. And in the early days of public housing there was a sense that tenants were being given a hand up. which proved successful among middle class voters who could afford the extra repayments. Despite these schemes 108
. did a third of the people need to live in public housing supported by the taxpayer? And of course people’s fortunes changed over time.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
rented sector hugely from 90% of the population privately renting in 1915 to 10% by the 1980s. This lead to a flood of people buying homes and private ownership duly rose by over 10 million units between 1914 and 1981. They allowed tenants to buy (in the case of Birmingham at a discount). Politicians of all parties however were reluctant to sell. The most successful before Prime Minister Thatcher got to work were those in Birmingham and Greater London. seeing the gift of an apartment or house to a voter (plus partner) as a valuable piece of political candy. At the local level Tories began to experiment with schemes to encourage the purchase of homes by their tenants.
plus the interest on the money borrowed to build the houses or apartments in the first place. so you would literally be better off to say to the Director of Legal Services in a city.979 units in 1968. they succeeded (along with other schemes in Liverpool and other cities) in doubling the amount of public housing sold from 4.” I pointed this out to her as Leader of the Opposition in 1978. Walker in particular pushed hard for very radical action to get lots of housing out of state hands and into private ones. to embrace this idea fully.” As noted earlier she had in fact championed sales with a one third discount off the fair market value of the property in the October 1974 election. both senior MPs in her party. How would they react if people round the corner suddenly got a third or even more off their home? A significant number of Labour Party MPs and officials however thought the right to buy would be “lethal” in many areas. “please mail every single property deed to the sitting tenants for free today. In many places the administration and repairs would cost more than the net rent. to which she replied: “People will not value them unless they pay at least something. Two unlikely allies came to her side on this issue. This proved to be a real lesson in political entrepreneurship. From a purely financial point of view selling was a no-brainer. many of their natural supporters had scrimped and saved for a deposit and to qualify for a mortgage. Authorities faced one income stream but three expenditure flows. both highly successful in business and both well to the Left. even giving the properties away was a good idea at the time. Selling Off Public Housing
being in operation for only a year before the Labour government of the time closed them down. After all. On the income side they got the rent. It applied each family’s self interest towards 109
. as were many Tories. But she was slightly reluctant. Let me explain.13. but many tenants were on housing benefit so the net rent was a lot lower than the gross. lethal as in deadly to their electoral chances.867 units in 1967 to 9. plus repairs. They were Peter Walker and Michael Heseltine. On the expenditure side there was administration.
Stanley hired “the sharpest barrister they could and briefed him as though he had been retained by an extreme left-wing council with infinite resources and with an absolute determination to break our proposed legislation. Their enthusiasm overcame her reservations and the 1979 manifesto read: “Our discounts will range from 33 per cent after three years.” In his memoirs Michael Heseltine recalls that getting the “Right to Buy” through Parliament was delegated to John Stanley MP. But they happened to live under the jurisdiction of a socialist council. millions — of council tenants the right to buy their own homes. Many could afford to buy.” Heseltine described the whole process as “epoch making.’ But for all the time that I have been in public affairs that has been beyond the reach of so many who were denied the right to the most basic ownership of all. the homes in which they live. rising with length of tenancy to a maximum of 50 per cent after twenty years. It all amounted to “a quiet revolution.” the “breakup” of the “monolithic local authority (housing) estates” and the creation of “a less polarized society. We shall introduce a right for these tenants to obtain limited term options on their homes so that they know in advance the price at which they can buy.” He added that “it was the deal of a lifetime” for those who exercised their Right to Buy. while they save the money to do so.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
electoral success.” In her memoirs she praises “the ever ingenious Peter Walker.” The bar-
1 A New Town is a government-planned settlement with a mix of council owned and privately owned properties. which would not sell and did not believe in the independence that comes with ownership. Twenty-one were built between 1946 and 1970.
. They wanted to buy. We shall also ensure that 100 per cent mortgages are available for the purchase of council and New Town1 houses. It remains to be seen if similar opportunities can be created out of the remaining state controlled National Health Service and city hall run schools.” She also commented: “It was Anthony Eden who chose for us the goal of ‘a property-owning democracy.” While in her 1980 speech to her Party Conference in Brighton she said. “Michael Heseltine has given to millions — yes. His job was to tell us if and how he could do it.
The “Right to Buy” legislation included the right of the minister to intervene if a local council refused to sell and as predicted many Labour councils challenged the policy. The evidence against Norwich Local Authority gave them “an overwhelming chance of success. nationally and in every local authority.” There was an enormous pent up demand for home ownership in the public sector and people who had been paying rent for ten or twenty or more years were battering down the door to get these half price homes. south London. The resentment Prime Minister Thatcher feared never emerged as homeowners saw that this was essentially a rent to mortgage
. Once converted Prime Minister Thatcher went for the “Right to Buy” with a vengeance. was wrong-footed by this policy. found themselves acclaimed as the natural ally of every family and VOTE CONSERVATIVE posters began to appear in many front windows. the Attorney General. appearing at milestone sales for photo opportunities regularly. When they were forced to implement the legislation they did so very grudgingly warning tenants of the “dangers of home ownership” versus “the safety of being a council tenant. When we finally went to court. Selling Off Public Housing
rister did find a way to defeat the legislation in the courts and promptly showed the Tories how to close it. Michael Havers. For example in Lambeth. advised Heseltine and Stanley not to use the powers of ministerial intervention until there was a case that could definitely be won. we won hands down.” Heseltine said “We had been right to wait. Tory canvassing teams. used to being unwelcome on council estates.” Such was the interest in the “Right to Buy” that hundreds of tenants turned up at briefing meetings organized by the Conservative Opposition group on Lambeth Council to learn how to fill in the paperwork. It appeared to be arguing that tenants lacked the competence to become owners or that in some elusive sense the sold house would cease to be part of the housing stock. The Labour Party. although we had to fight the matter through to the Court of Appeal. And the policy was a stunning success. the author witnessed its Council Leader “Red” Ted Knight instructing officers not to sell.13.
namely that many years. I’d ask my guests to pick the private six and they did so unfailingly. It was an utter transformation of the sector. Some three million housing units have moved from public to private hands since 1979. Say six had been privatized and four not. even decades. Ownership invested them with a dignity never experienced before. Legions of families for the first time were experiencing the freedom of home ownership. For the first time in generations people reliant on the state to control and regulate their homes had the freedom to make their own decisions. paint their own homes and replace government issue doors and windows with their own and so on. changing the balance of ownership. Families were surprised they had gained a capital asset. The author used to take visitors from overseas to see such estates and would point to a row of ten such homes. As tenants of a local authority their relationship had been too often servile — serf like. all thanks to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the ‘Right to Buy’. They could paint the walls without filling in a form and repair a leaking roof without the council having to do it for them. of paying rent deserved recognition.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
scheme. Going back to the chart at the start of this chapter and updating to 1997 we see:
Private Rental 1914 1979 1997 90% 10% 12% Privately Owned 9% 53% 71% Public 1% 37% 17%
. It is not possible to calibrate such a quality but it was easy to see the prices of these liberated homes rise in value. Whole estates were transformed as suddenly people could fix their own problems.
British Virgin Islands.”
Americans have struggled for two plus decades to understand the Falkland Islands War. Bermuda. Ascension. Decolonization in fact proved brutal and degrading for many.14. South Georgia. To Brits it was very simple and straightforward. Pitcairn Islands.” — Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to President Ronald Reagan “Come what may. Saint Helena. we cope. On the other side there were a certain few far flung enclaves that were desperate to stay British — and indeed they were often more British than the British.. Starting with India after World War II. Anguilla. Montserrat. with HM Queen Elizabeth II as nominal head of state in such countries. Cayman Islands. In practical terms they were fully independent.. sound money and so on. Many of the leaders squandered their British inheritance of good laws. dependent on aid which was used to politicize societies as it was spent on arms or deposited in secret Swiss Bank accounts. Tristan da Cunha. Going to War
“Just suppose Alaska was invaded . the South Sandwich Islands and the 113
. the British Empire had been transformed into a Commonwealth of Nations. With a few exceptions they had mostly become dictatorships. Such a list would start with the Falkland Islands and would include Gibraltar.
It might be only 300 miles off of the Argentinean coast but there had never been an Argentine population. after victory in the South Atlantic. They transformed Prime Minister Thatcher’s standing in her own nation and made her into a world figure. When Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister she inherited a proposal by the Foreign Office to lease-back the Falklands under which the UK would give the Islands to Argentina but immediately lease-back the running of the country. nor her junior minister at the Foreign Office responsible for the issue. as she put it. namely to remain loyal subjects of HM The Queen. He resigned from his Cabinet post as the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in 1990 over an off-message interview in the Spectator magazine that criticized the plans for an all-EU currency. The islanders did not want it (indeed. that: “The aggressors should never succeed and that international law should prevail over the use of force. Her political stature. It is doubtful any of her Cabinet would have fought the conflict at all.1 The Argentinean invasion on Friday.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Turks and Caicos Islands. was enhanced. Her staunch resolve made her quite a hero to some. Nick Ridley MP.
. Under Prime Minister Thatcher he was Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1979–81). when the prospect was raised with them it was met with protests in the streets proclaiming “Keep The Falkland Islands British”) and neither did the Prime Minister. 1982 was a complete surprise to Britain. The eleven weeks of the war became the most vivid period in her memory of the eleven years plus in Downing Street. that the Islanders were entirely British. nor the House of Commons. others were thriving communities. The islanders were unanimous — they simply wanted the status quo. Some were territorial anomalies. Hon Nicholas Ridley was MP for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (1959-1992). Hardly anybody seriously thought the Argentineans would invade and once they did the dominant view of officials in the Foreign Office and Defense Department was that they could not be
1 The Rt. From the start the war was not so much about territory and citizens — important though they were — but rather.” Americans mostly do not realize that the British had been in the Falkland Islands since 1690. I think she too saw with greater clarity the fidelity of many of her colleagues — or rather the infidelity and weakness of too many. April 2.
The great Parliamentarian Enoch Powell famously referred to her “soubriquet as the ‘Iron Lady’” and stated that “in the next week or two this House. He was Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988 and is currently the longest serving member of the House of Lords. Jeane Kirkpatrick. in the Ministry of Defense. US Ambassador to the UN. the Nation and the Right Hon.
. gone to dinner at the Iranian Embassy on the very evening that the US hostages were taken in Tehran. Calls for heads to roll became incessant and she accepted the resignations of Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington1 and two of his junior
1 Lord (Peter) Carrington served as Prime Minister Thatcher’s Foreign Secretary from 1979 to 1982 when he resigned over the Falklands War. “What can you do?” He differed from many of his colleagues and told her a task force lead by two aircraft carriers could be ready in 48 hours. the House of Commons. Her Defense Secretary John Nott and Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington were severely bruised for not stopping the invasion in the first place. There were doubts as to the efficacy of a military solution — in the Foreign Office. Lady herself will learn of what metal she is made. That Saturday the House of Commons met in an emergency session with every word broadcast live to the nation. First Sea Lord Sir Henry Leach. and also at the US State Department.” Even the Labour Party was on her side because it viewed Argentinean leader General Galtieri to be a fascist dictator. 1982) for the first time since the Suez crisis. Going to War
recovered.14. But the British public. Bluntly she asked the Chief of the Naval Staff. Prime Minister Thatcher was first alerted on Wednesday March 31 in the evening. Caspar Weinberger and Ronald Reagan stood firm with her. where some members favor diplomacy to the point of appeasement. went to a gala event in her honor hosted by Argentina’s Ambassador to the US on the evening of the day of the invasion. Over the next eleven weeks Kirkpatrick continued to fail to demonstrate the sort of support London felt it had a right to expect. She quickly convened a meeting of the relevant Foreign Office and Defense ministers and officials. She was later asked how the US would have felt if the British Ambassador to the UN had. She told him to get cracking but not to sail before she had the Cabinet on side. say. For example. Parliament met on a Saturday (April 3. Prime Minister Thatcher came through very well and got the support she wanted.
Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ministers. Haig resigned abruptly in July 1982. Prime Minister Thatcher began to focus on war. Richard Luce1 and Humphrey Atkins. Japan and Italy were negative while France. The television and radio news bulletins were extended. exploring options from trade blocks to banning arms sales and from bank boycotts to prohibiting all imports by the United States and the European Community. the Prime Minister threw herself into diplomacy. to the astonishment of leftist intellectuals and the Russian Communist Party. Caspar Weinberger. his tenure as Secretary of State was characterized by clashes with the more moderate Defense Secretary. The nation surprised itself. An earlier Military Exclusion Zone4 was now replaced with a Total Exclusion Zone so that aircraft as well as ships were banned from the
1 Luce later became Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham and then Governor of Gibraltar. The departure of the task force was watched by every Brit. West Germany. Different countries reacted differently: Ireland. Canada and New Zealand were very positive. 4 A military exclusion zone is an area in the immediate vicinity of a military action established by a country to prevent the unauthorized entry of civilian personnel/ equipment for their own safety or to protect natural assets already in place in the zone. often more than once a day. A military hawk. April 5. who did so as Lord Privy Seal. By the time the last ship left there were over 25. 2 Because Lord Carrington sat in the Lords he needed somebody to speak on Foreign Affairs in the Commons. President Reagan’s Secretary of State.000 men on board over 100 vessels. It is also established to prevent an enemy from acquiring any material which could help them. seeing that its military could mount a force so quickly and that the political leaders were not dithering. A “War Cabinet” was established consisting of a handful of men and Prime Minister Thatcher. she told him.2 Carrington was quickly replaced with Francis Pym but John Nott was not allowed to go — stick to it through to victory. 3 Alexander Haig. The Task Force headed out on Monday. That somebody was Humphrey Atkins MP.
. As the Task Force sailed 8. as was Chile. Newspaper sales doubled. Buenos Aires and London. New Zealand offered its ships and Chile gave signals intelligence.000 miles. of course. The Soviet Union and its allies were very vocal supporters of Argentina. It met daily. While Al Haig3 flew back and forth on ineffective missions between Washington DC.
In late April. I was visiting New York University. It was the longest such raid ever made at the time and as such the bombers needed refueling in mid air on no less than five occasions. At sea Prime Minister Thatcher’s advisers told her that the two main threats were the Argentinian aircraft carrier 25 de Mayo and a cruiser Belgrano. However far Al Haig and Francis Pym bent over. and rules of engagement were issued to British submarines. An early action was the bombing of the runway at Port Stanley by a force of all but mothballed Vulcan Bombers that set off from Ascension Island 3. I said we would win and casualties would not exceed 250. Technically I lost the bet as British casualties totaled 255 — but I was more right than wrong.
. As President Reagan wrote to Prime Minister Thatcher at the end of the month: “We will leave no doubt that Her Majesty’s Government worked with us in good faith and was left with no choice but to proceed with military action based on the right of self defense. so knees began to tremble at all the usual places. The 25 de Mayo hightailed it to port and was never seen or heard of again. they met with nothing but Argentinean intransigence. It was clear that both the 25 de Mayo and the Belgrano group were serious threats. He said we Brits might win. from the UN and the US State Department to the Labour Party and the British Foreign Office. with accompanying destroyers which were close to the Total Exclusion Zone and very well supplied with missiles — well over 300.” It was a scrappy war. where I made a $100 bet with a professor of economics. “Diplomacy” finally came to an end on April 29. Within hours the Belgrano was sunk with the loss of 321 lives and it has since become a talisman for the left who have used it to question the ethics guiding how Prime Minister Thatcher fought the war. as the British painlessly took the outlying islands of South Georgia and got daily nearer to the main target.14. The BBC and the Irish used the sinking of the Belgrano to cause mischief while the French and the West Germans wavered in their support. Going to War
200-mile radius and it became a top priority to block Argentina’s use of the Port Stanley Airfield. but the cost in lives would be thousands.886 miles away. However.
. Jones posthumously receives the UK’s highest medal the Victoria Cross for leading his men across acres of exposed ground against well armed and dug in Argentineans.050. As such casualties were reported. The nature of their morale was entirely different.000 men had been landed. Milton Friedman. And so it went: May 23: HMS Antelope sunk. HMS Argonaut. in the air. but she never flinched. HMS Ardent (lost). was smiling. 17 Argentinean aircraft destroyed May 25: HMS Coventry sunk May 28: 2nd Parachute Regiment lead by Colonel H Jones takes Darwin at Goose Green. While the war continued on land. in France. By now the SAS1 and the SBS2 had arrived on the scene — I believe they had long been there supplying intelligence but now they began to strike. But 5. and at sea. and HMS Brilliant (heavily damaged) were hit and two British helicopters taken out with nine Argentinean fighters destroyed too. An Exocet missile supplied by the French took out HMS Sheffield with the loss of 20 men and a Harrier jet aircraft went down. Prime Minister Thatcher thanked
1 SAS stands for the British Army’s Special Air Service Regiment which is ranked by many as the very best Special Forces unit in the world. It is apt to register that the Argentinian soldiers were all conscripts while the British troops were all volunteers. On May 14 as British air supremacy began so the SAS folk took out all eleven of the Argentinean aircraft at an airstrip called Pebble Island. father of the all-volunteer army in the US. the British military leaders feared she would waver and pull back. The result was: British dead 17 Argentinean dead 55 Argentinean surrendered 1.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Not everything went smoothly. The “Argies” crumbled.” 2 SBS stands for the British Navy’s Special Boat Service which specializes in water borne operations. On May 21 the first British troops landed at Port San Carlos with no loss but as daylight came three British ships. Its motto is “Who Dares Wins. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan met at the G7 Summit at Versailles.
It was felt that she had the tenacity to win. Thirty-two British troops died as did scores of Argentineans.” said the Prime Minister.800 strong force surrendered. As the final assault on the hills surrounding Port Stanley began. it also saw the first of the mounts and ridges behind the capital taken in fierce night fire-fights. How right she was. they knew she was very special indeed.14. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s stock rose to near that of Churchill. “We have ceased to be a nation in retreat.
. From our distance in time it can seem as a silly little duel over remote Magellanic Rocks. once victory had been achieved. While June 12 saw HMS Glamorgan hit by an Exocet as it was bombarding the Argentinean positions in Port Stanley. On June 14 Commander Mario Menendez and his 9. Before the Falklands War people suspected she was something special. Britain suffered its worst day of the war. The Argentineans were soon seen en masse throwing down their arms and walking back into Port Stanley. But the end was coming quickly. Fifty men died and another fifty five were wounded. While her self confidence was boosted she did not become arrogant — more a Joan of Arc than a Boudicca. Yet in 1982 it redrew the UK political landscape. Going to War
President Reagan for the US help she requested in caring for the thousands of Argentinean troops that were surrendering. The psychological significance of the Falklands War was transforming. which most politicians had lacked. HMS Plymouth was hit and the landing crafts Sir Galahad and Sir Tristan were respectively sunk and badly hit.
and indeed they had done so only a decade earlier.15. Prime Minister Thatcher’s massive 1983 victory (144 majority) outraged the Left. Then in the fall of 1983 two key moves were made. In 1976 the then Labour government had brought him back to try to sort out a nationalized
. which is much more difficult but just as dangerous.
1 Ian MacGregor was born in Scotland but had immigrated to the USA. became Chairman of the National Coal Board. Beating the Miners
“We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands and now we have to fight the enemy within.”
