Margaret Thatcher
A Portrait of the Iron Lady


Margaret Thatcher A Portrait of the Iron Lady John Blundell Algora Publishing New York .

or by any means. Great Britain—Politics and government—1979-1997. without the express written permission of the publisher. Margaret. First Lord of the Treasury and Conservative Member of Parliament for Finchley. John.© 2008 by Algora Publishing. stored in a retrieval system. ISBN 978-0-87586-630-7 (trade paper: alk. Includes bibliographical references and index. 3. 1952Margaret Thatcher : A portrait of the iron lady/ John Blundell. DA591. All Rights Reserved www. paper) — ISBN 978-0-87586-632-1 (ebook) 1. or transmitted in any form. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data — Blundell. I. 2.T47B58 2008 941. © Bettmann/CORBIS Printed in the United States .085’8092—dc22 [B] 2008036677 Front Cover: 1983. Women prime ministers—Great Britain—Biography.London. Title. p. 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.The Rt. Honorable Margaret Thatcher is the Prime Minister. Thatcher. paper) — ISBN 978-0-87586631-4 (case laminate: alk. Conservative Party (Great Britain)—Biography. England. 4. Prime ministers—Great Britain—Biography.algora. 5.

Summer 2008 .” — Lady Thatcher. Therefore he is very well placed to explain to Americans the beliefs and principles which underpinned what became known as “Thatcherism.John Blundell has been one of the most effective champions of the freeenterprise economic model which has delivered progress and prosperity around the world.


of E.List of Acronyms ARP ASI BA BAA BBC BIS BOAC BP BSE C. 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. 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 .

The usual disclaimer applies. 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. From the start this book has been all about explaining the Thatcher phenomenon to people overseas. Rather it is a very personal interpretation of a very special life. For a range of typing. . and US Ambassador Robert Tuttle for their help in this regard. Rebekah Nordeck. I thank Bridgett Wagner. fact-checking. William Culleton III. Ed Feulner and Brooke Rollins for hosting me. and far more weight to. and Robin Sillars. Christine Blundell. Dr. especially in the USA where she is so admired. editing. I thank Lord Hunt of the Wirral. research and other help I thank in alphabetical order: Clare Batty. Chairman of the English Speaking Union. Margaret Thatcher’s 1967 and 1969 visits to the United States than any previous biographer or in my case hagiographer. The buzz I got from those events is still with me. Lisa Schwartz. The only piece of remotely “original” research appears in Chapter 5 where I give much more detail on. Anthony Haynes.Acknowledgements This is not a work of scholarship.

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.

titles and honors. I suggest you simply address her as “Prime Minister” or “Lady Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher MP In her many jobs — the relevant title In “retirement” — Lady Thatcher Should you ever have the honor of meeting her. 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.Protocol Lady Thatcher has had many names.” . Denis Thatcher As an MP — Mrs.


Reflections 8. Power 11. Selling Off Public Housing 14.Table of Contents Preface Introduction 1. Liberating the Economy 12. Childhood 2. Battling the IRA xv 1 11 17 25 35 45 53 63 71 77 83 89 93 99 107 113 121 127 131 . Launching 4. Beating the Miners 16. Going to War 15. Opposition II 10. Leader 9. Education Secretary 7. Reforming the Unions 17. Elected 5. Privatizing the Commanding Heights 13. Opposition I 6. University 3.

Her World 26. Men Alf Keith Ronald Alfred Alan Ralph 25. Kicking Down the Wall 20. 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 xvi . Family Denis Carol Mark 24. Retirement 23.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady 18. Dealing with Brussels 21. Resignation 22. Befriending America 19.

1 walker. really terrific company. piano player. she retains an interest in science (her early training). Like President Reagan she honestly cared about her fellow 1 Rupert Brooke’s “These I have loved” was a lifelong favorite. On every occasion she has impressed me with her insights and intellect. both Nobel Laureates. Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition (1975–79). In her youth she was a great singer. Prime Minister (1979–90) to her post-Prime Ministerial life (1990 to date). family and country have dominated her life. Hayek. award winning poetry reciter. Ballroom dancing was another passion as is music. indeed I have met her in every job she has held from Education Secretary (1970–74). While faith. She is an immensely fascinating and entertaining person. enjoys musical outings and as I write is even pictured in the Sports Section of my newspaper watching tennis at Wimbledon. the opera and the arts. deputy Chancellor of the Exchequer (1974–75). Shadow Environment Secretary (1974). reads widely. 1 .Preface I have met Lady Thatcher on many occasions. amateur actress and debater. Her interest in politics is different from 99% of other politicians I have met. A. Of the many leading figures I have met around the world she is joint number one with Milton Friedman and F.

.e. My first recollection of her is as Secretary for Education and Science. She was always master of her ground while being ruthlessly probing and terrifyingly insightful on anything new we might have to say. Hayek being less combative and more reflective). As Prime Minister she was a problem solver bringing her determination. 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. 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. 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. 2 . 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). And you have to be nimble when you are with her. i. three in the Shadow Cabinet.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady men and women and was deeply passionate about making the world a better place. A. not part of the leadership. or maybe alert is a better word. nearly four years in Cabinet as Secretary of Education. She could hack through mumbo-jumbo with a sharp scythe — take you off at your knees rather than your ankles. 3 In the British system every government minister is shadowed by a member of the official opposition party. I think we used to prepare at the rate of one day for every 15 minutes in her presence. six shadow3 posts. This meant I covered lots of polytechnics and other universities as well as London University. intelligence and training in science and law to bear. brief spells in two more senior Shadow Cabinet slots and four years as Leader of the Opposition. 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. 2 MP stands for Member of Parliament. And she was like that with everyone. She was twenty years in the making.

The evening stands out in my memory for three reasons. “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. She knew exactly what they wanted to hear. her great ability to get right to the heart of the matter. Everything had been meticulously planned and at the appropriate moment the head table of eight trooped in. you can’t expect help from us.” they finally blurted out as if this was bound to disappoint the Buckingham delegation. 3 . “Oh. Not surprisingly it is currently rated number one on the National Student Satisfaction survey and has been for some time.’ “The best we can do for you is to keep out of your way. in walked Education Secretary Thatcher direct from Cabinet. you certainly do not want and do not expect any ‘help’ from my Department. Without pause she perched on the corner of a settee and launched into an exact analysis of the delegation’s thinking: “Now. From the way she said ‘help’ they knew she meant ‘hindrance. Get the government out of the way! This was her great knack. “Let me know if my Department throws up obstacles to your progress and I will deal with them.” she concluded. It was March of 1974 so just days after Mr. Heath’s first defeat of that year. I had invited her to address us as Education Secretary but she appeared as Shadow Environment Secretary. having been called to an emergency Cabinet meeting over the Leila Khalid matter — whether or not this captured terrorist should be returned.” she opened. Ralph and chums sat there while junior ministers prevaricated — umm’ed and ah’d — about this curious new idea. the UK’s first private college. They arrived and she was not there. 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.Preface as he and colleagues were attempting to establish the University of Buckingham. Before they could respond. Some 200 people were standing out there and staring at me as I thought to myself.

I was involved in welcoming her to a north London constituency.” It was uncanny. unreal almost. She was the queen. On gaining the latter he purchased 100 copies of the famous US analysis of welfare. It was just the right amount. Oops. lower case “q. Thatcher’s left foot kicked my right ankle: “Grace. 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 hissed. Thatcher still as Shadow Environment Secretary. something is wrong. “I can’t have a young man like you buying my drinks. with Mrs. 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 was running (see below) to be leader of the Tory Party. She was very gracious on the night — but see below. She knocked us all dead.” She stuck her hand in her purse and passed me some folded money. Phew! Later that evening she commented on the supply of wine to the top table. philosophically and photogenically perfect opportunities dropped in our lap. This time however it was out in public as it was election time and she was pushing the agenda discussed below. you fool. That was the afternoon I glimpsed the political future and what we might expect.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady forgotten something here. “Oh no. I explained that it was my job as retiring Chairman to handle that. “Losing Ground. 4 . 1 Now Lord Moore of Lower Marsh. Only months later we were both running for high office. 2 He served Prime Minister Thatcher in Cabinet as Transport Secretary and later Health and Social Security Secretary.” she said. She took over. 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. she charmed everybody. Later that year. and ordered all his top officials to read it and write a paper on how its insights might influence UK policy. She was just superb. Wherever we took her.” by Charles Murray. Why is everyone standing up? Why aren’t they sitting down?” Just as I was about to panic Mrs.” We sat down. Oh yes! “Benedictus benedicat.


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

who were the IEA’s editorial and general directors. Into the vacuum of space and time immediately following the guest’s remarks the young man proffered an interesting question. She glared down the table. I was pretty young. this young man was actually the leading expert in the room on our topic for the night. but there was one man even younger. I sat Lady Thatcher to his right — where else? Come the moment when gifts were present9 .” Turning bright red. At 45. they listened and at the end they (the men) all applauded. I concluded by saying that Sir Denis’s place had been taken for the night by Mr. To tell the truth. I tapped on a glass to get attention and made a few announcements. We sat down to dinner. YOUNG MAN!” she commanded again. I quickly recruited a Tory MP friend who is a generation younger than Lady Thatcher. he stood. A great personal joy for me over the past 15 years has been organizing significant birthday parties for the late Dr. industry and politics. “Speak up. but then she does not need to. He tried again but clearly did not measure up. he threw. “Really. Still no good. We want to hear what you have to say. She has a great sense of comic timing — she does not only tell jokes when they are scripted by her speech writers. tall. the civil service. Lady Thatcher’s office asked if she and Sir Denis could attend and I replied yes. “Stand up and throw your voice. “Nobody told me!” The whole room erupted and just roared with laughter. Arthur Seldon CBE and Lord (Ralph) Harris of High Cross. Sir Denis failed to show and I faced having an empty chair at dinner.” she said. handsome in a battered kind of way. X MP. The problem was that nobody could hear what he was saying. At Ralph’s 80th in December 2005. young man. straight and. On the night. my wife tells me.Preface media.” commanded Lady Thatcher. “SPEAK UP. a 31-one-year-old representing his boss. I was hosting a dinner once for a famous politician from overseas. He started a third time.” said Lady Thatcher in a very arch voice. “Young man.

I found the following in the archive. Before he knew what was happening. my Executive Assistant Clare was in charge. 10 . 1969 to a rising Tory MP. Lady Thatcher yanked it out of his hands.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ed. reportedly her favorite think tank. on January 1. 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. There is much scope for her to be influenced between triumph and disaster. as follows: “May we hope for better things from Margaret?” Geoffrey Howe replied: “I am not at all sure about Margaret. Many of her economic prejudices are certainly sound. 1993. Geoffrey Howe. As the Financial Times diary column put it the next day. paper flew in all directions and she handed it back.” Fortunately it was the former. Unfortunately the gift wrap was too tight for Ralph. One of the gifts was a brand new laptop computer. 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. The then IEA Editorial Director Arthur Seldon CBE had written on October 24.

3% and 13. The Labour Government. This happened on only one other 11 .2%.0%. thus precipitating a General Election. Successive British governments.5%.Introduction “Now is the Winter of our Discontent.” the United Kingdom’s winter of 1978–1979. 1979 when Her Majesty’s Government lost a no-confidence motion by just one vote. and Scottish Nationalists — depending on the issue of the moment.” —Richard III. under Prime Minister James Callaghan. 16. William Shakespeare It was called the “Winter of Discontent. 8. 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 8.3%) to annual double-digit price increases1. 1979 and ended on March 28. 24.4% so what you could buy for £100 in 1974 cost £240 in 1979.8%. both left and right. Decades of abject policy failure culminated in three months of anarchy. struggled desperately to hold onto power. It started on January 3. 15. Ulster Unionists. helped by opportunistic Liberals. annual price increases were 16.2 1 In the six years from 1974 through 1979.

Such atrocities included the disruption of gas supplies and the closure of gas stations. 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.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. The British polity was seared by a series of iconic images such as closed gas stations. On that occasion Ramsay MacDonald asked the King to dissolve Parliament. the electorate took its revenge with a swing from Labour to Conservative of 5. Following speeches. strikes by ambulance drivers including refusal to attend 911 calls. At one point British Rail issued a five-word press notice: “There are no trains today. May 4. namely 1924. she was that afternoon driven to Buckingham Palace occasion in the 20th century. It was grim! Very grim indeed! What had the country come to when pregnant women were denied medicals. exactly four months after it had all started. when the first Labour government (a minority one) had also fallen. hospital support staff — not doctors — deciding which patients should be treated and which turned away without treatment and “if people died. the biggest since 1945. kisses (or rather just one kiss for her staunch ally Russell Lewis) and toasts. strikes by trash collectors and even an unofficial strike by grave diggers. as Labour bled red and the Conservatives gained + 62 net seats. so be it” as one union man said. 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. Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin won the ensuing General Election. 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. 12 . oil refineries and manufacturers of “essentials” resulting in the laying off of over 1 million workers.” 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. picket lines. Reports of food shortages around the country began to appear as distribution channels were disrupted.2%. the picketing of major ports. strikes by hospital support staff. this swing propelled Conservative Party Leader Mrs. Early the very next day.

the Thatcher era can be fairly said to extend the full 18 years from 1979 to 1997. She was Prime Minister for 11 ½ years from that spring day in 1979 until November 28. To be. with President Reagan. and of the 22 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Britain ranked 19th. long-forgotten figures who were or had been heads of state. See Appendix II for British General Elections 1945–2005. In corporate terms Her Majesty the Queen is CEO and the Prime Minister is COO. Churchill. 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. In day-to-day terms Prime Minister Thatcher “ran the country” but she was never head of state. She was also the first woman in British political life to hold any of the four top jobs. At the start of that period the French Ambassador had said that Britain was suffering from “degringolade” or falling down sickness. thus help1 Margaret Thatcher was Her Majesty the Queen’s 9th Prime Minister following Messrs. Given no clearly defining Major philosophy or goal (he was very much the quiet middle-manager type). a Conservative majority of +21 becoming a New Labour majority of +177. Foreign Secretary. Douglas-Home. This only ever irked her when. 2 As Prime Minister she was not head of state. and Golda Meir (Israel) 1969–1974. 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. 1994–2000. 1980–1984. Indira Gandhi (India) 1966–1977. one of the two leaders of the free world. Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister. 1970–1977. Macmillan. Wilson. namely Home Secretary. say. Britain was the “sick man of Europe. yet have to stand well down the receiving line must have been truly galling. the West German Ambassador had said Britain had “the economy of East Germany”. and Callaghan. Eden. 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.” She was in the last chance saloon. Attlee. Heath. 13 .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.

and gobbling up billions in subsidies. So the Brits were told by all sides.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ing them to build new ones while Britain struggled with old capital. The UK surely does not have the vibrant private rental sector one sees in the United States. To meet him is to understand why Missouri is known as the “show me” state. 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. 2 Such a high percentage of home ownership has obvious positive benefits. while born in Missouri. “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 socio-economic group we call “the middle class” had leapt from 33% to 50% of the population. Even the French GDP was streets ahead of the British.3 and as we will see tax rates were slashed. As Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson (later Lord Lawson) was to remark. What was needed.1 Inflation was rampant. 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. it was believed. 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. 1 In the late seventies Economics Nobel Laureate F. it does detract from labor mobility. 14 . 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. Home ownership (as opposed to private renting or public housing) had also leapt from 53% to 71%2. Radical policy solutions were pooh-poohed. 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. unaccountable. And they believed it. the unions were out of control (“running the country” even) and the nationalized industries were under performing. was stability not change. However.A. Sir Robert. But 18 years later Britain had jumped from 19th to 2nd place on the OECD ladder.5m to 0. was raised in Kansas. It had become a nation of entrepreneurs with self-employment doubling from 7% to 14% of the workforce.5m. Hayek commented to the author.

the woman who woke up her nation and made it once again a world leader and player. entrepreneurs and shareholders. Pre-Thatcher a sclerotic union dominated economy was typified by surly service. interests. 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. It is not only the story of her life but also an examination of the ideas. poor products and a craven business class. 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. the woman who was the pivotal point of the rescue of a country. and circumstances surrounding key events. After all she did not operate in a vacuum. This book is my personal portrait of Margaret Thatcher. 15 . And both service and product quality have been improved many times over.Introduction The transformation was stunning on many fronts.


17 . Prior to Margaret its most famous former resident was the scientist Sir Isaac Newton. Her home had no bath and no running hot water. Grantham. including one right behind the shop where she was born and raised. rougher neighborhoods. Like her predecessor Edward Heath and her next four successors as Conservative Party leaders (John Major. William Hague. Anyway I wouldn’t want to be Prime Minister. You have to give yourself 100%. Grantham was a moderately important regional “market” town which owed a lot to being on the Great North Road. Iain Duncan Smith.” Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on October 13. It was also connected by water canal and railroad.000 and while it had wealthy prosperous areas it also had meaner. in the United Kingdom’s east coast county of Lincolnshire. 1925 under the sign of Libra (the scale) and above her parents’ grocery store on North Parade. In Margaret’s youth the population was circa 30. 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.1. 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. Childhood “No woman in my time will be Prime Minister — or Chancellor or Foreign Secretary — not the top jobs. a major transport artery.

” If you passed. Margaret 1 The phrase “provincial grammar school girl” has four words of which three were put downs in her youth. Her grocery-store entrepreneur father. Margaret bringing home lots of books every week for him from the local public library.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady economic and social ladders on their own initiative and had truly great hopes for their children. just as a public house or pub is open to anyone who can pay the price 18 . you went to the local grammar school and probably stayed until you were 16 or 18.1 If such narrowness was indeed a danger then it was surely nullified ten times over by Margaret’s father. 14. beating out her political mentor Keith Joseph. Her hometown of Grantham is often called “provincial” in a condescending way. Alfred Roberts. had four generations of nearby Northamptonshire shoemakers as his ancestors while her mother. 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. Self employment is written all over Margaret’s family tree. as reportedly the best-read man in the area. implying a restricted outlook and a lack of big city smarts. her husband Denis Thatcher. say. A carpenter at the same school was the father of Eric Heffer. He towers over her early life both physically (at over six feet tall) and intellectually. 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. 2 A “tuck” shop is found in nearly every UK boarding school. Alf left school at twelve or thirteen (reports disagree) and gravitated immediately to food distribution and retailing. a major leftist leader in Parliament. In Margaret’s time every child in the nation took an exam at the end of 5th grade called the “11+. 3 British “public schools” are in fact private. you went to the local “secondary modern” and left at. It is the place where students spend their allowance or pocket money on items to supplement their school diet. if you failed. However. polish and refinement. Margaret and older sister Muriel (born 1921) grew up in the apartment over the shop. had had her own small business. and her great friend Ronald Reagan by a country mile. There was more fluidity between the two systems than critics credit. see the story of her adviser Sir Alan Walters in Chapter 24. Alf Roberts was arguably the single greatest influence on Margaret. 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. Beatrice Stephenson. starting as an assistant in the “tuck shop”2 at a prominent “public”3 school.

the traditional 19th century advocates of of a pint. Reading and sustained adult conversation around the dinner table were the order of the day. 19 .1 Mayor (often accompanied by Margaret). The Roberts were serious. 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. Methodism was often a rich breeding ground for socialism and pacifism but not for Alf and his little Margaret. In his 2008 memoir From House to House. Even then there were only three stations. It gets to Grantham and the passengers are told that a heavy ongoing bombing raid will prevent the train from advancing. who insists on taking the man home and giving him a good bed for the night. very serious Methodists. and prominent Rotarian. It was of course a different era with none of the appliances we take for granted. no television at all. Alderman. While he was nominally a member of the Liberal Party. He had been shot down over the English Channel and rescued by the Air Sea Rescue. he was first been treated in the south of England and then sent to the north east for specialist treatment in Newcastle. And during World War II he was an Air Raid Precaution Warden (ARP) as German bombers pounded Margaret’s hometown. Magistrate. “Private” education would be understood to mean the hiring of private tutors. The train is very slow and makes many stops. They were in effect senior greybeards elected by the directly elected councilmen. Badly injured.1. church three times and Margaret playing the piano in Sunday school. aiming for its munitions factory and killing scores of civilians. Alf was a lay preacher of renown and Sundays meant no newspaper. former Conservative MP Sir David Mitchell tells the story of a constituent who had been an air force pilot in World War II. 1 Aldermen no longer exist in British politics. The injured pilot beds down on the ticket room floor but is soon roused by ARP Warden Roberts. 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. Next morning a young girl called Margaret makes him breakfast before leaving for school. and a wireless (radio) only when Margaret was about to turn into her teens.

it was Beatrice who gave her the personal time-management tools that made her so effective and so hard to keep up with. to live within your means. From her Margaret learned how to run a household and above all how to organize her time. From both she learned to be careful with every penny. A compromise solution was reached: the movie theater could open but not the parks. 20 . 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. Her father was the cloakroom attendant at the railroad station and her mother a farm girl turned factory worker.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady free trade and free markets. Beatrice was born and bred in Grantham. he ran as an independent or rate-payer’s (i. Deeply patriotic he had on six occasions. This raised important dinner time discussion issues in the Roberts household. 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. possibly more. 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. If Alf gave her the foundations of her later philosophy. and to save. Margaret would be out with Dad attending a University outreach lecture or getting books from the library or struggling with quite difficult philosophy texts. 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. Sundays were sacrosanct but the pilots and crew deserved their R&R. So it was total immersion in public affairs from the day she was born for this bright little girl Margaret. tax-payer’s) candidate and was through and through a conservative.e. The cornerstone of his philosophy was individual responsibility and a favorite book was John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. loved every minute of it and at an age when other little girls might have been home with Mom. With the entry of America into World War II came the USAF to the great flat areas of Margaret’s south east Lincolnshire. And it was not all theory. to waste nothing. And apparently she lapped it up.

stepped in to run the shop when necessary. She played the piano and sang contralto to Alf’s alto. did a great deal of voluntary social work for the church. it was from my mother that I inherited the ability to organize and combine so many different duties of an active life.” And: “Although in later years I would speak more readily of my father’s political influence on me. Smith Goes to Washington. meaning she would eventually be eligible to go up to university at age 17 and not the more usual 18 or 19. well-organized cook. tacking cottons were re-used! She was. the 10-year-old gave her a lecture on the value of hard work and preparation. 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. When a teacher implied that Margaret had been “lucky” to win the recital prize. That great classic Mr. Beatrice lived just long enough to see Margaret enter Parliament but died in 1960. 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. which led her to build a small collection of silver as “it looks so good in such a setting. She could read before starting grade school and was quickly bumped up a year. Of her mother Margaret has written: “She had been a great rock of family stability. Beatrice also took the girls on holiday every summer.” she says. displayed a series of practical domestic talents such as dressmaking and was never heard to complain. She furnished the house with good quality dark mahogany items purchased at sales. which was surely good grounding for later public speaking. As shop keepers Mom and Pop Roberts could never vacation together. starring James Stewart. an excellent.1. supported my father in his public life and as Mayoress. 21 . She managed the household. according to Margaret.” Margaret was something of a precocious child. entertained. was a big hit with young Margaret.1 Beatrice made most of Muriel and Margaret’s clothes buying top quality fabrics again at sales times. She had learned to play piano and recite poetry aloud to audiences (winning prizes since she was 10). Childhood She was an ardent Methodist (just as well!) and a great saver. It is easy to imagine her empathizing with the 1 Margaret inherited this passion for dark mahogany.