Arthur Scargill’s flying pickets. had twice defeated Ted Heath (see Chapter 6) and they held a special place in the political landscape. who spent most of his working life in the US. supported by most of organized Labour. the Marxist leader of the NUM who was soon talking about not needing to wait until the next election to get rid of her. They could bring down a government. not at the pit heads but rather at the power stations.” “These few men are the wreckers in our midst. I think it possible that her defeat of General Galtieri emboldened her to take on the mineworkers with a robustness she may otherwise not have shown. As early as September 1981 Energy Secretary Nigel Lawson — a brilliant man — quietly began building up what became massive coal stocks. in particular Arthur Scargill. Peter Walker became Energy Secretary and Ian MacGregor1. They had an aura of invincibility.
Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
During the winter of ’83/’84 tensions rose as MacGregor made plans to close uneconomical pits. particularly the levels of coal stocks at power plants and in other key areas. make thousands of workers redundant and cut production. It was limited to regions where the hard left had the numbers. They formed the impression they were on the side of virtue and fairness.
vehicle manufacturer.” proclaimed Prime Minister Thatcher. The strike began on March 12. This lead to more pit closures than had originally been planned due to the health and safety concerns in these mines and the prohibitive cost of getting them back to a workable standard. No national ballot was held as Scargill was not sure he would win and support from other unions was close to non-existent. The summer saw sporadic violence and much to-ing and fro-ing between all parties. March was just when demand for heating became less. Edward Heath had never achieved this in 1974 when the posture of the Government and the NCB was to appease. Prime Minister Thatcher followed every detail.000 pickets battle 4. But it was not a nationwide strike. “The rule of law must prevail over the rule of the mob. Tuesday May 29 for example saw 5. Could she have been clearer? The Prime Minister emboldened her wobbly Home Secretary Leon Brittan to back the police emphatically. Some economically viable pits filled with water as the miners who maintained them were on strike. Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock was to regret bitterly that he did not condemn the failure to ballot. Also Mr.
. Scargill’s timing was inept. Crucially the police who were involved very cleverly used a common law right to disperse flying pickets before they even reached their destination claiming that they were clearly intending to break the public peace. The miners were shooting themselves in the foot. 1983 over the closure plans for one particular colliery. In late May — nearly three months in — things began to turn ugly as the NUM began assembling very large numbers of pickets at one particular spot and at very short notice.200 police in riot gear at Orgreave Coke Works — 69 people (41 police and 28 picketers) were injured.
attacks and arson. Those who chose not to participate in the illegal strike found themselves and their wives and children subject to abuse. In another case a miner using a taxi to get to work saw his driver killed when a three-foot concrete post hurled from a motorway bridge impaled him. She destroyed the myth that you needed the unions on your side to win power and in doing so she encouraged moderate trade unionists everywhere to reclaim their unions. November 19 on would get a very generous Christmas bonus. In late November one working miner was beaten in his own home — nineteen of his former colleagues were arrested.15. Thousands took up the offer and week by week more returned to work. Typically she held a party at 10 Downing Street for the leaders of the miners who refused to strike. By early January 75. saying that everyone at work from Monday. resulting in several hundred thousand dollar fines for the latter. The most violent. As for Scargill he remained as leader of the NUM until 2000. Two miners got life sentences for that. As fall went on. left-wing and militant of all Britain’s unions. In 1996 he left the Labour Party after it aban-
. had found in Prime Minister Thatcher an unbending will to stop what she called “the fascist left” dead in their tracks. the union that had brought down the previous Conservative government. And by February 27 — after 50 weeks — the numbers at work exceeded those not at work and on March 3 — just nine days short of a year — the NUM voted for a return to work. Beating the Miners
A major element became the war between the striking miners and the working miners. the NCB mailed all miners. Surely treason was in the air. But violence continued. Scargill faced huge embarrassment when the press revealed that President Gaddafi and Soviet President Gorbachev were sending large sums of money to the NUM.000 miners were at work with more returning daily — the now ten-month illegal action was crumbling. The courts began to have an effect too with two Yorkshire miners bringing a civil case against Scargill and the NUM.
.” And at the same time a policy of nationalizing “Britain’s banks. government ownership) of most of the business sector. along with the major insurance companies and other industries.07% of the popular vote despite standing in only one constituency with one policy.” In 1996. which despite having only 2. William Hague. illiteracy. Scargill saw New Labour as “a willing handmaiden to multinational corporations and bodies like the International Monetary Fund which preside over global poverty.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
doned Clause IV1 in its quest to become electable.
. Scargill founded the Socialist Labour Party. after abandoning the Labour Party. Prime Minister Thatcher had illustrated once again her Iron Lady credentials.e. an entertaining show put on by an affable and now harmless museum piece. Their impact on the 2005 election was negligible. getting only 0. The fall of Scargill from a serious threat to UK industry to a footnote in British politics was documented recently by the Conservative MP and former leader. To put that in context a local party called the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern got 0. the major oil companies.”
1 This was the clause in its constitution which committed it to public ownership (i. Socialist Labour Party policies include an aim to “abolish Capitalism” and “to taking all the industries and services privatized in the past 26 years back into public ownership. war and pollution. disease. it also embraced Margaret Thatcher’s economic reforms including privatization and the reforms that had finally brought the unions under the rule of law.07% of the popular vote. to save the local hospital.” With these types of policies it is no surprise they do so badly in elections as they are clearly completely out of touch with public opinion and some would say reality.958 individual members has still managed to have several internal wars between the membership resulting in some factions being expelled by Scargill. which recorded over £20 billion profits in 2000. a post-Margaret Thatcher audience simply laughs — treating his comments as a trip down memory lane. From being a menace and a threat who intimidated the nation Arthur Scargill was reduced to being an object of derision. when Scargill on a TV panel with Hague called for re-nationalization in 2004:
“What was striking was the reaction of the audience: while a preMargaret Thatcher audience would have trembled before him.
she saw things with great clarity.” The UK economy is in a far better state thanks to Prime Minister Thatcher’s victory over the NUM. It was nearer to being an insurrection. Without Prime Minister Thatcher. Beating the Miners
The miners’ strike was not a minor industrial dispute. She denounced the violent picketing as “intimidation” and proclaimed it to be “unlawful assembly. the UK could still be in the grip of unions holding government and industry to ransom whenever they chose. It was crushed and even former close allies of Ted Heath such as Jim Prior had to give the Prime Minister fulsome credit when comparing her leadership to that of a decade earlier. Throughout.” She insisted that “violence must not be seen to pay.15. It was yet more evidence of a new brand of leadership.
the ignorance and arrogance of the far left Union leaders. Reforming the Unions
“Laws giving protective immunity to the trade unions at the turn of the century were now abused to protect restrictive practices and over manning. She proposed 127
. bosses and the PM over beer and sandwiches at Number 10. Labour had strengthened the rights of unions to impose closed shops — to make union membership obligatory. Prime Minister Thatcher. wanted to make three immediate changes. They were immune from the restraints of law. Second. strengthened by the winter of discontent. the endless strikes. limiting it just to the place of work directly involved.16. to underpin strikes and to coerce workers into joining unions and participation in industrial action against their better judgment. You have to be at least in your mid forties to recall the British three day week.”
It is now a generation since the National Union of Mineworkers brought down a government. In other words secondary picketing at say an upstream supplier would become illegal. First she wanted to tackle the practice of picketing. British trade unions were exempted from the Law of Tort. The whole culture was one of getting ahead by brute force rather than better serving your customer. the coercion of decent people and the endless meetings of union leaders.
Her attempts to act quickly were badly hampered by a leftover Heath acolyte named James Prior. That trend plus privatization meant that union membership was inexorably evaporating. He introduced regular ballots in closed shops to test ongoing support. Time and time again Prime Minister Thatcher banged on about the damage unions were doing to the living standards of ordinary people. All such proposals were greeted with outright hostility by the Labour Party and the TUC. He was the sort of man F. Her strategy was to break down the closed shop and bring real democracy to these institutions so that ordinary members could regain control. And she used simple examples to show how the kind of economic thinking represented by the TUC would keep Britain on the road to ruin. Hayek was thinking of when he dedicated The Road to Serfdom “To the Socialists of all Parties. She also grasped and understood the link between the giant monopoly nationalized industries and union power. made union labor only contracts illegal. Norman worked well with his Prime Minister. They had a natural rapport. and removed the unlimited immunity from actions for damages 128
. strengthened employers rights to sack strikers. coal and steel and towards services. increased the compensation for people damaged in a closed shop. She explained that strikes affected union members just as much as the rest of us. how they cost jobs and lost orders that could never be replaced. restricted what could be classed as a lawful dispute. whose instinct was always to yield to union demands. more robust. Third. she proposed wider use of secret and postal ballots for all major union decisions to halt the pressure brought to bear when all that is needed is a show of hands. Norman Tebbit. Break those monopolies and you have gone a long way to bringing unions under control. Prime Minister Thatcher went over their heads to the British public and the ordinary members of the unions.A.” In the September of 1981 reshuffle she moved him to become Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and appointed as Secretary of State for Employment the much sounder. She was also helped in this as the British economy moved out of iron.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
to weaken those arrangements and to give more power and rights to individual workers.
What a transformation. It is reasonable to argue the rise of Mr. However trouble rapidly moved south to London and that great entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch. In bringing trade unions back within the Rule of Law she also altered much of the texture of her opponent’s Party. Reforming the Unions
that so favored the unions.16. It all started with a nice man called Eddie Shah in Warrington. All of British commerce prospered under these newly equitable laws. at the 1987 Conference in Blackpool the unions exercised a vote of 5. As noted before union membership dropped from 51% in 1979 to 18% in 1997 while ownership of shares by trade unionists (often in the business for which they worked) rocketed up from 6% in 1979 to 29% in 1997. They were its major source of income and through the bloc votes mechanism at Labour Party conferences could make policy. As well as the epic battle with the miners described in the previous chapter there was also the issue of the print workers and the introduction of new technology — Prime Minister Thatcher was not so involved as the print workers were in the private sector whereas the miners were in a nationalized industry. their war chest. He used every one of her reforms and after a year of nightly battles between police and pickets Rupert prevailed. Further Acts in 1984 and 1988 and 1990 continued to strengthen the rights of the individual workers and to whittle away at trade union powers in particular the closed shop. Blair would not have been possible but for her transformation of this lawless rogue element in British public life. could be vulnerable if sued. The overall result was the total transformation of the UK labor market. thus opening up the possibility that their funds.000 — swamping the votes of the constituency parties with a mere 617. The flexibility of UK employment contracts has been a defining 129
. He moved production from Fleet Street to Wapping and in doing so broke the power of the print workers. who was the first entrepreneur to make use of Thatcherite reforms as he founded a high tech newspaper called Today.792.” They were also the pay-masters of the Labour Party. The British trade unions were more than “combinations in restraint of trade. For example. North West England. He stood up to very violent picketing and even death threats.000 votes.
This remains in contrast to the constricted nature of French or German employment policies.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
feature of the sudden surge in British industrial vitality.
and a bag left 131
. 1979 on the ramp leading out of the underground parking lot at the Palace of Westminster. Battling the I.”
The IRA terrorists ran their bombing campaign from 1969 to July 2005. As we read in Chapter 10 Airey Neave.A. Some lost limbs while others had lesser wounds.” Today there are some trash cans back on the streets of London. It is not possible to count the psychological injury to the relatives and families more widely.R. finally decommissioning all of their weapons in September 2005. Indeed one of her first duties as Prime Minister was to give the memorial service address for him.524 people were killed or rather murdered during the “Troubles.17. a trusted confidante and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had been killed by an IRA bomb on March 30. Protestant or Catholic.” A further 10.000 were injured.” “They [the IRA] should be wiped off the civilised world. remained untouched by the bloodshed during Prime Minister Thatcher’s time in office. In Northern Ireland (or Ulster) alone over 3. After his death she said “I felt like a puppet whose strings had been cut. Very few in Northern Ireland. windows in pubs are long free of anti glass shrapnel tape.
“All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail. her right hand man.
Four others were injured as a bomb blew apart Mountbatten’s boat off the Irish coast. ’80s and even early ’90s. Americans included. It is easy to forget. is often caricatured as an English colony. are unaware that the island of Ireland has two divergent peoples. she wrote a personal note to all the families involved. Second. What was the issue? The IRA is the Catholic paramilitary terrorist group that through violent means wanted Northern Ireland to become part of the Republic of Ireland as supposed to remaining part of the UK. In central London at least that was not the case for large parts of the ’70s. The very same day eighteen soldiers were killed at Warren Point in a two bomb pincer movement. The first bomb was set off by remote control and then.
. Thatcher had barely gotten the Prime Ministerial seat warm when on August Bank Holiday Monday (August 27) the IRA murdered Lord Mountbatten (the Queen’s cousin) and three others: the Dowager Baroness Brabourne. First. seeing the people of Northern Ireland’s right to self determination as paramount and that any change to the status of Northern Ireland would be achieved by political means. Prime Minister Thatcher’s reaction was threefold. Nicholas Knatchbull and crew member Paul Maxwell. which is what most of the Protestant majority want. If anything the Ulster Protestants are Scots not English. the second bomb was exploded. Even many friends of Britain. not violence. This is false. A major reason we can live more easily — and even see former members of the IRA’s ruling army council such as Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness tucking into their eggs and bacon at the Tevere café1 on the corner of Great Peter Street and Marsham Street in the heart of Westminster — is because of Prime Minister Thatcher’s tenacity and courage in facing down the IRA. also visiting the hospital where the
1 Recently converted into a branch of Pret A Manger. Prime Minister Thatcher refused to compromise to the demands of terrorists. she flew less than 48 hours later unannounced and wearing a flak jacket to the hotbed of “bandit country” in South Armagh. or Northern Ireland.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
in a public corner is not immediately a cause to clear everyone out. Mrs. the Hon. Ulster. when more troops moved in to tend to the wounded.
she gave impetus to talks back in Whitehall on how to improve intelligence and pledged to tackle Irish Prime Minister Jack Lynch on cross border issues. I wonder if that crossed Prime Minister Thatcher’s mind in 1986 when she gave President Reagan permission to bomb Libya from UK bases! The IRA clearly didn’t like this and by 1981 had decided to try to kill her. However a pattern was clearly emerging: she would support the people of Ulster with frequent visits and she would use every opportunity to dry up the IRA’s sources of funding that came from misguided Irish-Americans.R. Douglas Hurd. Battling the I.A
injured were being treated. To that end President Reagan was totally on her side and he made repeated efforts to help.” Surely that should be a “food strike”! The issue in question was very simple. Prime Minister Thatcher would have none of it. She did in fact confront Lynch within days. Terrorists wanted to be treated as political prisoners rather than as every day criminals. dropping in on local politicians and having lunch with the Army’s 3 Brigade. But all along Prime Minister Thatcher and a succession of Northern Ireland Secretaries Humphrey Atkins. Her sympathy was to be sorely tested when convicted IRA terrorists went on a “dirty protest” the details of which I leave to your imagination and followed it up with a “hunger strike. And while she felt a great deal more at home with the Unionists she had sympathy for the Catholic minority which had clearly suffered great prejudice for a long time and in all kinds of ways. James Prior. efforts that began to have an effect. She finally visited the Royal Ulster Constabulary. but he stonewalled her and gave no cooperation at all to hunt down these murderers. She was in charge of the prisons not the terrorists. Colonel Gaddafi of Libya was another major source of help to the IRA.17. And third. some of the officers she met that day would not see out the end of her premiership. As an early striker lost consciousness the protest was called off only to restart soon and this time led by Bobby Sands who had been 133
. Tom King and Peter Brooke struggled with the dilemma of a mainly Protestant majority wishing to remain part of the UK and a mainly Catholic minority wishing to be part of Eire.
1981. 1981 and died on May 5. Roberta Wakeham (wife of the then Government chief whip John. From that day on Prime Minister Thatcher became the IRA’s number one target. Muriel Maclean (wife of Scottish Conservative Chairman Sir Donald Maclean) and Jeanne Shattock (wife of the president of the South-West Conservative Association) and many more were injured. He started his “hunger strike” on March 1. To do otherwise was to cave in to the enemy.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
elected to Parliament as MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone at a byelection caused by the death of Frank Maguire. It was very close. She was up at 2:54 a. Anthony Berry (MP for Enfield South). but until 1981 there was no law preventing a criminal in prison from standing in an election.m. While she was unhurt. The explosion missed her but destroyed her bathroom. It took two hours to free him and despite his injuries he made enough of a recovery to lead a normal life. requires two full time nurses to care for her and can hardly even hold a cup of tea. working on her big speech with her staff when a huge bomb on a long delay timer went off inside the hotel. After the bomb Prime Minister Thatcher and all her party were promptly evacuated to the local Police Station and later to a nearby Police College. not that he would have taken the Loyalty Oath to HM The Queen anyway. she knew the full extent of the damage and deaths but determined to press on with the day’s business including her speech. The most striking image of the night was the sight of Norman Tebbit being dug out of the ruins of the Grand Hotel alive. his wife (Margaret Tebbit) was not so fortunate. Today it is reported that she is confined to a wheelchair. He was all but an MP — as a prisoner of course he could not attend Parliament and be sworn in. No running back to Downing Street for her. now Lord. Eric Taylor (chairman of the North-West Area Conservative Association). five people died. The speech was hastily 134
. It may seem bizarre that a convicted criminal could stand for election. By 6:30 a. However it was against the law to take up political office as a convict so if Sands had survived he would not have been able to sit as an MP. Wakeham).m. The greatest test of her courage and conviction when dealing with the IRA came in October 1984 when she was staying in the Grand Hotel in Brighton for her Party’s annual conference.
2 Jezebel is a term used to describe a woman who is considered wicked. could be smartly turned out. 1985 Prime Minister Thatcher and her opposite number in Ireland. Battling the I. based on the story of Jezebel in Kings I of the Old Testament.A
rewritten to exclude inappropriate Labour Party bashing and a branch of the local department store (Marks and Spencer) opened early so that her Party bigwigs.000 per annum via Noraid1 to fund terror. Twenty one were killed and 182 injured in just one evening in Birmingham. even as misguided politicians south of the border refused to help on the most basic of issues and even as the Labour Party refused to support the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Garret Fitzgerald. 11 killed and 21 injured at the Royal Marines School of Music. The speech was a huge success as she declared “all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.
. four killed and 28 injured in Hyde Park. On November 15. three killed at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Throughout her whole eleven years Prime Minister Thatcher was absolutely forthright in her commitment to the Union and to the wishes of the majority of its residents. one killed at an Oxford Street burger bar. signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement which essentially created a joint office to run regular conferences between both governments on the relevant legal/security/political issues without any surrender of sovereignty.R. two killed and 39 injured at Ebury Bridge Road. many of whom had exited in night clothes. And it was not limited to London.” Throughout the 1980s (and earlier in the 1970s) London and close cities in particular took the brunt of the IRA terrorist campaign: Five were injured at the Princess Louise Regiment Territorial Army Centre. six killed and 91 injured outside Harrods.000 to $800.17. Terrorism became self defeating because each such act only strengthened her determination. Hard core Unionists were outraged and labeled Prime Minister Thatcher a Jezebel2 despite the fact that the agreement assured every-
1 Noraid is an American charity founded at the start of “the troubles” in 1969. The confidence of the people and the will of the government were never in doubt even as misguided Americans sent from $160. seven killed and 31 injured in Regent’s Park. and so on. There have been claims that money raised by Noraid is used to fund the IRA.
2006 which lead to power sharing in a devolved Assembly at Stormont today. Her close friend and former PPS Ian Gow (later to be murdered by the IRA) resigned over it. 1998 and the St Andrews Agreement of October 13. philosophically. it was a remarkable achievement for Prime Minister Thatcher. Ian Gow and Airey Neave always stir in her memories when Northern Ireland is the topic of conversation.