Needless to say the movie has a happy ending. 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. 1 In late 2007 her grandson. Long walks in the countryside around Grantham were a big part of her life and she has clear. poetry recitals. at least during her youth. She did enjoy skiing — it was the only time she wore trousers. She would walk a mile to school. strong memories of walking by the dole queues of the depression years. golf.” And that “it takes struggles in life to make strength. Iain Sproat: “At school Margaret was the youngest on the (field) hockey team.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. Smith butts heads with the corrupt political machine.” Heady stuff and just the sort of rhetoric she would later adopt and for which she would become world famous. 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. sport was never really that big in her life. 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. This led to the following quote in the press from former Tory Sports Minister. It takes fight for principles to make fortitude. a mile back to school and a mile back home. 22 . “I hate it root and branch. Once in DC.” He wanted free trade to knock down “barriers between peoples” remarking that “I want to see the countries all wide open. helped his high school in Dallas.” To be more accurate she also wore trousers when visiting oil rigs or being taught how to drive a tank. It takes crises to give courage. And it takes singleness of purpose to reach an objective. She played at centre-half and rose to be captain. He was a staunch opponent of tariffs which he regarded as “malevolent” and “flying in the face of American ideals. was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and regularly appears in lists of Top 100 movies ever made. TX win the state championship. a mile back for lunch (cheaper that way). with or without Pop Roberts. As well as piano. refuses to give up his principles and is framed. Michael Thatcher.1 Whichever. not even with sport-aholic husband Denis later in life. And walking — she seems to have walked everywhere.” Tariffs make the rich richer and the poor poorer he observed.

Alf raided his savings to pay for a tutor and eight weeks later she was at what Brits call ‘O’ level standard. But there were two problems to overcome. Oxford. Childhood Above all however the Roberts household was one where you all worked hard and never wasted a second. she was already a year ahead — was rejected. At first it looked as if the teachers were right. 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. She became Joint Head Girl of School but two weeks later a telegram arrived — somebody had dropped out of Somerville.” 23 . The very young Margaret — remember. She failed to win her scholarship and she entered “13th Grade” to try again. including headmistress Dorothy Gilles. And this was to pay off handsomely as Margaret approached university years. 1 “O” levels (now called GCSEs) are taken at about age 16. 2 In the British system the “12th Grade” was called “the Upper 6th” and the “13th Grade” was called “third year Sixth Form.1. Alf and Margaret set their sights on Somerville College. The first was Margaret’s lack of Latin. and Margaret was on her way.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. The other problem was more subtle. typically wanted her to do the latter. a prerequisite even for chemistry and not taught at her school. 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.


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. but should get you pretty near. However. It was war-time: blackouts. the growing flow of mature often married ex-servicemen anxious to make up time and get on with 25 . University “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. Miss Margaret Roberts arrived at Oxford to study Chemistry.” So in early October 1943. 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. starting in 1944. definitely scientist. right about her 18th birthday. rationing. Most British degrees take three years as opposed to four in the United States.” she replied instantly and typically without a doubt. 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. nights on fire-watch. That is the recipe. 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. scientist. And you graduated with both a Bachelors and a Master’s degree. It will not always get you to the top. queues and no sugar in your tea were the order of the day.2.

Dame Janet Vaughan was a socialist and did not hide her views. namely Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994). rather homesick and apprehensive…” However.2 Then only 33. 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. Shirley Summerskill MP (daughter of Dr. Led by Dame Janet Vaughan1 its students faced no religious tests or obligations unlike its contemporaneous and deeply Anglican (i. and Dorothy Sayers are also alumnae. Miss Roberts initially found Oxford to be “cold and strangely forbidding” and in her memoirs she adds: “I arrived. 26 . a Methodist Study Group and of course the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA). she joined the Oxford Bach Choir. Novelists Vera Brittain (mother of Shirley Williams). Edith Summerskill MP) and one time Labour Party leadership hopeful Mrs. She was the third woman to get the Nobel in Chemistry. Iris Murdoch. Kennedy School of Government.. but had not become a full college of the university until 1920. Indira Gandhi. Shirley Williams MP later Lady Williams of Crosby and from 1988 to 2000 a Professor at Harvard’s John F. 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.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady their lives led to the temporary introduction of two year degrees. after Marie Curie in 1911 and her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie in 1935. 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. She was assigned to Somerville’s most famous (until Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher got into her stride) alumna and teacher. Her college Somerville had been set up as a Hall in 1879 and was one of the first for women. This is not what Miss Roberts wanted and she escaped it by the skin of her teeth. Somerville turns out to have been a kindergarten for female politicians including Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Episcopalian) Lady Margaret Hall. 2 Hodgkin as in the left-leaning Thomas Hodgkin she had married in the late 1930s.e.

The OM for Hodgkin was the first awarded to a lady since that given to Florence Nightingale in 1907.e. She took her time — after all. was or “her determination by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances.” 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. Lady Thatcher herself was admitted to the Order of Merit in 1990 as the fifth female OM1. the choir. That required money. In between long walks. she had four years. and Miss Roberts just did not have it. according to the citation.” But as Campbell asks: “Why should she be? She had no intention of becoming a chemist except in the short term. Working with a German refugee scientist she pushed forward on a new scientific frontier suggested by Hodgkin’s own work.” John Campbell. 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. 27 . The Nobel. After Margaret came the opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland in 1991. 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. quotes Hodgkin on Thatcher as follows: “I came to rate her as good. In the Thatcher memoirs Hodgkin is described as an “ever-helpful tutor” who got her some modest college grants to see her through. She adds that Hodgkin was “a brilliant scientist and gifted teacher.” Her fourth-year dissertation reports another biographer Hugo Young was effectively to be Hodgkin’s research assistant. There were a few girls studying at Oxford from “northern” grammar schools but female students were mostly public (i. Betty Boothroyd in 2005.2. University Majesty the Queen in 1965. ballerina Dame Ninette de Valois in 1992. one of Thatcher’s many biographers. and former Commons Speaker. They failed but she nevertheless got her degree and the chemistry puzzle they worked on was not cracked until 1980. One could always rely on her producing a sensible.. 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). private) school girls with the resources to exploit all Oxford had to offer.

” 28 . 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. where so many politicians have and still do cut their teeth. Douglas-Home (’63–’64). long afternoons in the laboratories. The war of course put quite a damper on party political activity. as a budding chemist.1 She led resurgence in OUCA during the fall of 1946 as membership passed 1. While chemistry labs might need to be organized at the university level there was a lot to be said for living in small colleges.000 for the first time in two decades. Eden (’55–’57). Macmillan (’57–’63). an early insight into the principle of subsidiarity. Interestingly. One long term lesson she learned at Somerville was the importance of small units. No other university has come close to its domination of recent British politics. Margaret Roberts was therefore the first Lady President without high “connections. Starved of a possible debating career in the Union. while she never hid her political views and would knock on any door.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady (the Wesley Memorial Church) there were lectures and. The famous Oxford Union debating society. The overwhelming orthodoxy was an overarching role for big centralized government. Heath (’70–’74). one might argue! Oxford was important to Margaret Roberts in many ways. Of course she was known to be a Conservative as she rose through the ranks of OUCA. she seems to have kept such ideas to herself at church and within the Choir. 1 The first was Rachel Willink just a few terms earlier — she was the daughter of Henry Willink. 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. Indeed 25 British Prime Ministers have graduated there and Prime Ministers Attlee (’45–’51). Wilson (’64–’70 and ’74–’76). Margaret Roberts found Oxford overwhelmingly left wing although less fractious than the 1930s. Churchill’s Minister of Health. 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. she threw herself into OUCA and by her 4th and final year (1946-1947) she became its second ever lady President.

4 Crosland married Susan Catling of Baltimore. 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. politics was clearly her first love and destiny. 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.1 Her time at Oxford can be split in two on several fronts. As Foreign Secretary in 1976 he took Henry Kissinger to watch Grimsby play a soccer game against Gillingham in Blundell Park. and one of the cleverest and most thoughtful men of his era. 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. Grimsby. PPE. member of the House of Lords. William Rees-Mogg later Editor of The Times. and Economics (PPE). Anthony Wedgwood Benn. Balliol. For her first two years she lived in college. and St. the controversial 1 Their colleges were respectively University. While she studied chemistry. and Anthony Crosland. Somerville. who was to become a prominent political journalist and write a biography of her called simply Thatcher. socialist son of Lord Stansgate and father of Hilary Benn who currently serves as a Labour minister. 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. 3 It is not clear if they actually overlapped. and Law. Jesus. In her final two years. “If there is one thing I will do I will smash every ******* grammar school in the country. Kenneth Harris. Their majors were Law. Christ Church.” and much of her time as Education Secretary was spent undoing his policies. Secretary of Education ’65–’67. for her last two she moved out into private rented accommodation or what the British call “digs.”2 For her first two years there were more women than usual. 29 . Politics. He was famously to say. MD in 1964. Other notable contemporaries were Tony Benn. large numbers of veterans returned or entered and this changed the whole atmosphere and added a lot in her view. History (did not graduate because of WWI). Chemistry.4 who was to pen The Future of Socialism. like her. Johns. Oriental Languages. was a Labour modernizer of his day and later. infirm. the men were at war and those left behind were either older. Philosophy. Balliol. or very young and waiting for the draft. then the Hon. Christ Church. University Thatcher (’79–’90). Kenneth Tynan.2.

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.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady yet influential British theatre critic and writer who died in 1980 was a contemporary. as was Ludovic Kennedy. However the national mood was strongly in favor of governmentsponsored safety nets. A generation earlier. Lewis’s (Screwtape Letters (1942) and Abolition of Man (1943)). She was extremely active both for Quentin Hogg in Oxford and. Colm Brogan’s Who Are ‘The People’ (1943) and Our New Masters (1947). hadn’t nice Mr. “I speak as a very young Tory”.A. when term ended and she went down. for Squadron Leader Worth back home in Grantham. This time they were “not to be cheated. 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.” namely the government would own. but then she used that to her advantage as it was her generation which would “bear the brunt” of much needed changes she claimed. so in peace. 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. Attlee been running the coun- 30 . Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon (1940) and Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945). Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (1944). author and broadcaster and Liberal candidate for Rochdale in 1958. But there were other influences at Oxford as she continued to read widely most notably C. As President of OUCA. the journalist (including for Newsweek). The Sleaford Gazette of June 29 described her as “very youthful” and her opening words were.S. F. for whom she was a “warm-up” speaker aged all of 19 years and 9 months. and direct pretty much everything.” The cry went up: “As in war. while Churchill had been running the war and going overseas. After all.

Margaret Roberts started her final year at Oxford by going as an OUCA representative to her first Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool. 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. With Churchill out and her exams behind her. Yorkshire’s even tonier Harrogate and a rejuvenated Manchester getting into the lineup in recent times. This unease was further reinforced in May 1947 as she prepared to leave Oxford and her party published its Industrial Charter.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. 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. Those were the glory years of collectivism with the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy. jolly. 31 . 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. Not to be confused with guacamole. a loud. 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. 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. the expansion of welfarism.2. 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. Even in 1988 Prime Minister Thatcher was forced to say “the NHS is safe in our hands”. Churchill was reportedly not at all happy with it. 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. a dog’s breakfast of socialism and corporatism with a few odd bones for the free marketeers. such is its hold on the British people.

all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere. “If we adhere faithfully to the Charter of the United Nations and walk forward in sedate and sober strength. Bucharest and Sofia. On the contrary there will be an overwhelming assurance of security. Budapest. Just seven months later. This was the kind of clear anti-communist message she longed to hear. Vienna. 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 one form or another. far from the Russian frontiers and throughout the world. on the sea. all over the globe. and in moral force. 1945 and March 5. and all are subject. there will be no quivering. not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow. seeking to lay no arbitrary control upon the thoughts 32 . Prague. 1946. she had a fair understanding of the science behind the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6. her spirits were tremendously boosted by Winston Churchill’s speech in Fulton. precarious balance of power to offer its temptation to ambition or adventure. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Berlin. with all that such cooperation implies in the air. the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization. in March 1946. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” 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. The first was a dire warning about communism. 1945. It contained two main themes.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Two dates are etched deeply in her memory from those last years at Oxford: August 6.” “If the population of the English-speaking Commonwealth be added to that of the United States. Belgrade. albeit in training. seeking no one’s land or treasure. As a scientist. Missouri to Westminster College. Except in the British Commonwealth and in the United States where Communism is in its infancy. Communist fifth columns are established and work in complete unity and absolute obedience to the directions they receive from the Communist center. “In a great number of countries. Warsaw. and in science and in industry.

2. not only for us but for all. while pursuing outside interests as well. not only for our time but for a century to come. the high roads of the future will be clear. Alf’s daughter was well launched on a career and into society. if all British moral and material forces and convictions are joined with your own in fraternal association.” Having earned a degree. University of men. with high marks. How far could she go? 33 .


Launching “Pennies don’t fall from heaven. Living in the lovely town of Colchester. reveling in its policy discussion groups.” Between the summer of 1947 and the fall of 1959 Margaret Roberts/Thatcher was characteristically busy. twice fought a Labour held parliamentary seat. qualifying as a tax barrister. They have to be earned on earth. she started her career as a research chemist. Following several months of job interviews the young Margaret Roberts opted for a firm called BX Plastics based in Manningtree. Inter alia. They would have been in their mid to late twenties making her by far the youngest member. married Denis Thatcher. wrote and spoke often in the Conservative interest. got rejected for several safe seats. 35 . She also switched to the law. 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. she bused to work with colleagues and quickly joined the local Conservative Party.3. Essex which lies east of London and north of the Thames Estuary. and had twins Mark and Carol. was finally adopted for a safe seat and got elected to Parliament with a huge majority.

” it also has its rougher industrial areas of which Dartford was one and Labour held it with a huge majority of 20. she met businessman Denis Thatcher who had been at her adoption meeting and very much liked what he’d seen and heard. Conservative Central Office. joined J Lyons in central London as a research chemist. If she had tried to go as one of. Within a year the 1950 General Election 1 This was a bit of a backdoor way in. Later that evening he drove her into central London.” After three rounds of interviews Margaret Roberts emerged as the candidate on January 31. Second. 1949 aged 23! She has since speculated that the size of the Labour majority helped in her selection. six representing Colchester. let’s have some fun with this incredibly dynamic. First. and took up lodgings or “digs” in her constituency of Dartford. 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. she got the support of the whole of the constituency membership (all 100%. at a celebratory dinner for senior constituency officers that very night. energetic woman who is so young and beautiful we might get a little national publicity. rather than just its officers) at her formal adoption meeting. she would have been way down the list. While Kent lies east of London and south of the Thames Estuary and is often called “the garden of England. 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. The Tory Party ranked Dartford as “a most hostile part of the county. Kent constituency that they asked her to apply to be their candidate. February 1949 was a trebly important month. Because the local Tories were never ever going to win such a seat they had nothing to lose — what the heck they thought.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. 36 . she managed to persuade her party’s HQ. Third. to put her on the approved list of candidates post ante.1 She was days short of turning 23.000. say. dropping her off at Liverpool Street Station for a late train back to Essex.

was she articulate. 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. she was close to London and the media. literate and. They had the grace to acknowledge that she got there first. my word.000 to around 14. She is never heckled. She was the youngest woman running for Parliament.000. The Socialists were very annoyed about this until they learned that the same facilities were open to them but never asked for. When the meeting ends people crowd round her — generally Socialists — to ask more questions. 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. Conservative Party Vice 37 . The Daily Telegraph. and spoke at meeting after meeting every night. a leading British newspaper. 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. She had also made a great impression on her party’s regional agent Beryl Cook. Sir David Mitchell recounts that he was one of Margaret Roberts’ warm-up speakers. Margaret Roberts had made a swingeing cut in the socialist majority in Dartford from around 20. canvassed on the doorstep in the afternoons. Miss Roberts has visited and spoken to the workers in very many factories. Launching was underway and she attended to paperwork in the mornings. they have too much respect for her. really genuine ones. She excels at questions and always gives a straight and convincing answer. and Denis (ten years her senior and already divorced — but see later) had proposed and — after serious thought — she had accepted. but they were the people who could not get into the meeting.” The same archive reports The Daily Telegraph contains another memo dated two years later in which John Hare. Labour’s gigantic majority in Parliament was cut from 146 to 5. she was very attractive. 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. 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. single.3.

a Ford Prefect. given that her weekends were taken up with politics and his with refereeing rugby union football games. George’s Square Mews. 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. and she moved out of the constituency to a small apartment in St.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Chairman. 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. their ongoing romance was very much a mid-week affair. 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. She did however obtain her first car. 1 Unlike the US. It was not far from Denis’s apartment and. 38 . slightly Bohemian part of London on the better side of the River Thames between Westminster to the north. Having done so well in 1950. or interests are needed though they might help at the margin. 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. 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). Chelsea to the west and Victoria and Belgravia to the north west. in charge of Parliamentary candidates. Pimlico. Nothing I said deterred her. One even gets Scots representing English seats. Labour and everybody else in the country knew another General Election was not far off — months. 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.” With a majority of only five. family. an interesting. hence the movie’s title. Miss Beryl Cook describes her as the best woman candidate she has ever known. Coincidentally (or was it?) she moved into the Pimlico district just as Ealing Studios. was marketing Passport to Pimlico starring Margaret Rutherford and Stanley Holloway. British political candidates are completely free to apply for their party’s nomination anywhere in the country. I would also agree. Margaret Roberts was quickly readopted by her friends in Dartford. Passport to Pimlico is a classic British movie whose message must have appealed to the young politician. No local ties. not years. then a top UK film maker.

Launching Some of the scenes were particularly on target politically. In the US the Chancellor of the Exchequer is called the Treasury Secretary. home of the Chief Whip. Scenes in the movie of the free residents of Pimlico cut off by the UK government were redolent of the Blockade. He was made a Baronet in 1953 and a life member3 of the House of Lords in 1960.3. Designed by George Dance Junior and opened in 1778. 1 Downing Street has been the official London residence of over 50 British Prime Ministers going back over 250 years. 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. had moved to the US in 1903 to build skyscrapers and marry Emily Bayne from New York City in 1910. The Conservatives won with a workable majority of seventeen and Winston was back in No. The former is for life only while the latter passes on down the generations. followed by 12 Downing Street. 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. 2 Wesley’s Chapel was built by John Wesley. an architect. The General Election did indeed follow quickly on October 25 in the fall of 1951. They had met soon after her 1949 adoption. Kent from 1931 to 1959. on August 12. She had become great friends with a remarkable character called Sir Alfred Bossom. slashed another good chunk off of her opponent’s majority getting it down to just over 12. Margaret Roberts. Bossom. A baronet abbreviated to Bt. After working for Carnegie Steel in Pittsburgh on social housing for workers. 10 Downing Street. After making his fortune Bossom returned to England and entered politics. the founder of Methodism. where he worked on many buildings including the Adolphus Hotel for Adolphus Busch. Next door is 11 Downing Street. it became Wesley’s London base. turning 26 just twelve days before. Conservative MP for Maidstone. I suspect. founder of Anheuser-Busch. 3 A life member of the House of Lords is distinct from a hereditary member.000 on an 85% turnout. home of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.1 Margaret Roberts and Denis Thatcher now chose December 13. is a hereditary title. 1951 to be married in Wesley’s Chapel2 on City Road in London. Bossom moved to Dallas. Denis Thatcher was Sir Denis Thatcher 39 .

Bayne.” that is.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. 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. not bosom or bottom but Bossom! Bossom’s importance to Miss Roberts and Mr. 1 Bossom was very active in the 1920s building New York’s Seaboard National Bank for his father-in-law Samuel G. it is said that on first hearing the name Bossom. war time restrictions were coming off. MagnoliaMobil Petroleum Building. 5 that Margaret left to get married. her party was in power and she had a lovely apartment in a fashionable district. 5 Carlton Gardens. and it was in his home at No. half thinking she could combine her chemistry with the law and take a run at the patent bar. the United States National Bank. Father Alf Roberts was of course present and must have delighted in the event and seeing his younger daughter so well set. the Cabinet by announcing he was “off to Bossom’s. Thatcher settled down to enjoy a fairly affluent lifestyle.1 Following a honeymoon in Madeira.” However. She had always been interested in the law since Alf’s days as a magistrate and lunches with visiting legal officials. watched England play day one of a key interBt. 5 that they held their reception. the new Mrs. in all innocence of what was happening. Thatcher idleness is a sin and she was soon studying hard to become a barrister. August 15 a few weeks early while Denis. the bank’s president. An annual lecture in his memory still runs under the direction of the Faculty of Building of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He left the House of Commons as Margaret Thatcher entered and after four years in the Lords died in the early fall of 1964. say. But Bossom was clearly the leader that day. 40 . But to Mrs. Thatcher was that on their big day he turned over to them his London home at the prestigious address of No. Denis was doing well. so his title passed to his son Mark and will one day pass to his son Michael in Dallas. after the ‘31 General Election. (in Houston) Petroleum Building (in Galveston). 5 that Bossom led the toast to the happiness of the newly-weds. and in Texas building the following: (in Dallas) American Exchange National Bank. He also renovated Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. It was from No. Winston said “Bossom? Bossom? Neither one thing nor the other. it was at No. Maple Terrace Apartments.

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!). Launching national cricket match versus Australia at a ground called The Oval in South London. The US has played Canada at cricket since 1844. She delved into the philosophy of law and discovered A.3. a small cricket item was cremated and the ashes put in a terracotta urn. 41 . When Australia beat England for the very first time. Before she could change her mind she signed the paperwork and sent it off with her check. Back home she organized life with a nanny and hit the law books duly passing in December and joining Chambers2 as a pupil. 3 Pupils are trainee barristers. and Liberty which came out between 1973 and 1979. 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. Why I Am Not a Conservative. She also returned to Hayek with his Constitution of Liberty in 1960 and later his three-volume Law. Legislation. 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. as opposed to solicitors who prepare the cases for the barristers. Four days later on Wednesday August 19 England won and a trophy called the Ashes1 came back home after nearly 20 years. Dicey’s The Law of the Constitution which stressed the importance of the rule of law and warned against attacks upon it. 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. 2 Chambers are groups of barristers and barristers are attorneys who are allowed to plead in court and undertake public trials. Despite this. The former contains as an appendix Hayek’s famous essay.V. 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. But attorney Thatcher was no narrow technician.

three Presidents. However. it did not sit easy with her. her government. by his grandson Winston S. 1955 General Election which saw the Conservative majority soar to a very comfortable 54 — a mandate for new Conservative Prime Minister Anthony Eden. 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. It was a major embarrassment for her country. 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). 2) Don’t find yourself on the opposite side to the United States “in all major international crises affecting British interests”. 42 . Macmillan’s mother was Helen (Nellie) Artie Tarleton of Spencer. 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.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady As a new mom she deliberately chose not to be a candidate at the May 25. no Parliament may exceed five years. The ensuing Suez debacle in 1956 engraved itself on her political consciousness. In Churchill’s American Heritage. she felt very much out of the real action and she fretted.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”. Bush over the first Gulf War: “This is no time to go wobbly.2 1 Churchill’s mother was Jennie Jerome of Brooklyn whose father Leonard Jerome edited the New York Times.” Such lessons sure stood her in good stead 25+ years later when she took on the Argentineans over the Falkland Islands 8. 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. the latter speculates that Churchill’s extended tree included three Pilgrims. 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. IN. 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.000 miles from home and practically in the enemies’ backyard. an astronaut and an Iroquois Indian woman. and 4) “he who hesitates is lost. much as she was in demand as a speaker. 3) Make sure all you do is “in accord with international law”. Churchill. They also come in handy when she advised President George W.

the traditional 43 . 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. Denis was off on his annual month-long sales trip to Africa and had no idea of what she was up to.e. privately) educated. she squeaked through. 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. And even if she did take it on and win. say. 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. In July 1958 she put her name forward for Finchley. not the men. She was alone but this time. Again it looked to be a rerun of the last four years of such experiences. But all was not plain sailing. Sir John Crowder. 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. Launching Having fought so well in 1950 and 1951 and having made such an impression on party bosses Mrs. was retiring. all in their 40s and all public school (i. while nobody voted against her. in north London. who were the more openly hostile. 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. She took advice on what to wear and researched the area and local issues well. And it was the women. CCO staff can play a major role in helping or hindering a career. Denis Thatcher was now entitled to consider only safe seats in or close to London. and so she felt confident she could play the MP-mom gig. despite the same barrage of personal questions. 150 to 250 applicants. coming top on the first ballot 36 to 35 and top again on the second ballot 46 to 43..3. where the sitting MP. She made the final four with three men all accompanied by well-groomed stay-at-home wives. 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. 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.

Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady “unanimous” was in fact only an “overwhelming. the twins had just turned 6 — she was on her way. 44 .260.” 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. She was just 5 days short of turning 34. The election rolled around 14 months later and on the October 8.500 to 16. The only question was how far she would go.

Anything underlined three times is obligatory.” New Members of the House of Commons face interesting decisions regarding domestic arrangements. whatever the day might hold. 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. Elected “If you set out to be liked you would be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime. 45 . Those with London. they purchased a large home with a garden well south of London. Thatcher always drove home. especially central London seats. near Farnborough in his home county of Kent. This was their sole residence and regardless of the lateness of the night Mrs.” Early on as an MP: “Of course you have doubts but I have not just come to this out of the blue. and you would achieve nothing. While Finchley was well up in north London. are not forced to maintain two homes and again tend to live in or very near to the constituency. To her. Mr. Each week the Whips Office sends around a timetable of business for the coming week. breakfast was a key meal of the day when all four Thatchers could be together. There was a three-line whip1 for breakfast! 1 In Parliament a three-line whip is something you disobey at your peril. Thatcher decided otherwise.4. and Mrs.

of E. 46 . 5 A “pair” occurs when two MPs of opposing parties agree that both will not vote at certain times. Free votes are rare as is rebellion against the Whip. However “the atmosphere was like a men’s club. There was and is no substitute for hours spent on the green benches6 lapping up the procedures. 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.1 Church attendance featured every Sunday.m. 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 Whips Office3. establishment was Low Church. the majority of the government of the day is not impacted. with prayers and often go on into the evening. Denis was a member of the Church of England (C. not High. the advice of more senior members. Margaret Thatcher MP into the procedures and highways and byways of the House of Commons was greatly helped by meetings of the 1922 Committee2. Because they both abstain. An MP with a young family today would be more likely to be home for an early evening supper than for breakfast. of E. say. and speech writing before the then 45 minute (today more like a good hour) ride to Westminster for lunch. Thatcher would attend to correspondence. and therefore acceptable to Methodist Margaret. or Episcopalian in the US) and the Thatchers had no wish to confuse the twins by observing different forms of worship. 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. thus freeing up your diary.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Following the school run (Mark and Carol were soon to go to boarding schools) Mrs. and prayers at the start of business at 2:30 p.” In other words Margaret’s family breakfasts would be close run things today. 6 The benches in the lower house or Commons are green while those in the upper house or Lords are red. Fortunately the local C. It is made up of all Conservative backbenchers but frontbenchers may attend also. of E.m. points of order and style of speaking and debate and she dutifully put in those hours until she was confident she knew the ropes. 2 The 1922 Committee was formed in 1923 but takes its name from the 1922 General Election. paperwork. To this day she worships within the C. 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. if not impossible.” commented a 1 Proceedings in Parliament used to start every day at 2:30 p. In recent years the hours have become more “family friendly. The induction of Mrs.

Along with 309 colleagues. 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. 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. 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. And she could get interested in it and passionate about it. and third no serious opposition from a pressure group or some such that will lead to an opposing MP talking out your Bill. Elected female colleague. 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. 3“Talking out a Bill” happens when an MP opposed to it simply talks so long there is not time for a vote. British MPs do not have assigned seats in the chamber. Second she considered a Bill to outlaw the union closed shop4 but the Whips Office felt this was far too controversial. second the support of the Government or at least no active opposition from it.4.3 First of all she considered selecting a certain technical legal matter to remedy but even to her. whether from the government or the opposition side. it was too boring and her heart was not in it. a lawyer. 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. 2 A Private Member’s Bill is a proposed law introduced by a member of parliament. she duly put forward her name and was totally astounded to come third. Soon after Parliament convened on October 20. 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. 47 . 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’d never won a raffle in her life and now here she was in a prime position to legislate. 4 A closed shop is a situation in which only union members may work at a particular place. In Westminster the overwhelming majority of bills introduced are proposed by the Cabinet.

her family and all who worked for her while Prime Minister. Now she faced another decision. goes on to a five-minute segment on your new constituency which makes the Garden of Eden sound like a slum. This normally runs to 15 minutes. She became so close to Keith that she dedicated one of her two volumes of memoirs to him.” The result was that many billions of dollars of taxpayers’ monies were being spent in secret. politicians and bureaucrats as self-interested maximizing agents. 48 . When the Government approves of the choice of such a Bill then the path forward suddenly clears. Margaret Thatcher MP was outraged. 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. It was all a very cozy arrangement between the councilmen and their paid officials but it was an outrage and Mrs. 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. 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 newspaper editors and journalists to support it and the local authority councilmen and their officers to oppose it. Most members tried to get away back to their constituencies on Thursday evenings so the Commons was often empty. and finishes with five minutes on something non-controversial. starts with at least five minutes on the marvels of your predecessor who is clearly second only to the Pope. She had yet to make her first or maiden speech in Parliament.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ings. 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. 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. the other volume was dedicated to Denis. On both sides of the Thatcher Bill groups sprang up.

traditional Tory values were being ignored. Some 68 colleagues joined her and it was the biggest revolt of this whole period of Conservative Party rule namely 1951–1964. So when one of only three wanted to leave government. socialism and communism were not being vehemently countered with free-market arguments. 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 39.2 The Bill duly became an Act of Parliament and thus the law of the land. huge for a Friday — her letters had paid off splendidly. just shy of 36. 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. her maiden speech was one introducing a Bill. Despite this early success. so this was significant praise. 49 . she often felt out of step with “modern” Conservative thinking. On the big day the turnout was about 200. All this boiled over in her one and only revolt against the Whip in 33 years as an MP. so that. 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. a door opened and in the fall of 1961. though not without some epic fights as it went through all its stages — quite an education for a brand new MP. She spoke and voted in favor of the caning and birching of violent young offenders. She felt it would harm her chances of advancement.4. 3 National Insurance is the UK’s social security. 2 A very high number of new MPs were elected in 1959. 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.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. uniquely (as far as I can discover). On the other hand. she became the junior Minister for Pensions and National Insurance (NI)3 responsible to Cabinet Minister John Boyd-Carpenter. Elected Working of the Monetary System. 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. albeit with a majority cut to 50 . This French rejection was nothing but a minor trade matter. 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). Australia. thus making the plan even more unsound. In all fairness. as first Macmillan and then Sir Alec Douglas-Home shuffled the deck chairs on the sinking Conservative liner. South Africa. at the outset Lord Beveridge had suggested a 20-year wait to allow funds to build up. Today pensions are with the Department of Work and Pensions and NI is with HM Revenue and Customs. Margaret Thatcher MP was just right for handling them. this was not much more than a vague irritant compounded by the ethnicity and attitude of the man saying “non. based on an optimistic scenario and implying. New Zealand.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady gesture that she made sure she always did the same later as Education Secretary. he lost the fall 1964 General Election and socialist Harold Wilson moved into 10 Downing Street with a majority of four. but once the plan caught the public’s fancy it became difficult not to introduce the benefits immediately. for whom this was absolutely meat and potatoes — if not milk and honey. India. as the United States Social Security program does. To Mrs. The Ministry for Pensions and National Insurance no longer exists. and many on the right. A year after Douglas-Home became Prime Minister. Two days after her 39th birthday she held her own seat in Finchley. It was a case of over promising. Back in 1961 the system’s flaws were apparent. Pakistan. the Brits had their special relationship with the United States and with their Commonwealth of some 50 countries including Canada. She relished the grind of mastering all aspects of the complex problem and then mastering her socialist opponents. and the analytical tax-lawyer mind brought by Mrs. Margaret Thatcher MP. and so on. that taxpayers’ pension contributions are linked to their pension entitlements.” After all.

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. well. it prevented retailers from competing on the basis of price cuts. stayed home at best. Douglas-Home had campaigned on his own turf. in other words. Consumers saw this as a rip off because it prevented retailers from offering discounts. the Conservatives had alienated the small business vote by abolishing Retail Price Maintenance (RPM) in the immediate run up to the election. 1 The Conservative Party was also tired after thirteen years in power. but small business proprietors. pretty much ignoring the so-called bread and butter matters that interest the electorate. which did not then exist in the UK. If a new Beatles record album was 19 shillings and 6 pence in a local shop. And the socialists could always outbid them on the public spending front. 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. Based on an IEA report by Professor Basil Yamey of the LSE. Heath had stopped the practice of having manufacturers stamp the prices of products on the packaging. a natural conservative constituency. muddled over economic policy. It was almost a miraculous result for several reasons. 51 . it was 19 shillings and 6 pence in every shop in the land.000 by a determined young Liberal named John Pardoe (later MP for North Cornwall. Under that system there was no shopping around. First. This practice was ended (which by the way allowed for the creation of the supermarket. 1966 to 1979).4. Second. annoyed with the French veto. Third.1 This move by Edward (Ted) Heath (President of the Board of Trade) was warmly supported by his colleague Margaret Thatcher. namely international issues. tainted by scandal. Elected some 9.


500 over Labour. Margaret Thatcher MP increased her own majority to 9. 1 Previously leaders had “emerged” through consultation. and Shadow Minister for Education. Now each MP was to have a vote. over a six-year period she mastered five new and different Shadow briefs: Shadow Minister for Housing and Land.5. The Conservatives moved rapidly to dump Douglas-Home and elect a new leader. Opposition I “I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil. Shadow Minister for Tax. Harold Wilson duly asked Her Majesty the Queen to dissolve Parliament and in March 1966 came back with a majority of +97.1 Ted Heath quickly trounced all before him. with Liberals now in third.” The closeness of the 1964 result meant a second General Election as in ’50/’51 would come sooner rather than later. 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. 53 . and I believe that in the end good will triumph. Shadow Minister for Fuel. These last three were in the Shadow Cabinet. Shadow Minister for Transport. Starting as Shadow Minister for Pensions.

to allow abortion if the health of the child or mother could be compromised. In the 1960s such fares were very expensive — say $10. on which they personally did a great deal of painting and decorating. 54 . The highlights of the late sixties were her first visits to the United States.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. against making divorce easier. close to Parliament and “within the bell. often with parties allowing a free vote. near Tunbridge Wells. Work in the Shadow Cabinet was a big disappointment. However. Lamberhurst was underused. The swinging ’60s saw a tsunami of social legislation hit Westminster. Nowadays MPs carry pagers but in the 1970s being within the bell meant Margaret could go home in the evenings.2 For the record. she voted to decriminalize homosexual conduct in private between consenting adults over 21. It was sold in 1972 and the funds released went in part to purchase the Flood Street. There were so many philosophical differences between its members that any serious discussion of principle would inevitably lead to cracks and divisions. What a curious mix! For a conviction politician she seems to have taken an extraordinarily pragmatic case-by-case view of matters. 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. the first run by the US Government’s International Visitor Program (IVP) and the second by the English Speaking Union (ESU). Her love affair with America — as already noted — had begun in Grantham and blossomed during World War II. 2 Free vote means no Whip. 10 Downing Street in 1979. and against a bill to abolish the death penalty for murder. She felt she was there as “the statutory woman” who was not expected to say much at all.”1 They also purchased a big eight-bed “pile” at Lamberhurst. These days trans-Atlantic flights are cheap thanks to deregulation and people think nothing of a quick trip to the United States. so MPs can vote according to their conscience. It fully matured however with two long coast to coast tours in early 1967 and early 1969. Chelsea home where the Thatchers lived from 1972 up to the move to No.000 (economy) inflation adjusted to today.

Her first with the IVP was to last 6 weeks and her second with the ESU some 29/30 days. namely Patrick Jenkin. Two previous female Senators were appointed although one (Hattie Carraway of Arkansas) was subsequently elected. To adjust those for inflation. 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. Opposition I for much longer trips than now. through Thursday. John McGregor and Francis Pym. at his own expense. Over the next week. Margaret Thatcher MP had been talent spotted by William J Galloway. February 20 and spent two days finalizing her itinerary. 2 Labour.” Overall he felt she was “the outstanding lady in the House of Commons at that time. 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. 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.” Note the “the”! The US Embassy had 30 invites to issue to Brits in 1967 and allocated them to 11 Parliamentarians. March 2. 5 Information. One of his big jobs was monitoring the Conservative Party. She landed in Washington DC on Monday. three were to serve Margaret in Cabinet. 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. 5 Cultural Affairs. 1st Secretary at the US Embassy in London. 55 . 1 Margaret Chase Smith was in 1948 the first lady elected to the Senate in her own right. March 3. add a zero! Of the other ten Parliamentarians selected in 1967.5. 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. and 1 Community Affairs. she visited a Du Pont facility in Wilmington — an odd choice until one realizes that Denis was accompanying her. On Friday. 4 Education. 2 Government Affairs. Galloway wrote of her that she has a “very strong will” and “high standards of ethics and morals” with “tremendous self-confidence” he commented.

Omaha. Indeed. Florida. the summer was discussed but it was noted that “she never lets anything interfere with her children’s summer holidays. and Mrs. Next. San Francisco. He wanted her at the Tory Party Conference ending October 12. How the ESU knew of her visit and how its officers could call it “highly successful” is not explained. Thatcher continued to Atlanta.” 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. Heath again intervened. Reports of her many daily appointments contrast her forthright views on pretty much any and every topic with her charm. Los Angeles. Mr. The idea of mid-October to mid-November was rapidly rejected by Frances L. March 30.” so the third week of September would be the earliest she could start. Chicago. she flew out on Thursday. New York.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady After a very short break (maybe only one night) with friends in Delray Beach. Possibly she felt the few days devoted to Denis’s interests had to count against any R&R. Houston. and Albany. Director of the Speakers Department at the ESU’s US National Headquarters in New York. It is also noteworthy that other than fleeting visits to friends in Florida and New Jersey she did no sightseeing at all. McPheeters. 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. A tour at this time 56 . Meetings routinely ran on well past their scheduled close. she had already been gone for six weeks in term time. 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. Boston. In her reply she referred to the 1967 visit and wrote “I have been eternally grateful for the wonderful experience it gave me. In 1987 Galloway wrote to Prime Minister Thatcher to congratulate her on her third victory. After visiting with other friends in New Jersey and attending a performance of “Il Travatore” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

At present she is the only woman in the 57 .” they settled on March 1969 and Heath gave full permission in writing. taking degrees in Chemistry at Oxford University. After two years she was made an Under-Secretary to the Department of Social Security. April was difficult — indeed impossible — for Mrs. There was a policy of discouraging speakers at such times and they felt so strongly about getting Mrs. qualified as a barrister and practiced for 7 years. like everything of this kind to have the ‘personal angle. When the Conservative Government lost the election in 1964 she became active on Opposition. She was first trained as a Scientist. who are trained Scientists. she will almost certainly be one of its leading Ministers.5. although this is an age of rapid scientific development. Thatcher that it would be “a waste and a pity” if that was the only time she could find. second Treasury. With McPheeters reporting “unusual interest in your coming. specializing in taxation matters. she says. Thatcher as the twins would be home for the spring break. first Housing. an appointment which she held for three years. Finally focus moved to early 1969. There are far too few people in politics. third Fuel and Power and now Transport. She maintains that her two earlier careers have been a great help in her political life. Opposition I would straddle the November 5 Presidential election of Nixon versus Humphrey. She then turned her attention to Law. During the ten years she has been in Politics she has made rapid progress up the promotion ladder. The ESU ruled out May because “it is begining (sic) to be very hot in the southern states.” wrote McPheeters to Thatcher. To help sell her to the US Branches.’” 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. 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…. and Law is an excellent training for anyone who has the responsibility for law-making through the legislature. children are finishing school and people are thinking more about summer vacations than Anglo-American relations. When the Conservative Party wins an election. She became a Member of Parliament in 1959 for a North London constituency. for a time she did Scientific Research. and was appointed their official spokesperson for several different Departments.

and in 1967. and a country house in Kent. Mr. She says that if you work with your brain most of the time. the Middle East. as one of her school friends lives near Washington. Thatcher has a flat in London. The final vital statistic — born in October 1925. Carol has already visited the United States. She is very practical in Household matters and has done a good deal of the interior decoration of the house herself. it is particularly satisfying to do something with your hands. 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. she married in 1951. With this record and background. It is very interesting to see how she saw herself at the time. many countries in Europe. She loves music. She enjoys cooking and likes to collect international recipes wherever she goes.” She is also promoted as a “first-class speaker. and are now at boarding school. Boy–Girl twins Mark and Carol were born in 1953. 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.” Unlike her earlier trip however she was never touted as possibly the first female PM. and insists on going to Opera or to concerts from time to time. and a good deal of broadcasting. 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. spent six weeks on a coast to coast tour of the United States which she enjoyed enormously. an industrialist. who is a Director of Chemical and Oil Companies. Mrs. she does a lot of speaking and lecturing.” Here is how she described the first two to the ESU: 58 . but is educated in England. just five minutes away from Parliament. Denis Thatcher. She has visited West Africa. She also likes art and would not wittingly walk past an Art Gallery without going inside to look at the paintings. In private life. 45 miles out of London. Mrs. and half an hour by car from her constituency. struggles to look a bit younger but enjoys every moment of her crowded life.

Bearing in mind the inability of each nation to impress its theories on others. Why. The ESU wrote to her Bank Manager. 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. In the late sixties British travelers were still restricted to a £50 currency allowance. B. He replied saying he could not do this automatically and needed Bank of England permission. Mr. Hewett at The Midland Bank. It discusses the tendency towards nationalism and separatism in the nations of the world. each pursues its own ends.” Then there was the question of money. She has to fill in Section 3 of Form T! Just days before she left the UK. While she was described as “not in the least grasping. more protest.5.” she had had occasional bad experiences on her 1967 trip on the money. less faith and more doubts about the future of our democratic system? The lecture concludes that there is much to be optimistic about. her secretary called the ESU asking whether all of the $15 per diem allowance could be advanced on landing at JFK. less tolerance. are we experiencing more violence. C. Margaret Thatcher MP “although she is not a widow. Opposition I Under the title “Challenge to Democracy” she says: “This is a discussion of the present discontent and shortcomings in our Society. ready cash. London asking for more than this. Denis Thatcher MP when she was not entitled to “The Honorable” and much preferred Mrs. 59 . and an attempt to analyze some of the causes. when material prosperity and Education has reached a higher standard than ever before. and re-affirms our ability to overcome these problems. and its significance in the coming years.” 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. 1 BOAC was the nationalized airline British Overseas Airways Corporation. 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. long since privatized as British Airways or BA. 145 Sloane Street.

Her itinerary. Oh — and to help. reported back to Frances L. Washington DC. Thatcher was also told that if McPheeters failed to meet her at JFK. “Her opening meeting in New York had been a great success.” “People and Places. From Florida Mary R. Denis Thatcher MP. she wanted a wad of dollars to hand.” her secretary Miss D Powell was told in a March 13 letter from the ESU. Having said that. Atlanta. Given she could take so little sterling. Birmingham. 122 East 66th Street. Kent who had just done a long tour of the United States. Mrs. The ESU ladies quickly assured her office that she would be very well looked after. Kathleen Wareham of Three Corners. Indianapolis. they pointed her toward an important collection she might visit near the Cosmopolitan Club. then to San Francisco. 60 . Ladies on such long tours with multiple one-night stops and many different types of functions faced particular wardrobe issues.” and “Britain in the Reign of Elizabeth II. still marked Mrs. on March 14. Back east she moved on to Orlando. a New York City map would be in with her plane tickets. Baltimore and finally Philadelphia on March 29. and Los Angeles where she was to address the World Affairs Council. started on March 1 in New York City and after a speech at SUNY New Paltz moved west to St. Margaret Thatcher talk to Mrs. Taggart. Wareham had lectured in the Southern states on such topics as “Fleet Street and Newspapers. Louis and Kansas City. the ESU was more thoughtful. then she was to take the airport bus into central Manhattan and then find the Cosmopolitan Club. Nashville. Palm Beach. The ladies at ESU London suggested Mrs. Denis Thatcher. She conquered! Which of course can mean only one person — the stunning Mrs. She saw. On other matters. McPheeters in the NYC ESU office: “She came. Keston. Rave reviews soon started flooding in to ESU in NYC and London and from there to her House of Commons office. Mrs. Forest Ridge.” And knowing of her love of art. who you so kindly arranged for us to have as our speaker for the Annual Luncheon of the Central Florida Branch.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady transport and hotel front. Branch Secretary of the Central Florida ESU in Winter Park.

Parker III in Kansas City. delightful to talk to but elderly. audience included members of the Diplomatic Corps.” McPheeters also heard from James (Jim) H. Thatcher is charming and her talk was tops. They have colossal funds. Don’t know if we’ve had anyone ‘go over’ better!” And while the audience in Nashville was described as small (but see below). arranged by BIS. unconnected with the ESU. Attended private Dinner parties. and found the audience was not well informed on World Affairs. St Louis: In addition to speaking. Los Angeles: Spoke for the World Affairs Council. Palm Beach: Very monied! Full meeting. Some English Brains Drains! Was shown transit system. In the US state universities have no power to refuse students. and there is little to no contact between them and their teachers. Kansas City: Rather a similar branch. Hectic weekend including TV appearances etc. More interesting audience with a wider age range. Mrs. It was useful to 61 . Business men etc. It was a triumphant march and she flew back just as the twins got out of school. Was told that they did not have enough MPs as speakers. The lunch invite describes her tour as “highly successful. San Francisco: Excellent hospitality. She was told afterwards that in their experience it was rare to find a good woman speaker. which developed into one woman Brains Trusts. the publicity was eye-popping.” Here is the ESU minute of her remarks at that lunch: New York: First engagement was a Ladies Luncheon. Two months later Sir John Benn of the ESU hosted a lunch for her to report back. and enormous numbers of students. Very English. Went very well. 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. Atlanta: Spoke to a Business Men’s Luncheon. “Mrs.5. Winter Park: Audience consisted largely of retired professional people. It was badly organized but gave her an opportunity to see something of the Student problem. Thatcher had to answer questions for 1 hr and 10 minutes. Next day spoke to New York State University at New Paltz.