. she often admits that the murders of her three Tory colleagues Anthony Berry.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
one that Northern Ireland would remain part of the UK as long as the majority of its people so wished. Despite that. Republicans hated it. politically and religiously to the Unionist cause. However it can be seen as a stepping stone en route to the Good Friday Agreement of April 10. The IRA hated it. Unionists hated it. For someone so deeply attached personally.
18. Befriending America
“Europe was created by history, America was created by philosophy.” “I could always count on her wise counsel, her firm support and her loyal friendship.” — Ronald Reagan
Prime Minister Thatcher’s view of the United States was shaped positively from her love of certain American movies through the writing of Walt Whitman to Churchill’s speech at Fulton, Missouri in 1946 to her 1967 coast-to-coast six week tour and the four week lecture tour in 1969 for the ESU. She had met many US servicemen back home in Lincolnshire and during the term she volunteered in Oxford two nights every week to serve meals to USAF personnel from the nearby Upper Heyford base in an air force canteen. Her admiration for America (juxtaposed with her hatred of communism) was exposed time and again as Prime Minister — and she served from roughly halfway through President Carter’s administration, right through President Reagan’s two terms and up to half way through President George H. W. Bush’s only term. She was not by accident the first European (indeed first major head of government) to visit President Reagan. Before going on that trip in early 1981 she said: 137
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“My own political convictions are founded in a love of freedom, that rejection of tyranny and repression, which inspired the Pilgrim Fathers and those who followed them to America.”
Of course she hailed from Lincolnshire on the east coast of the UK and it was from that county along with Norfolk and Suffolk that so many migrated to New England in the 17th century while those from the UK’s West Country headed to the Chesapeake, those from the Midlands and Wales to the Delaware Valley and later the Scots and Scots Irish who made for the Appalachian Frontier.1 Boston is of course named after Boston, Lincolnshire. She had first gotten a very positive impression of Ronald Reagan from Denis who had heard the future president address the UK’s Institute of Directors2 in 1969. Reagan then twice visited her as Opposition Leader in the late ’70s and they hit it off famously from day one with their shared passion for low taxes and strong defense and their shared hatred for communism. Both those meetings ran over time considerably. As Opposition leader she twice visited the United States and on both occasions she met with the then President, possibly an unprecedented degree of access. On her first visit in September 1975 she was heavily criticized back in the UK for disparaging remarks about the British economy but she fought back saying she was “not knocking Britain; I’m knocking socialism.” She met many senior members of the US government and was very impressed by Treasury Secretary William (Bill) Simon who had just torn up Richard Nixon’s price and wage controls. She found President Gerald Ford to be a “large and friendly man” and thought him to be a “reassuring and steady figure who helped America heal the self-inflicted wounds of Watergate.” On her second visit she met for 45 minutes with President Jimmy Carter and she lectured him sternly on developing a more robust foreign policy; Carter later complained that he had struggled to get a word in edgeways. As Prime Minister she was back six weeks after the seizure of fifty US diplomats in Tehran. She was a huge hit in lecturing America: “At
1 See Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fischer. 2 The Institute of Directors is dedicated to professional standards and aims to represent the view of business by promoting a healthy business environment. It has no party political affiliation.
18. Befriending America
times like these you are entitled to look to your friends for support. We are your friends, we do support you. Let there be no doubt about that.” With President Reagan in the White House for eight years — and Prime Minister Thatcher in 10 Downing Street throughout — an extraordinarily close friendship developed. An adviser, Ronnie Millar, once said of her: “She loved America ... and America loved her back.” From the moment she set foot on American soil he claimed there was a new spring in her step and she lost ten years. She is not alone in such a physical reaction to the land of the free and the home of the brave. Through repeated visits to each other’s countries and meetings such as those of the G7 they became a formidable double act. He was her kind of man and she was his kind of woman. Only one event threatened to disrupt their ever closer relationship. In October 1983 US forces invaded Grenada to rescue 1,000 US citizens after a leftist government had been toppled by an even more pro-Cuba pro-Nicaragua gang of thugs. The problem for Prime Minister Thatcher was that Grenada was (and still is) a member of the British Commonwealth and HM Queen Elizabeth II was (and still is) its head of state. Ron (as she called him) forgot to inform Prime Minister Thatcher of his plans let alone consult or ask her permission! Indeed his staff told her staff lies about the American fleet’s intentions; later it was said this was for security reasons as they feared for leaks. When Ron finally called Prime Minister Thatcher — as an afterthought almost — she was incandescent with rage. Close staff reported they never saw her so angry! Whether there was a genuine fear of leaks or whether they just assumed she was on their side or whether they just did not realize that HM Queen Elizabeth II was head of state is not at all clear. America struggled to understand Prime Minister Thatcher’s fury. After all hadn’t the US supported her over the Falklands? To her, though, it was simple: Grenada was part of the British Commonwealth; Britain is the United States’ greatest ally; and she was personally close to the President. On all three counts she should have been consulted and would probably, almost certainly, have supported American efforts with nearby Royal Navy assets. 139
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The next great test of the Thatcher/Reagan double act came in 1986 after a series of Libyan terrorist attacks on US servicemen and civilians, President Reagan decided to bomb Tripoli and wanted to do so using USAF F-111s stationed in the UK. Prime Minister Thatcher agreed somewhat reluctantly but the more her own officials in the Foreign Office (“the traitors” as she called them) railed against the Reagan idea the more she hardened her support. Her own Cabinet was not too happy either. While many were pro-American several fumed about the lack of full consultation. However her Lord Chancellor Lord Hailsham (formerly Quentin Hogg for whom Margaret Roberts had campaigned in Oxford in 1945) stood by her firmly. Interestingly (like Churchill and Macmillan) he too had an American mother Elizabeth Marjoribanks, the daughter of a Judge from Nashville, Tennessee. But this was a storm in a teacup and barely worth a mention when compared to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism.
19. Kicking Down the Wall
“I stand before you tonight in my, yes, red chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my 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.” “My job is to stop Britain going red.” “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.” “We believe in the democratic way of life. If we serve the idea faithfully, with tenacity of purpose, we have nothing to fear from Russian Communism.” (1950)
Prime Minister Thatcher never passed through a left-leaning phase as a young person. As we read in Chapter 2, before the age of 20 she was a warm up speaker for the Conservatives in the 1945 General Election. And what she saw of communism during a 1969 trip to the Soviet Union did nothing to impress her, rather the reverse, whereas two trips to the prosperous and free-wheeling US left her enthralled. Indeed, like President Reagan she was never seduced by communism and as early as 1950 (see quote above) she told her audience that “if we stick to our democratic principles then we have nothing to fear.” 141
Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
This was a time when her fellow citizens were being trained to squat under their desks if and when the Russian bombs fell. And she was deeply influenced by the likes of dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn and academic Bob Conquest. On gaining power in 1979, Prime Minister Thatcher inherited a defense posture that had been gravely weakened by five successive cuts in spending. It reduced new modern equipment and kept the forces’ pay levels beneath those of the civilian population. The British military services were demoralized. There was also the very evident contrast with the British presence in Western Germany, meant to deter the Red Army, living in straitened circumstances amongst the affluent Germans. The “Iron Lady” sobriquet had come on January 31, 1976, when she spoke at Kensington Town Hall. To the Leader of the Opposition the overarching role of any government is to protect its people. She questioned whether the current government was doing that as it seemed to be cutting back on defense just as threats were rising to new heights. She reported that military sources had told her that the “balance” was shifting in favor of Russia and her allies. She accused the Labour Party of just not listening; they were blind to the fact that Russian weapons could be pointed at the UK! She wondered if “some people in the Labour Party think we are on the same side as the Russians?” According to her, the Soviets were not in the business of self-defense. Their leaders were out to build “the foremost naval and military power in the world.” She spoke as someone who faced what seemed to be an implacable and rapidly-arming enemy. She relentlessly offered the opinion that a huge land mass like Russia really did not need to build the world’s biggest navy. She turned her fire on the old men in the politburo: “They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns.” Of course, she did have the guns of Washington to back her up. She then elaborated her view that Russia’s “utterly lame” economic performance and its “brutalization” of its subject peoples had seemed to nourish military priorities for the Soviet leadership. 142
19. Kicking Down the Wall
She cited figures demonstrating that the USSR was outspending the US and by how much, and she warned that there were some indications the USSR had overtaken the US in military might. To her, “the United States is still the prime champion of freedom” and it was to the US and NATO she now looked. In particular she sympathized with a post-Vietnam America (also in an election year) and called on NATO allies to do more. A Conservative government led by a Prime Minister called Thatcher would play a “special role,” she promised. There came a time when her view of the Red Army appeared to be inflated, but even in the early ’80s it was good politics to be emphatic about the Soviet Union. She continued to compare the UK’s levels of defense spending with other NATO countries in very critical terms. Many felt that the UK’s lack of financial power was caused by socialism. As she wound down, she said:
“But let us be clear about one thing. “This is not a moment when anyone with the interests of this country at heart should be talking about cutting our defenses. “It is a time when we urgently need to strengthen our defenses. “Of course this places a burden on us. But it is one that we must be willing to bear if we want our freedom to survive.”
She went on:
“Throughout our history, we have carried the torch for freedom. Now, as I travel the world, I find people asking again and again, ‘What has happened to Britain?’ They want to know why we are hiding our heads in the sand, why with all our experience, we are not giving a lead.”
Her core message remained that she believed in a foreign policy based on a close understanding with the United States. She argued it was an affinity between the Anglo-Saxon nations as well as the formal alliance of NATO. The moment had come for her party to sound a warning — the UK/ US were at a historical crossroads. She ended pleading:
“Let’s ensure that our children will have cause to rejoice that we did not forsake their freedom.”
felt that their chief rival was still strong enough to be a problem. Chequers.” To Mrs. Stalin and Roosevelt. some said. would return to German postings for rest and recreation.” Guided by her Cabinet colleague Peter Walker. Both employed rhetoric to build support for stronger measures. Soviet Russia will not survive the century. It is apt to be reminded the British armed forces were engaged throughout her leadership in a low level civil war in Northern Ireland. Arthur Seldon CBE wrote in the Times on the August 6. The “Troubles” in Northern Ireland meant British soldiers were trained in danger and combat and. however. Margaret Thatcher MP. Indeed the Institute’s editorial director Dr. We can do business together. Many economists associated with the IEA had long voiced serious worries about waste and environmental degradation. Labour as we know it will never rule again.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
The Iron Lady tag was meant to be offensive and to denigrate her. she met future Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the funeral of Yuri Andropov and quickly invited him to London. Shades of Churchill. It was primarily the Army that was deployed. Margaret Thatcher was not alone in describing the USSR as an economic failure and in believing it had to collapse one day. 1980: “China will go capitalist. containment policies notwithstanding. After long discussions at her official country weekend home.” With the death of Chernenko in 1985 and Gorbachev’s rise to the leadership she found herself in a very special situation. as when Reagan visited the UK in 1982 and proclaimed to its politicians: 144
. I like Mr. a little curiously. Prime Minister Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. enjoying a deep friendship with the US President 3. Brilliantly she embraced it and being a woman as well the two created huge overseas interest when the leader of the Opposition would normally get a thin press. it was never a question of “if” the Soviet Union would collapse but rather “when. Gorbachev. she famously declared to John Cole of the BBC.500 miles to the east.000 miles to the west and a growing acquaintance with the President of the USSR 1. “I am cautiously optimistic.
He concluded his tour de force:
. there are grim reminders of how brutally the police state attempts to snuff out this quest for self-rule — 1953 in East Germany. To be sure. Ronald Reagan then added:
“The decay of the Soviet experiment should come as no surprise to us. the mission was “to preserve freedom as well as peace. ‘I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. 1968 in Czechoslovakia. 1956 in Hungary.”
He went on with greater emphasis:
“In the Communist world as well.” It was due for major economic dislocations and urgently needed to expand civil liberties. their flight is always away from. man’s instinctive desire for freedom and self-determination surfaces again and again.” He asserted that the Soviet Union was running against “the tide of history. the Soviet forces also face east to prevent their people from leaving. Malaysia and Vietnam — it is the democratic countries that are prosperous and responsive to the needs of their people.’”
Other American presidents had talked about the ideas of freedom but Ronald Reagan’s own use of these attractive notions was much more assertive. To President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan warmed to his theme. our military forces face east to prevent a possible invasion.19. Kicking Down the Wall
“Sir Winston Churchill refused to accept the inevitability of war or even that it was imminent. He said. And one of the simple but overwhelming facts of our time is this: Of all the millions of refugees we’ve seen in the modern world. ridiculing the USSR’s failures in the past two decades: for example 20% of its citizens worked on the land yet they could not feed the country. Wherever the comparisons have been made between free and closed societies — West Germany and East Germany. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines. On the other side of the line. Austria and Czechoslovakia. Private plots amounted to only 3% of arable land yet produced nearly 25% of agricultural output. But what we have to consider here today while time remains is the permanent prevention of war and the establishment of conditions of freedom and democracy as rapidly as possible in all countries. But the struggle continues in Poland. 1981 in Poland. not toward the Communist world. Today on the NATO line.” It would not be easy and he sensed we were all at “a turning point.
The Soviet economy was stalling under the pressures of the arms race. The advanced technical ingenuity claimed by the US space industries added a further strain to the Russian military systems. He increased the technology stakes through SDI or the so-called Star Wars program. as Reagan did with his famous Berlin speech line: “Tear down this wall.”
This line of thinking had the power to sway even some in the Soviet Union. Rarely can two national leaders such as Reagan and Thatcher have shared so closely their instincts and found their interests so much in line.”
. For the sake of peace and justice. the task I’ve set forth will long outlive our own generation. Thatcher’s economic success and Pope John Paul’s moral strength — gave millions of people courage to rise up when the opportunity came. And neither of them missed a chance to take center stage. betting the US could afford to spend more than the Soviet Union. Let us now begin a major effort to secure the best — a crusade for freedom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation. But together.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
“Well. “Reagan’s truth telling — together with the examples of Mrs.” As the economist and pro-American Czech President Dr. we too have come through the worst. Prime Minister Thatcher was President Ronald Reagan’s most ardent cheerleader and kept up the pressure on Gorbachev. The Prime Minister freely shared all she had on Gorbachev and his problems with the President. let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny. Vaclav Klaus puts it. The President escalated the cost of the arms race. as well as garnering tremendous public support at home.
Estonia. Slovenia and Malta.
. And when Romania and Bulgaria joined on January 1.” “Laissez-faire! Laissez-faire! Don’t go French on me!”
From an American point of view the European Union (EU) can be difficult to understand. let’s take time to understand just what the latter. Washington DC. Slovakia. really is. only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels. bringing the total EU population to 454 million. in the view of the author. on September 28. Lithuania. another 30 million took that to 484 million. Poland.
1 Based on a speech given by the author at The Heritage Foundation. 2004 ten new countries2 with a combined population of 74 million became members of the European Union. Latvia. Before turning to Prime Minister Thatcher and the EU. 2006.1 On May 1. 2007. This meant that the EU had a population more than 50 per cent larger than that of the United States. 2 The new members are Cyprus.20. Many vaguely think of it as a bit like the US — a number of nations coming together to form the United States of Europe or the USE. the Czech Republic. Dealing with Brussels
“We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain. Hungary.
Do American policymakers believe that the process of European political integration leads to the creation of a democratic. Turkey too is enthusiastic to accede to the EU. Without US support. Taiwan. Recent differences between the EU and the US include those over Iraq. and the death penalty as well as a whole raft of trade issues. Serbia is a prime candidate as are all the other former Yugoslav republics. During the 1970s. and from the Arctic wastes of Finland and Sweden in the north to Cyprus in the south. genetically modified crops. spending on the CAP increased by 11. ballistic missile defense. the international criminal court. Palestine. The question needs to be addressed: Is the EU America’s friend or foe? The EU sees the two as co-equals and. it is doubtful whether the project of European political integration could have gotten off the ground or developed in the way that it has. as are all sovereign nations to some extent. market-based Atlantic ally — an ally with whom a heavy burden of economic and security responsibilities might be shared? Or do they also see the EU as a rival? The reality is that since this hugely ambitious project has taken shape. while it is possible to name
1 Despite worldwide criticism of the Common Agricultural Policy.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
It is envisaged that further nations will join. farm support. Iran. Indeed.
. The United States has also tolerated the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). the success of the project was judged to be sufficiently important to US interests for the CIA to funnel millions of dollars into the European movement.2 per cent in 2005. the Kyoto Accord. But from the very beginning the US gave its unconditional backing. Cuba.1 which some have called the most inefficient system of agricultural support ever devised. rivals. Why? At one level it is taken for granted that the emerging European Union would share America’s core values. The EU now stretches from the Latvia–Russia border in the east to Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland. China. policy differences between the EU and the United States have both multiplied and deepened. This would give the EU a border with Syria and Iraq. Many experts think empires reach the point of collapse at the zenith of their expansion.
it is difficult to think of a single major issue where the views of the US and the EU are identical.” And the Czech President has indicated a high level of dissent. They are also characterized by a preference for group rights over individual rights and an innate dislike and fear of robust or “unmanaged” competition in both the political and economic spheres. It has the defining features of a new nation. those ideas are characterized by a desire to manage economic and political life in such a way as to create consensus and to exclude or marginalize those whose behavior or views are judged to be out of step. prosecutor.20. executive. why do they disagree so often? The one statement that you would not have heard from a spokesman for the EU Commission in Brussels is: “We applaud American leadership. But after the attempt to bring in the constitution by the
1 Polling data has consistently shown that. and emblem. The attempt to adopt a European Constitution has been stalled since 2004 when the French and Dutch rejected the proposed text in referenda1. anthem. In addition to hostility to the nation state. It is worth pausing to describe in concrete terms just how much progress has been achieved towards “ever-closer union” — the goal established in the treaty of Rome in 1957 which laid the foundations of the present European project. Those ideas are not the inevitable consequence of political integration but rather the foundation on which it has been constructed.” Indeed. supreme court. currency. The differences which have been alluded to arise from the very nature of the European project and the ideas on which it is based. we have now reached the point where EU policy gives every impression of having been defined in opposition to US policy. the British electorate would vote against the adoption of the Constitution by a substantial majority. given the opportunity. The EU now has its own parliament. and we will back the US all the way. So one is bound to ask: If it is truly the case that the EU and America share common political values. Dealing with Brussels
individual European political leaders who genuinely like and admire America. The Irish voted “no” but will probably be forced to vote again and again until they “get it right. but plans to hold a referendum in the UK were abandoned following the rejection of the document by the French and Dutch electorates.
. army (of a sort).
matters that are criminal offences in Britain could be decriminalized by a decision of the EU without any recourse to the will of the British people. In a move that must make Lady Thatcher squirm. The other horror is that. As Simon Heffer wrote in The Daily Telegraph on September 20. so the ability of member states to propose their own laws for their own people shrinks until it is extinguished. a president. as EU competence increases. But the principle that US interests are most likely to be served by the extension of democracy wherever possible has been one of the foundations of US foreign policy. and for breaches of laws that are not crimes or punishable in Britain. 2006:
If we surrender our veto on these matters. the EU has purchased the entire office block (32 Smith Square) from which she won all three of her general elections. according to some legal opinion.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
front door failed considerable success is being achieved as the result of attempts to introduce it through the back door.