Thatcher thought they had great potential. Philadelphia: Not particularly interesting. Good Mayor. The next day he invited Margaret Thatcher to join his Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Science. and had more distant objectives in view than just parochial ones. Good questions and contacts with Universities. “The excitement I felt has never really subsided. Baltimore: Elderly. A little over a year later Margaret Thatcher was in Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Science. Could do with some more rest periods. She was 44 and in the Cabinet. Televised live. Nashville: The nicest branch of all! The members had their feet on the ground. 62 . Excellent ESU meeting. and McPheeters in NYC (ESU) wrote a congratulatory note to Winn in London (ESU). These two back-to-back extended trips to the United States totaling 10+ weeks were clearly extraordinarily important in her personal and political development. Washington: Appeared on TV as well as speaking to the branch. Birmingham: Very good people at the top. Many questions were asked about Students in the UK. in the way of know-how and diplomacy and that each Nation is complementary to the other. From the woman’s point of view she should take a large supply of Cocktail and Evening Dresses. Ted Heath defeated Harold Wilson and quickly moved into Downing Street with a majority of +31.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady talk to them and Mrs.” She also went to the USSR and had a very different experience and set of reactions! On June 18. No problem with colored people. GENERAL COMMENTS: Felt that the British still have much to offer the Americans. She accepted. She later wrote. The investment by the State Department and the ESU was to pay handsome dividends. 1970. Indianapolis: Not a very thriving branch.

Churchill’s Education Minister 1951 to 1954. and some taller than others and they often have it in them to do so.” “Let our children grow tall. Education Secretary “It sometimes strikes me that more people are interested in education for reasons of egalitarianism than for reasons of education. Most are members of the former. 63 .” She entered a department wedded to central planning and the idea that nanny or “the man in Whitehall” knows best. She was only the second woman to serve in a Conservative Cabinet. 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).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). When a Prime Minister wishes to appoint an outsider (a very rare circumstance).” For nearly four years she served in the government of Edward (Ted) Heath as Secretary of State for Education and Science. the first being Florence Horsburgh. We start first with her life as Education Secretary then examine her role as Cabinet Member. Coupled with this was the ideological rift on education within her own party.6.

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. She had inherited two socialist policy circulars to the local authorities which run education on a day-to-day basis in the UK. 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. The second said that authorities which refused to submit such a plan would be deprived of capital funding. indeed within just twelve days of the election and eight days of entering her department.” the ethos of the world of education was overwhelmingly socialist in the sense that it was driven by notions of “equality.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ment of selectivity and its replacement with comprehensive education for all. and her brisk action woman do-it-today-not-tomorrow style grated. While she saved many grammar schools. The 1 British governments consult through Green Papers and set out policy in White Papers. Her detractors revel in pointing out that she killed more grammar schools than any other Education Secretary. Her most notorious policy however was to withdraw “free” school milk for 7. Arguably her finest moment as Education Secretary came in her first 11-year-olds and to increase school meal charges. In Birmingham alone. they were replaced by a new circular stressing local needs. While her civil servants were “professional. Even as the foundations of the Berlin Wall were being chipped away. 64 . she rejected over half its plans and saved eighteen grammar schools. the wise use of resources and a presumption against upheaval. One circular demanded that all such authorities submit to the Department plans for going totally comprehensive. She instinctively and intellectually sided with the latter while the political reality of the day rested with the former. while on the right the authors of the Black Papers1 championed choice and vouchers. The withdrawal of these circulars had been a clear manifesto commitment and on her eighth day on the job they were withdrawn. not even her focus and determination could turn back the tide of comprehensivization that was then sweeping the country. which moved from Conservative control to Labour in 1972.” like most of America’s public school system. the long serving careerist officials of both her Department and the teachers’ unions were inordinately friendly toward each other.

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.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. in one case paying to replace free school milk at primary schools adjoining a campus. my mother was public enemy #1. The unions then used such funds. “When I was at university. You had to join. Thatcher. she was told her qualification would not be conferred unless she paid the union.. 2 In 1976 the University of Buckingham was established as a private institution. as usual taking her duties very seriously indeed. 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. Education Secretary former led to the often heard chant by marching demonstrators: “Mrs. Britain had no private universities then. with only days to go before graduation.6.” And it earned her the title of most hated woman in Britain from a tabloid newspaper called The Sun. Dr. Even then the relevant education minister (Rt. It was a step too far. Hon. They were closed shops. Milk Snatcher. 65 . 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. otherwise your degree would not be conferred on you at graduation.e. He won and Baldry versus Feintuck was a landmark case. quite large amounts. near Brighton. 3 This was the University of Sussex. including the union dues.” She also moved forward suggestions to reform campus student unions. outside the scope for which funds could be used. Baldry later worked for Margaret Thatcher and became an MP and junior Minister. 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. south of London.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. A second-year law student named Tony Baldry successfully sued the local Student Union President on the grounds that such payments were ultra vires. not only for the social enhancement of the university — athletic clubs and societies and so on — but also to support other social causes.1 And few students realized what was going on. i. or as daughter Carol said.

By the spring of 1972 it lay in tatters. and creating a better climate for free enterprise. grammar schools. Spending cuts were implemented. stressing “the security and independence of personal ownership”. However as the Heath government of 1970 to 1974 ground along.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. however. To begin with. 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. 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. 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. an end to nationalization. she and her Education Department began to pale against bigger broader issues. all looked fine. “greater freedom of opportunity”. moves to control the unions began and income tax and corporation tax were cut. cutting public expenditures.” Specific promises included the reduction and reform of taxes. “greater freedom of choice” and “greater freedom of regulation and freedom from interference. she had become a top class performer at the Dispatch Box1 in the Commons. and from then right up to his defeat in February 1974 Heath (and his Cabinet) went in a totally opposite direction. and she had had much firsthand experience countering the strong views of the left over issues from “free” school milk. 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. The boxes contain bibles used to swear in new members. 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 her ideas on defunding their student unions. 66 . The Conservative Party Manifesto of 1970 was of a populist right wing free-market nature.” In early 1972. incentives for saving.

knowing full well they were completely unelectable at the ballot box. 3 Inflation was soon to hit close to 30%. inflation3 and interest rates soared.6 1 TUC Trades Union Congress the UK’s AFL-CIO. 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. 6 There are no real keys to No. 5 In the UK you can win the popular vote but still lose on seats won. 10 Downing Street.” Unfortunately for Prime Minister Heath. were clearly trying to protect their interests by other means. so if you did not double your salary every 28 months you fell behind. and tripartite talks with the unions (TUC)1 and big business (CBI).8%. Out went any idea of relying on the self-correcting mechanisms of the market economy. The burning question of the day on all lips and minds was “who rules: the miners or the government?” Prime Minister Heath dithered. Education Secretary ers (UCS) plus an industrial dispute with the coal miners plus unemployment topping one million led to a full scale retreat. 297 to 301. or even flight. Bush in 2000 but garnered fewer Electoral College votes. just as US presidential candidate Al Gore officially won half a million more votes than George W. Indeed the far left in the unions. The highest annual rate hit was 24. matters went from bad to worse. clearly not wanting an election. 10 and it does not have a key hole. Instead the entrance is manned 24 hours a day. After a weekend of failed talks with smaller parties. a statutory pricesand-incomes policy of the sort President Nixon was also introducing.6. massive daily intervention in all aspects of the economy. His industrial relations strategy collapsed.2% in 1975 but one annualized monthly rate hit 29. 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.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. 1974. Had he gone for early February he might well have won but instead he opted for February 28. Also the Wilsons did not move back into the apart- 67 . In the end Heath won the popular vote by over two hundred thousand5 but came second in seats to Harold Wilson’s Labour. rout. Heath resigned and Wilson once again had the keys to No. In came the inflation of the currency. 2 The CBI is the Confederation of British Industry the UK’s NAM. and bad news piled up.

She also followed with interest a lively moment when Britain’s “Milton Friedment atop of No. The Prime Minister chairs it not from an end but rather from half way down one side. This was after all a woman who had nearly made her maiden speech in 1959 on monetary policy. namely that on controlling prices and incomes. 1 QC stands for Queen’s Counsel. Throughout. Margaret Thatcher was still very much the statutory woman. Geoffrey Howe QC. she kept lines open to the economic liberals in her own parliamentary party such as John Biffen MP. Rt.3 At times she thought of resigning but realized that such a gesture would have been utterly futile. which is shortened to Rt. meaning he was not just a barrister appearing in court to plead cases but rather a very senior one. markets are busted instruments.1 but he was put in charge of implementing the single most anti-market of all of Heath’s policies. and Nicholas Ridley MP who had resigned as a Heath minister over statutory price and incomes controls. Hon. and the great misogynist Heath had her parked at the end of the long Cabinet table — just where he could not see her. Instead they remained at their home in 5 Lord North Street and Harold commuted the few hundred yards. Heath was the leader of her party and Prime Minister of her country. 2 It was as if Heath was deliberately putting the free marketers into jobs they would find unacceptable. And we have to recall that Heath had unexpectedly beaten Wilson in 1970.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 Such policies may be motivated by a desire to limit inflation. 3 The size of the Cabinet varies but is usually in the low twenties. 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 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. Mary Wilson had so disliked) from 1964–1970. Then they were joined by a third such economic liberal. 4 Senior members of Parliament are made members of Her Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council and thereafter enjoy the title Right Honorable. 10 (which Mrs. Hon4 Enoch Powell MP. Jock Bruce-Gardyne MP. This inevitably means that those to the far left or right on that side can be easily ignored. 68 . but without freely moving prices.

2 Under the 30-year rule. clashed with his boss Prime Minister Heath over loose monetary policy. her first taste of Cabinet government can be summed up as a long lesson in how not to govern. She and 99% of other economic liberals were very much in favor of this move. Walters predicted it would lead to inflation and he was asked to leave. it was hard to be against the Common Market. or Common Market. We now know Heath’s top constitutional advisers were warning him that signing the Treaty of Rome meant a serious surrender of sovereignty. Education Secretary man. so Britain moved closer to and finally joined the European Economic Community (EEC). Hon. Enoch Powell warned of the changes as did journalist Russell Lewis in Rome or Brussels?. the courts would not be affected and British law would prevail as always. 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. as it was called.3 In retrospect. with the points being made that the UK was not giving up any sovereignty. 69 . but he was right and Heath was wrong.” Professor Alan Walters (later to be her personal economic advisor for two spells). Political ramifications were downplayed.1 However Heath’s own advisers2 had predicted trouble. 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. If you favored a market economy.6. 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. in which he argued that Brussels was dominated by an interventionist spirit. How well would she learn it? 1 Conservative MP Rt. published by the IEA in 1971. labor and capital. As the government’s economic policy unraveled.


Reflections “My politics are based . On local taxation.7. While some “green” issues came under its umbrella it was mostly concerned with housing. 71 . 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. and she reveled in mastering a raft of housing and local taxation issues. On the housing front inflation.. put by a nest egg for a rainy day. planning costs and delays. live within your means. pay your bills on time. support the police. high interest rates. on things I and millions like me were brought up with.” 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. local government and zoning. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. called 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. there was annual pressure from the media for reform. 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..

Chief Guru was Joseph’s fellow Jew. to help first time buyers on the mortgage deposit front. say. the former journalist and communist machine gunner in the Spanish Civil War. rather he had a wide brief to reexamine policy. Heath’s own economic advisor Adam Ridley1 sat on the board and Keith Joseph invited Thatcher to become his Vice-Chairman. While she had rebelled but once and never dreamt of leaving. She had never felt totally comfortable in her home in the Conservative Party. And it never seemed able to give the electorate an internally consistent message based on principle. she was never entirely happy.” 72 . It was also too quick to shoot its messengers and too slow to examine the content and real detail of the message. Alfred Sherman. 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. deeper waters were being explored elsewhere. yet to be devised.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ing tiny amounts of local services exactly the same as. Chief Administrator (then 1 He was later a key advisor to Sir Geoffrey Howe over the suspension of exchange controls. 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. See Chapter 21. 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. which she gladly accepted. a family of five consuming far more. a successful businessman “on loan” from the Board of Trustees of the free market IEA. fairer system. 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 cap mortgage interest rates at 9½% by means of tax relief to the lenders rather than subsidies. 2 Alfred was later famously to declare “I invented Margaret Thatcher. In addition to these three an unlikely cast of characters was assembled.2 Chief fundraiser was Nigel Vinson. While she was having a very good summer that raised her profile and standing in her party and around the country. and to abolish the current local tax system of rates and replace it with a new.

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. Finally there was a somewhat mysterious. 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. 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. With other parties in the picture this meant an overall majority of just three. not Ted Heath. In practical terms this meant the government would be walking on eggshells. For the Conservatives. 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. once in 1966 and twice in 1974. And it was not a do-tank. wheeling and dealing on many fronts to keep a day-to-day majority. The source of his wealth became apparent when he was jailed for cocaine trafficking. fashionable and iconoclastic character named Martin Bendelow. rich. Surrounded by people who had been preaching a consistent free-market approach for years. who wore many hats. it meant Ted Heath had lost three out of four general elections.” regardless of who had been in power at the time.7. The CPS was not a think-tank as such. Reflections and later for many years) was another ex-journalist Gerry Frost. Sherman and Frost. It was primarily a talking shop where journalists. whose sense of humor and orderliness kept the place running. 73 . challenging virtually every populist policy tenet of the past three decades and lumping them all together as “socialist. 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. academics and Conservative politicians were pushed into thinking the unthinkable by Joseph. people such as its Directors Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon and many academics and intellectuals. concerned with policy dots and commas. not like the IEA which had been pumping out free market studies for two decades by then.

with Robert Carr a third possible. of course.” not “1 and 3. He also chaired the discussion sections of each episode of Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose. 74 . bitter bruiser.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady If he had been a likeable. have been far too busy advising world leaders to engage in something as comparatively trivial as writing memoirs.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”. 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. affable.” 2 McKenzie was an LSE graduate and taught at the school from 1949 to his death in 1981. 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. I jotted down the last lines of his speech as follows: “I. But as the BBC election night coverage ended in the dawn light of October 10. 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. a Canadian-born political scientist and psephologist tossed another name into the pot — namely that of Margaret Thatcher.2 Despite the plug Margaret Thatcher received from Bob and the favorable coverage she had been receiving in The Spectator from Patrick Cosgrave.” But Heath was a surly. 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 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 former of the new right and the latter of the old Heathite left. 1974. Bob McKenzie. 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. the odds were stacked against her. perceived as self-important and needlessly offensive.

Reflections It wasn’t looking good for her. 75 .7. Fifty-to-one in a six-horse race are very long odds.


If you’re Classes 4 or 5 take the pill. If you’re Classes 4 or 5 take the pill. the least able to raise kids. pop performers. If you’re Classes 4 or 5 you’ve no right to be alive.” Within days of the fall 1974 general election Joseph’s chances of ever leading the Conservative party had fallen to zero.1 The leftist chattering-classes exploded instantly in righteous indignation.8. He was trying to do for social affairs what he had been doing so well for economic affairs. fed permissiveness and subverted morals. ask a man. he said. was to put them on the pill. polytechnic lecturers and two bit novelists queued up to denounce “the mad monk” as a eugenicist.” 77 . The solution. 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). 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. ask a woman. If you want anything done. Obscure bishops. And this was hardly new or even seriously contestable material.” to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. Leader “In politics if you want anything said. Just over a week after the ballot boxes closed he spoke in Birmingham on how socialism undermined the family.

Heath meanwhile was doing everything he could to delay the inevitable (namely a new election for party leader). He had been Employment Secretary and Home Secretary in the Heath government. 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. A reshuffle in early November played very much to her talents as a tax barrister and detail maven.” And later: “We have to rethink everything!” 1 The Shadow Chancellor was Robert Carr. On Thursday. 78 . Thatcher’s immediate response was that somebody had to stand both against Heath and as standard bearer for a new conservatism. so I will stand. for she was made deputy Shadow Chancellor1 in charge of opposing the upcoming Finance Bills.” he lamented to his PPS David Mitchell MP. and that if Keith Joseph was not willing then she surely was. “I would not get the answers right often enough. Mrs. Keith Joseph broke the news to Margaret Thatcher that he would not stand.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. Within days. while for once reaching out to Conservative MPs. he reportedly welcomed the idea of help from Margaret Thatcher despite his being firmly in the Heath leftist ideological camp. 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. 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. The vicious reaction to the Birmingham speech had broken the nerve of this unfailingly polite and scholarly man. not weeks. She proclaimed: “Somebody representing our point of view has to stand. She was absolutely brilliant. November 21. Only the details had to be ironed out. the constituency which would soon decide his fate and quite possibly elect his successor.

thrift and decentralization. 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. She was just 49 and it was as if her whole life had been building up to this very moment. ŪŪ Any member of the Parliamentary Party wanting to stand needed only a proposer and a seconder. 1 He thought she was mad to try and would lose. 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. and mumbled: “If you must”. November 25 (after discussing it all with Denis over the weekend)1 she saw Heath and broke the news.” 2 At 20% inflation prices double every 3½ years. Leader On Monday. Some reports have him predicting “you’ll lose!” To her it was both futile and arrogant to deny past failures.8. You haven’t got a hope. Immediately she declared her candidacy however her enemies went to work. use one now and save a couple for the next time because they will have surely gone up in price. 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. private property. choice. Her leadership would stand for individual responsibility. He reportedly glared. ŪŪ The franchise was limited to Conservative MPs. 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. 79 . 3 At 30% inflation prices double every 2⅓ years. law and order. Her party had lost four of the last five elections because many people felt that too many Conservatives had effectively become socialists. turned his back on her. 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. but he stood ready as ever to support her: “You must be out of your mind. Next came the issue of the rules for the election.

a top. 3 Neave later served at Nuremberg with the International Military Tribunal. 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. This opened up a clear path. having escaped from Colditz Castle. Heath had to have a minimum of 138 and be 42 ahead.2 the powerful and newly re-elected Chair of the 1922 Committee and arch Heath critic. France. As soon as du Cann was out of the running. On the second ballot only 140 would be needed. and returned to the UK via Switzerland. what would she do? If both ran they would split both anti-Heath feelings and the “right” vote. MP for Streatham in south London. Spain and Gibraltar. 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.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. then the top three would go forward to a third ballot at which MPs would have a first choice and second choice vote. Heath had also sacked Du Cann as Party Chairman in 1967. A team of supporters quickly formed around her. ŪŪ If nobody won on the first ballot. Christmas beckoned with no decision and it was not until Wednesday January 15. Would he run? If yes. 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. 2 “The Duke” had been a Director (even Chairman) of Lonrho a year earlier when Heath had held it up for general ridicule. supposedly escape-proof German prisoner of war camp in World War II. his chief aide Airey Neave MP moved to her camp as campaign head. and ŪŪ If still nobody had won.1 The third and final relevant issue was the matter of Edward “The Duke” du Cann. Neave was a remarkable character. He too had suffered at Heath’s hands and also had a major score to settle. 80 . 4 Shelton’s classmate and close friend at Tabor Academy in Marion. so there were scores to settle.4 They were joined by TV producer Gordon Reece. 1975 that du Cann declared he would not run. Massachusetts was Ed Clark who ran for President of the US in 1980 on the Libertarian Party platform.3 His chief lieutenant was the American educated William (or Bill) Shelton.

Margaret Thatcher Mr. “Peter” Utley. Hugh Fraser. 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. Matters were further complicated when a true backbencher and total no-hoper. columns about the goings on before them. 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. After all. February 4. Heath’s Transport Minister John Peyton and Thatcher’s fellow free-market advocate Geoffrey Howe. 81 . Neave told Thatcher that she ought to focus on the Finance Bill and do her utmost to shine. On Tuesday. at least.3 entered the fray. both at its Committee Stage2 and when it came back to the House of Commons. In the late afternoon Neave brought her the news: Mrs. many of the people observing her were her constituents for this election. E. 3 Brother of Lord Lovat (war hero) and husband of Antonia Fraser (author). Neave and Shelton were relentless. who oddly enough had applied to be MP for Finchley back in the late 1950s. boasting that they would win on the very first ballot. Edward Heath Mr. 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. Wisely.8. By contrast Heath’s team was much more relaxed and outwardly confident. 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. 2 The Committee Stage of a bill is when the real nitty gritty detail is discussed. Heath’s Common Market negotiator Jim Prior. 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. This last name must have 1 Sketch writers do not exist on US newspapers. often very funny. They sit high above the UK’s House of Commons and daily write satirical.

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

and interest rates in their teens were not enough then add trouble with Iceland. Chatting with the doorman. 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. 1 See Friedman’s Inflation and Unemployment. loony tune union leaders. Print extra money now and in about 18 months prices would go up. While she had no problem with monetary theory. and far left wing leaders such as Tony Benn demanding Britain become a siege economy. 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. If daily strikes. most of her Cabinet was intellectually committed to Keynes and bitter debates raged in the press. a crumbling currency. Monetary Correction: A Proposal for Escalator Clauses to Reduce the Costs of Ending Inflation. 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. first written out by Chicago’s Irving Fisher but later popularized by Milton Friedman. It was the economic equivalent of E=mc2 and she was enraptured. there was data and the data fitted like a glove. Unemployment Versus Inflation?: An Evaluation of the Phillips Curve. Friedman at his San Francisco apartment. 86 . “Belong to the Friedmans?” I asked. “How did you guess?” he asked. From Galbraith to Economic Freedom.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady economist Milton Friedman to London regularly as well as publishing and widely distributing his tracts. Rhodesia and Northern Ireland. completely mystified. crippling taxation. And politically. namely one that is a) totally self sufficient.2 This appealed to Thatcher’s scientific brain and. There was even an equation for it all. record inflation.1 It was from Friedman that the British intellectual classes learnt that inflation is always and everywhere a disease of money. and b) totally under state control. a Prime Minister (Wilson) drinking a bottle of brandy a day and convinced the secret service was plotting to kill him. 2 In the ’80s the author visited Dr. the need to borrow £2. A money supply increase now equalled inflation in 18 months’ time. I pointed to the white Cadillac at the garage entrance bearing the license plate MV PT. in the universities and in and around Westminster. what is more.5 billion from the IMF.

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. 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.9. Ralph Harris wrote: “Cheer up: things are getting worse!” 87 . Callaghan was a different matter despite his utterly patronizing attitude toward her and she grew in confidence as her performances soared.k. Smiling Jim. as in local property taxes.” There was “Red” Ted Knight and “Red” Ken Livingstone. Rates. in Red Ted’s borough of Lambeth were going up 30% to 40% each year.a. 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. both so very prominent in local government in London at that time. However by the following year he was a broken man and made way for James Callaghan a. Her close friend and adviser. 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. As 1977 and 1978 ticked by her big chance got closer by the day.


89 . Two days later.1” “Give me six strong men and true. Margaret Thatcher lost her 1 These words of St. may we bring truth Where there is doubt. Power “Where there is discord. may we bring harmony Where there is error. 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. on March 30 during this period of phony war between the parties as they geared up for the real thing. and I will get through… very rarely did I have as many as six. Francis of Assisi were quoted by the new Prime Minister on entering 10 Downing Street. may we bring faith Where there is despair. Francis they were in fact some more modern anonymous verse.10. they did get air time! It has since been claimed that while she was told they were the words of St. In 1931 the General Election was a Tuesday and in 1918 it was a Saturday. April 26.” British General Elections are called by or forced on Prime Ministers at very short notice. However he successfully argued for Thursday2 May 3 as the Government needed a few days to tidy up business. 2 British General elections are traditionally held on Thursdays but there is nothing to stop other days being selected. However. may we bring hope. Callaghan had lost a vote of confidence 311-310 on Wednesday March 28 and an election could have been held as early as Thursday.