Now all of this might strike you as being purely Europe’s affair. In the judgment of a former EU Commissioner. Among those attributes of a modern state that are to be added to the European design are full legal personality (which will enable the EU to sign treaties and to participate in international organizations as a single entity). Equally. That is the ultimate goal of the ever-closer union: but it entails a stark and anti-democratic removal of sovereignty from this area which impacts directly on our most basic freedoms and liberties. EU-set penalties could be imposed on British subjects in Britain. In the post-Second World War era this policy was triumphantly vindicated in the case of Western Europe where warshattered nations were restored to democracy. One consequence will be that the protection enjoyed by British subjects for centuries as a result of habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence may disappear. But the supranational institutions of the new top-down Europe (to which the once independent European states have ceded sovereignty) are remarkably undemocratic. even though such methods are of questionable legality. and a foreign minister. In addition there is to be an extension of qualified majority voting in the European Council which will end the national veto in a number of areas including justice and criminal affairs. it is clear that if EU applied to itself the criteria that it re150
The political nature of the EU — which was sold to the British public as a strictly limited commercial undertaking — raises important questions about the long-term stability of this new entity. In addition.
. It is consequently difficult to envision how such a thing as European public opinion can evolve. None of this augurs well for those who hope that Europe could stand as an equal to the United States. as they would achieve much lower prices if they dropped out of the CAP. or a European public space. The US also has ample grounds for disappointment with EU policies on the economy and trade. supporting those who doubt that effective monetary policy can be set over such a disparate area. Enormous disparities in economic. of which English is the most widely spoken). In its top-down way Europe may have created many of the attributes of a state but there is. technological and military power stand in the way of the creation of a unitary European state as a countervailing force to the United States.20. no such thing as a European people or European nation. and a high level of trade protection in some sectors. and if this problem is compounded by the lack of a common language in which political discourse can take place. something was missing. of course. and it has provided an economy that aims to provide stability and security even at the cost of low growth. as well as about the future relations between the EU and the United States. or a European demos. An outward looking EU that embraced open markets and free trade would serve US interests. In the list of EU attributes which was rehearsed a moment ago. rigid labor markets. Dealing with Brussels
cently applied to all new members. high taxes. it could not be admitted to the EU because it is insufficiently democratic. The EU seems more concerned with people’s rights as workers than as consumers. there is the ever-present danger that they will not accept majority decisions. It would also serve the interests of Europeans in their role as consumers. increasingly intrusive regulation. Or indeed a common language (there are at least 20 different national languages. And if people do not feel common bonds of allegiance and obligation. for years the euro-zone underperformed vis-à-vis the US.
It was to be welcomed.. the more it will distance itself not only from its most powerful and most constant ally. like 99.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
British doubts about integration and how it will impact the special relationship with the US extend to the military sphere in particular. As IEA author Richard North has written in The Business (May 28/29. Essentially they argued that even in the early years the EU. and the arguments of Enoch Powell and Russell Lewis were difficult and fell on deaf ears.” Another consequence will be that. i. when Belgium refused to supply the UK with artillery shells because it (Belgium) disapproved of its actions. As a result the practical value of British military assistance will be greatly reduced. even if the UK is able to defy the constraints imposed by the Common European Foreign and Security Policy in order to join its traditional American partner on some hightech battlefield of the future — a very big “if” indeed — its weapons may be incompatible with those of the US. While America begins to ponder the wisdom of its support for the EU. 2006): “Britain’s war-making capabilities will progressively be defined by what its ‘partners’ will permit. But the lesson ought to be clear. To begin with she. minor adjustments could be made according to circumstance and all would be well. the United States. The more Britain is absorbed into the European project. many Americans seem reluctant to withdraw their support or even to recognize the nature of the Europe which they have helped to create. sold as an economic entity. evident in the first Gulf War. the choices facing Britain are more urgent and acute. was already overstepping its mark. Russell Lewis clearly outlined this
. but also from self-government.e. Some evidently believe that the process of European integration is so well established that any reappraisal of US policy towards the EU would produce more problems than it would solve. For decades it was possible for many to believe that. the UK’s support of the US. Margaret Thatcher’s view of the EU has gone through three distinct phases. as long as the country positioned itself more or less mid-way between Europe and America in terms of public philosophy and economic outlook. thought of the European project merely in terms of free movement of labor. capital and goods. But having endorsed the project for half a century.9% of Conservatives.
freedom of personal choice and opportunities for self-help. This was totally fair as she said she was not asking for any more money from the EU but simply: “What we are asking is for a very large amount of our own money back.” Once relieved of the need to generate Party loyalty she moved into a third highly critical phase as it became clearer and clearer what an ugly. She held her party together on the issue much more effectively than any of her now five successors as Tory leader. She was combative when across the English Channel be it at Brussels or Fontainebleau or Strasbourg. As leader she had to hold together a Party increasingly divided on the European issue. The rebate was a payment to the UK in order to compensate for a massive shortfall between what the UK put into the EU pot and what it got out. namely down the road of illiberal tendencies first observed by the IEA in the early 1970s. And for example she won a huge rebate. And Labour was against it so that was another good reason for Margaret Thatcher to be for it.
These days it is clear which way the EU went. “I want my money back.” This is often misquoted as. But as the EU went from a loose trading model toward federalism she became increasingly uneasy. There is no mention of the objectives to which these might be regarded as subsidiary or as means to a larger end: the independence. Thatcher’s second phase (essentially much of the ’70s and ’80s) was one of compromise at home and combat overseas. with traditional
1 The EEC (European Economic Community) is the former name of the EU. Dealing with Brussels
in his Hobart Paperback for the IEA entitled Rome or Brussels…? By 1971 he saw that:
A recent document … published with the authority of the Commission is described in its introduction as “not … formal proposals but as a substantial contribution to a wide ranging discussion of social policy. corrupt and deeply corrupting monster was growing in Brussels. Mrs. And that Britain. She wrote:
“That such an unnecessary and irrational superstate was ever embarked on will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era.20. ‘better quality of living’. ‘greater social justice’.” Yet it seems to go gratuitously far in its assumptions on what the peoples of the countries in the EEC1… may want. It says ‘the major aims of society’ are ‘full and better employment’. As it became clear that the project was rotten to its very core so more Conservative MPs joined the Euroskeptic circles.
There are a handful of Labour and Liberal Democrats with EU concerns. Polls suggest 63% of grass root Tory Party members and a majority of Tory MPs are Eurosceptic. but not many.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
strengths and global destiny. The EU does pose a real challenge today for her Party. With 56% of the public wanting nothing but a European common market one wonders: ŪŪ When will her party split in two? ŪŪ How long can the UK stay in the EU if so many are against it? and ŪŪ Will UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) gain enough support in Tory marginal seats to deny her party any real chance of power? What will become of her legacy?
. The Tory Party however is different.”
By 2002 she was openly asking the applicant countries not to join and declared that the UK needed either to renegotiate its terms of membership or simply withdraw. As the “free market” Common Market metamorphosed into the institutions described above so more and more Tories began to move against it. Labour while once opposed to this “free-market” Common Market now embraces it warmly and the Liberal Democrats were always on the side of the EU. should ever have become part of it will appear a political error of the first magnitude.
They flinched when she proclaimed in 1989 that she was “fit for 10 more years.
. and.” “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think. “Have the Brits gone mad?” many Americans asked me.
1 While she had won UK General Elections in 1979. well. there were many who owed their entire career to her. And she never lost a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. 1983 and 1987 and European Elections in 1979 and 1984. she was 3 and 0 in General Election victories1. and you would achieve nothing. if they attack one personally. She was never defeated at the polls. Resignation
“If you just set out to be liked. but equally many who felt overlooked. dominant world leader. you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time. There had been murmurs of disquiet starting soon after her third victory in 1987: “Just how long is she going to go on?” people asked.”
To most Americans the sudden departure of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in late 1990 was and still is a matter of great puzzlement. post-Reagan.” although many close to her thought she would win a fourth general election and then retire. After nearly a decade in office and well over a decade as Party Leader. she was an even more senior.21. under promoted or even unfairly dumped. it means they have not a single political argument left. she had just lost her first nationwide vote in June 1989 for the latter.
His career had peaked in the early 1970s when he had been a Parliamentary Private Secretary1 (PPS) at a minor department. If a week is a long time in politics (as Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said). Critics trace that one incident through her increasingly presidential style.
1 A PPS acts as a minister’s eyes and ears in Parliament. Meyer was the antithesis of Thatcher. for example. the loss of Howe and then Lawson. bad by-election results to Sir Anthony Meyer. Eton educated. the poll tax. It was also said that she did not promote the brilliant Jonathan Aitken MP because he had once broken off a romance with her daughter: “He made Carol cry!” It was also claimed no man with a bow tie could expect promotion. Her critics say the decline started as early as 1985 with the so-called Westland affair. In 1989. he’d spent years in the Foreign Office in the days when it was leaking secrets to Moscow. with a hereditary title and inherited wealth. making sure the minister is kept well informed of backbench opinion on his or her performance. There was never a chance he could win but the very fact that anyone ran against her signaled there was a chink in her armor. An appointment as a PPS is seen as the first rung on the ladder towards ministerial office. Later he would chair all manner of groups campaigning to abridge British sovereignty by joining the EU. A PPS cannot. Meyer was resoundingly humiliated on December 5. her Bruges speech. then fifteen years as leader and eleven as Prime Minister must seem like eons. The young Mrs. a complete unknown.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
It is said she never promoted an MP with a beard — there were three. There was ample of time for the numbers of the disaffected. the French rewarded him with a medal. ran against her for the leadership of the Conservative Party. when Michael Heseltine favored a European rescue and Leon Brittan favored the US firm Sikorsky. disappointed and disreputable to grow. be a member of a select committee or table an amendment to a Government Bill. PPSs are expected to vote with the government and to keep a low profile in the House. Thatcher MP herself jumped this bottom rung. Sir Anthony Meyer MP. and she supposedly did not trust any man with a beard.
” and press reports emerged that for 26 years he had been having an affair with black model and blues singer Simone Washington (who had kept a diary of their antics). He became a lecturer on EU matters. every leftist group in the country jumped on the anti bandwagon. As noted in Chapter 7. Over 100 people were injured and over 400 people ar1 The Community Charge was a fixed payment paid by all adults to their local authorities. the British system of local taxation was based on property values so that a retired widow with an empty nest.
. sensing trouble. 1990. say. defected to the Liberal Democrats. parks. was a terrible one for Prime Minister Thatcher and indeed it was to be her last in 10 Downing Street.000 to 3. Resignation
Margaret Thatcher Anthony Meyer Spoiled
314 33 24 3 374 281
Abstentions Total Electorate Majority
* A spoiled vote is one that is not filled in correctly or one on which.000 people marched on Westminster and a group of 3. could be paying the same amount as a family of five consuming vast amounts of public goods and services such as schools. using next to no local services. The result was the Community Charge1 which was quickly dubbed the ‘Poll Tax’ and. Two issues dominated and divided her cabinet and her party. swimming pools and libraries. and died in obscurity on Christmas Eve 2004. the voter has written a message or inserted another name. But the fact remained that votes for him plus abstentions plus spoiled amounted to 60. It replaced the rates system which was paid by all residential property owners based on the value of their home rather than the number occupying it. Nigel Lawson was to brand this “the most disastrous single decision” she ever made. Every year the press would feature stories of grotesque unfairness and ever since her brief spell as Shadow Environment Secretary in 1974 Prime Minister Thatcher had been wanting to reform the whole system.
Meyer’s own parliamentary constituency then voted 2 to 1 to deselect him on the grounds of “treachery. one very publicly and one more privately.500 turned violent.21. The next year. Civil unrest ensued culminating in a riot in central London where 70.
He resigned the very next day. It has been a privilege and an honour for me to have contributed to that success. Even Tories with safe seats trembled at such a Labour lead. which showed the following data:
Labour Conservatives Liberal Democrats Other Labour Lead over Conservatives 56% 32% 6% 6% +24%
Given that the most likely date for the next general election was only 18 months away.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
rested on that day alone and the damage costs exceeded $800. in the House of Commons. the issue which still splits the Conservative Party in two to this day. against the odds. Tory MPs with marginal seats were getting worried and nothing does more to bend the spine of an MP than the thought of losing his or her seat. top-down vision of a European superstate. to rebuild the economic and political strength of our nation.000. but the real clincher was the European Union. head of the European Commission and his federalist. It was clear that such civil unrest was affecting Prime Minister Thatcher’s standing in the party and in the polls.
. a BSE1 scare and a continental beef ban. Her answer for Delors (echoing de Gaulle’s “non” in 1967) was “No! No! No!” This was too much for her Deputy Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Howe. writing:
“I do so [resign] with very great regret. Your own strong leadership has been of crucial importance in making this possible. Almost sixteen years have passed since you asked me to serve as Shadow Chancellor. It can be transferred to humans. Prime Minister Thatcher launched a vigorous attack on Jacques Delors. On October 31. riots in a prison in the northern city of Manchester. There was a host of other minor problems such as a new burst of price increases.
1 Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) is an infectious degenerative brain disease occurring in cattle. Since then we have done so much together. centrist. high interest rates. who had been her first brilliant Chancellor.
Howe did not avail himself of this as he had lost his voice. then. no stonewalling. As I told you when you came to see me earlier this evening. That is my style. Although our principles have been sorely tested by opponents of the Government at different times over the last eleven years. or balls pitched at a batter’s head]. for a responsible society and for greater British influence in the world.21. speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in the City of London. Resignation
“Our work has been based on common values and shared beliefs— for economic and personal freedom. that their bat had been broken before the game by the team captain.”
Cleverly. “Your contribution to the philosophy of modern Conservatism and to the policies which we brought to Government in 1979 was great indeed. As Chancellor of the Exchequer. The bowling’s [pitching’s] going to get hit all round the ground [ball park]. I shall for ever be grateful for your distinguished service and your sturdy and unflinching support in difficult times. you took the main burden of implementing our economic policies: and you did so with courage and fortitude in the face of many attempts to push us off course. I very much regret your decision. coming unexpectedly after we have worked together for so long. Twelve days went by.”
Part of the British political tradition is that very soon after such senior resignations the person involved. It helped to ensure that we came to office with a clear and radical programme for changing Britain and reversing the decline of the Labour years. Howe replied the very next day to a jam-packed House of Commons and responded to her metaphor as follows:
“It is rather like sending your opening batsman [batter] to the crease [home plate] only for them to find the moment the first ball is bowled [pitched]. though the bowling [pitching] has been pretty hostile of late.”
. and in particular by the budget of 1981. The foundations of Britain’s economic success in the 1980s were laid in those earlier years. now free from the collective restraints of cabinet government.”
The Prime Minister replied:
“Thank you for your letter telling me of your decision to leave the Government and the reasons for it. makes a speech from his new seat on the backbenches. Prime Minister Thatcher used the following cricket-based metaphor:
“I am still at the crease [home plate]. no playing for time. I have always tried as best as I can to uphold and advance those principles in a way that united our Party and served the best interests of Britain. And in case anyone doubted it. can I assure you there will be no ducking the bouncers [bean balls.
Heseltine or “Hezza” was a major hitter having served in her Cabinet as Secretary of State for the Environment from 1979 to 1983 and as Secretary of State for Defense from 1983 to 1986. “My own!” he said. He was experienced.” he replied. he was also ambitious. 201 is a simple majority but if. a major publishing company.
. the dumped.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
The timing could hardly have been worse.3” There had also been that very significant rule change regarding the margin needed for victory on the first round. “Whose?” I asked. Take an easy example of 400 MPs. This was serious stuff even if he was a complete corporatist and not the sharpest blade in the kitchen2. Unlike the nondescript Meyer. photogenic and a rallying point for the Left. With his shock of brushed back long blond hair he was known as Tarzan. This is crucial in understanding what happened to Prime Minister Thatcher. This is a small change but it led to momentous events. A month later and the annual window of opportunity to challenge her leadership would have passed and she would have had 11 months to recover. It was not to be. totally intrigued. 2 Years later the author asked him. “What are you doing these days?” “Writing a biography. Prominent leftist Michael Heseltine (who had left her government in typically flamboyant style over the Westland Affair1 in 1986) rapidly moved to challenge her. the overlooked and the cowardly. Heseltine (at the time the Defense Minister) preferred a European consortium’s rescue package. While Thatcher wanted the American firm Sikorski Fiat to take over the company. he was wealthy having founded and built up Haymarket. In a two-horse race.
1 Westland was a British Helicopter firm that was going bust. say. “But isn’t that an autobiography?” I said. it had been changed from 15% of those voting to 15% of those entitled to vote. Because of the nature of the contest it was also feared that supporters of the other candidates would help Hezza to wound the Prime Minister mortally thus preparing the way for their man in the “coward’s round. despite the shareholders preferring the Sikorski deal. whereas in 1990 it had to be 15% of 400 — 57 versus 60. He was a big man in the jungle of politics. 3 See previous explanation in Chapter 8. twenty people abstained or spoiled their ballots then according to the 1965 rules the margin had to be 15% of 380.
more candidates could enter the second round the following week when only an absolute majority would be needed. On waking Morrison quickly claimed that he had more than enough pledges. Major was the ultimate beneficiary of her defeat. 1990. The result of the first ballot was:
1 The late Alan Clark MP once claimed he had gone to visit Morrison at his office only to find him fast asleep. If the second round failed to produce a winner the top two would go to a third round. And a fourth member of her camp John Major MP. Peter Morrison (MP for Chester) and Michael Neubert (MP for Romford) neither of whom had ever gotten very far at all.
. a signal that he was worried about her losing. Chancellor of the Exchequer. France rather than back at home campaigning2. if you haven’t won then there are a lot of Tory MPs who are lying. November 20. He said that to do so would send a sign of weakness.21. declined to cancel a minor dental operation and work the tea rooms and bars on her behalf. Prime Minister Thatcher was sufficiently confident of victory that she plus Morrison plus Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd MP were all at the Fontainebleau Summit. However there was none of the hard edge that Airey Neave and Bill Shelton had brought to her 1975 campaign against Heath and she privately worried that Morrison and Neubert believed everything the electorate of MPs said. Tuesday. The Thatcher leadership team consisted of George Younger (MP for Ayr).” sophisticated as in devious! On the big day. It would be kind to call them lackadaisical1. (Major states his PPS Graham Bright MP was his proxy). 2 “Prime Minister. a final push may have secured the four votes needed for an outright win for Prime Minister Thatcher. Resignation
As before.” said Morrison. After all they claim to be the “most sophisticated electorate in the world. While all of them (as far as we know) voted by proxy. who she knew was “heavily involved in his business affairs” as he had left his ministerial post to become Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland. “bungling. that they had 220 plus votes in the bag with a count of about 110 for Heseltine and some 40 plus yet undecided. idle and inept” would be more accurate as one MP who was there put it to me recently. They assured her that everything was going well. naive.
They were soon joined by others such as Norman Tebbit
1 Whether all were 100% firm in their support is doubtful given the natural instinct of many politicians.” News spread around the tiny village of Westminster and Thatcher loyalists in the junior ranks such as Michael Forsyth MP.
. So the contest moved to Round Two with Prime Minister Thatcher declaring “I fight on. Kenneth Baker MP. Norman Tebbit MP.
So it was a very clear victory and in 1965 she would have won but under the revised rules she failed by four votes. But as that Wednesday wore on a drama worthy of Shakespeare began to unfold. one by one they pledged their support1 and one by one they said she would lose. John Wakeham MP and Nicholas Ridley MP declared for her. Michael Portillo MP and Michael Fallon MP rushed to Number 10 to tell her to stand firm.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Margaret Thatcher Michael Heseltine Abstentions/spoiled Total Electorate Majority
204 152 16 372 52
* Note that the total electorate had fallen since Meyer’s challenge as the Conservative Party had lost Mid Staffordshire to Labour and Eastbourne to the Liberal Democrats. Their line was “Don’t risk eleven years of hard work being undone by Heseltine — make sure a safe pair of hands such as John Major takes over. And others such as Cecil Parkinson MP. Guided by Peter Morrison who for some reason was not sacked for failing on the first round (although George Younger was replaced by John Wakeham and Neubert simply disappeared) she began a long series of one on one meetings with each of her cabinet members.” Before returning to London she had Round Two support from Douglas Hurd MP and John Major MP.” She also commented: “It would be so terrible if Michael won… he would undo everything I fought for. respectively her Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer. Two MPs switching from Heseltine would have made the majority 56 and she would have hit the required level. I fight to win. Other than Ken Clarke.
“The only people peddling that line were the people who had voted for Heseltine” observed Davis! The next day. As she left Number 10 for the last time as Prime Minister she said: “We’re leaving Downing Street for the last time after eleven-and-ahalf wonderful years and we’re happy to leave the UK in a very much better state than when we came here. love.” had been the advice of her ever loyal Denis. 163
. The second round took place on Tuesday. John Major was declared leader of the Conservative Party by 1922 Committee Chairman Cranley Onslow MP with nineteen less votes than Prime Minister Thatcher had garnered! And he satisfied neither of the conditions needed to win! Bizarre.” A major chapter of British history had ended. Resignation
MP.21. “Don’t go on. and the result was:
John Major Michael Heseltine Douglas Hurd Majority Turnout 185 131 56 54 372
Technically Major (“the best of a very poor bunch” she reportedly said) was just short on both conditions for winning (as he did not get an absolute majority or a 15% majority over his nearest rival) but Heseltine and Hurd withdrew making a third ballot unnecessary. Chris Chope MP. Davis in particular warned her that her support was not crumbling. November 27. battered and bruised by this chorus of naysayers. I voted for her out of loyalty and now I will have to vote for what’s best for the party/ country/ constituency” was a complete Heseltine ruse and not to be believed at all. The oft heard line “Oh. she withdrew. Many felt that a Prime Minister should be forced out of office only by either Parliament (vote of confidence) or a General Election. George Gardiner MP and Edward Leigh MP. John Townend MP. Meanwhile Robert Dunn MP and David Davis MP were collecting the signatures of MPs for a letter they soon hand delivered to Number 10 asking her to fight on.
which was pretty much her prerogative as a former Prime Minister. Thatcher actually retiring is laughable to those who know her.22. That’s nearly half as long again as any American president can be president of the United States. The only post-war Prime Ministers not to have taken a
1 In the UK former Prime Ministers are normally referred to as Mr. Prime Minister1.”
. Mrs. Retirement
“I had the marvellous privilege of being there for 11½.” For a man who never held office in government and ended up in the House of Lords despite being a critic of the Upper House. X or Sir Y or Lord Z. Sixteen months after leaving Downing Street she would step down as MP for Finchley at the April ’92 General Election. Labour leader Neil Kinnock greeted this news in his usual fashion as follows: this is “one of her wiser judgments” as “she does not want to face losing her seat or at best going on the opposition benches. Margaret Thatcher is unique in that many people still address her as “Prime Minister. nearly 12 years. Thatcher expressed a desire to stay in politics — however. as a member of the House of Lords. this was rich indeed. Even today 6 years after being told by her doctors to slow down and take it easy she has a busy diary and even complained to me in my role as Director General of the IEA recently “you don’t invite me here often enough!” Yes.”
The idea of Mrs.
On re1 She gave $3 million. As a former Prime Minister she needed security and support and was much helped in this by Lord McAlpine. she glanced inside and asked “Oh! Is this the Patron’s office?”
. To her it was a “killing field the like of which I thought we would never see in Europe again. as a district. In return she was named Patron of THF — on walking by the vast suite which is the office of the President of THF. Over the next decades her achievements included: ŪŪ two huge best selling volumes of memoirs The Downing Street Years (1993) and The Path To Power (1995). Douglas. setting up offices on Great College Street literally yards away from Parliament. She entered the House of Lords in June 1992 as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven which. however. ŪŪ many major worldwide lecture tours particularly to the US and Japan. ŪŪ Statecraft (2002). Good leverage. a book of reflections on international affairs. ŪŪ the establishment of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation to which all her speaker fees went and which eventually paid for the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation (THF) in Washington DC1.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
peerage are Winston Churchill. includes the town of Grantham where she was born and raised. you would make Neville Chamberlain look like a warmonger.” A rumor even swept Westminster that on bumping into the Foreign Secretary (Secretary of State) Douglas Hurd she’d admonished him thus: “Douglas.” She became the 21st overall and first ever lady chancellor of southern Virginia’s College of William and Mary from 1993 to 2000. and ŪŪ many potent interventions in public debate. Edward Heath and John Major — they all took knighthoods. Cambridge. She was no Ted Heath. She followed matters in Serbia and Bosnia very carefully. but always declared her support for her successor. Back in her former spot on the backbenches she made few interventions in her remaining months in the Commons. ŪŪ the creation of a free enterprise Chair in her name at Cambridge University (a big mistake) along with the deposit of her papers at Churchill College. as long as they matched it two-for-one for a total of $9 million.
You have captured our hearts. Buckingham attracts many overseas students and I always chuckled as some foreign twenty-one year-old boy or girl would bow or curtsey. The one time I congratulated him on his stoicism. Retirement
tirement. To her it was simple.22. an absolute master. we will never forget the vital lessons that you have taught. The country thus owes him a great debt. “It’s wonderful to be here this evening. Sullivan said: “Lady Thatcher. Buckingham prides itself on its small classes. campaigning for a Conservative victory.” She also performed brilliantly from 1993 to 1998 as Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. She was by then utterly brilliant at such matters. “I can say that without President Pinochet’s considerable practical help in 1982. or cease to feel the powerful inspiration that you have given in the cause of liberal learning. in layers of golfing clothes to ward off the cold. he replied “Oh no! Margaret deserves all the credit. saying at the Plymouth rally. the President of William and Mary Timothy J. strengthened our resolve and changed our lives — and as a consequence we will never be the same. Therefore every graduation ceremony takes place in its local church and batches of students are wheeled in over a two day period. Every single one of them for six years received their diploma from Lady Thatcher and had their photo taken with her.” The 2001 General Election saw her on the campaign trail for the then Tory leader William Hague and for once she spontaneously displayed a jokey sense of humor. thinking Lady Thatcher was HM Queen Elizabeth and this was the thing to do. the UK’s first private university. It has no major amphitheatre. in the service of freedom and in the rich and noble history of English-speaking peoples. 167
. To her Pinochet had been a key ally in the Falklands War. which she had helped gain full status back in 1983 (see Chapter 6). sitting uncomplaining in the front row of seats). On several occasions she visited with or came to the defense of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet. Lady Thatcher would always smile graciously — with a slight laugh about her mouth — and help the miscreant to his or her feet.” I am not sure if he heard me correctly. It was an arduous task accomplished with great grace and savoir-faire (with Denis. many more of our servicemen would have lost their lives in the South Atlantic.
After thorough investigation involving a number of tests. That’s another book for someone else to write. They have therefore told her to cut back her program at once and in particular to avoid the undue strains that public speaking places on her.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
in this enterprising port of Plymouth. the spring of 2002 brought a less encouraging announcement. by James Bartholomew. I was told beforehand my arrival was unscheduled. Her personality is a presence in British politics. While it’s true that she has never since given a major public speech I witnessed her within months of these small strokes give a rousing four to five minute speech at a House of Lords reception for the Mont Pelerin Society 2002 London General Meeting. Lady Thatcher: What’s the solution? Author: I don’t have one. 2006. There is a sense in which she does not have to speak.
1 The Welfare State We’re In. With great regret she has decided to abide by this advice and to cancel all her speaking engagements. Her office issued the following statement: “Over recent months. a 50-somethingyear-old man approached her and gave her a big hardback book he’d written on the problems of the welfare state — he’d even inscribed it to her lavishly. She could not be stopped. It was a serious piece of scholarship.
. a large well-produced volume. Vaclav Klaus at the IEA on May 10.1
Lady Thatcher: What’s this about? Author: It’s about the problems of the welfare system and how we got where we are. At a reception for the Czech President Dr. but on the way here I passed a local cinema and it turns out you were expecting me after all. A silence — a refusal to endorse — can be as loud as praise. The billboard reads The Mummy Returns. Lady Thatcher [at age 76] has suffered a number of small strokes.” And people say she has no sense of humor! However. And at the opening of the foundation which houses her papers at Cambridge University she also spoke for several minutes. She remains robust in discussion. her doctors have told her that these can neither be predicted nor prevented.” They added that she would have to rest and take it easy and that she would never speak in public again.
She also continued to oppose the ever-encroaching European Union from the House of Lords stating in a passionate speech in 1993:
“This Conservative government. and I welcome sterling’s departure from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh attended. Thanks to the decision to float the pound. the strait-jacket of the second would be ruinous. composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber. commented: “Her real triumph was to have transformed not just one party but two. she made the solemn journey to the US for the funeral of her international ally and long time friend Ronald Reagan. Like the Maastricht treaty. In order not to upset the doctors. so that when Labour did 169
Lady Thatcher: (hitting the author vigorously on his left arm with the large book. She was a few minutes late because President Bush II phoned just as she was about to leave her Chester Square home. who as noted earlier had banned her from public speaking in 2002. and celebrated with a huge party at Hyde Park’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Her nemesis Geoffrey Howe. bring me solutions!
If he had not inscribed the book to her. The first is a prerequisite to the fulfilment of the second.) Don’t bring me problems. we now have a chance to follow an economic policy that puts British needs first. (See extracts from her eulogy below in Chapter 24.”
In 2004. she pre-recorded her eulogy to the late President and it was played on large screens to the assembled crowds. I believe she would have handed it back. media mogul Rupert Murdoch. our democratic institutions. the ERM in no way represents what is best for British interests.22. should have as its main priority the maintenance of our constitutional freedoms. now Lord Howe of Aberavon. actress Joan Collins and the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.) She turned 80 on October 13. young man. Because I believe in these principles so deeply I cannot support the ratification of the Maastricht treaty. like its predecessors. We found the confines of the first unbearable. The ERM and Maastricht are inextricably linked. As she entered the hall. the applause from the assembled guests was led by former MP Michael Portillo and this author — neither of us happened to have a drink in hand and we were therefore free to clap — and clap loudly and holler “bravo.” At every turn there where household names from every walk of life including: TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson. 2005. and the accountability of Parliament to the people.
Asked on TV in late 2005 what her mom did for fun now. She’s not very well. right across the political spectrum. but bronze will do. In September of the same year she visited Washington DC for the official memorial service marking the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. in November 2006 led her to say the following:
“Milton Friedman revived the economics of liberty when it had been all but forgotten. daughter Carol replied:
“Not a lot. Never was there a less dismal practitioner of a dismal science. I shall greatly miss my old friend’s lucid wisdom and mordant humour. isn’t it?”
But despite this Lady Thatcher continues to remain active in British politics. He was an intellectual freedom fighter. The death of her great University of Chicago mentor. She’s got to a ripe old age really and if you hold down that sort of job for eleven and a half years something’s going to blow a gasket on you. Milton Friedman. This was perhaps best shown by the turnout in 2007 for the unveiling of her statue in the Members’ Lobby in the House of Commons where members from all sides of both Houses. In April 2006 she flew to the States for the funeral of US Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.”
. One MP joked to the author: “The statue is nearly as intimidating as Margaret herself. the great bulk of Thatcherism was accepted as irreversible. that she “might have preferred iron. Lady Thatcher has rendered those aspects of socialism mere archaeology. The Labour Party remains convinced that the state should provide schooling and health care but it has abandoned all regard for nationalization or price controls. who had so staunchly supported her during the Falklands War and had helped to persuade the administration to come down in her favor. indeed the politics of Thatcherism have never gone away and their influence can be seen on all of the parties in the UK.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
eventually return.” This may be her greatest praise. Lady Thatcher herself said of the bronze statue.” adding that it was “an honor” as all other statues of Prime Ministers in the Members’ lobby have been erected posthumously. turned out to see the unveiling. standing 7’ 4” atop a 3’ plinth.
Come the day she passes on. she will receive the ultimate honor of a State funeral. something normally reserved for senior members of the royal family. Wellington. Palmerston.22. Such an accolade will put her right up there with Churchill.
. Gladstone and Darwin. Nelson.
he kept his mouth shut. Duke of York. But with Denis there.”
“I couldn’t have done it without Denis. What a husband.”
It is hard to overestimate the support of Denis. who is the second son of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and fourth in the line of succession to 173
“They are taking it all in their stride. he once terminated a late night press briefing with two loud words from the back of the room: “Margaret — BED!” He loved quoting Mark Twain:
“Better keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt. However. In a sense.” He called journalists “reptiles” and he never gave an interview. aged 88:
“Being PM is a lonely job. second. His motto was “always present. it ought to be — you cannot lead from a crowd. As Lady Thatcher said upon his death in 2003.23. Whatever comes.”
His secret was twofold: first he did not let being her consort dominate his life — he kept his own interests and his own schedule to some extent. What a man. his patience could be tested. What a friend. never there. I was never alone. they take it.”
In that line the following conversation with the Duchess of York (the former wife of Prince Andrew.
South London. During World War II.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
the throne after Charles. Margaret Thatchers. His daughters Beatrice and Eugenie are fifth and sixth in line) was once reported:
Duchess of York: Oh. He joined Atlas Preservatives in 1933 straight from school. It was in turn bought by Burmah Oil Company of which he became Divisional Director of Control and Planning.
. don’t I? Denis: Yes. He became famous for his games of golf with close friend Bill Deedes. former Cabinet Minister and former editor of The
1 Sixth form equals 11th and 12th grade. Denis never talked of her publicly and only broke his silence to his daughter Carol. Denis was educated at boarding school. the marriage over so quickly that if Denis had been a Catholic he could have asked for an annulment. Denis. retiring in 1975. It is often said that there was a striking physical resemblance between the two Mrs. She moved on and they soon divorced. Born in 1915 in Lewisham. Denis sold the family business to Castrol in the mid 1950s for a sum that in today’s world would be many millions. on divorce the first Margaret immediately married Sir Howard Hickman Bt. ma’am. I do get awful press. Poor eyesight limited him to general staff duties. Has it occurred to you to keep your mouth shut?
His grandfather ran a successful business in New Zealand making weed killer to keep train lines free of such impediments and his father moved to England as a young man to establish a parent company called Atlas Preservatives. a former MP. The daughter of a Hertfordshire jeweler called Leonard Kempson. William and Harry. a real character and a real gentleman. the same year his wife became leader of her Party. He was an immensely popular man. It was then involved in many kinds of liquids and chemical production and he started at the bottom. In 1941 he met a Margaret Kempson at an officers’ tea dance and they married in 1942 but because of the war they never set up a home together as Denis was very quickly posted abroad. finishing at the world famous Mill Hill Sixth Form College1. he served in the Territorial Army (the reserves) rising to the rank of Major and being awarded an MBE.
In those days British theatres were not allowed to open on Sundays. I have vivid memories of trying to work in my conservatory as my neighbor practiced her lines outside in her garden.
. is switched to Chequers and as a result the drinks cabinet is locked. “Dear Bill” was a huge hit although Angela told me she would get very nervous as John Wells would insert extemporaneous material from that day’s papers at every performance to which she had to react without notice or warning. At the height of the success of the play the Prime Minister and Mr. so what? The British satirical magazine Private Eye started a fortnightly (every two weeks) letter from Denis to Bill entitled “Dear Bill” all about life behind the scenes at Number 10 and the Prime Minister’s weekend residence Chequers. However they could open for a charity performance which they duly did one Sunday with the Thatchers traveling all of 300 yards from Downing Street to the Whitehall Theatre. It takes a certain sang froid or pretty cool attitude to agree to give up an evening to see yourself and your husband/wife mercilessly parodied on stage with several hundred people laughing at it. then unknown. She worked hard on one single word namely “Denis” because that was her first word and it was meant to be delivered with a certain authority. playing Margaret. Written by Richard Ingrams and John Wells this was turned into a stage play with Wells himself playing Denis and the actress Angela Thorne1. The play also pokes fun at some of the Thatcher’s closest allies:
Major2: ‘Having as our objective the immediate limiting of the money supply. the author’s then next door neighbor. His joy of having the place to himself is short lived as the Summit. The plot centers around Denis’s desire for a stiff drink. And if there was no tonic. but a character referred to as the Major. 2 Not John Major.’
1 Her son is Rupert Penry-Jones.23. as envisaged by Professor Milton Schulman. He was also known for his thirst quenching large gin and tonics. The play follows Denis’s quest for the key to the cabinet and the lengths he will go to in order to get it. Thatcher agreed to attend a performance. Family
Daily Telegraph. Denis goes to Chequers (the Prime Minister’s country retreat) and invites some of his drinking buddies for a weekend while the Prime Minister is away at a European Summit. on short notice. an accomplished actor in the UK. one of Denis’s friends.
This meant that his wife Margaret became Lady Thatcher while still an MP in the Com1 “Major” said with a German accent. She’s been told twice. broken veins. adherents of Trotskyism.” On marriage: “For 40 years I have been married to one of the greatest women the world has ever produced. Schubert: He talked at first good common sense. small as it may be. becoming Sir Denis Thatcher 1st Baronet Thatcher of Scotney in the County of Kent.
And the Cabinet:
Schubert: Ah. I agree that might seem more than average qualifications for determining the country’s economic future.
But the play and the letters made Denis into a major celebrity in his own right and his one-liners often made the news. Denis was made a Baronet. that does rather narrow the field. Margaret’s taken rather a shine to him though.. myself.
. I’d much prefer a fountain pen. but quite an agreeable little man with gold-rimmed spectacles. 2 Gays.. a theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky.” Warning people about gifts of heavy statues: “When I was at Burmah Oil. Maggie: Mayor1? Schubert: Beer belly. so this is her last chance. 3 Trotsky-ites. and vice versa. Maggie: Willie Whitelaw? Jim Prior? It could be practically any member of my Cabinet from the description. Asked about his wife being ill and stopping public speaking: “She’ll be all right as long as she listens to us.” After a particularly nasty BBC TV interview of the Prime Minister: “She was stitched up by bloody BBC poofs2 and trots. I’m told he has already bankrupted the economies of Chile and Israel. All I could produce. Milton Schulman on the other hand is some sort of Canadian extap-dancer. was love and loyalty. the Government of Burma gave us two ten-ton statues. Prime Minister! Strange advisors you have. bloodshot eyes mit big bags. Major: What has he got to do with it? Denis: In practice very little. albeit a rather talkative wife. Maggie: Ah..Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Maggie: Friedman. and the people most likely to read Socialist Worker..3“ In 1991.
Carol “I was not nearly as newsworthy as Mark. In 1991 she refused to pay the Community Charge or “poll tax” and when asked by journalists what her mother would think of this she replied. then it is almost certain that Carol was her dad’s and Mark was very much his mom’s. London. Yes it meant she had access but it also cut the number of places where she could work. It also meant that son Mark became Sir Mark Thatcher 2nd Baronet on the passing of Denis in 2003. Education Secretary Thatcher was worried that some violent leftist nutcase students might target her daughter.” If the parents had a favorite among their children. Carol read law (in the early 1970s) at University College. (Below the Parapet: the Biography of Denis Thatcher.”