2.” The Winter of Discontent gave her the chance to firm up. To restore incentives so that hard work pays. 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). 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. As with so many such killings. staunch.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady great friend and ally Airey Neave. To restore the health of our economy and social life. Airey Neave. true. 3. wartime escapee hero and Thatcher’s right hand. 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. a splinter from the Irish Republican Army (IRA). 90 . Not for the last time was she to be robbed of close friends by murdering Irish terrorists. to dry out what had been a very wet. 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 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. success is rewarded and genuine new jobs are created in an expanding economy. To uphold Parliament and the rule of law. “wets” are to the left and “drys” are to the right. pusillanimous draft manifesto1. 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. The distinction or rather usage goes back to a 1952 speech on prohibition by Mississippi lawmaker Noah S “Soggy” Sweat Junior. Courageous. 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. 1 In British politics. theories galore surfaced over the years as to the exact who and why. soggy. He lived for his beliefs and now he has died for them. and two that the CIA had done it to promote American policy of a united Ireland. was dead an hour later in nearby Westminster Hospital. Overall it was summarized as follows: 1.

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. Power 4.7m Seats 339 269 11 16 Compared to Oct ’74 +62* -50 -2 -10** 1 Party political broadcasts are “free” three-. 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.1 To her Heath’s vision was as bad for the country as the socialists’ and her Party Chairman received a good dressing down. To support family life. at rally after rally. In the United Kingdom. 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. She crisscrossed England. and concentrating welfare services on the effective support of the old. raising the standards of their children’s education. With Easter intervening it was.3m 1. the sick. 5. While the idea of unseating the likes of John Fraser MP in Lambeth’s West Norwood — one of her stops — proved too ambitious. was much more forthright and full of references to choice.5m 4.7m 11. However her rhetoric on the road. 91 .or five-minute slots on each of the five terrestrial TV channels. a message or a bouquet.10. 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. Minor parties have to run a substantial number of candidates before they qualify. a short campaign. To strengthen Britain’s defenses and work with our allies to protect our interests in an increasingly threatening world. However. but parties are instead allowed free broadcasts. freedom and liberty and much more damning on the union question than her colleagues back at Party HQ wanted. Wales. 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. four. the disabled and those who are in real need. by helping people to become homeowners. she won handily with a majority of 43 over all others: Votes CON LAB LIB OTHER 13. paid political advertising on television or radio is illegal.

Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Both the swing (5. Hence its 4. 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. ** “Other” parties such as those in Scotland and Northern Ireland tend to be very regional whereas the Liberal Party of 1979 did fight nationwide. could she. Would she. Cathcart.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. coming mostly 3rd. deliver? 1* She lost only one seat. held by her great ally Teddy Taylor.2%) between the two main parties and the margin (2. But he was soon back in Parliament in 1980 as the Member for Southend East following the death of Sir Stephen McAdden.2 million) were the biggest since Attlee’s historic victory in 1945. 6 months and 24 days. 92 . namely Glasgow.7m votes garnered 16 seats.

One of the earliest and most bold reforms was to break free of the Exchange Controls.” From being a dominant trading nation Britain’s presence on world markets had shriveled. Exchange Controls for Ever? 93 . Wood in a 1978 IEA monograph. (These were the controls on the amount of sterling one could take abroad that had been introduced at the start of World War II. and the effect was the same. the U-turn. Liberating the Economy “To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase. Under the socialism of both parties the British economy was atrophying. Primary legislation was needed formally to abolish the exchange controls. but someone1 had spotted that to “suspend” the exchange controls legislation was not required. passport in hand. It had exported 33 percent of the world’s cars in 1955. You turn.) In late October 1979. if you want to. Prime Minister Thatcher’s Chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe suspended exchange controls. The UK accounted for 20 per cent of world trade in manufactures in 1955 but only 10 per cent by 1979.11. to beg for foreign 1 Robert W. the lady’s not for turning. That was down to 3 per cent by 1979. I have one thing to say. Brits could now move around freely — they no longer needed to go to their banks weeks ahead of time. Miller and John B. It was a brilliant move.

the principles which guided her. Centralized pay controls ended. the financial district). And 900 bureaucrats in the Bank of England could now be redeployed. But this chapter will focus on the broader economic philosophy and thinking. Thatcher authorized 21 “Enterprise Zones.. so no opposition could muster. awoke from the torpor of municipal squalor and emerged as an entirely new and vibrant part of London. Mrs. evolved into one of the greatest commercial regeneration areas ever experienced. interview after interview. The UK abandoned all price controls. In later chapters we will read of denationalization. Office Development Permits ceased.e. 94 . contracting out. 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. This altered the entire spirit of the Government. They only had to remove the cobwebs of bureaucracy.” The one in London.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady currency — the tiny amount released being duly noted in said paperwork. It was liberating. The Isle of Dogs. the reform of the unions and Thatcher’s attitude towards the EU — all very important. All three had read Hayek and Friedman and knew their brief backward and forward. and we will examine the relentless way she set about selling her economic vision in speech after speech. No government spending was needed. A striking aspect of this significant relaxation was that outside the Prime Minister and the Treasury ministers nobody was consulted. Dividend controls were scrapped. 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. her entry into 10 Downing Street marked the repudiation of Keynes and the post-war Butskellite consensus. the defeat of the miners’ union. To replace the areas of economic dereliction created by the planning authorities. to the east of the City (i. The first budget of June 1979 set the tone: interest rates and monetary policy to control inflation. Flanked by Geoffrey Howe and Keith Joseph. Limits on hire purchase were abandoned. sale of public housing. and tax spending rather than income. So did Industrial Development Certificates. Several square miles of London’s docklands.

364 British economists went berserk and signed the following letter to the Times: We. who are all present or retired members of the economics staffs of British universities. However. Prime Minister Thatcher knew better and pressed ahead to defeat inflation and restore fiscal responsibility. He (not Prime Minister Thatcher) also famously coined the phrase. the Government’s supply side policies have been designed with the objective of raising both output and employment specifically in mind. and ŪŪ the time has come to reject monetarist policies and consider urgently which alternative offers the best hope of sustained recovery. The Government. saw inflation was a disease of money supply and not the result of particular prices rising.11. The Thatcher government replied: The Government has read with interest the four points to which these 364 economists subscribe. reflated and gone for wage and price controls. So far as output and employment are concerned. 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. ŪŪ present politics will deepen the depression. and has itself set out its thinking on this in evidence to the Treasury Select Committee. She. In the face of tough times every previous government for decades had caved in. however. Prices are always moving relative to each other but inflation is the dilution of the currency by the state. as the Thatcherites were to say. it was the budget of 1981 that really turned matters around and set the basis for 25 years of growth. erode the industrial base of our economy and threaten its social and political stability. Liberating the Economy “Pay as you spend is better than pay as you earn. ŪŪ there are alternative policies. But experi- 95 . 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. and her Chancellor. This was contrary to the established consensus. “there is no alternative” or TINA. Such policies are directed in particular to fostering the more effective working of market forces and the restoration of incentive [sic].

Could she name two economists who agreed with her? Two as opposed to 364! “Yes. The future. 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 may be that this shift in perception is Mrs. which had seemed to be Socialist planning.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ence has shown that injections of monetary demand can at best have limited effect. Michael Foot — the then Labour Party Leader — challenged the Prime Minister across the Dispatch Box in Parliament. still high 96 . the Government totally disagrees with the assertion that present policies will deepen the depression and weaken the UK’s industrial base. It was the transformation of attitudes that to this day really made the difference. It is conspicuous that although the 364 economists assert that there are alternative policies. 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. and are ultimately counter-productive. The top tax rates had been brought down from 83% on earned income and 98% on so-called “unearned” to 60% and then 40%. For these reasons. It wasn’t just holding her nerve in 1981 but also the ongoing rhetorical artillery barrage. suddenly became free market. In the beginning of her Premiership her opponents were vehement in their hostility to economic freedoms. Thatcher’s greatest triumph.” “A good job he did not ask for three. He lost his seat at the next election and has since failed to be re-elected. It is hard to recall how tough this battle was.” she said in the car back to Number 10 (perhaps a little unfairly). the dynamic of both ever improving the private sector. By the end of the 1990s they were emulating her. 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. New horizons opened up as the thickets of controls were abolished. they are unable to specify any such agreed alternatives.

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 . in other words a safe job in a nationalized industry. 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. 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.” The twin star of the series was a ubiquitous civil servant called Sir Humphrey Appleby.” The whole balance of society shifted. The British public laughed at his every line but deep inside they knew he was real and they learnt a lot.) Jay had also studied “the economics of politics” as pioneered by James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock of George Mason University in northern Virginia. The idea that the man in Whitehall really knows best was finally put to rest and buried with the brilliant comedy series “Yes. Liberating the Economy but a huge drop. Young economists in training in the sixties salivated at the idea of being a trainee at the regional electricity board. Jay in particular to this day acknowledges this influence on his scripts. But by the eighties it was off to the City and a job in the private sector. Prime Minister. (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.11.

Britain ceased to be embarrassed by itself and came alive again. Her citizens were free to follow the price signals of the market. The party of Butskellism became the party of Thatcherism. The State was no longer commanding and coercing. 98 . Margaret Thatcher’s three consecutive electoral victories.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Howard Cameron 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. Whether this will continue under the more patrician Cameron is not clear but it will be very hard to displace. no European nation had experienced such a reversal and revival of fortunes. Save for the transformation of western Germany post-World War II. when the US reversed policy and set about rebuilding its economy with the Marshall Plan. It was the confidence that the country could thrive that primarily explains Mrs.

99 . Selling Off Public Housing.12. badly run and losing money. Privatization was to change all that. It was to have three main prongs. 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. but you pay twice to meet the ever increasing deficits of the capital investment.” “Labour believes in turning workers against 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. The rubric of privatization covered all three moves. Third was the “denationalization” of major companies moving them from public to private ownership.” 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. we believe in turning workers into owners. local communities were fiefdoms of municipal socialism that kept the streets dirty and the trash left to rot. 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.

“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. Steel had been nationalized in the ’40s. While the “Right to Buy” was quickly enacted and went off with a bang. new families housed in socialist projects jumped 66% and new construction of such project housing went up 130%. what if steel had been sold to hundreds of thousands of small owners. The argument went as follows: “If we denationalize then the other lot. Instead. denationalized in the ’50s and renationalized in the ’60s. It was IEA author Russell Lewis — the man Margaret Thatcher kissed on election night 1979 — who solved this dilemma. Bob Poole. the socialists. 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. 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. he asked. In this book he explained how all you needed to 1 He was a Committee member ’68–’69.1 And contracting out could be a two-edged sword.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Not all of the Prime Minister’s Tory followers were necessarily in favor of such policies. 100 .” There was some truth to this argument. He pointed out in Goodbye to Nationalisation (1971) that steel in the past had been sold back to a small group of people. and Chairman ’70–’71. The intellectual case for “contracting out” came from an American MIT-trained engineer turned policy wonk. just as happened with Fiat in Italy and with Volkswagen in Germany? Surely it would be very difficult to renationalize a widely-held business. Some Tory local government leaders were almost as wedded to having a large stock of public housing as their socialist counterparts were. 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.. i. Vice Chairman ’69–’70. head of the Reason Foundation in Santa Barbara and author of a little book called Cutting Back City Hall. Comparing his three years with the three socialist preceding years.e.

a lawyer to review contracts and a secretary. who has studied the results of contracting out.000+ copies. 1 Michael Forsyth. The Audit Commission. By 1992 with “contracting out” in full swing it was operating 15 different sites. after serving as a Councilman for Westminster City Council. For everything a city might want to do Poole found examples of private provision. Yet it was still worth doing as the savings achieved averaged 22 per cent when roles were sub-contracted out to competing commercial enterprises.1 Forsyth proceeded to write three short monographs on “contracting out. will save between 20 per cent and 40 per cent. the local city public accounts watchdog. led by the Westminster City Council. became MP for Stirling 1983–1997. The author imported and sold quantities of this book. “contracting out” spread like a contagious disease throughout the country. Privatizing the Commanding Heights run a city was a CEO. 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. at any time.” two for the Conservative Political Centre (CPC) and one for the newly formed Adam Smith Institute (ASI). 101 . including one to Westminster City Councilman Michael Forsyth. A prime example is Capita. To this day ASI says this pamphlet is its best seller of all time at 20. usually at half the cost and sometimes at one third. of Baruch College/CUNY. Examples of “contracting out” are not limited to street cleaning and trash collecting but include road maintenance and a myriad of other services.12. Today the annual value of such contracts is estimated at £28 billion or $56 billion and a whole new industry has been established. offers what he terms “Savas’ Law” — that contracting out any service. Capita started out as a two-man operation in 1984 based at the Chartered Institute of Public Financing and Accountancy. These monographs translated Poole’s work into an English context and. He served as Secretary of State for Scotland 1995–1997. Professor Steve Savas. and any place. claimed councils saved 17 per cent on contracts by merely rehearsing the idea — their staff teams reformed their ways. Everything — literally everything — could be outsourced and he littered his book with examples and figures. He was elevated to the House of Lords in 1999 as Lord Forsyth of Drumlean.

at the time of grave financial crisis in 1977 Callaghan had sold off a chunk of British Petroleum (BP). But there had been no concerted campaign to get these loss-making behemoths out of the public sector and into private hands. never exceeded zero.. 102 . it was also a matter of exposing them to competition and the real world and developing wider public ownership of shares.e.000 at 250 sites all over the UK. leading to poor business performance and an ongoing drain on the Exchequer. While “contracting out” was an imported idea. The rate of return on all the state’s ventures.000 million expressed in 1982 prices. information technology and software services. strategic support and more and has a turnover of $3.5 billion and a staff of 27. Yet nationalization was an economic disaster. treasury and financial services. The claim seemed enhanced by the war effort where the government had commandeered resources to one end. Denationalization had flickered in the ’70s. Heath had sold off the travel agency Thomas Cook. large or small. 1 The story goes that these four pubs were the only ones in a neighbourhood where munitions workers lived. human resources. Mr. The total cost of capital write-offs and grants since World War II was given as £40. During World War I the government took them over so as to monitor and control the consumption of alcohol by these key workers. and four public houses (i. 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. 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. the Channel Islands. 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. It was not just a matter of stemming the red ink of subsidies. Ireland and India. necessarily placing the interests of all ahead of the interests of the few. pubs) in Carlisle!1 More seriously.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Today it offers back office administration.

Cable and Wireless 2. discounts. These ideas neutralized or converted opposition within the state’s industries. Individuals no longer acted as sullen trade unionists but as active investors. National Freight Corporation 4. British Shipbuilders and Naval Docklands 7. In The View From Number 11.” as in: 1. The inventory of nationalized bodies that were brought to the market is formidable. Associated British Port Holding 5. Everyone’s self interest became engaged in the success. British Gas 8. National Power 103 . and no limits on the number of preferential shares that could be bought — once only. Rolls Royce and 7.12. British Telecommunications 6. former Chancellor Nigel Lawson sets out a decade of sales. Finally there were seven others for a total of 38: 1. A key strategy was to involve the workers in every case by using a variety of tactics: offers of free shares. incentives to keep shares long term. matching programs — buy one. Britoil 4. Nine have names starting or incorporating “British” or “Brit. get one free. Enterprise Oil 5. British Steel Then there were eleven electricity companies and eleven water companies. British Petroleum 2. 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. Amersham International 3. British Aerospace 3. programs that reserved a certain percent of the float for staff and pensioners. Jaguar 6. in that case. British Airways and 9.

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. privatization continues around the world and even under New Labour. Once private they were very much owned by the people and open to constant monitoring. As former Prime Minister Blair himself once said “What matters is what works. 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. These flotations had to appeal to the stock market. 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.” 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. 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. The sheer burden of losses made it imperative to reform them and make them commercially viable. In some cases astonishing levels of over-manning were revealed as in National Power which pre-privatization employed 17.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Every single one of these companies was transformed. Captive markets were a guarantee of revenue — and dividends. To monitor and police these newly created companies a new profession arose of “regulators” who could intervene to open markets up. Elsewhere the author has summed up the benefits of this program as follows: 104 .200 staff in 1990. as the pioneers of this great movement all bask or doze on the red leather benches of the House of Lords. 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.100. by 1995 after privatization it employed a mere 5. And even today.

ŪŪ Better management: The electricity generators have halved their costs since privatization. ŪŪ More investment: once privatized a long term view could be taken rather than the annual trip to see the Minister.12. journalists can investigate. seen their bills cut by £1 billion since competition was introduced. clearer and more reliable — as well as being cheaper. ŪŪ More openness: Accounts are published. 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. electricity and railways) were very vulnerable to strikes which have now all but disappeared. Telecommunications in particular have benefited. Domestic gas consumers have. for example. ŪŪ Fewer strikes: These industries (particularly coal. ŪŪ Better quality: Anybody using a British phone today knows the connection is faster. ŪŪ Better measures: The privatized companies are now judged by the market and the managers are free to set goals. MPs get their questions answered and all Brits have a far greater knowledge of what is actually happening. 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. 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. There has been a real influx of private sector management. ŪŪ More innovation: Brits used to have two choices of phones: white or black. 105 . 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 Now whole shops stocking an incredible variety of equipment are a common sight. Privatizing the Commanding Heights ŪŪ Lower prices: Competition and the rooting out of bureaucratic practices inevitably lead to lower prices. you choose the time when they come to serve you.

Whatever explanation one chooses. 106 . Some argued on the grounds of liberal competitive capitalism.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. Before these adventures under her leadership the world had only experienced the slow accretion of industries into state ownership. it succeeded in producing the desired results. British companies were attributed with an acumen and competence that could be applied on every continent. The British processes excited policy makers in every nation. Liabilities became assets. Others saw it as a hitherto unnoticed source of revenue. The British auction of its otherwise unrewarding industries was a true alchemy.

About 90% of the population did so.” So the percentage living in public housing began to rise from close to zero in 1900 to over 30% by the 1970s. they would “build the Tories out of London. “Vote Labour and we’ll get you a council house. Selling Off Public Housing “People will not value them (their homes) unless they pay at least something. Local elections were as crude as the slogan. This was almost pure patronage for the Labour Party.” — comment from Margaret Thatcher to the author When Prime Minister Thatcher’s father Alf was a young man. the norm in Britain was to rent one’s home privately.” The Conservatives had nothing to say other than to agree the gaunt municipal housing estates were the future.13. Over the next few decades that was all to change. This depressed the 107 . As the prominent socialist and later Cabinet Minister Herbert Morrison put it so neatly. Firstly the socialists realized that having large numbers living in public housing (or council housing as Brits call it) was a good vote-winner. 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. the rest owned their home or were in social housing of one sort or another.

not a handout. seeing the gift of an apartment or house to a voter (plus partner) as a valuable piece of political candy. however. This lead to a flood of people buying homes and private ownership duly rose by over 10 million units between 1914 and 1981. And in the early days of public housing there was a sense that tenants were being given a hand up. there were rumblings in some of the more intellectual corners of the Conservative Party about the size of the public sector. This made no sense and was indeed offensive to those in real need. The tabloid press loved to regale Brits with photos of successful men driving topof-the-range Jaguars but living in council houses. 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.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. In a wealthy country. At the local level Tories began to experiment with schemes to encourage the purchase of homes by their tenants. The most successful before Prime Minister Thatcher got to work were those in Birmingham and Greater London. which proved successful among middle class voters who could afford the extra repayments. 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. Only a foolish owner would rent a property as the tenants had far greater rights. and that they would at some point purchase these homes. Despite these schemes 108 . Politicians of all parties however were reluctant to sell. They allowed tenants to buy (in the case of Birmingham at a discount). Thirdly over time tax relief was given on mortgages for house purchases making that option much more advantageous. After World War II.

they succeeded (along with other schemes in Liverpool and other cities) in doubling the amount of public housing sold from 4. many of their natural supporters had scrimped and saved for a deposit and to qualify for a mortgage.867 units in 1967 to 9. Let me explain. On the income side they got the rent.” I pointed this out to her as Leader of the Opposition in 1978. so you would literally be better off to say to the Director of Legal Services in a city. plus repairs. In many places the administration and repairs would cost more than the net rent. “please mail every single property deed to the sitting tenants for free today. This proved to be a real lesson in political entrepreneurship. Selling Off Public Housing being in operation for only a year before the Labour government of the time closed them down. plus the interest on the money borrowed to build the houses or apartments in the first place. lethal as in deadly to their electoral chances.” 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. Two unlikely allies came to her side on this issue. On the expenditure side there was administration. But she was slightly reluctant. but many tenants were on housing benefit so the net rent was a lot lower than the gross.13. both highly successful in business and both well to the Left. even giving the properties away was a good idea at the time. both senior MPs in her party. Walker in particular pushed hard for very radical action to get lots of housing out of state hands and into private ones. After all. They were Peter Walker and Michael Heseltine. Authorities faced one income stream but three expenditure flows. to embrace this idea fully. It applied each family’s self interest towards 109 . as were many Tories.979 units in 1968. From a purely financial point of view selling was a no-brainer. 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. to which she replied: “People will not value them unless they pay at least something.

Many could afford to buy. It all amounted to “a quiet revolution. while they save the money to do so. millions — of council tenants the right to buy their own homes.” While in her 1980 speech to her Party Conference in Brighton she said. the homes in which they live.” the “breakup” of the “monolithic local authority (housing) estates” and the creation of “a less polarized society. We shall also ensure that 100 per cent mortgages are available for the purchase of council and New Town1 houses.” In his memoirs Michael Heseltine recalls that getting the “Right to Buy” through Parliament was delegated to John Stanley MP.” The bar- 1 A New Town is a government-planned settlement with a mix of council owned and privately owned properties. “Michael Heseltine has given to millions — yes. Their enthusiasm overcame her reservations and the 1979 manifesto read: “Our discounts will range from 33 per cent after three years.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady electoral success. 110 .’ 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.” He added that “it was the deal of a lifetime” for those who exercised their Right to Buy. Twenty-one were built between 1946 and 1970. His job was to tell us if and how he could do it.” She also commented: “It was Anthony Eden who chose for us the goal of ‘a property-owning democracy. rising with length of tenancy to a maximum of 50 per cent after twenty years. 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. which would not sell and did not believe in the independence that comes with ownership.” Heseltine described the whole process as “epoch making. But they happened to live under the jurisdiction of a socialist council. 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. They wanted to buy.” In her memoirs she praises “the ever ingenious Peter Walker. 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.