1 Jonathan Aitken was a Conservative MP who reportedly was denied a Cabinet post by Margaret as he “made Carol cry. Family
mons. 1996). of course. She has never married and recently described herself as a “roaming singleton” and “past my sell-by date for that sort of thing.” He was later charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice and was jailed in 1999 for several years. Carol clearly inherited Denis’s plain speaking. A career in journalism followed as did her diary of the 1983 General Election (Diary of an Election: with Margaret Thatcher on the Campaign Trail. She telephoned Conservative student leaders such as myself in London asking that we all be alert to any danger to her daughter. Educated at St Paul’s boarding school for girls. 1983) and a wonderful biography of Denis. And she always — in her younger years — felt in the shadow of Mark. however been a string of relationships.23.” There has. became Lady Thatcher in her own right when moving to the House of Lords in 1992. a top establishment. However Carol kept her head down and remained pretty anonymous. She certainly never attended a student Conservative meeting.
. And his American son will one day become the 3rd Baronet. “Mom won’t give a ----. She. including as already noted a well-publicized romance with Jonathan Aitken1 in the 1970s. Being a journalist and daughter of the Prime Minister was however a bit of a two edged sword.
Denis flew out to join the search and Mark was eventually spotted from the air 30 miles off course. He cleverly eschewed higher education and entered accountancy only to leave after failing the exam three times.” (Jonathan Aitken) It would be kind to say Mark struggled at Harrow. He first came to national prominence in January of 1982 as retold in the Preface when competing with a very pretty French lady co-driver (Charlotte Verney) in the Paris to Dakar automobile rally.” She started the two-week-long jungle stay as the bookie’s rank 33 to 1 outsider but as the program developed she gathered momentum and saw off a lot of more famous TV stars. ready humor and doughty toughness rapidly endeared her to the eight million viewers and helped her to outmaneuver better known personalities.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
From being a minor celebrity she leapt to prominence in late 2005 when she won the British reality TV series.) “…a kind of low-order pantomime rent-a-spiv. what are you doing here?” Denis was not amused.
.” Chip off the old block? When asked if she had called Lady Thatcher with news of her victory.” (Anon. problematic business deals and a role in a failed African coup unfolded as he became famous for arrogance. the top public school. Dad.” (Sunday Telegraph) “Carol never had a good word to say about Mark. Carol replied: “I don’t know her number.” Mark “Mark has one topic of conversation — himself. A life of scrapes. boorishness and infidelity. They went missing for six days in the Sahara Desert. pop stars and comedians as “her unflinching honesty. When the rescue mission ended. Get Me Out of Here. “Hello. In 1985 allegations were made (which he has always denied) that he received a substantial commission on the $40 billion Saudi Al Yamamah arms deal signed by his mother. Mark’s response on seeing Denis was. “I’m a Celebrity. Mark Thatcher Racing was wound up and several more failed career attempts followed.
” He was finally arrested August 25. By this time Mark Thatcher’s dealings had become so newsworthy that Mark Hollingsworth and Paul Halloran. They moved to the Republic of South Africa (RSA) in 1995 “because of allegations against Mark Thatcher of racketeering that resulted in an $8 million civil action. paid a fine of $500. ŪŪ “At dinner parties he would be rude to me in front of other people as though he was trying to show who was boss”. Divorce soon followed and Lady Thatcher (Diane. Specifically he was thought to have funded the purchase of a helicopter to be used in a military coup in Equatorial Guinea. a very rich suburb of Cape Town. not Margaret) gave some interesting insights to British press: ŪŪ Mark has a short attention span and does not “think straight”.23. an equally rich suburb of Dallas. Michael (born 1989) and Amanda Margaret (born 1993).
. Texas.000 and received a four-year suspended sentence. ŪŪ “If I was struggling with bags at an airport. two investigative journalists from the UK. he was refused entry back to the US and went home to mom in London. ŪŪ “I want closure with Mark Thatcher. he’d look back at me impatiently”. Michael will one day be the 3rd Thatcher Baronet. After his arrest in South Africa and now armed with a criminal record. ŪŪ Mark called his mother “Prime Minister” even in private. where he was representing the Lotus car company. He was charged with contravening two sections of the RSA’s Foreign Military Assistance Act. The result was a 391 page book outlining every episode from the arms deals in the Middle East to construction contracts in the Gulf to the coup in Equatorial Guinea. They had two children. He was bailed and put under house arrest while his wife and children returned home to Highland Park. Texas. Family
In 1987 he married the car dealership heiress Diane Burgdorf in Dallas. and to show him Christian humility does not include being his personal doormat”. ŪŪ Despite all the scandals he is still his mom’s “blue-eyed boy”. decided to catalogue all of his business deals and attempts at a career. Mark eventually made a deal. 2004 in Constantia.
A week earlier the government of Equatorial Guinea had issued an international warrant for Mark’s arrest.
. After all.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ŪŪ When Mark and Diane visited and stayed at 10 Downing Street in 1987. his mom “hand washed all of Mark’s shirts. eleven months after divorcing his first wife. pressed them and folded them neatly in little plastic bags for traveling”. California and confronting him and his latest lover. sister of Viscountess Rothermere. and finally ŪŪ “I don’t think Mark ever left his mum.” One wonders how Baroness (Margaret) Thatcher got on with her forthright now ex-daughter in law Lady (Diane) Thatcher. secretly tailing him to a hotel in Santa Monica. ŪŪ “Mark used to refer to moments like that as ‘little spurts of mothering’. Sounds to me like the two Lady Thatchers have a lot in common! There is in fact now a third Lady Thatcher as in late March 2008 Sir Mark married Sarah Russell. Her opinion matters more than mine and he enjoyed her company more that mine. the latter hired a private detective to uncover one of Mark’s extramarital affairs and another time did the job herself.
He was the one who taught her the importance of integrity.” “I am sure that he never imagined that I would eventually become Prime Minister. her great domestic ally Sir Keith Joseph Bt.”
Other than Denis three men dominated Margaret Thatcher’s life and three others deserve a gold-plated mention too. He was the foundation on which she built: “I owe almost everything to my father” she once said. The Rotary motto ‘Service above Self’ was engraved on his heart. He would have wanted these things for me because politics was so much a part of his life and because I was so much his daughter. “He taught me that you first sort out what you believe in. Sir Alan Walters and Lord (Ralph) Harris of High Cross. Alf
“My father was a Rotarian. and I very rarely change it. You don’t compromise on the things that matter.”
Alf (as we saw in earlier chapters) was extraordinarily important. The three who deserve the gold-plated mention are Sir Alfred Sherman. You then apply it. The three who dominated are her father Alf Roberts.24. Men
“I usually make up my mind about a man in ten seconds.” 181
. and her great overseas ally President Ronald Reagan.
I had thought I was a Conservative but I now see that I was not really one at all. They came together over her Private Member’s Bill. high tea and supper together above the shop every single day. you did your duty wherever it may lie. she sure learned a great deal in her dad’s small business. You had to stick at it and see it through to the end. Milton Friedman and Lord (Ralph) Harris for her economic theory. Hayek. and when that was not possible. she wanted him to run against Heath. Keith had grown up in comfort as father. Alf taught her tenacity too. His father also served for a time as the Lord Mayor of London. In 1975 he famously said “it was only in April 1974 that I was converted to Conservatism.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Daily through his work in the shop he showed her by example how important the customer was in a market economy. or achieve what I did as Prime Minister.A.”
Thatcher’s career was deeply entwined with that of Sir Keith Joseph Bt. and you acted on principle. you saved. he asked her to help set up the Centre for Policy Studies. But I do not repent. a baronet. you were self-reliant. Bovis. And he then served in her cabinet as Secretary of State for Industry from 1979 to 1981 and as Secretary of State for Education and Science from 1981 to 1986. But he was by no means an easy man and in dealing with him you always felt on tenterhooks. one of the biggest construction companies in the country. Joseph was undoubtedly Margaret Thatcher’s closest political friend and ally. lunch. they suffered in Cabinet together from 1970 to 1974. without Keith. You worked hard. It was not good enough just to start something. he supported her.”
And indeed many of those homilies or parables came from Alf as they ate breakfast. While she later credited F. Those parables would have saved many a financier from failure and many a country from crisis. Keith
“I could not have become Leader of the Opposition.” 182
. headed the family firm. Sir Samuel Joseph. In 1982 she said:
“Some say I preach merely the homilies of housekeeping or the parables of the parlor.
But the common thread was the relentless search for the right answer to the practical problems of human suffering. But in the 1970s he was extraordinarily courageous in taking his and her new brand of conservatism on to campus.” Joseph turned out to be a very timid member of Prime Minister Thatcher’s Cabinet and it is hard to credit him with any of the great reforms of the 1980s. Given the nickname “The Mad Monk. unlike so many modest men. particularly those he saw living in deprived.”
She later added:
“We were seeking to re-establish an understanding of the fundamental truths which had made Western life. He was (that overworked. yet by nature he was timid. Not one. surrounded by police officers. British life. reading a copy of the newspaper Socialist Worker.” he visited virtually every university in the UK preaching the gospel of the free market. he had really nothing to be modest about. Lady Thatcher summed Keith up as follows:
“Keith Joseph had the charm of a hundred paradoxes. unfulfilled lives. Thatcher cooperated fully. stunted. He was brave.”
.24. A clever Conservative Central Office publicist had a poster made up using this photo and captioned it: “He reads Socialist Worker — Trots throw eggs. Many jokes would be made … about the way in which he changed his mind and reversed policies on matters ranging from housing to social benefits.” It was a very powerful and effective statement on many levels. but in this case appropriate word) “brilliant”. Its mission was to develop a new free-market conservatism. and the life of the English-speaking peoples what they were. He was a modest man. It remains the foundation for any successful Conservative programme of government. but. yet he never indulged in intellectual virtuosity. As she noted: “Keith had gone into politics for the same reason as many on the left had done — he wanted to improve the lot of ordinary people. There was a famous photo of him walking along a college corridor. This was the foundation of our Conservative revolution. Men
His Damascene moment led him to set up the Centre for Policy Studies in which Mrs. attracting crowds of many hundreds and almost as many eggs and vegetables. His suit was splattered with eggs that were literally running down his body.
on your victory in the presidential election? Remembering our meeting in London in 1978. I hope you already know that you will receive the warmest welcome from both the Government and the people of this country when you can find an opportunity to visit Britain. I believe.
. Roosevelt. but the quality of the time is as important if not more so than the quantity and there was a rare magic to the ThatcherReagan relationship. which I hope will be soon. I look forward to an early opportunity of discussing with you the urgent problems which we all face. And on Reagan being elected as the US President she sent him a letter of congratulations saying: “May I send you my warmest congratulations.”
1 At the suggestion of Justin Dart (as in Walgreens). It was based on many things but above all it was a common understanding of the “evil empire” and a common belief in the free-market economy. 2 Margaret was so struck by Denis’s enthusiasm that she obtained a copy of Reagan’s speech. and those of my colleagues in the British Government. Both meetings went superbly well and they were the foundation of a very special meeting of minds and close relationship. was to write a letter of thanks to Prime Minister Thatcher on January 11. 1989. his last official act. They knew in their hearts that the former was doomed and that the latter was the only road ahead. play a crucial role in strengthening cooperation within the alliance.”
And then there was Ronald Reagan. You will be assuming the presidency at a time when the close friendship between our two countries can.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
“One of the greatest men of our time. And early in their relationship he said that their friendship made the “special relationship stronger than ever.” He won the Cold War “without firing a shot…not without a little help from his friends. They became so close that the very last thing President Reagan did as President. I look forward to working closely with you and with your colleagues in your new Administration. “one of the greatest men of our time. They first met in 19751 at the House of Commons and then again in 1978 but she had had her eye on him since the late 1960s when Denis returned to their home “full of praise” for a speech Reagan had just given at the Institute of Directors2.” It is also claimed he made her feel very feminine.” It is said that they spent more time together than any other post World War II US and UK leaders except possibly Churchill and Franklin D.
Against great opposition at home. aircraft fuel. and the IRA. she pre-recorded her tribute.” Yes.” “Ronald Reagan knew his own mind. “he won the Cold War.” She noted that. “His resolve was firm and unyielding…Yet his ideas. military equipment. a great American. Communism. He had also had a grace of a deeper kind and he had inspired America to rediscover its belief in freedom. but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform. Under his leadership a moribund economy became one of opportunity and growth. It starts as follows:
“We have lost a great president. were never simplistic. I believe. The US invasion of the former British colony of Grenada (he did not warn her) strained matters but she was soon risking the anger of the far Left. like her. When the world threw problems at the White House. or overwhelmed. he imposed economic sanctions on Argentina and his administration provided missiles. he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion. he acted upon them decisively. And I have lost a dear friend. Whereas others had looked for accommodation with the USSR. and intelligence information to the British government. Men
The strength of the relationship was first tested in 1982 when the President supported the Prime Minister on the Falklands War. though clear. He knew almost instinctively what to do.”
She noted how “cheerful” and “invigorating” it had been to be with him. He had firm principles — and. by letting him use US bases in England to bomb Libya. He saw the many sides of truth. 2004 at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. But his task had been “daunting” as his goal had been “to mend…. his speech writers knew what to say and what to omit. in order for Lady Thatcher to pay tribute and stick to doctors’ orders.24. or disorientated.” She remarked on his “lightness of spirit” and the purpose of his humor. right ones. For President Reagan’s funeral on June 11.
. He expounded them clearly. and a great man. he was not baffled.
’ We here still move in twilight. He was expelled from the Communist Party for “Titoist1 deviationism” and through a career as a journalist moved to a free-market position. And when one did emerge Ron stepped forward and shook his hand. “Nothing was more typical of Ronald Reagan than that large-hearted magnanimity — and nothing was more American. and then became a communist machine gunner for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. He served in the British Army in World War II and then enrolled at the London School of Economics. he lifted up the world. in Bucharest.
. But we have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. in Kiev and in Moscow itself — the world mourns the passing of the Great Liberator and echoes his prayer “God Bless America”.” “He was able to say ‘God Bless America’ with equal fervor in public and in private. and as heaven’s morning broke. in Warsaw. He was best known for organizing the anti-fascist resistance movement and fighting Soviet influence.”
“97% of what he wrote was beyond the pale. in Sofia. I like to think — in the words of Bunyan — that ‘all the trumpets sounded on the other side. 3% was pure gold. And so today the world — in Prague. in Budapest.”
Alfred (later Sir Alfred) Sherman was as unlikely a person to advise a future Conservative leader as ever lived.” Ron and the American people “loved America and what it stands for — freedom and opportunity for ordinary people. He grew up with rickets. We have his example.”
She finished the taped speech:
“For the final years of his life. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God’s children.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
While denouncing the “evil” empire. he wished men of goodwill might emerge. For we may be sure that the Big Fella Upstairs never forgets those who remember Him. Ronnie’s mind was clouded by illness. That cloud has now lifted.” She went on:
“With the lever of American patriotism. And as the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset.
1 Tito was the first Prime Minister of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1945–53 and its second President 1953–80. He is himself again — more himself than at any time on this earth. in grinding poverty.
Sir Alan Walters was throughout the Thatcher era one of her most trusted and senior advisers.24. Alan
“You know what you can do best. Men
becoming one of the co-founders of the Centre for Policy Studies with Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher. Alfred Sherman was probably of greater influence in the Opposition years but he acted as a sort of conscience for her when she was Prime Minister. “Not if she sees him coming he doesn’t. Alfred Sherman only ever upbraided.” He was an utterly irascible man — very difficult indeed and by 1984 he was sacked. Courtiers flatter. Keith Joseph always said he left politically chastened by the logic and with mild indigestion from the greasy food even though all he ate was a piece of toast. Heath would still be leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. to bring back in an official role a person that the last Tory 187
. British politics is mostly inhabited by the smooth and the mannerly. He did so invariably. Thatcher admired him and it was said that while 97% of what he wrote was beyond the pale 3% was pure gold. Sir Alfred was a welcome exception. not as a Tory. He wrote many of Keith’s speeches and did much to stimulate Margaret Thatcher’s thinking. Mr. Powell would be invited to concur with the Sherman thesis that the Conservatives were being over cautious or over timid. Sherman also hosted a curious weekly breakfast conspiracy with Enoch Powell and Keith Joseph in a humble café near Victoria Station. This was a rather bold move by her. and you know what needs doing. All of this was designed to bolster Keith’s will and it probably did embolden him to encourage Prime Minister Thatcher on the major privatizations. Mrs. Alan served as her personal economic adviser from 1981–1984 and again in 1989. this was an oddity. As Powell sat then as an Ulster Unionist. but remained a ‘friend of the family’ throughout her time as Prime Minister. When asked in 1987 if Sherman still had the Prime Minister’s ear the then Conservative Party Chairman Norman Tebbit replied.” He was brilliant but difficult. Keith described him as the “hair shirt” of the Conservative Party while he (Sherman) claims that he “invented Margaret Thatcher” and without him “Mr.
At first Alan had doubts about Prime Minister Thatcher. Ministers decide. She made it clear to Lawson that Alan was no threat and that he would stay. In fact it was only thanks to Alan’s sound economic advice that she managed to hold off the onslaught of Europhile guff from two of her leading ministers for so long. It caused the resignation of both Lawson and Alan. but the row continued leading Prime Minister Thatcher to state publicly “Advisors advise. Alan then in the same afternoon also resigned as he felt the government “needed a clean slate” in order to go on governing effectively. Both Howe and Lawson pressured her to take the UK into the ERM. While ministers would tell her what was popular Alan would simply tell her what was right. simply by speaking to her he saw her conviction and her willingness to do what was right which shone through in her actions. But his mind was soon changed. Without his advice it is doubtful whether the UK would have the strong economy it enjoys today. such as suspending and later abolishing exchange rate controls.” Undoubtedly what Alan is most remembered for publicly these days (despite his part in the 1981 Budget) is for the bust up he and Prime Minister Thatcher had with Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson. Thatcher an ultimatum. he goes or I go. she was still fond of him. She used the same rhetoric as Heath did in the early days and Alan was worried that the results would be the same. so Lawson promptly resigned. Despite Alan’s resignation even after she asked him to stay on. and you know what needs doing. The high esteem in which Alan was held by Prime Minister Thatcher is clearly evidenced when he asked her for his terms of reference. This of course was not true at all.” This was not enough for Lawson who offered Mrs. 188
. Alan was in many ways the most important advisor she had in Downing Street. However the battle over the ERM was not without its casualties. Lawson was convinced that Alan was undermining his position as Chancellor.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Prime Minister Ted Heath had fired after daring to contradict the advice of Heath’s other advisors over the rapid expansion of the money supply. It was the intercession of Keith and Alfred that brought Alan back to Downing Street after his bad experiences with Heath. She simply replied: “You know what you can do best.
. there was Ralph Harris.” came the reply.” was the answer. “I think I want to become a teacher. Andrews University and wrote leaders for the Glasgow Herald before heading south back to London. the dividing line between a white collar career and a blue collar one. albeit part time. After two years in the military. About the age he should have been leaving school (say. He went to his boss and begged him to employ their long-term unemployed communist dad so Alan could stay on at school and matriculate. It was the first time any external student had topped all the internal ones. Both came from modest backgrounds in the deeply provincial East Midlands.