The evidence against Norwich Local Authority gave them “an overwhelming chance of success. And the policy was a stunning success. the author witnessed its Council Leader “Red” Ted Knight instructing officers not to sell. advised Heseltine and Stanley not to use the powers of ministerial intervention until there was a case that could definitely be won. although we had to fight the matter through to the Court of Appeal. was wrong-footed by this policy. 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.” 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. The resentment Prime Minister Thatcher feared never emerged as homeowners saw that this was essentially a rent to mortgage 111 . Michael Havers. Once converted Prime Minister Thatcher went for the “Right to Buy” with a vengeance.13. found themselves acclaimed as the natural ally of every family and VOTE CONSERVATIVE posters began to appear in many front windows.” 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. nationally and in every local authority. appearing at milestone sales for photo opportunities regularly. Tory canvassing teams. When we finally went to court. we won hands down. the Attorney General. used to being unwelcome on council estates. The Labour Party. 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. 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. south London. For example in Lambeth.” Heseltine said “We had been right to wait. 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.

paint their own homes and replace government issue doors and windows with their own and so on. Whole estates were transformed as suddenly people could fix their own problems. As tenants of a local authority their relationship had been too often servile — serf like. Families were surprised they had gained a capital asset. of paying rent deserved recognition. The author used to take visitors from overseas to see such estates and would point to a row of ten such homes. It is not possible to calibrate such a quality but it was easy to see the prices of these liberated homes rise in value.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady scheme. 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. It was an utter transformation of the sector. Ownership invested them with a dignity never experienced before. 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% 112 . I’d ask my guests to pick the private six and they did so unfailingly. namely that many years. Some three million housing units have moved from public to private hands since 1979. Say six had been privatized and four not. changing the balance of ownership. They could paint the walls without filling in a form and repair a leaking roof without the council having to do it for them. Legions of families for the first time were experiencing the freedom of home ownership. even decades. all thanks to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the ‘Right to Buy’.

we cope..” — Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to President Ronald Reagan “Come what may. Decolonization in fact proved brutal and degrading for many. Montserrat. Starting with India after World War II. Many of the leaders squandered their British inheritance of good laws. Going to War “Just suppose Alaska was invaded . Tristan da Cunha. the South Sandwich Islands and the 113 . Bermuda. Anguilla. dependent on aid which was used to politicize societies as it was spent on arms or deposited in secret Swiss Bank accounts. With a few exceptions they had mostly become dictatorships. South Georgia. with HM Queen Elizabeth II as nominal head of state in such countries. Cayman Islands. Pitcairn Islands. In practical terms they were fully independent. sound money and so on. To Brits it was very simple and straightforward. Saint Helena.14.. 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.” Americans have struggled for two plus decades to understand the Falkland Islands War. British Virgin Islands. Such a list would start with the Falkland Islands and would include Gibraltar. the British Empire had been transformed into a Commonwealth of Nations. Ascension.

April 2. others were thriving communities. 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. nor the House of Commons. The islanders did not want it (indeed. that: “The aggressors should never succeed and that international law should prevail over the use of force. 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. 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. Nick Ridley MP. I think she too saw with greater clarity the fidelity of many of her colleagues — or rather the infidelity and weakness of too many. Her political stature. was enhanced. nor her junior minister at the Foreign Office responsible for the issue. after victory in the South Atlantic.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Turks and Caicos Islands. The eleven weeks of the war became the most vivid period in her memory of the eleven years plus in Downing Street. It might be only 300 miles off of the Argentinean coast but there had never been an Argentine population.1 The Argentinean invasion on Friday. From the start the war was not so much about territory and citizens — important though they were — but rather. that the Islanders were entirely British. 1982 was a complete surprise to Britain. Some were territorial anomalies. Her staunch resolve made her quite a hero to some. 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. Under Prime Minister Thatcher he was Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1979–81). It is doubtful any of her Cabinet would have fought the conflict at all. 114 . Hon Nicholas Ridley was MP for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (1959-1992). They transformed Prime Minister Thatcher’s standing in her own nation and made her into a world figure. as she put it.” Americans mostly do not realize that the British had been in the Falkland Islands since 1690. The islanders were unanimous — they simply wanted the status quo. namely to remain loyal subjects of HM The Queen.

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. the House of Commons. But the British public. Over the next eleven weeks Kirkpatrick continued to fail to demonstrate the sort of support London felt it had a right to expect. 1982) for the first time since the Suez crisis. She quickly convened a meeting of the relevant Foreign Office and Defense ministers and officials. 115 . That Saturday the House of Commons met in an emergency session with every word broadcast live to the nation. Going to War recovered. and also at the US State Department. Caspar Weinberger and Ronald Reagan stood firm with her. Lady herself will learn of what metal she is made. For example. There were doubts as to the efficacy of a military solution — in the Foreign Office. Jeane Kirkpatrick. She was later asked how the US would have felt if the British Ambassador to the UN had. US Ambassador to the UN. “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. She told him to get cracking but not to sail before she had the Cabinet on side. the Nation and the Right Hon.14. First Sea Lord Sir Henry Leach. Prime Minister Thatcher was first alerted on Wednesday March 31 in the evening. 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. Prime Minister Thatcher came through very well and got the support she wanted.” Even the Labour Party was on her side because it viewed Argentinean leader General Galtieri to be a fascist dictator. where some members favor diplomacy to the point of appeasement. Her Defense Secretary John Nott and Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington were severely bruised for not stopping the invasion in the first place. 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. He was Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988 and is currently the longest serving member of the House of Lords. say. in the Ministry of Defense. Bluntly she asked the Chief of the Naval Staff. gone to dinner at the Iranian Embassy on the very evening that the US hostages were taken in Tehran. Parliament met on a Saturday (April 3.

Haig resigned abruptly in July 1982. The television and radio news bulletins were extended.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ministers. That somebody was Humphrey Atkins MP. she told him. of course. 3 Alexander Haig. As the Task Force sailed 8. While Al Haig3 flew back and forth on ineffective missions between Washington DC. President Reagan’s Secretary of State. as was Chile.2 Carrington was quickly replaced with Francis Pym but John Nott was not allowed to go — stick to it through to victory. Prime Minister Thatcher began to focus on war. The nation surprised itself. his tenure as Secretary of State was characterized by clashes with the more moderate Defense Secretary. It is also established to prevent an enemy from acquiring any material which could help them. By the time the last ship left there were over 25. Newspaper sales doubled. The departure of the task force was watched by every Brit. 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. 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. 116 . April 5. A “War Cabinet” was established consisting of a handful of men and Prime Minister Thatcher. 2 Because Lord Carrington sat in the Lords he needed somebody to speak on Foreign Affairs in the Commons. to the astonishment of leftist intellectuals and the Russian Communist Party. Different countries reacted differently: Ireland. Buenos Aires and London. The Task Force headed out on Monday.000 miles.000 men on board over 100 vessels. New Zealand offered its ships and Chile gave signals intelligence. who did so as Lord Privy Seal. Caspar Weinberger. It met daily. Japan and Italy were negative while France. Canada and New Zealand were very positive. seeing that its military could mount a force so quickly and that the political leaders were not dithering. A military hawk. often more than once a day. The Soviet Union and its allies were very vocal supporters of Argentina. 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. West Germany. Richard Luce1 and Humphrey Atkins.

“Diplomacy” finally came to an end on April 29. 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.886 miles away. 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. so knees began to tremble at all the usual places. Technically I lost the bet as British casualties totaled 255 — but I was more right than wrong. they met with nothing but Argentinean intransigence. as the British painlessly took the outlying islands of South Georgia and got daily nearer to the main target. where I made a $100 bet with a professor of economics. with accompanying destroyers which were close to the Total Exclusion Zone and very well supplied with missiles — well over 300. and rules of engagement were issued to British submarines. 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. He said we Brits might win.” It was a scrappy war. 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.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. The 25 de Mayo hightailed it to port and was never seen or heard of again. In late April. It was clear that both the 25 de Mayo and the Belgrano group were serious threats. 117 . I said we would win and casualties would not exceed 250. 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. 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. However. from the UN and the US State Department to the Labour Party and the British Foreign Office. I was visiting New York University.

but she never flinched. While the war continued on land. It is apt to register that the Argentinian soldiers were all conscripts while the British troops were all volunteers.” 2 SBS stands for the British Navy’s Special Boat Service which specializes in water borne operations. But 5. On May 21 the first British troops landed at Port San Carlos with no loss but as daylight came three British ships. The “Argies” crumbled. 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. the British military leaders feared she would waver and pull back. An Exocet missile supplied by the French took out HMS Sheffield with the loss of 20 men and a Harrier jet aircraft went down. 17 Argentinean aircraft destroyed May 25: HMS Coventry sunk May 28: 2nd Parachute Regiment lead by Colonel H Jones takes Darwin at Goose Green. 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.050. And so it went: May 23: HMS Antelope sunk. As such casualties were reported. was smiling. and HMS Brilliant (heavily damaged) were hit and two British helicopters taken out with nine Argentinean fighters destroyed too. HMS Argonaut. HMS Ardent (lost). and at sea. father of the all-volunteer army in the US. in the air.000 men had been landed. The nature of their morale was entirely different.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Not everything went smoothly. Milton Friedman. in France. 118 . The result was: British dead 17 Argentinean dead 55 Argentinean surrendered 1. 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. 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. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan met at the G7 Summit at Versailles. Its motto is “Who Dares Wins.

As the final assault on the hills surrounding Port Stanley began. HMS Plymouth was hit and the landing crafts Sir Galahad and Sir Tristan were respectively sunk and badly hit. they knew she was very special indeed. it also saw the first of the mounts and ridges behind the capital taken in fierce night fire-fights. From our distance in time it can seem as a silly little duel over remote Magellanic Rocks. Britain suffered its worst day of the war. It was felt that she had the tenacity to win. The psychological significance of the Falklands War was transforming. While June 12 saw HMS Glamorgan hit by an Exocet as it was bombarding the Argentinean positions in Port Stanley. Thirty-two British troops died as did scores of Argentineans.14. 119 . How right she was. While her self confidence was boosted she did not become arrogant — more a Joan of Arc than a Boudicca.800 strong force surrendered. Before the Falklands War people suspected she was something special. The Argentineans were soon seen en masse throwing down their arms and walking back into Port Stanley. Fifty men died and another fifty five were wounded. Going to War President Reagan for the US help she requested in caring for the thousands of Argentinean troops that were surrendering.” said the Prime Minister. But the end was coming quickly. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s stock rose to near that of Churchill. Yet in 1982 it redrew the UK political landscape. which most politicians had lacked. On June 14 Commander Mario Menendez and his 9. once victory had been achieved. “We have ceased to be a nation in retreat.


which is much more difficult but just as dangerous. Then in the fall of 1983 two key moves were made.15. They had an aura of invincibility. In 1976 the then Labour government had brought him back to try to sort out a nationalized 121 .” Arthur Scargill’s flying pickets. 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. Prime Minister Thatcher’s massive 1983 victory (144 majority) outraged the Left.” “These few men are the wreckers in our midst. 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. became Chairman of the National Coal Board. in particular Arthur Scargill. Beating the Miners “We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands and now we have to fight the enemy within. They could bring down a government. Peter Walker became Energy Secretary and Ian MacGregor1. 1 Ian MacGregor was born in Scotland but had immigrated to the USA. supported by most of organized Labour. As early as September 1981 Energy Secretary Nigel Lawson — a brilliant man — quietly began building up what became massive coal stocks. not at the pit heads but rather at the power stations. and indeed they had done so only a decade earlier. the Marxist leader of the NUM who was soon talking about not needing to wait until the next election to get rid of her.

Prime Minister Thatcher followed every detail. 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. But it was not a nationwide strike. The strike began on March 12.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady During the winter of ’83/’84 tensions rose as MacGregor made plans to close uneconomical pits. Tuesday May 29 for example saw 5. 122 . The miners were shooting themselves in the foot. 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.000 pickets battle 4. Could she have been clearer? The Prime Minister emboldened her wobbly Home Secretary Leon Brittan to back the police emphatically. They formed the impression they were on the side of virtue and fairness. March was just when demand for heating became less. 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. vehicle manufacturer. Some economically viable pits filled with water as the miners who maintained them were on strike. No national ballot was held as Scargill was not sure he would win and support from other unions was close to non-existent.200 police in riot gear at Orgreave Coke Works — 69 people (41 police and 28 picketers) were injured. Edward Heath had never achieved this in 1974 when the posture of the Government and the NCB was to appease. Also Mr. Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock was to regret bitterly that he did not condemn the failure to ballot. It was limited to regions where the hard left had the numbers. 1983 over the closure plans for one particular colliery. The summer saw sporadic violence and much to-ing and fro-ing between all parties. Scargill’s timing was inept. make thousands of workers redundant and cut production. particularly the levels of coal stocks at power plants and in other key areas. “The rule of law must prevail over the rule of the mob.” proclaimed Prime Minister Thatcher.

15. November 19 on would get a very generous Christmas bonus. Scargill faced huge embarrassment when the press revealed that President Gaddafi and Soviet President Gorbachev were sending large sums of money to the NUM. the NCB mailed all miners. the union that had brought down the previous Conservative government. had found in Prime Minister Thatcher an unbending will to stop what she called “the fascist left” dead in their tracks. Surely treason was in the air.000 miners were at work with more returning daily — the now ten-month illegal action was crumbling. Two miners got life sentences for that. 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. In 1996 he left the Labour Party after it aban- 123 . The most violent. 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. But violence continued. Typically she held a party at 10 Downing Street for the leaders of the miners who refused to strike. As fall went on. resulting in several hundred thousand dollar fines for the latter. As for Scargill he remained as leader of the NUM until 2000. Beating the Miners A major element became the war between the striking miners and the working miners. Those who chose not to participate in the illegal strike found themselves and their wives and children subject to abuse. attacks and arson. By early January 75. The courts began to have an effect too with two Yorkshire miners bringing a civil case against Scargill and the NUM. In late November one working miner was beaten in his own home — nineteen of his former colleagues were arrested. Thousands took up the offer and week by week more returned to work. saying that everyone at work from Monday. 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. left-wing and militant of all Britain’s unions.

illiteracy. government ownership) of most of the business sector. 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. Scargill saw New Labour as “a willing handmaiden to multinational corporations and bodies like the International Monetary Fund which preside over global poverty. to save the local hospital. William Hague. disease. war and pollution.e.” 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.” In 1996. a post-Margaret Thatcher audience simply laughs — treating his comments as a trip down memory lane. 124 . From being a menace and a threat who intimidated the nation Arthur Scargill was reduced to being an object of derision.07% of the popular vote.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady doned Clause IV1 in its quest to become electable.” And at the same time a policy of nationalizing “Britain’s banks. getting only 0. Scargill founded the Socialist Labour Party. 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.07% of the popular vote despite standing in only one constituency with one policy. Prime Minister Thatcher had illustrated once again her Iron Lady credentials. Their impact on the 2005 election was negligible. after abandoning the Labour Party. which despite having only 2. which recorded over £20 billion profits in 2000. To put that in context a local party called the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern got 0.” 1 This was the clause in its constitution which committed it to public ownership (i.. an entertaining show put on by an affable and now harmless museum piece.958 individual members has still managed to have several internal wars between the membership resulting in some factions being expelled by Scargill. along with the major insurance companies and other industries. it also embraced Margaret Thatcher’s economic reforms including privatization and the reforms that had finally brought the unions under the rule of law. 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. the major oil companies.

15. 125 . Beating the Miners The miners’ strike was not a minor industrial dispute. Throughout. Without Prime Minister Thatcher.” She insisted that “violence must not be seen to pay. She denounced the violent picketing as “intimidation” and proclaimed it to be “unlawful assembly. It was yet more evidence of a new brand of leadership. It was nearer to being an insurrection. 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. the UK could still be in the grip of unions holding government and industry to ransom whenever they chose. 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.


the endless strikes. the coercion of decent people and the endless meetings of union leaders. You have to be at least in your mid forties to recall the British three day week. the ignorance and arrogance of the far left Union leaders. First she wanted to tackle the practice of picketing. 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. wanted to make three immediate changes. The whole culture was one of getting ahead by brute force rather than better serving your customer. strengthened by the winter of discontent. In other words secondary picketing at say an upstream supplier would become illegal. Labour had strengthened the rights of unions to impose closed shops — to make union membership obligatory. to underpin strikes and to coerce workers into joining unions and participation in industrial action against their better judgment. She proposed 127 . They were immune from the restraints of law.16. limiting it just to the place of work directly involved. British trade unions were exempted from the Law of Tort. bosses and the PM over beer and sandwiches at Number 10. Prime Minister Thatcher. Second.” It is now a generation since the National Union of Mineworkers brought down a government.

All such proposals were greeted with outright hostility by the Labour Party and the TUC. Break those monopolies and you have gone a long way to bringing unions under control. Time and time again Prime Minister Thatcher banged on about the damage unions were doing to the living standards of ordinary people. Third. how they cost jobs and lost orders that could never be replaced. Norman Tebbit. She explained that strikes affected union members just as much as the rest of us. He introduced regular ballots in closed shops to test ongoing support. coal and steel and towards services.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady to weaken those arrangements and to give more power and rights to individual workers. Her strategy was to break down the closed shop and bring real democracy to these institutions so that ordinary members could regain control. 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. He was the sort of man F. restricted what could be classed as a lawful dispute. whose instinct was always to yield to union demands.” 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 also grasped and understood the link between the giant monopoly nationalized industries and union power. Norman worked well with his Prime Minister. increased the compensation for people damaged in a closed shop. She was also helped in this as the British economy moved out of iron. Her attempts to act quickly were badly hampered by a leftover Heath acolyte named James Prior. made union labor only contracts illegal. Prime Minister Thatcher went over their heads to the British public and the ordinary members of the unions. That trend plus privatization meant that union membership was inexorably evaporating. They had a natural rapport. and removed the unlimited immunity from actions for damages 128 .A. strengthened employers rights to sack strikers. more robust. Hayek was thinking of when he dedicated The Road to Serfdom “To the Socialists of all Parties. 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.

at the 1987 Conference in Blackpool the unions exercised a vote of 5. He moved production from Fleet Street to Wapping and in doing so broke the power of the print workers.16. However trouble rapidly moved south to London and that great entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch.” They were also the pay-masters of the Labour Party.792. 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. He stood up to very violent picketing and even death threats. 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. The flexibility of UK employment contracts has been a defining 129 . For example. Reforming the Unions that so favored the unions. thus opening up the possibility that their funds. He used every one of her reforms and after a year of nightly battles between police and pickets Rupert prevailed. 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. All of British commerce prospered under these newly equitable laws. North West England. their war chest. who was the first entrepreneur to make use of Thatcherite reforms as he founded a high tech newspaper called Today. It is reasonable to argue the rise of Mr. The overall result was the total transformation of the UK labor market. Blair would not have been possible but for her transformation of this lawless rogue element in British public life. could be vulnerable if sued.000 — swamping the votes of the constituency parties with a mere 617. What a transformation. It all started with a nice man called Eddie Shah in Warrington. In bringing trade unions back within the Rule of Law she also altered much of the texture of her opponent’s Party. The British trade unions were more than “combinations in restraint of trade.000 votes.

130 . 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.

A. Battling the I.” A further 10.” The IRA terrorists ran their bombing campaign from 1969 to July 2005. 1979 on the ramp leading out of the underground parking lot at the Palace of Westminster. her right hand man. remained untouched by the bloodshed during Prime Minister Thatcher’s time in office. Protestant or Catholic. After his death she said “I felt like a puppet whose strings had been cut. a trusted confidante and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had been killed by an IRA bomb on March 30. Very few in Northern Ireland. windows in pubs are long free of anti glass shrapnel tape. and a bag left 131 .000 were injured. As we read in Chapter 10 Airey Neave.” Today there are some trash cans back on the streets of London.17.” “They [the IRA] should be wiped off the civilised world. It is not possible to count the psychological injury to the relatives and families more widely.R. “All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail. Indeed one of her first duties as Prime Minister was to give the memorial service address for him. Some lost limbs while others had lesser wounds.524 people were killed or rather murdered during the “Troubles. finally decommissioning all of their weapons in September 2005. In Northern Ireland (or Ulster) alone over 3.

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. 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. she wrote a personal note to all the families involved. is often caricatured as an English colony. Even many friends of Britain. also visiting the hospital where the 1 Recently converted into a branch of Pret A Manger. It is easy to forget. or Northern Ireland. 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. ’80s and even early ’90s. The very same day eighteen soldiers were killed at Warren Point in a two bomb pincer movement. Prime Minister Thatcher refused to compromise to the demands of terrorists. the second bomb was exploded. not violence. 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. Prime Minister Thatcher’s reaction was threefold. Four others were injured as a bomb blew apart Mountbatten’s boat off the Irish coast. which is what most of the Protestant majority want. The first bomb was set off by remote control and then. In central London at least that was not the case for large parts of the ’70s. are unaware that the island of Ireland has two divergent peoples. she flew less than 48 hours later unannounced and wearing a flak jacket to the hotbed of “bandit country” in South Armagh. the Hon. Second. Mrs. This is false. Nicholas Knatchbull and crew member Paul Maxwell. when more troops moved in to tend to the wounded. If anything the Ulster Protestants are Scots not English. 132 .Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady in a public corner is not immediately a cause to clear everyone out. Americans included. Ulster. First.

Battling the I.17. 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. efforts that began to have an effect. She did in fact confront Lynch within days. Colonel Gaddafi of Libya was another major source of help to the IRA. 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. 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. 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 . And third. 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. some of the officers she met that day would not see out the end of her premiership.” Surely that should be a “food strike”! The issue in question was very simple. Douglas Hurd.R.A injured were being treated. dropping in on local politicians and having lunch with the Army’s 3 Brigade. To that end President Reagan was totally on her side and he made repeated efforts to help. 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. But all along Prime Minister Thatcher and a succession of Northern Ireland Secretaries Humphrey Atkins. James Prior. She finally visited the Royal Ulster Constabulary. but he stonewalled her and gave no cooperation at all to hunt down these murderers. 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. She was in charge of the prisons not the terrorists. Prime Minister Thatcher would have none of it. Terrorists wanted to be treated as political prisoners rather than as every day criminals.

Eric Taylor (chairman of the North-West Area Conservative Association). now Lord. By 6:30 a. Wakeham). From that day on Prime Minister Thatcher became the IRA’s number one target. his wife (Margaret Tebbit) was not so fortunate. While she was unhurt. She was up at 2:54 a. 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. Anthony Berry (MP for Enfield South). Today it is reported that she is confined to a wheelchair. The explosion missed her but destroyed her bathroom. He started his “hunger strike” on March 1. not that he would have taken the Loyalty Oath to HM The Queen anyway. 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. Roberta Wakeham (wife of the then Government chief whip John. No running back to Downing Street for her. she knew the full extent of the damage and deaths but determined to press on with the day’s business including her speech. 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. 1981 and died on May 5. five people died. 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. The speech was hastily 134 .m. working on her big speech with her staff when a huge bomb on a long delay timer went off inside the hotel. 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.m. He was all but an MP — as a prisoner of course he could not attend Parliament and be sworn in. The most striking image of the night was the sight of Norman Tebbit being dug out of the ruins of the Grand Hotel alive. requires two full time nurses to care for her and can hardly even hold a cup of tea. but until 1981 there was no law preventing a criminal in prison from standing in an election. It may seem bizarre that a convicted criminal could stand for election. It took two hours to free him and despite his injuries he made enough of a recovery to lead a normal life. 1981. It was very close.

three killed at the Royal Artillery Barracks. The confidence of the people and the will of the government were never in doubt even as misguided Americans sent from $160. Garret Fitzgerald. 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. 11 killed and 21 injured at the Royal Marines School of Music.” 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.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. Battling the I. 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. six killed and 91 injured outside Harrods.000 to $800. seven killed and 31 injured in Regent’s Park. 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. one killed at an Oxford Street burger bar. four killed and 28 injured in Hyde Park. two killed and 39 injured at Ebury Bridge Road. many of whom had exited in night clothes.17. 135 . Terrorism became self defeating because each such act only strengthened her determination.000 per annum via Noraid1 to fund terror. The speech was a huge success as she declared “all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail. On November 15. based on the story of Jezebel in Kings I of the Old Testament. There have been claims that money raised by Noraid is used to fund the IRA.R. 1985 Prime Minister Thatcher and her opposite number in Ireland. 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. and so on. Twenty one were killed and 182 injured in just one evening in Birmingham. 2 Jezebel is a term used to describe a woman who is considered wicked. And it was not limited to London. could be smartly turned out.