Finally. His Dad was an active communist. “Do you know anything about anything?” his former teacher replied. at the end of World War II. Lord Harris of High Cross. lectured at St. Both were natural fighters. but a teacher in his secondary modern school saw real talent and encouraged him. the dad was hired and Alan got his diploma. He then worked for the Conservative Party. North London. “Well. “No — everything I knew has been drilled out of me. employee of the newly created Institute of Economic Affairs. Alan enrolled locally to do an external degree from London University and became the first external student ever (and possibly since) to garner the highest grades of all the students. The boss agreed. Men
Alan was a remarkable man. in that case you had better study economics as it starts from the basis of no prior knowledge.” he said. He studied economics at Cambridge immediately post World War II but fell under the spell of Dennis Robertson and Stanley Dennison both free-market men rather than Joan Robinson and the Keynesians. but perhaps most fundamentally. Alan failed the British 11+ exam. Ralph
“It is primarily your foundation work which enabled us to rebuild the philosophy upon which our Party succeeded. In January 1957. hired by Antony Fisher. There was a natural affinity between Alan and the Prime Minister. Ralph came from a modest working class home in Tottenham.24.” —Margaret Thatcher to Lord Harris. 14) Alan’s brother was drafted. he became the first. Alan went back to his mentor.
Yes. Baroness Young1 — but these six were pivotal: Alf.” And later the authors recount her closing words thus: “At the top of the stairs. What was not so public was that between 1974 and 1979 Margaret Thatcher attended many IEA events and read its monographs. You must start with beliefs. She had a long list of urgent tasks ahead of her. she stopped to reflect on the morning’s discussion. The Thatcherite revolution itself was unexpected. always with beliefs. As Lady Thatcher she later commented on the PBS series Commanding Heights “It is primarily your foundation work which enabled us to rebuild the philosophy upon which our Party succeeded. That was all public.
1 Baroness Young served Margaret not as head of any great department but from 1981–1983 as Leader of the House of Lords. it started with ideas. Indeed. Ralph Harris had a charm and geniality that beguiled her. at the Institute for Economic Affairs. Yes. He made classical liberal economic ideas fun as well as simple.’ ” There were many other important men in her life — she only ever promoted one woman to Cabinet.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Twenty two years later Mrs. One of the first was to write to Fisher saying that the IEA had “created the climate of opinion which made our victory possible. Ronald. and Lord Harris. He was amusing and not in awe of her. Who in the 1970s would have anticipated the degree of change? ‘It started with Sir Keith and me. Alfred. with beliefs. ‘That’s it.” Another was to ask that Ralph be made a member of the House of Lords as soon as possible. Ralph in turn helped her with speeches and the CPS with its development. At first they — the authors and staff — were outcasts but gradually they attracted a following and by the mid 1970s they were clearly impacting opinion. starting in 1955 the IEA had long made the case for free market.’ She paused. private property and the rule of law. Thatcher entered Downing Street. with the Centre for Policy Studies. She later had her PPS sound out Ralph on becoming a Minister but he refused and sat resolutely as a crossbencher as in an independent. Alan and Ralph. Keith.
11th Harold Wilson.” So what did she stand for? Above all she was a conviction politician. 10th Stanley Baldwin. she was the longest serving Prime Minister of that century. 2nd Clement Attlee. 7th Lord Salisbury. 4th Sir Winston Churchill. 3rd Edward Heath. The other side have got an ideology.25.”
She was the first woman leader of a major Western political party. 20th Neville Chamberlain. 18th John Major. 13th James Callaghan. 15th Andrew Bonar Law. As the leftist Tony Benn said on her 80th birthday:
1 The full list goes as follows: 1st Margaret Thatcher. 19th Sir Anthony Eden. 16th Ramsay MacDonald. she was the only person in the 20th century to win three successive British general elections. we must have one too. 8th Herbert Asquith. and historian Francis Beckett ranks her number one1 “best Prime Minister” of the 20 who served in the 20th century! And in 2005 senior British commentator Charles Moore dubbed her (with no offence to HM the Queen) “the greatest living Englishwoman. she was voted the 16th greatest Briton ever by the left-leaning BBC. so there is less responsibility for us to assume” “We must have an ideology. Her World
“As more power is taken away from the people. 12th Tony Blair. 5th Harold Macmillan.
. 6th Sir Henry CampbellBannerman. 9th David Lloyd George. 14th Arthur Balfour. 17th Sir Alec Douglas-Home.
These were usually the Secretary of State involved in any topic. It is possible to discern how her demeanor evolved over time. like you intellectual commentators in the South East. This can become ponderous. She could be imperious. … she did not do anything by deception. Prime Ministers conventionally defend the Government. It is said her successor John Major consulted everyone much that so very little got decided. When you are actually doing things
. That is what it got.” “Whether before Cabinet or the more effective smaller meetings. She could be kind. After the striking victory in the Falklands War followed by the crushing of the miners’ strike. It was wry that she would often refer to “The Government” as her enemy.” she remarked. As Prime Minister in 1979 she was slightly in awe at her own office. The memoirs of her contemporaries map many different characteristics. The British Cabinet is 22 or more individuals. Everyone knew what she wanted to do.” she once said. who appeared to only need four hours sleep a night. She could be impatient. And did it. She was no ordinary Prime Minister. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top. Thatcher said what she meant and meant what she said. she was plainly in her stride.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
“Mrs. but it should get you pretty near. the junior minister plus a senior civil servant. always did her homework on the subjects for discussion. Prime Minister Thatcher preferred small meetings of often no more than three or four individuals. “What Britain needs is an Iron Lady. confident of her own abilities and her own instincts. That is her authentic voice. “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. She could be sympathetic. Margaret. almost as though she was about to sit an exam” wrote her Chancellor Nigel Lawson. Every Prime Minister has their style of working. As Leader of the Party in 1975 she shared everyone’s surprise at her new role. She was often abrupt with the leftist intellectuals of the media: “I have no hang ups about my background. She meant the strange combination of muddling and complacency that is the British state.
nationally or locally. that most matters should be administered. they would equally resonate with the electorate. pay your bills on time. There was a deep practical streak to her. They were simple truths but they were of a nature of plain-speaking not heard on Prime Ministerial lips before. Margaret Thatcher spoke truths. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Pennies do not fall from heaven. “It is passionately interesting for me that the things I learned in a small town.” Her intuition and her sentiments proved she was nearer to the people than all her rivals. On learning from a majority of her Cabinet that she should not continue as Prime Minister: “Treachery with a smiling face. support the police. live within your means. These were homilies that sometimes invited scoffs from her opponents or from her more snobbish Tory colleagues. She famously remarked: “There is no such thing as Society. They were not the voice of any speechwriter: “My politics are based….” These were characteristic sentiments.on things I and millions like me were brought up with.” Also. They have to be earned on earth. The idea of individual responsibility seemed to conflict with their sense that it was through the aggregate power of the people.25. Her World
you do not have time for hang ups. “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he had had only good intentions.” 193
. put a nest egg by for a rainy day.” Not only would such sentiments invite the mockery of her metropolitan opponents. He had money as well. She could be wonderfully caustic. “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country. are just the things that I believe won the election. There are individual men and women and there are families.” The startling verity was a jolt to those who wanted the great abstraction “Society” to solve problems. in other words the state.” This blunt sentiment enraged her enemies. in a very modest home.
. “To cure the British disease with socialism was trying to cure leukemia with leeches. you are not. Yet this fact never seemed to dent their enthusiasm.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
“Power is like being a lady…if you have to tell people you are….” She clearly had memories of the seventies. Yet it was a miserable failure in every respect.” It was only a person brought up in the austerity and rationing of her early life under a Labour Government and then had been a minister in Edward Heath’s frightened and intimidated period in office that could be so impatient with the dithering or timid in power. as in: “There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty. “There are still people in my Party who believe in consensus politics.” A repeated theme was her distrust of “wobblers” as she once described an unsure George H.” Margaret Thatcher was dismissive of the middling consensus that she thought had impoverished Britain: “No theory of Government was ever given a faster test or a more prolonged experiment in a democratic country than ‘democratic socialism’ received in the United Kingdom. I regard them as Quislings. As Prime Minister he would have been sunk. She was exasperated by temporizing moderation: “Almost all the policies hawked about by “practical” men on “pragmatic” grounds turned out in the end to be highly impractical. as traitors.” Although all politicians have to compromise her instinct was to remain tenacious. Bush.” Of her predecessor as Tory Leader: “I’ll always be fond of dear old Ted. she remarked: “As Opposition Leader he was out of his depth. but there is no sympathy in politics.” Of Sir Ian later Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar and a noted “Wet”: “Once on the backbenches he was as loyal as he had been in government.” She was good at amusing put downs.” she declaimed. the Labour Leader. She could appear more like Adam Smith than Smith himself. I mean it. Of Neil Kinnock. W.
“Carol. in other words reverse her policies and accomplish a U-turn.” As she remarked to her daughter.25. I think my place in history is assured. Prime Minister Thatcher sustained a sense of immense good fortune: “I had the marvelous privilege of being there for eleven and a half.”
. and especially in Government.” It was a simple little quip but it signalled her determination to liberalize the economy and not revert to the flawed policies she inherited. the Tory Party merely pitched camp in the long march to the Left. She expressed it with a vivid metaphor: “In the fine print of policy.” Although wounded by her loss of the Leadership and her Premiership. That is half as long again as any President of the United States. nearly twelve years. “U turn if you want to: the Lady’s not for Turning. Her World
One remark that will probably always be linked to her is her phrase at a Party Conference when the opinion polls were adverse and every commentator anticipated a return to reflation.
ŪŪ She taught us the need for monetary continence if we wish to enjoy low inflation. ŪŪ She privatized the commanding heights of the economy thus transforming their fortunes and starting a worldwide movement.
. But what a job: ŪŪ She took on the whole union movement. brought it back under the rule of law and gave it back to its members.26. ŪŪ She enfranchised millions of former local authority serfs through the right to buy public housing. ŪŪ She made Brits walk tall again with a principled. And by returning to our basic principles and beliefs. firm and robust approach to foreign relations. Every one of us can make a difference.”
Lady Thatcher’s legacy is far reaching. ŪŪ She transformed the nation’s view of the benefits of a market economy. we can find new ways to revivify our policies and to forge a brighter future for ourselves and for our children. Ten Lessons
“We must never be prepared simply to accept the “received wisdom” of those who claim to be wiser. She was the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century and so had 11½ years to get the job done.
ŪŪ Renegotiate with the EU. is the highroad to pride. the only question is how we do it.” An early example came in April 1980 just a year after she entered Downing Street. If the chief has a set of clear. ŪŪ And she ensured that all future British governments have to be much friendlier to laissez-faire capitalism than had been the case prior to 1979. and ŪŪ Balance the books. ŪŪ Increase educational standards. What will the next Mrs.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ŪŪ She started the process which has now led to peace in Northern Ireland. you know this is right. or Mr. Today. and personal satisfaction. A group of six Iranian ter198
. if they want to stay in the wigwam. ŪŪ She helped Ronald Reagan tear down that wall without a shot and destroy the evil empire. A future Prime Minister who did that would deserve to have Margaret Thatcher’s reputation. And it built teamwork.” It wasn’t the bossiness of the cartoons so much as total conviction. selfesteem. although difficult. And as she once said “disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important. it is interesting to speculate. ŪŪ Bring crime down. three decades after she came to power and two decades after she left. So let me try to summarize ten key strategic lessons I have identified from Margaret Thatcher: (1) Above all Margaret Thatcher had a very strong personal political and moral compass. ŪŪ Simplify and reduce taxation. well articulated. ŪŪ Reform the National Health Service. Thatcher have to do to rival her record? How about this list: ŪŪ Deregulate and stop the tsunami of new legislation. ŪŪ Reduce welfare rolls. She could turn to a room full of powerful men and in effect simply say “I know this is right. consistent principles then all the little Indians know exactly what to do….
26. They undervalue her ability to synthesize. (3) She did lead and she expected and got a lot out of those around her. The whole affair dragged on for nearly a week when the terrorists suddenly shot a hostage and threw the body out of the front door. (2) She was able to cut through the guff. literally running. Soon after the 1987 general election a newly-elected Tory MP was walking through the members’ lobby in the House of Commons when he suddenly observed an old friend. of getting to the heart of the matter and expressing it in simple words that made sense and resonated. Ten Lessons
rorists stormed the Iranian Embassy in central London and a siege ensued with 26 hostages. He was running. The terrorists demanded the release of political prisoners in Iran. Prime Minister Thatcher demanded the defeat of the terrorists and brought in the crack special forces men from the Special Air Service (SAS). chucking percussion grenades in ahead of them. simplify it and communicate it. the fancy embellishments and get right to the heart of the matter. there were no police or SAS officer casualties. 199
. the nonsense. yet she also listened. Good short Anglo Saxon words or as Margaret Thatcher once said to my friend Simon Jenkins: “Laissez Faire? Laissez Faire? Don’t go French on me!” She is a very clever person — she studied chemistry and was a chemist in industry before studying law and practicing at the tax and patent bars. As books about her are coming out one thing is common to all of them namely this ability of hers to simplify and communicate clearly and with conviction. People are being cruel when they say she never had a single original idea herself. The old friend had been elected in 1983 and was now a junior minister. “Go in” commanded the Prime Minister and on prime time TV the nation watched live as the men of the SAS abseiled down to the windows on the front of the building. I always think of her and Newt Gingrich together in one sense namely they neither of them were “At this moment in time” types but rather “now” types. The result was that five out of six terrorists were killed and 19 out of 20 hostages saved. But as well as being clever she had this knack of simplifying and communicating.
they’ll all have steak too!
That was the perception.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
His hair was disheveled and he was carrying not only his briefcase and a box but also a full tray of papers. she was not sure about public housing sales at deep 200
. T: Waiter: Mrs. some potatoes? Roasted. T: Waiter: Mrs. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Waiter: Mrs. At the Café Royal Margaret Thatcher sat at the head of the table with say 20 men in suits down each side. what about the vegetables? Oh. The next is 100% apocryphal but instructive nonetheless. Prime Minister. Prime Minister.” That is a true story. “Slow down.” cried the young minister over his shoulder. Prime Minister. Prime Minister. A waiter enters and heads to Margaret Thatcher. She worried about abolishing exchange controls. And she was not always the hard driving freemarket radical portrayed so often today. “Yes. how do you like your steak? Rare. The story goes that in 1989 her cabinet and senior staff held a private dinner on the 10th anniversary of her becoming prime minister. Prime Minister. please. what kind of steak? Sirloin. in this case based on a Spitting Image TV cartoon. please. T: Prime Minister.” he added. T: Waiter: Mrs. please. “But Margaret wasn’t the foreman on that job. would you like an appetizer? Prawn Cocktail. in reality she was a better listener than usually given credit for.” called the new MP. She did listen mostly to Cabinet Ministers and not all the best ideas came from her “right” wing colleagues as in the sale of public housing which came very much from those to her left such as Peter Walker and Michael Heseltine. T: Waiter: Mrs. T: Waiter: Mrs. please. please. for your main course? A steak.
” A couple of years later she launched the right to buy. “No. I was in my element. She once said “popular capitalism is nothing less than a crusade to enfranchise the many in the economic life of the nation. Likewise with privatization where the shares were very widely spread and quickly appreciated.… I was also passionately interested in the technical developments and strategic implications.” she replied — “people will not value it unless they pay something for it. As noted earlier general public ownership of shares went from 7% to 23% while ownership by trade union members went from 6% to 29%. This was one of those areas in which only a firm grasp of the scientific concepts involved allows the right policy decisions to be made. I said. Another aspect of her view of leadership is revealed in this quote:
“I kept tight personal control over decisions relating to the strategic defense initiative and our reaction to it. Ten Lessons
discounts feeling those already on the housing ladder might rebel. In the late ’70s I told her to give it all away to the sitting tenants. All of the great privatizations included special staff deals — hence the disproportionate boost among union members. Each one was different but to stymie opposition and generate positive feelings overall they included: ŪŪ Offers of free shares ŪŪ Matching programs — buy one get one free ŪŪ Programs that reserved a certain percent of the float for staff and pensioners ŪŪ Discounts 201
(4) She championed policies that went with rather than against the grain of human nature. and some privatizations unnerved her a little. We conservatives are returning power to the people.” Take public housing. Just mail them the deeds.26. Home ownership soared as nearly 3 million units changed hands under this scheme. Laid back generalists from the foreign office — let alone the ministerial muddlers in charge of them — could not be relied upon. This gave all sitting tenants a 33% discount plus an extra 1% discount for every year of paying rent up to a maximum of 50% off fair market value. By contrast.
Employee response ranged from 19% to 99% and is highly correlated to the generosity of the proposed deal as one might expect. to some. take the suspension of exchange controls. showing how much fat there was in industry. A party that in the post-war years had accepted Butskellism and middle-of-the-road socialism as inevitable had found its intellectual feet under Mrs. ideas from the IEA such as: ŪŪ Markets work — governments fail ŪŪ Labour market reform ŪŪ Privatization and ŪŪ The conquering of inflation. dedicated. Guided by an IEA monograph Geoffrey Howe.” There was some truth to this — some. Strangely. “standing in the middle
. As she herself said. John Redwood. Prime Minister Thatcher built up coal reserves to very high levels before she took on the miners. (6) She had a lot of very smart. Thatcher. Ted Heath in his winter confrontation with the miners in 1973–74 had been forced into a corner by lack of coal reserves. committed people to draw on. But the Tories were becoming infected with ideas and intellectuals. the Chancellor. spotted that he did not need Parliament’s approval. Meanwhile intellectuals from industry (John Hoskyns) and academia (Alan Walters).Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ŪŪ Incentives to keep shares long term and ŪŪ No limits on the number of preferential shares that could be bought — once only in that case. Or. (5) There was a lot of strategic thinking well ahead of time. so he just did it. and young men from the universities such as Peter Lilley. Michael Forsyth. Lord Donoghue used to remark in his LSE lectures that the Tory party is “the stupid party. There was only enough coal for industry to operate a 3-day week. David Davis and Michael Portillo — were changing the Conservative party. overall production did not fall.
some still believed Soviet statistics. exchange controls. that our society was sick — morally. if ‘lives must be lost. Some people still believed the future lay with communism. say. that is the way it must be. with mounting alarm. inflation. see John Hoskyns’ Just In Time and see Richard Cockett’s Thinking the Unthinkable. “We believe in the democratic way of life. As early as 1950 she said. an Argentina — a formerly prosperous country turned basket case. with tenacity of purpose.” (7) There was a very strong sense of being in the last chance saloon. If we serve the idea faithfully. saying: “There can have been few in Britain who did not feel.’” There were strikes galore. Ideas regarding labor markets. And the economics profession was nearly 100% against her.26. Margaret Thatcher used her 3 to 4 years in opposition to prepare for government. Mrs. Either we got it done now or we became. Ten Lessons
of the road is very dangerous. The nation was in need of a major turnaround — just what she provided with her leadership. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher instinctively felt that was wrong and evil. Thatcher herself recognized this. There were mountains of trash — the dead were not being buried. (8) We must not forget Ronald Reagan and their partnership. In this regard. contracting out and Enter-
. (9) Preparation — Politicians in power are too busy to think and they are surrounded by bureaucrats and pestered by those with vested interests.” It appears she had extraordinary foresight. privatization. much more so than that of Bush and Blair. of the ambulance men’s pay demands. the Right To Buy public housing. It was very special indeed. we have nothing to fear from Russian communism. you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides. Trade Union leader Mr. The winter of 78/79 had been awful. socially and economically. Bill Dunn seemed to express the spirit of January 1979 when he said.