136 . 1998 and the St Andrews Agreement of October 13. politically and religiously to the Unionist cause. The IRA hated it. Unionists hated it. philosophically. However it can be seen as a stepping stone en route to the Good Friday Agreement of April 10. For someone so deeply attached personally. 2006 which lead to power sharing in a devolved Assembly at Stormont today. 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. Republicans hated it. Her close friend and former PPS Ian Gow (later to be murdered by the IRA) resigned over it. 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.

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

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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.”


it was never a question of “if” the Soviet Union would collapse but rather “when. It is apt to be reminded the British armed forces were engaged throughout her leadership in a low level civil war in Northern Ireland. Stalin and Roosevelt. enjoying a deep friendship with the US President 3. she famously declared to John Cole of the BBC. 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. felt that their chief rival was still strong enough to be a problem. containment policies notwithstanding.000 miles to the west and a growing acquaintance with the President of the USSR 1.” Guided by her Cabinet colleague Peter Walker. Prime Minister Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. “I am cautiously optimistic. I like Mr. After long discussions at her official country weekend home. Shades of Churchill. It was primarily the Army that was deployed. would return to German postings for rest and recreation. We can do business together. a little curiously.500 miles to the east. 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. Both employed rhetoric to build support for stronger measures.” With the death of Chernenko in 1985 and Gorbachev’s rise to the leadership she found herself in a very special situation. Soviet Russia will not survive the century. Margaret Thatcher MP. Many economists associated with the IEA had long voiced serious worries about waste and environmental degradation.” To Mrs.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady The Iron Lady tag was meant to be offensive and to denigrate her. as when Reagan visited the UK in 1982 and proclaimed to its politicians: 144 . Arthur Seldon CBE wrote in the Times on the August 6. however. The “Troubles” in Northern Ireland meant British soldiers were trained in danger and combat and. Chequers. she met future Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the funeral of Yuri Andropov and quickly invited him to London. some said. Indeed the Institute’s editorial director Dr. Labour as we know it will never rule again. Gorbachev.

President Reagan warmed to his theme.” He went on with greater emphasis: “In the Communist world as well. the Soviet forces also face east to prevent their people from leaving. To President Ronald Reagan. But the struggle continues in Poland. 1968 in Czechoslovakia. He said. man’s instinctive desire for freedom and self-determination surfaces again and again. Malaysia and Vietnam — it is the democratic countries that are prosperous and responsive to the needs of their people. Wherever the comparisons have been made between free and closed societies — West Germany and East Germany.” He concluded his tour de force: 145 . 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. Kicking Down the Wall “Sir Winston Churchill refused to accept the inevitability of war or even that it was imminent. Ronald Reagan then added: “The decay of the Soviet experiment should come as no surprise to us.” He asserted that the Soviet Union was running against “the tide of history. ‘I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. Private plots amounted to only 3% of arable land yet produced nearly 25% of agricultural output.” It would not be easy and he sensed we were all at “a turning point. 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.’” Other American presidents had talked about the ideas of freedom but Ronald Reagan’s own use of these attractive notions was much more assertive.” It was due for major economic dislocations and urgently needed to expand civil liberties. On the other side of the line. 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. Today on the NATO line. there are grim reminders of how brutally the police state attempts to snuff out this quest for self-rule — 1953 in East Germany. 1981 in Poland. the mission was “to preserve freedom as well as peace. their flight is always away from. not toward the Communist world. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines. our military forces face east to prevent a possible invasion.19. Austria and Czechoslovakia. 1956 in Hungary. To be sure.

let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny. The President escalated the cost of the arms race. the task I’ve set forth will long outlive our own generation.” As the economist and pro-American Czech President Dr. But together. Vaclav Klaus puts it. The Prime Minister freely shared all she had on Gorbachev and his problems with the President. The advanced technical ingenuity claimed by the US space industries added a further strain to the Russian military systems. betting the US could afford to spend more than the Soviet Union. The Soviet economy was stalling under the pressures of the arms race. Thatcher’s economic success and Pope John Paul’s moral strength — gave millions of people courage to rise up when the opportunity came. “Reagan’s truth telling — together with the examples of Mrs. Rarely can two national leaders such as Reagan and Thatcher have shared so closely their instincts and found their interests so much in line. as Reagan did with his famous Berlin speech line: “Tear down this wall. Prime Minister Thatcher was President Ronald Reagan’s most ardent cheerleader and kept up the pressure on Gorbachev. we too have come through the worst. For the sake of peace and justice.” 146 . as well as garnering tremendous public support at home.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady “Well. He increased the technology stakes through SDI or the so-called Star Wars program. 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. And neither of them missed a chance to take center stage.” This line of thinking had the power to sway even some in the Soviet Union.

Slovakia. really is. This meant that the EU had a population more than 50 per cent larger than that of the United States. 2004 ten new countries2 with a combined population of 74 million became members of the European Union. Slovenia and Malta. Lithuania. Dealing with Brussels “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain. 147 . Before turning to Prime Minister Thatcher and the EU. 1 Based on a speech given by the author at The Heritage Foundation. Poland. 2006. Hungary. on September 28. And when Romania and Bulgaria joined on January 1. 2007. let’s take time to understand just what the latter.20.” “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. bringing the total EU population to 454 million. only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels. another 30 million took that to 484 million. in the view of the author. the Czech Republic. Latvia. 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. 2 The new members are Cyprus. Estonia. Washington DC.1 On May 1.

Taiwan. Indeed. 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. and the death penalty as well as a whole raft of trade issues. Many experts think empires reach the point of collapse at the zenith of their expansion. 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. Recent differences between the EU and the US include those over Iraq. Do American policymakers believe that the process of European political integration leads to the creation of a democratic. spending on the CAP increased by 11. Turkey too is enthusiastic to accede to the EU. The United States has also tolerated the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). ballistic missile defense. But from the very beginning the US gave its unconditional backing. Cuba. while it is possible to name 1 Despite worldwide criticism of the Common Agricultural Policy. Without US support. Why? At one level it is taken for granted that the emerging European Union would share America’s core values.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady It is envisaged that further nations will join. Serbia is a prime candidate as are all the other former Yugoslav republics. the international criminal court. and from the Arctic wastes of Finland and Sweden in the north to Cyprus in the south. 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. China.1 which some have called the most inefficient system of agricultural support ever devised.2 per cent in 2005. rivals. Palestine. This would give the EU a border with Syria and Iraq. genetically modified crops. policy differences between the EU and the United States have both multiplied and deepened. Iran. farm support. the Kyoto Accord. During the 1970s. The EU now stretches from the Latvia–Russia border in the east to Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland. 148 . as are all sovereign nations to some extent.

and we will back the US all the way. The attempt to adopt a European Constitution has been stalled since 2004 when the French and Dutch rejected the proposed text in referenda1. The EU now has its own parliament. 149 . prosecutor. The differences which have been alluded to arise from the very nature of the European project and the ideas on which it is based.” Indeed. 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.20. and emblem. But after the attempt to bring in the constitution by the 1 Polling data has consistently shown that. given the opportunity. anthem. In addition to hostility to the nation state. 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. but plans to hold a referendum in the UK were abandoned following the rejection of the document by the French and Dutch electorates. supreme court. currency. it is difficult to think of a single major issue where the views of the US and the EU are identical. Those ideas are not the inevitable consequence of political integration but rather the foundation on which it has been constructed. the British electorate would vote against the adoption of the Constitution by a substantial majority.” And the Czech President has indicated a high level of dissent. 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. we have now reached the point where EU policy gives every impression of having been defined in opposition to US policy. 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. executive. The Irish voted “no” but will probably be forced to vote again and again until they “get it right. 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. army (of a sort).

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. 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.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. and for breaches of laws that are not crimes or punishable 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. 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. the EU has purchased the entire office block (32 Smith Square) from which she won all three of her general elections. Now all of this might strike you as being purely Europe’s affair. But the supranational institutions of the new top-down Europe (to which the once independent European states have ceded sovereignty) are remarkably undemocratic. 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. a president. and a foreign minister. EU-set penalties could be imposed on British subjects in Britain. In the judgment of a former EU Commissioner. As Simon Heffer wrote in The Daily Telegraph on September 20. 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. according to some legal opinion. it is clear that if EU applied to itself the criteria that it re150 . Equally. The other horror is that. In a move that must make Lady Thatcher squirm. so the ability of member states to propose their own laws for their own people shrinks until it is extinguished. 2006: If we surrender our veto on these matters. even though such methods are of questionable legality. 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).

It is consequently difficult to envision how such a thing as European public opinion can evolve. and a high level of trade protection in some sectors. rigid labor markets. of which English is the most widely spoken). high taxes. as they would achieve much lower prices if they dropped out of the CAP. for years the euro-zone underperformed vis-à-vis the US. Or indeed a common language (there are at least 20 different national languages. In addition. or a European public space. and if this problem is compounded by the lack of a common language in which political discourse can take place. An outward looking EU that embraced open markets and free trade would serve US interests. 151 . increasingly intrusive regulation. In the list of EU attributes which was rehearsed a moment ago. there is the ever-present danger that they will not accept majority decisions. The EU seems more concerned with people’s rights as workers than as consumers. In its top-down way Europe may have created many of the attributes of a state but there is. of course. as well as about the future relations between the EU and the United States. 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. The US also has ample grounds for disappointment with EU policies on the economy and trade. something was missing. Enormous disparities in economic. It would also serve the interests of Europeans in their role as consumers. no such thing as a European people or European nation. supporting those who doubt that effective monetary policy can be set over such a disparate area. Dealing with Brussels cently applied to all new members. and it has provided an economy that aims to provide stability and security even at the cost of low growth. it could not be admitted to the EU because it is insufficiently democratic.20. And if people do not feel common bonds of allegiance and obligation. None of this augurs well for those who hope that Europe could stand as an equal to the United States. technological and military power stand in the way of the creation of a unitary European state as a countervailing force to the United States. or a European demos.

2006): “Britain’s war-making capabilities will progressively be defined by what its ‘partners’ will permit. i. evident in the first Gulf War. While America begins to ponder the wisdom of its support for the EU. like 99.” Another consequence will be that. But having endorsed the project for half a century.e. the UK’s support of the US. Russell Lewis clearly outlined this 152 . The more Britain is absorbed into the European project. Margaret Thatcher’s view of the EU has gone through three distinct phases.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. but also from self-government. the United States. As IEA author Richard North has written in The Business (May 28/29. and the arguments of Enoch Powell and Russell Lewis were difficult and fell on deaf ears. many Americans seem reluctant to withdraw their support or even to recognize the nature of the Europe which they have helped to create. 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. Essentially they argued that even in the early years the EU. To begin with she.. minor adjustments could be made according to circumstance and all would be well. But the lesson ought to be clear. sold as an economic entity. As a result the practical value of British military assistance will be greatly reduced. when Belgium refused to supply the UK with artillery shells because it (Belgium) disapproved of its actions. It was to be welcomed. capital and goods. the choices facing Britain are more urgent and acute. the more it will distance itself not only from its most powerful and most constant ally. as long as the country positioned itself more or less mid-way between Europe and America in terms of public philosophy and economic outlook.9% of Conservatives. thought of the European project merely in terms of free movement of labor. For decades it was possible for many to believe that. 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. was already overstepping its mark.

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. Mrs.20. 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. And that Britain. 153 . But as the EU went from a loose trading model toward federalism she became increasingly uneasy. She held her party together on the issue much more effectively than any of her now five successors as Tory leader. ‘greater social justice’. “I want my money back. 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. namely down the road of illiberal tendencies first observed by the IEA in the early 1970s. And for example she won a huge rebate.” This is often misquoted as. It says ‘the major aims of society’ are ‘full and better employment’. 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. And Labour was against it so that was another good reason for Margaret Thatcher to be for it. As leader she had to hold together a Party increasingly divided on the European issue.” Yet it seems to go gratuitously far in its assumptions on what the peoples of the countries in the EEC1… may want. She was combative when across the English Channel be it at Brussels or Fontainebleau or Strasbourg. Thatcher’s second phase (essentially much of the ’70s and ’80s) was one of compromise at home and combat overseas.” 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.” These days it is clear which way the EU went. As it became clear that the project was rotten to its very core so more Conservative MPs joined the Euroskeptic circles. corrupt and deeply corrupting monster was growing in Brussels. There is no mention of the objectives to which these might be regarded as subsidiary or as means to a larger end: the independence. with traditional 1 The EEC (European Economic Community) is the former name of the EU. ‘better quality of living’.

but not many. Polls suggest 63% of grass root Tory Party members and a majority of Tory MPs are Eurosceptic. There are a handful of Labour and Liberal Democrats with EU concerns. The Tory Party however is different. 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. 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? 154 .” 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.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady strengths and global destiny. should ever have become part of it will appear a political error of the first magnitude.

and you would achieve nothing. 1983 and 1987 and European Elections in 1979 and 1984. if they attack one personally. They flinched when she proclaimed in 1989 that she was “fit for 10 more years.” although many close to her thought she would win a fourth general election and then retire.21. there were many who owed their entire career to her. She was never defeated at the polls. 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. Resignation “If you just set out to be liked. she was an even more senior. And she never lost a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. 155 . well.” 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. dominant world leader.” “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think. under promoted or even unfairly dumped. 1 While she had won UK General Elections in 1979. but equally many who felt overlooked. she had just lost her first nationwide vote in June 1989 for the latter. “Have the Brits gone mad?” many Americans asked me. you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time. it means they have not a single political argument left. she was 3 and 0 in General Election victories1. After nearly a decade in office and well over a decade as Party Leader. and.

An appointment as a PPS is seen as the first rung on the ladder towards ministerial office. the poll tax. ran against her for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Thatcher MP herself jumped this bottom rung. The young Mrs. A PPS cannot. 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 Bruges speech. 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. Meyer was the antithesis of Thatcher. disappointed and disreputable to grow. Critics trace that one incident through her increasingly presidential style. the loss of Howe and then Lawson.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. with a hereditary title and inherited wealth. Sir Anthony Meyer MP. 156 . PPSs are expected to vote with the government and to keep a low profile in the House. for example. a complete unknown. Later he would chair all manner of groups campaigning to abridge British sovereignty by joining the EU. If a week is a long time in politics (as Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said). when Michael Heseltine favored a European rescue and Leon Brittan favored the US firm Sikorsky. 1 A PPS acts as a minister’s eyes and ears in Parliament. the French rewarded him with a medal. he’d spent years in the Foreign Office in the days when it was leaking secrets to Moscow. Meyer was resoundingly humiliated on December 5. Eton educated. be a member of a select committee or table an amendment to a Government Bill. bad by-election results to Sir Anthony Meyer. In 1989. then fifteen years as leader and eleven as Prime Minister must seem like eons. His career had peaked in the early 1970s when he had been a Parliamentary Private Secretary1 (PPS) at a minor department. Her critics say the decline started as early as 1985 with the so-called Westland affair. making sure the minister is kept well informed of backbench opinion on his or her performance. and she supposedly did not trust any man with a beard.

using next to no local services. 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. defected to the Liberal Democrats. As noted in Chapter 7. Nigel Lawson was to brand this “the most disastrous single decision” she ever made.21.000 people marched on Westminster and a group of 3. the voter has written a message or inserted another name.000 to 3. was a terrible one for Prime Minister Thatcher and indeed it was to be her last in 10 Downing Street. Civil unrest ensued culminating in a riot in central London where 70.” 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). the British system of local taxation was based on property values so that a retired widow with an empty nest. one very publicly and one more privately. Two issues dominated and divided her cabinet and her party. 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. say. swimming pools and libraries. every leftist group in the country jumped on the anti bandwagon. 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. But the fact remained that votes for him plus abstentions plus spoiled amounted to 60. parks. Meyer’s own parliamentary constituency then voted 2 to 1 to deselect him on the grounds of “treachery. could be paying the same amount as a family of five consuming vast amounts of public goods and services such as schools. 157 . The result was the Community Charge1 which was quickly dubbed the ‘Poll Tax’ and. 1990. and died in obscurity on Christmas Eve 2004. The next year. He became a lecturer on EU matters.500 turned violent. sensing trouble. 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.

On October 31. writing: “I do so [resign] with very great regret. 1 Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) is an infectious degenerative brain disease occurring in cattle. against the odds. Prime Minister Thatcher launched a vigorous attack on Jacques Delors. the issue which still splits the Conservative Party in two to this day. but the real clincher was the European Union. 158 . riots in a prison in the northern city of Manchester. top-down vision of a European superstate. in the House of Commons. high interest rates. 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. It can be transferred to humans. There was a host of other minor problems such as a new burst of price increases. Even Tories with safe seats trembled at such a Labour lead. Since then we have done so much together. 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. It was clear that such civil unrest was affecting Prime Minister Thatcher’s standing in the party and in the polls. Your own strong leadership has been of crucial importance in making this possible. It has been a privilege and an honour for me to have contributed to that success. He resigned the very next day. 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. Almost sixteen years have passed since you asked me to serve as Shadow Chancellor.000. who had been her first brilliant Chancellor. to rebuild the economic and political strength of our nation. centrist. head of the European Commission and his federalist.

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. The bowling’s [pitching’s] going to get hit all round the ground [ball park]. no playing for time.” The Prime Minister replied: “Thank you for your letter telling me of your decision to leave the Government and the reasons for it. The foundations of Britain’s economic success in the 1980s were laid in those earlier years. As Chancellor of the Exchequer. 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. can I assure you there will be no ducking the bouncers [bean balls. I very much regret your decision. As I told you when you came to see me earlier this evening. Prime Minister Thatcher used the following cricket-based metaphor: “I am still at the crease [home plate]. I shall for ever be grateful for your distinguished service and your sturdy and unflinching support in difficult times. or balls pitched at a batter’s head].21. though the bowling [pitching] has been pretty hostile of late. for a responsible society and for greater British influence in the world. makes a speech from his new seat on the backbenches. no stonewalling. 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.” Part of the British political tradition is that very soon after such senior resignations the person involved. Resignation “Our work has been based on common values and shared beliefs— for economic and personal freedom. Although our principles have been sorely tested by opponents of the Government at different times over the last eleven years.” 159 . then. and in particular by the budget of 1981. And in case anyone doubted it.” Cleverly. coming unexpectedly after we have worked together for so long. Howe did not avail himself of this as he had lost his voice. that their bat had been broken before the game by the team captain. speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in the City of London. now free from the collective restraints of cabinet government. “Your contribution to the philosophy of modern Conservatism and to the policies which we brought to Government in 1979 was great indeed. That is my style. Twelve days went by. 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].

he was also ambitious. Take an easy example of 400 MPs. Heseltine (at the time the Defense Minister) preferred a European consortium’s rescue package.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady The timing could hardly have been worse. 1 Westland was a British Helicopter firm that was going bust. whereas in 1990 it had to be 15% of 400 — 57 versus 60. photogenic and a rallying point for the Left.” he replied. “Whose?” I asked. He was experienced. “But isn’t that an autobiography?” I said. It was not to be. Unlike the nondescript Meyer. totally intrigued. twenty people abstained or spoiled their ballots then according to the 1965 rules the margin had to be 15% of 380. a major publishing company. “What are you doing these days?” “Writing a biography. He was a big man in the jungle of politics. “My own!” he said. This was serious stuff even if he was a complete corporatist and not the sharpest blade in the kitchen2. Prominent leftist Michael Heseltine (who had left her government in typically flamboyant style over the Westland Affair1 in 1986) rapidly moved to challenge her. say. With his shock of brushed back long blond hair he was known as Tarzan. the overlooked and the cowardly. it had been changed from 15% of those voting to 15% of those entitled to vote. This is a small change but it led to momentous events. While Thatcher wanted the American firm Sikorski Fiat to take over the company. despite the shareholders preferring the Sikorski deal. 2 Years later the author asked him. 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. This is crucial in understanding what happened to Prime Minister Thatcher. the dumped. 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. 201 is a simple majority but if. In a two-horse race. 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. 160 . he was wealthy having founded and built up Haymarket. 3 See previous explanation in Chapter 8.3” There had also been that very significant rule change regarding the margin needed for victory on the first round.

He said that to do so would send a sign of weakness. Peter Morrison (MP for Chester) and Michael Neubert (MP for Romford) neither of whom had ever gotten very far at all. And a fourth member of her camp John Major MP. 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. 2 “Prime Minister. 1990. a final push may have secured the four votes needed for an outright win for Prime Minister Thatcher. The Thatcher leadership team consisted of George Younger (MP for Ayr). It would be kind to call them lackadaisical1. They assured her that everything was going well. Resignation As before. Tuesday. 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. that they had 220 plus votes in the bag with a count of about 110 for Heseltine and some 40 plus yet undecided. naive. While all of them (as far as we know) voted by proxy. a signal that he was worried about her losing. if you haven’t won then there are a lot of Tory MPs who are lying.21. declined to cancel a minor dental operation and work the tea rooms and bars on her behalf.” sophisticated as in devious! On the big day. Major was the ultimate beneficiary of her defeat. After all they claim to be the “most sophisticated electorate in the world.” said Morrison. Chancellor of the Exchequer. If the second round failed to produce a winner the top two would go to a third round. 161 . On waking Morrison quickly claimed that he had more than enough pledges. France rather than back at home campaigning2. Prime Minister Thatcher was sufficiently confident of victory that she plus Morrison plus Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd MP were all at the Fontainebleau Summit. (Major states his PPS Graham Bright MP was his proxy). November 20. 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. more candidates could enter the second round the following week when only an absolute majority would be needed. idle and inept” would be more accurate as one MP who was there put it to me recently.

Michael Portillo MP and Michael Fallon MP rushed to Number 10 to tell her to stand firm. Other than Ken Clarke. 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. So the contest moved to Round Two with Prime Minister Thatcher declaring “I fight on. 162 . 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. And others such as Cecil Parkinson MP.” Before returning to London she had Round Two support from Douglas Hurd MP and John Major 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. 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. But as that Wednesday wore on a drama worthy of Shakespeare began to unfold.” She also commented: “It would be so terrible if Michael won… he would undo everything I fought for. John Wakeham MP and Nicholas Ridley MP declared for her. Kenneth Baker MP. Two MPs switching from Heseltine would have made the majority 56 and she would have hit the required level. Norman Tebbit MP. one by one they pledged their support1 and one by one they said she would lose. respectively her Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer.” News spread around the tiny village of Westminster and Thatcher loyalists in the junior ranks such as Michael Forsyth MP. I fight to win.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.

“The only people peddling that line were the people who had voted for Heseltine” observed Davis! The next day.21.” had been the advice of her ever loyal Denis. The oft heard line “Oh. November 27. Resignation MP. battered and bruised by this chorus of naysayers. Chris Chope MP. 163 . 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. John Townend MP. love. “Don’t go on. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. George Gardiner MP and Edward Leigh MP.” A major chapter of British history had ended. Davis in particular warned her that her support was not crumbling.


” The idea of Mrs. nearly 12 years. Sixteen months after leaving Downing Street she would step down as MP for Finchley at the April ’92 General Election. Prime Minister1. Thatcher actually retiring is laughable to those who know her. 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. Retirement “I had the marvellous privilege of being there for 11½. The only post-war Prime Ministers not to have taken a 1 In the UK former Prime Ministers are normally referred to as Mr. 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.” 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. Margaret Thatcher is unique in that many people still address her as “Prime Minister. That’s nearly half as long again as any American president can be president of the United States. Mrs.22. as a member of the House of Lords. Thatcher expressed a desire to stay in politics — however.” 165 . which was pretty much her prerogative as a former Prime Minister. X or Sir Y or Lord Z.