Lead but always listen 4.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
prise Zones were all well discussed before 1979. Have patience 204
. Develop policies that go with the grain 5. Build good teams 7. For example in the 1980 Employment Act she: ŪŪ Abolished statutory recognition procedure ŪŪ Extended the right to refuse to join a union ŪŪ And limited picketing Then in the 1982 Employment Act she: ŪŪ Prohibited action to force contracts with union employees ŪŪ Weakened the closed shop ŪŪ Removed some union immunities In the 1984 Employment Act she: ŪŪ Weakened union immunities ŪŪ Required pre strike balloting of union members ŪŪ Strengthened employers power to get injunctions Finally in the 1988 Employment Act she: ŪŪ Removed further union immunities ŪŪ Extended the right of the individual to work against a union So the lessons are: 1. Prepare before you are in power and 10. Simplify and communicate 3. Use circumstances 8. Think through your strategy ahead of time 6. And she made it quite clear to her research and support staff what she believed in. Have a strong compass 2. Every year the unions were slowly but surely brought back under the rule of law. Make good allies 9. (10) She did not try to do it all at once. She tackled problems one slice at a time. particularly on labor market reforms and privatization. Every year advances were made on privatization and bit by bit a momentum was established.
is very proud of the small part we played in her education!
. of a country saving itself in a turbulent world. where some young men and women are making surprisingly Thatcherite political points. And my institute. ŪŪ China going capitalist. Margaret Thatcher’s influence is everywhere. the IEA.26. the Thatcher era 1979–97 (she went in 1990 but there was no Major era) is an extraordinary story of change. Ten Lessons
In conclusion. On the international scene there were several positive devel opments: ŪŪ the worldwide spread of privatization. And we must not overlook as mentioned earlier her impact on her opponents particularly New Labour which abandoned Clause 4 namely its commitment to public ownership and today also the Liberal Democrats. and ŪŪ reforms in central and eastern Europe.
Now it purports to be protecting wild life. cable and now digital techniques erode its monopolist assumptions. Britain’s huge broadcasting public corporation. The IEA’s distinguished contributor Sir Alan Peacock chaired a committee into its public funding but concluded little could be altered. Technology is dissolving the BBC’s status as satellite. inhibited all attempts to reform it. ŪŪ The BBC. a state timber venture set up in World War I seems untouchable by political reform. ŪŪ The greatest arm of the British state is the National Health Service measured either by its employee rolls or by its budget. Competition is emerging slowly.” Politicians delight in reforming the managerial structures of the NHS but block any consumer choice or any relaxation of the restrictive practices of the clinical professions. Chancellor Nigel Lawson described the NHS as “The nearest the British have to a religion.Postscript: What Remains to be Done
What we may still call the Thatcher agenda includes many institutions yet to be opened up by choice and free market ideas. ŪŪ Some nationalized industries endure. ŪŪ The Forestry Commission. It would be more accurate to call it the nationalized death service. It has changed its defenses from a mercantilist hostility to timber product importation. The Royal Mail remains a loss making state corporation but it has forfeited its monopoly of letter traffic. 207
but the forces of bureaucracy and meddling continue to flourish.
. VAT is levied as a condition of being an EU member state. She altered world history. She saved Britain. Efforts to promote voluntary philanthropy such as friendly societies have yet to prove successful. She was unique. Both its recipient dependents and its employee numbers seem to grow regardless of political party. BPP. ŪŪ The British social security system offers diverse benefits. ŪŪ Despite the many liberalizations the proportion of the British GDP absorbed by the state continues to rise. I doubt we will ever see a person of such tenacity and commitment as Margaret Thatcher. They must comply or lose their funding. Nominally autonomous colleges have to comply with detailed interventions from London. ŪŪ Income taxes are supplemented by National Insurance which is little more than a tax on employment. Margaret Thatcher defeated the dragons she set out to slay. Attempts to create parental choice and diversity have been blocked by the producer groups that hold it captive. all of UK higher education is funded by the state.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
ŪŪ 94% of British school pupils attend institutions run by the state through the intermediary agency of local authorities. ŪŪ With the exception of the University of Buckingham and a forprofit university. ŪŪ Both the level and complexity of British taxation bamboozles even the experts. Politics needs leadership and courage. The challenge of politics is without end.
20.437 12. Table of Margaret Thatcher’s Elections*
Constituency Did Not Fight Dartford Dartford Did Not Fight Finchley 13.408
15.638 Labour majority of 12.911 Conservative majority of 7.968
75.878 Conservative majority of 9.490 27.763
16.22% Labour majority of 13.33%
Finchley Did Not Fight
* Strict comparisons are not possible because of the constituency boundary changes
10.802 Conservative majority of 9.Postscript: What Remains to be Done
Appendix I.913 38.464 Conservative majority of 11.690
5.334 Conservative Winning Party and Majority
Year 1945 1950 1951 1955 1959
78.260 Conservative majority of 8.314 Conservative majority of 8.78% Conservative majority of 16.185 Conservative majority of 5.978 Conservative majority of 3.011 N/A 24.701 29.
of Seats 640 625 625 625 630 630 630 630 635 635 635 650 650 651 659 659 646 Winning Party and Majority Labour majority of 146 Labour majority of 5 Conservative majority of 17 Conservative majority of 60 Conservative majority of 100 Labour majority of 4 Labour majority of 98 Conservative majority of 30 Labour majority of -33* Labour majority of 3 Conservative majority of 43 Conservative majority of 144 Conservative majority of 102 Conservative majority of 21 Labour majority of 177 Labour majority of 167 Labour majority of 66
* minority government
. General Election results from 1945 -2005
Year 05-Jul-45 23-Feb-50 25-Oct-51 26-May-55 08-Oct-59 15-Oct-64 31-Mar-66 18-Jun-70 28-Feb-74 10-Oct-74 03-May-79 09-Jun-83 11-Jun-87 09-Apr-92 01-May-97 07-Jun-01 05-May-05 Lab 393 315 295 277 258 317 364 288 301 319 269 209 229 271 418 413 356 Lib / SDP 12 9 6 6 6 9 12 6 14 13 11 23 22 20 46 52 62 Con 210 298 321 345 365 304 253 330 297 277 339 397 376 336 165 166 198 Other 25 3 3 2 1 0 1 6 23 26 16 21 23 24 30 28 30 No.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Paul — Thatcher’s Fortunes: The Life and Times of Mark Thatcher. HarperCollins (1994). Terry — “Margaret Thatcher Interview. Kenneth — Thatcher. Dale. Cockett. Robson Books Ltd (1998). Routledge (1984). and the Prime Minister. Allen Lane (2006).” The Guardian. Pimlico (2001). O’Sullivan. Weidenfeld & Nicolson (2005). 1971. Hollingsworth. John — Just In Time: Inside the Thatcher Revolution.. Iain (Editor) — Margaret Thatcher: A Tribute in Words and Pictures. Lewis.. Pimlico (2004). Simon — Thatcher and Sons: A Revolution in Three Acts. Mainstream Publishing (2006) Hoskyns. Coleman. Regnery (2006). Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1988). 2 November. Campbell. John — The President. Dale. Mark and Halloran. Russell — Margaret Thatcher: A Personal and Political Biography. Harris.: Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations. Richard — Thinking the Unthinkable. Iain (Editor) — As I Said to Denis. John — Margaret Thatcher: Iron Lady Vol. the Pope. John — Margaret Thatcher: The Grocer’s Daughter Vol. 2.Further Reading
Campbell. Aurum Press Ltd (2000) Jenkins.
Andrew — Margaret Thatcher: The Woman Within. Watkins. W. Margaret — The Downing Street Years. Daniel and Stanislaw. Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd (1983). Wells. Thatcher. Thatcher. Carol — Below the Parapet: Biography of Denis Thatcher. John — Maggie: Her Fatal Legacy. Thomson. Wapshott. Winter 2003. Geoffrey — The Strange Death of Tory England. Vol. Joseph — The Commanding Heights: The New Reality of Economic Power.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Ridley. HarperCollins (1995). Thatcher. Contemporary British History. HarperCollins (1996). HarperCollins (1993). No 4.
. John — Anyone for Denis?.H. Nicholas — My Style of Government: The Thatcher Years. Yergin. Allen / Virgin Books (1990). 17. Thatcher. Sentinel (2007). Hutchinson (1991). Simon & Schuster Ltd (1998). Wheatcroft. Gerald Duckworth & Co. Allan — A Conservative Coup: Fall of Margaret Thatcher. Nicholas — Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage. Sergeant. Carol — Diary of an Election. Margaret — The Path to Power. Ltd (1992). Macmillan (2005). Giles — ‘Her Rather Ambitious Washington Program’: Margaret Thatcher’s International Visitor Program Visit to the United States in 1967. Faber and Faber (1982). Penguin Books Ltd (2005). Scott-Smith.
. Nigel. John. 39 Boyd-Carpenter. Diane. James. 162 Baldwin. 191 Bendelow. 97 Armstrong. Christopher. Rt. 191
Baker. 13. Sirimavo. Anthony. 191 Benn. 73 Benn. 179 Busch. 86. 136 Beveridge. George H. Dowager Baroness. 97 Burgdorf. Humphrey. 191 Balfour. 137. 191 Boothroyd. Thomas. 65. Adolphus. Hon Dr. 132 Aitken. 61
Berry. 29 Boyson. 137. Lord. 13 Brabourne. Stanley. 191 Atkins. Arthur. 1 Bruce-Gardyne. Hilary. Clement. Jock. Gerry. 177-178 Andropov.. Sir John. 68 Birch. 122. 29. 8. Sir Robert. 26 Asquith. Rupert. 51 Bright. W. Tony. 27 Bossom. Graham. 132 Beckett. 48. 39 Bush. 116. 194 Bush. 50 Biffen. Anthony Wedgwood (Tony). 29 Benn. 68 Buchanan. George W. Yuri. 156. 169. Betty. 30 Brooke. 156 Brocklebank-Fowler. Sir Richard. 13.Index
Adams. 169. Martin. 161 Brittan. Colm. 191 Bandaranaike. 134. John. Sir Alfred. 96 Brogan. 133 Attlee.. 67. 84 Blair. 11. Sir Rhodes. Leon. Kenneth. 49 Boyle. Francis. Sir Humphrey. Peter. Jonathan. 65 Branson. Herbert. Edward. 144 Appleby. 133 Brooke. 26 Armstrong. 42.
Gaddafi. Lord. 184 Davis. Edward. 162. Joan. David. 41. 135 Foot. 136
Dale. 211 Dart. Chris. 27. Indira. 211 Campbell-Bannerman. 194 Gingrich. 158 Dennison. 91 Friedman. 170. Joe. 87. 211 Harris. 74. Paul. Robert. 11. 14. 163 George. Justin. Al. 181-182. 189-190 Hayek. 140 Hall. 1-2. Jacques. 163. Robin. 123. 26 Halloran. John. James. 13. Sir Alec. 29 de Gaulle. 7 Douglas-Home. 189 Fitzgerald. Hugh. 162 Fischer. Beryl.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Callaghan. Marie. 67 Gow. 29. 2. 138 Chamberlain. Margaret. Lord. 50. 191 Cameron. 191 Chope. 50 de Valois. 73. George. 133 Galloway. Barry. 83 Goodrich. David. Bob.. Robert. 30. 161 Clarkson. Gerald. Charles. David. 139 Hague. Stanley. 1-2. William. 94. Neville. 189 Dexter. 55 Gandhi. 191 Clark. 17 Campbell. 84. Sir Winston. 5. 124. Michael. 26 Gardiner. 26
Fallon. 96 Ford. 169 Cockett. Kenneth. 27. 9. 86. 167 Haig. Muammar L . 43 Curie. 27 Deedes. 29 Crowder. David Hackett. 203. Margaret. 37-38 Coors. Jeremy. Mikhail. 80 Dunn. 81 Fraser. Iain. Terry. 202 Fraser. Ian. 179. Friedrich August von. 191 Carr. Dame Niette. 182 Frost. 163
HM Queen Elizabeth II. 176. 37 Harris. 142 Cook. Jimmy. 175 Delors. 23 Gilmour. 182
Eden. 191 du Cann. 191 Gilles. Bill. Antony. Sir John. Michael. 138 Fisher. Anthony. Milton. Col. David Lloyd. 115-116 Carter. 211 Hare. Newt. John. 144 Coleman. Alan. 8 Crosland. 22 Gorbachev. Garret. John. Al. 166. 211 Collins. Richard. William J. Dorothy. 199 Goldwater. Michael. 145. 144 Gore. Gerry. 191
. 128. Sir Henry. 74. 101. 87. 78 Carrington. Sir Anthony. 118. Sir Ian. 211 Cole. 17. John. 163 Churchill. 169 Conquest. 116-117 Hailsham. 202 Day. 138 Forsyth.
30 Lewis. John. 176. 59 Hickman. 81 Joliot-Curie. 168 Knatchbull. Dr. Dorothy Mary Crowfoot. 132 McKenzie. 84.. 100. Ted. 111 Koestler. Simon. Bob. 157. Frances L. 96 Mitchell. 84 Maudling. 161-162 Mountbatten. 175
Jay. 200 Hewett. 58. 89. 29. 17. 174 Khalid. Lord. 57. Sir Howard. John Stuart. 207 Leigh. Sir Geoffrey. 181182 Joseph. 139 Miller. 191 MacGregor. 48. Lord. 68. 211 Johnson. Nigel. 188. 53. 13 Menendez. 161-163.. Frank. 63. Mark. 121 Maclean. 166 Knight. Leonard. Rudyard. Muriel. 26 Hogg. 174 Kempson. Paul. Golda. 17 Howe. Edward (Ted). 194 Kipling. Peter. 5. 115 Kissinger. Martin. Michael. 133 Lynn. 134 Macmillan. 74 McPheeters. 66-69. 81 Luce. Sir Samuel. 199. 169 Lovat. 3 King. 146. John. David.S. Tom. Quentin. 78-83. Herbert. 132 McAlpine. 134 Major. Hon. 63 Hoskyns. 72. Michael. 152. Florence. 84 Maxwell. Edward. Richard. 17. Russell. Andrew. Leila. Douglas. 83 Klaus. B. 100. 56. 192. 80. Ramsay. Sir Antony. 166. Ronnie. 160. Patrick. 179. Simon. 150 Heseltine. Sir Keith. Jeane. 74. 211 Howard. 84. Vaclav. 11.. Reginald. 72. 3. 60 Meir. 156 Mill. 97
. C. 20 Millar. 93. Harold. 109-110. Nicholas. 158 Hurd. Richard. 140 Hollingsworth. 19. 103. Margaret.. Arthur. 165. 156. Angus. Neil. 166 Heffer.. 202 Lloyd-Webber.Index Heath. 107 Morrison. 37. Robert W. 133 Kinnock. 162-163. 161-163. Mario. 122.C. 53. 78 Moore. Charles. Sir Anthony. Eric. 21 Kirkpatrick. 30. 161. Ian. 30
Law. 191 Lawson. 51. 13. 132
Ingrams. 133. Andrew Bonar. 174 Hodgkin. 191 Maguire. 202-203. 211 Horsburgh. 116 Lynch. John. 93 Minford. 12. Jack. 14. 8 Jenkins. 26 Jones. Jonathan. Lord. 84. 87. Henry. 42. 71. Frank. 82. 166 McGregor. 69. 211 Lilley. 191 Morrison. Peter. 28. 191-192 Maude. Irène. 121. 53. 18 Heffer. Colonel H. 119 Meyer. 13. 163 Lewis. 118 Joseph. 182
Kempson. 55 McGuinness.
Francis. Dennis. Arthur. Sir Isaac. 115. 194 Smith. 202 Reece. 179 Thatcher. 21
. 161 Sherman. 176 Scott-Smith. Sarah. 11 Shattock.. 110 Stephenson. John. John. 101 Scargill. 113. 152. 133 Savas. 129 Shakespeare. 138 Smith. 9. Francis of Assisi. 27 Sands. Sir Alfred. 68-69.. 144-146. 81. 115. Nicholas. Richard. Pope John. Richard. Carol. 134 Taylor. 18
Taggart. 89 Stanislaw. 175 Peyton. 180
Neave. Airey. Beatrice Stephenson). 169 Roberts. 181. 176 Pym.. 189 Roosevelt. 55. Milton. Beatrice). 125. 84. 211
Pardoe. 101. John. Michael. 161 Neubert. Dr. 181. Sir Denis. 161 Newton. 212 Seldon. 39. Norman. John. 169. John. Alexander. 55 Solzhenitsyn. 80. 142 Sproat. 18. Lord. Jeanne. 186 Simon. 18. Gordon. James H. 162 Thatcher. 61 Parkinson. 114. 212 Redwood. 134. 128. Joan. Alfred (Alf). Hellen Artie. 162 Paul II. 68. Enoch. 22. William. Beatrice Stephenson (See Stephenson. Arthur. 22. 72. Bill. 136. Mary R. 129. 63. 84 Rees-Mogg. 134 Shelton. Jim. 138 North. Ronald. 116-117
Radcliffe. Rupert. 92 Tebbit. Augusto. 169. William. Sir Alan. Eddie. 144 Sergeant. 121. Teddy. 152 Nott. 134 Robertson. 207 Penry-Jones. 60 Tarleton. 162. 202 Powell. 74. 115-116
Sanders. 212 Roberts. 55. Iain Duncan. 187 Thatcher. 198. 163 O’Sullivan. Beatrice (See Roberts. Bobby. 124 Schulman. 18 Stewart. John. 17 Nixon. 212 Thatcher. 6. 48 Reagan. 131. 80. Rupert. 90. 42 Taylor. 100 Popper. 187 Prior. 203. 20-21. Karl. Michael. 30 Portillo. Joseph. 184 Russell. 189 Robinson. 22 St. 51 Parker III. 212 Shah. Sir Laurence. 84. Iain. Margaret Chase. John. Cranley. William. Franklin D. 84. 212 Stanley.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Murdoch. Giles. Michael. Bob. 17 Smith. 146 Peacock. Adam. Eric. 137-138. Cecil. 184-186. 84 Onslow. Steve. 81. 119. 29 Ridley. 167 Poole. 80. Muriel. James. 81-82 Pinochet. Amanda Margaret. 162. 18 Roberts. 162. Dame Cicely.
84 Townend. Walt. 62. Caspar. Mark. Pierre. 74. 175 Thorneycroft. Gordon. Cicely Veronica. 73. 161-162
Wakeham. 212 Wheatcroft. E. 72
Yamey. 191 Wood. 27 Weinberger. 81-82 Whitman. 162 Wakeham. Sir Mark. Nigel. 121. 26 Willink. 157 Watkins. 163 Trudeau. Hugo. 134 Walker. John B. 83 Tullock. Lord Peter. George. Henry. 74. 48. 50. 181. 175. 26 Vinson. 200 Walters. 18. 156. 187 Wapshott. 51 Yergin. Daniel. Angela. 109-110. Allan.. Simone. John. Harold. Roberta. 14
Utley. Sir Robert. William. 134. 170 Wells. 28 Willink. 173 Wedgwood. 67.Index Thatcher. T. 137 Williams. 81
Vaughan. Geoffrey. 212
. Kathleen. 177 Thorne. 22. Nicholas. John. Basil. 212 Young. Shirley. 116. 97 Twain. 212 Wareham. 28 Wilson. Dame Janet. 93 Worcester. Peter.. John. 144. 27 Younger. Rachel. 212 Whitelaw. 53. 71. 60 Washington. Sir Alan.