Cambridge. and ŪŪ many potent interventions in public debate. however.” A rumor even swept Westminster that on bumping into the Foreign Secretary (Secretary of State) Douglas Hurd she’d admonished him thus: “Douglas. you would make Neville Chamberlain look like a warmonger. Douglas. 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. In return she was named Patron of THF — on walking by the vast suite which is the office of the President of THF. but always declared her support for her successor. as long as they matched it two-for-one for a total of $9 million. Good leverage. setting up offices on Great College Street literally yards away from Parliament. as a district. She was no Ted Heath. includes the town of Grantham where she was born and raised. 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. a book of reflections on international affairs. ŪŪ many major worldwide lecture tours particularly to the US and Japan. To her it was a “killing field the like of which I thought we would never see in Europe again. 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?” 166 . She followed matters in Serbia and Bosnia very carefully. Edward Heath and John Major — they all took knighthoods.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady peerage are Winston Churchill. She entered the House of Lords in June 1992 as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven which.” She became the 21st overall and first ever lady chancellor of southern Virginia’s College of William and Mary from 1993 to 2000. ŪŪ Statecraft (2002). 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). On re1 She gave $3 million. Back in her former spot on the backbenches she made few interventions in her remaining months in the Commons.

Buckingham attracts many overseas students and I always chuckled as some foreign twenty-one year-old boy or girl would bow or curtsey. Retirement tirement. Every single one of them for six years received their diploma from Lady Thatcher and had their photo taken with her. “I can say that without President Pinochet’s considerable practical help in 1982. strengthened our resolve and changed our lives — and as a consequence we will never be the same. sitting uncomplaining in the front row of seats).” 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. Therefore every graduation ceremony takes place in its local church and batches of students are wheeled in over a two day period. 167 .22. many more of our servicemen would have lost their lives in the South Atlantic. It was an arduous task accomplished with great grace and savoir-faire (with Denis. the UK’s first private university. saying at the Plymouth rally. Buckingham prides itself on its small classes. Lady Thatcher would always smile graciously — with a slight laugh about her mouth — and help the miscreant to his or her feet. “It’s wonderful to be here this evening. which she had helped gain full status back in 1983 (see Chapter 6). It has no major amphitheatre. thinking Lady Thatcher was HM Queen Elizabeth and this was the thing to do. campaigning for a Conservative victory. in layers of golfing clothes to ward off the cold. The one time I congratulated him on his stoicism. To her Pinochet had been a key ally in the Falklands War.” She also performed brilliantly from 1993 to 1998 as Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. She was by then utterly brilliant at such matters. Sullivan said: “Lady Thatcher. in the service of freedom and in the rich and noble history of English-speaking peoples. we will never forget the vital lessons that you have taught. the President of William and Mary Timothy J. he replied “Oh no! Margaret deserves all the credit. To her it was simple. or cease to feel the powerful inspiration that you have given in the cause of liberal learning. an absolute master.” I am not sure if he heard me correctly. The country thus owes him a great debt. On several occasions she visited with or came to the defense of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet. You have captured our hearts.

by James Bartholomew. With great regret she has decided to abide by this advice and to cancel all her speaking engagements. The billboard reads The Mummy Returns. At a reception for the Czech President Dr. Lady Thatcher: What’s the solution? Author: I don’t have one. the spring of 2002 brought a less encouraging announcement. It was a serious piece of scholarship. Vaclav Klaus at the IEA on May 10. 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. 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.” They added that she would have to rest and take it easy and that she would never speak in public again. 1 The Welfare State We’re In. 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. That’s another book for someone else to write. And at the opening of the foundation which houses her papers at Cambridge University she also spoke for several minutes. 168 . Lady Thatcher [at age 76] has suffered a number of small strokes. 2006. After thorough investigation involving a number of tests. Her office issued the following statement: “Over recent months. She remains robust in discussion. 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. She could not be stopped. I was told beforehand my arrival was unscheduled.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady in this enterprising port of Plymouth. her doctors have told her that these can neither be predicted nor prevented.” And people say she has no sense of humor! However.1 Lady Thatcher: What’s this about? Author: It’s about the problems of the welfare system and how we got where we are. There is a sense in which she does not have to speak. Her personality is a presence in British politics. a large well-produced volume.

who as noted earlier had banned her from public speaking in 2002. actress Joan Collins and the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh attended. The ERM and Maastricht are inextricably linked. and I welcome sterling’s departure from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). As she entered the hall.) Don’t bring me problems. the ERM in no way represents what is best for British interests. and celebrated with a huge party at Hyde Park’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Her nemesis Geoffrey Howe. so that when Labour did 169 . Thanks to the decision to float the pound. I believe she would have handed it back. Like the Maastricht treaty. The first is a prerequisite to the fulfilment of the second. we now have a chance to follow an economic policy that puts British needs first. composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber. the strait-jacket of the second would be ruinous. 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. 2005.) She turned 80 on October 13. Retirement Lady Thatcher: (hitting the author vigorously on his left arm with the large book.” At every turn there where household names from every walk of life including: TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson. media mogul Rupert Murdoch. should have as its main priority the maintenance of our constitutional freedoms. like its predecessors. Because I believe in these principles so deeply I cannot support the ratification of the Maastricht treaty.22. She was a few minutes late because President Bush II phoned just as she was about to leave her Chester Square home. bring me solutions! If he had not inscribed the book to her. commented: “Her real triumph was to have transformed not just one party but two. In order not to upset the doctors. our democratic institutions. (See extracts from her eulogy below in Chapter 24.” In 2004. now Lord Howe of Aberavon. 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. she pre-recorded her eulogy to the late President and it was played on large screens to the assembled crowds. and the accountability of Parliament to the people. We found the confines of the first unbearable. she made the solemn journey to the US for the funeral of her international ally and long time friend Ronald Reagan. young man.

” adding that it was “an honor” as all other statues of Prime Ministers in the Members’ lobby have been erected posthumously.” Asked on TV in late 2005 what her mom did for fun now. 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. daughter Carol replied: “Not a lot. 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.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady eventually return. but bronze will do. Never was there a less dismal practitioner of a dismal science. turned out to see the unveiling. who had so staunchly supported her during the Falklands War and had helped to persuade the administration to come down in her favor. In April 2006 she flew to the States for the funeral of US Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. isn’t it?” But despite this Lady Thatcher continues to remain active in British politics. 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. Lady Thatcher herself said of the bronze statue. that she “might have preferred iron. standing 7’ 4” atop a 3’ plinth. Lady Thatcher has rendered those aspects of socialism mere archaeology. She’s not very well. I shall greatly miss my old friend’s lucid wisdom and mordant humour. One MP joked to the author: “The statue is nearly as intimidating as Margaret herself.” 170 .” This may be her greatest praise. indeed the politics of Thatcherism have never gone away and their influence can be seen on all of the parties in the UK. 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. the great bulk of Thatcherism was accepted as irreversible. right across the political spectrum. in November 2006 led her to say the following: “Milton Friedman revived the economics of liberty when it had been all but forgotten. He was an intellectual freedom fighter. Milton Friedman.

Palmerston. Nelson. 171 .22. something normally reserved for senior members of the royal family. Gladstone and Darwin. Wellington. Retirement Come the day she passes on. she will receive the ultimate honor of a State funeral. Such an accolade will put her right up there with Churchill.


his patience could be tested. What a man. What a friend. What a husband. But with Denis there. Duke of York. I was never alone. However. Whatever comes. As Lady Thatcher said upon his death in 2003. 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. it ought to be — you cannot lead from a crowd.” Denis “I couldn’t have done it without Denis. His motto was “always present. aged 88: “Being PM is a lonely job.” In that line the following conversation with the Duchess of York (the former wife of Prince Andrew.23.” He called journalists “reptiles” and he never gave an interview. second. who is the second son of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and fourth in the line of succession to 173 . In a sense.” 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.” It is hard to overestimate the support of Denis. Family “They are taking it all in their stride. he kept his mouth shut. never there. they take it.

Born in 1915 in Lewisham. During World War II. I do get awful press. He joined Atlas Preservatives in 1933 straight from school. It is often said that there was a striking physical resemblance between the two Mrs. Denis never talked of her publicly and only broke his silence to his daughter Carol. South London. Denis. He became famous for his games of golf with close friend Bill Deedes. William and Harry. Denis sold the family business to Castrol in the mid 1950s for a sum that in today’s world would be many millions. It was then involved in many kinds of liquids and chemical production and he started at the bottom.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady the throne after Charles. Margaret Thatchers. the marriage over so quickly that if Denis had been a Catholic he could have asked for an annulment. retiring in 1975. 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. former Cabinet Minister and former editor of The 1 Sixth form equals 11th and 12th grade. He was an immensely popular man. a former MP. a real character and a real gentleman. She moved on and they soon divorced. Poor eyesight limited him to general staff duties. don’t I? Denis: Yes. His daughters Beatrice and Eugenie are fifth and sixth in line) was once reported: Duchess of York: Oh. The daughter of a Hertfordshire jeweler called Leonard Kempson. he served in the Territorial Army (the reserves) rising to the rank of Major and being awarded an MBE. ma’am. finishing at the world famous Mill Hill Sixth Form College1. 174 . 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. Denis was educated at boarding school. It was in turn bought by Burmah Oil Company of which he became Divisional Director of Control and Planning. on divorce the first Margaret immediately married Sir Howard Hickman Bt. the same year his wife became leader of her Party.

one of Denis’s friends. 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. The play follows Denis’s quest for the key to the cabinet and the lengths he will go to in order to get it. is switched to Chequers and as a result the drinks cabinet is locked. In those days British theatres were not allowed to open on Sundays. playing Margaret. but a character referred to as the Major. the author’s then next door neighbor. The plot centers around Denis’s desire for a stiff drink. 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. And if there was no tonic. He was also known for his thirst quenching large gin and tonics. 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. At the height of the success of the play the Prime Minister and Mr. as envisaged by Professor Milton Schulman.’ 1 Her son is Rupert Penry-Jones. I have vivid memories of trying to work in my conservatory as my neighbor practiced her lines outside in her garden. Thatcher agreed to attend a performance. 2 Not John Major. an accomplished actor in the UK. 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. “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. then unknown. Written by Richard Ingrams and John Wells this was turned into a stage play with Wells himself playing Denis and the actress Angela Thorne1. on short notice. 175 . 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. Family Daily Telegraph.23. His joy of having the place to himself is short lived as the Summit. 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.

Major: What has he got to do with it? Denis: In practice very little.3“ In 1991.. adherents of Trotskyism. All I could produce. that does rather narrow the field.” On marriage: “For 40 years I have been married to one of the greatest women the world has ever produced. 2 Gays.” Warning people about gifts of heavy statues: “When I was at Burmah Oil. 3 Trotsky-ites. But the play and the letters made Denis into a major celebrity in his own right and his one-liners often made the news. I agree that might seem more than average qualifications for determining the country’s economic future. the Government of Burma gave us two ten-ton statues. myself. This meant that his wife Margaret became Lady Thatcher while still an MP in the Com1 “Major” said with a German accent. but quite an agreeable little man with gold-rimmed spectacles... Milton Schulman on the other hand is some sort of Canadian extap-dancer. 176 . I’m told he has already bankrupted the economies of Chile and Israel. albeit a rather talkative wife. Denis was made a Baronet. Asked about his wife being ill and stopping public speaking: “She’ll be all right as long as she listens to us. a theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky..Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Maggie: Friedman. I’d much prefer a fountain pen. bloodshot eyes mit big bags. She’s been told twice. and vice versa. Maggie: Ah. becoming Sir Denis Thatcher 1st Baronet Thatcher of Scotney in the County of Kent.” After a particularly nasty BBC TV interview of the Prime Minister: “She was stitched up by bloody BBC poofs2 and trots. so this is her last chance. Prime Minister! Strange advisors you have. was love and loyalty. Maggie: Willie Whitelaw? Jim Prior? It could be practically any member of my Cabinet from the description. Margaret’s taken rather a shine to him though. Schubert: He talked at first good common sense. and the people most likely to read Socialist Worker. Maggie: Mayor1? Schubert: Beer belly. small as it may be. And the Cabinet: Schubert: Ah. broken veins.

23. It also meant that son Mark became Sir Mark Thatcher 2nd Baronet on the passing of Denis in 2003. Yes it meant she had access but it also cut the number of places where she could work. Being a journalist and daughter of the Prime Minister was however a bit of a two edged sword. 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. 1996). Family mons. Education Secretary Thatcher was worried that some violent leftist nutcase students might target her daughter. 1983) and a wonderful biography of Denis. She telephoned Conservative student leaders such as myself in London asking that we all be alert to any danger to her daughter.” 1 Jonathan Aitken was a Conservative MP who reportedly was denied a Cabinet post by Margaret as he “made Carol cry. 177 . She certainly never attended a student Conservative meeting.” He was later charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice and was jailed in 1999 for several years. She. however been a string of relationships. She has never married and recently described herself as a “roaming singleton” and “past my sell-by date for that sort of thing. And she always — in her younger years — felt in the shadow of Mark. Carol clearly inherited Denis’s plain speaking. 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. (Below the Parapet: the Biography of Denis Thatcher. then it is almost certain that Carol was her dad’s and Mark was very much his mom’s.” If the parents had a favorite among their children. And his American son will one day become the 3rd Baronet. a top establishment. Carol “I was not nearly as newsworthy as Mark.” There has. Carol read law (in the early 1970s) at University College. Educated at St Paul’s boarding school for girls. London. of course. “Mom won’t give a ----. became Lady Thatcher in her own right when moving to the House of Lords in 1992. However Carol kept her head down and remained pretty anonymous. including as already noted a well-publicized romance with Jonathan Aitken1 in the 1970s.

boorishness and infidelity.) “…a kind of low-order pantomime rent-a-spiv. pop stars and comedians as “her unflinching honesty.” (Sunday Telegraph) “Carol never had a good word to say about Mark.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. problematic business deals and a role in a failed African coup unfolded as he became famous for arrogance. ready humor and doughty toughness rapidly endeared her to the eight million viewers and helped her to outmaneuver better known personalities. “I’m a Celebrity. Denis flew out to join the search and Mark was eventually spotted from the air 30 miles off course. A life of scrapes. Mark Thatcher Racing was wound up and several more failed career attempts followed.” Mark “Mark has one topic of conversation — himself. “Hello. Carol replied: “I don’t know her number. Dad.” (Jonathan Aitken) It would be kind to say Mark struggled at Harrow. what are you doing here?” Denis was not amused. 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. the top public school. Get Me Out of Here. When the rescue mission ended. They went missing for six days in the Sahara Desert.” 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. Mark’s response on seeing Denis was. 178 . He cleverly eschewed higher education and entered accountancy only to leave after failing the exam three times.” (Anon.” Chip off the old block? When asked if she had called Lady Thatcher with news of her victory. 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.

not Margaret) gave some interesting insights to British press: ŪŪ Mark has a short attention span and does not “think straight”. paid a fine of $500. and to show him Christian humility does not include being his personal doormat”. After his arrest in South Africa and now armed with a criminal record. Texas. Divorce soon followed and Lady Thatcher (Diane. ŪŪ Mark called his mother “Prime Minister” even in private. 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”. Michael will one day be the 3rd Thatcher Baronet. 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. Michael (born 1989) and Amanda Margaret (born 1993). Texas.23. 2004 in Constantia. He was charged with contravening two sections of the RSA’s Foreign Military Assistance Act. 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. decided to catalogue all of his business deals and attempts at a career. ŪŪ “I want closure with Mark Thatcher. ŪŪ Despite all the scandals he is still his mom’s “blue-eyed boy”. Mark eventually made a deal. He was bailed and put under house arrest while his wife and children returned home to Highland Park. a very rich suburb of Cape Town. he was refused entry back to the US and went home to mom in London. They had two children. Family In 1987 he married the car dealership heiress Diane Burgdorf in Dallas. an equally rich suburb of Dallas. where he was representing the Lotus car company. 179 .” He was finally arrested August 25. he’d look back at me impatiently”. ŪŪ “If I was struggling with bags at an airport. By this time Mark Thatcher’s dealings had become so newsworthy that Mark Hollingsworth and Paul Halloran. Specifically he was thought to have funded the purchase of a helicopter to be used in a military coup in Equatorial Guinea. two investigative journalists from the UK.000 and received a four-year suspended sentence.

After all.” One wonders how Baroness (Margaret) Thatcher got on with her forthright now ex-daughter in law Lady (Diane) Thatcher. 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. secretly tailing him to a hotel in Santa Monica. Her opinion matters more than mine and he enjoyed her company more that mine. eleven months after divorcing his first wife. ŪŪ “Mark used to refer to moments like that as ‘little spurts of mothering’. and finally ŪŪ “I don’t think Mark ever left his mum. the latter hired a private detective to uncover one of Mark’s extramarital affairs and another time did the job herself. A week earlier the government of Equatorial Guinea had issued an international warrant for Mark’s arrest. pressed them and folded them neatly in little plastic bags for traveling”.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. California and confronting him and his latest lover. 180 . sister of Viscountess Rothermere.

” Other than Denis three men dominated Margaret Thatcher’s life and three others deserve a gold-plated mention too. The Rotary motto ‘Service above Self’ was engraved on his heart.” “I am sure that he never imagined that I would eventually become Prime Minister. Men “I usually make up my mind about a man in ten seconds. and her great overseas ally President Ronald Reagan. Alf “My father was a Rotarian. You don’t compromise on the things that matter. He was the one who taught her the importance of integrity. The three who deserve the gold-plated mention are Sir Alfred Sherman.24. You then apply it. and I very rarely change it. “He taught me that you first sort out what you believe in.” Alf (as we saw in earlier chapters) was extraordinarily important. her great domestic ally Sir Keith Joseph Bt. Sir Alan Walters and Lord (Ralph) Harris of High Cross.” 181 . The three who dominated are her father Alf Roberts. 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 was the foundation on which she built: “I owe almost everything to my father” she once said.

he supported her.A. you did your duty wherever it may lie.” And indeed many of those homilies or parables came from Alf as they ate breakfast. But I do not repent. headed the family firm. lunch. Keith “I could not have become Leader of the Opposition. Joseph was undoubtedly Margaret Thatcher’s closest political friend and ally. they suffered in Cabinet together from 1970 to 1974. I had thought I was a Conservative but I now see that I was not really one at all. she sure learned a great deal in her dad’s small business. Milton Friedman and Lord (Ralph) Harris for her economic theory. You worked hard. But he was by no means an easy man and in dealing with him you always felt on tenterhooks. you were self-reliant. They came together over her Private Member’s Bill.” 182 . you saved. It was not good enough just to start something. 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. and when that was not possible. and you acted on principle. Those parables would have saved many a financier from failure and many a country from crisis. In 1975 he famously said “it was only in April 1974 that I was converted to Conservatism. Bovis. a baronet. high tea and supper together above the shop every single day. Keith had grown up in comfort as father. Sir Samuel Joseph.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. In 1982 she said: “Some say I preach merely the homilies of housekeeping or the parables of the parlor. or achieve what I did as Prime Minister. Alf taught her tenacity too.” Thatcher’s career was deeply entwined with that of Sir Keith Joseph Bt. You had to stick at it and see it through to the end. without Keith. While she later credited F. she wanted him to run against Heath. Hayek. he asked her to help set up the Centre for Policy Studies. His father also served for a time as the Lord Mayor of London. one of the biggest construction companies in the country.

he had really nothing to be modest about. but in this case appropriate word) “brilliant”. There was a famous photo of him walking along a college corridor. yet he never indulged in intellectual virtuosity. British life. Lady Thatcher summed Keith up as follows: “Keith Joseph had the charm of a hundred paradoxes. 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. and the life of the English-speaking peoples what they were. 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. He was brave. He was a modest man.” 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. His suit was splattered with eggs that were literally running down his body. It remains the foundation for any successful Conservative programme of government. A clever Conservative Central Office publicist had a poster made up using this photo and captioned it: “He reads Socialist Worker — Trots throw eggs. Not one. yet by nature he was timid. particularly those he saw living in deprived. Thatcher cooperated fully. stunted.” She later added: “We were seeking to re-establish an understanding of the fundamental truths which had made Western life. unfulfilled lives. Its mission was to develop a new free-market conservatism. but.24.” he visited virtually every university in the UK preaching the gospel of the free market. Men His Damascene moment led him to set up the Centre for Policy Studies in which Mrs.” 183 .” It was a very powerful and effective statement on many levels. reading a copy of the newspaper Socialist Worker. surrounded by police officers. But in the 1970s he was extraordinarily courageous in taking his and her new brand of conservatism on to campus. attracting crowds of many hundreds and almost as many eggs and vegetables. But the common thread was the relentless search for the right answer to the practical problems of human suffering. This was the foundation of our Conservative revolution. unlike so many modest men. He was (that overworked. Given the nickname “The Mad Monk.

on your victory in the presidential election? Remembering our meeting in London in 1978. Roosevelt. 1989. 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.” And then there was Ronald Reagan.” 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. I look forward to an early opportunity of discussing with you the urgent problems which we all face. his last official act. And on Reagan being elected as the US President she sent him a letter of congratulations saying: “May I send you my warmest congratulations. They knew in their hearts that the former was doomed and that the latter was the only road ahead. 184 .Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Ronald “One of the greatest men of our time. Both meetings went superbly well and they were the foundation of a very special meeting of minds and close relationship.” It is also claimed he made her feel very feminine. 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. You will be assuming the presidency at a time when the close friendship between our two countries can. 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.” 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. which I hope will be soon. I believe. was to write a letter of thanks to Prime Minister Thatcher on January 11. and those of my colleagues in the British Government. play a crucial role in strengthening cooperation within the alliance. And early in their relationship he said that their friendship made the “special relationship stronger than ever. 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. 2 Margaret was so struck by Denis’s enthusiasm that she obtained a copy of Reagan’s speech. “one of the greatest men of our time.” He won the Cold War “without firing a shot…not without a little help from his friends.

He expounded them clearly. by letting him use US bases in England to bomb Libya. He had also had a grace of a deeper kind and he had inspired America to rediscover its belief in freedom. she pre-recorded her tribute. right ones. military equipment. but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform. He saw the many sides of truth. For President Reagan’s funeral on June 11.” She noted how “cheerful” and “invigorating” it had been to be with him.” “Ronald Reagan knew his own mind. When the world threw problems at the White House. Whereas others had looked for accommodation with the USSR. He had firm principles — and. aircraft fuel. his speech writers knew what to say and what to omit. Under his leadership a moribund economy became one of opportunity and growth.” She remarked on his “lightness of spirit” and the purpose of his humor. he acted upon them decisively. And I have lost a dear friend. like her. or disorientated. He knew almost instinctively what to do. though clear. he imposed economic sanctions on Argentina and his administration provided missiles. But his task had been “daunting” as his goal had been “to mend…. “he won the Cold War. 2004 at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. It starts as follows: “We have lost a great president.” Yes. and the IRA. Communism. and intelligence information to the British government. 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. I believe. he was not baffled. Men The strength of the relationship was first tested in 1982 when the President supported the Prime Minister on the Falklands War. Against great opposition at home. a great American. and a great man. he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion. were never simplistic. or overwhelmed. “His resolve was firm and unyielding…Yet his ideas.24. 185 . in order for Lady Thatcher to pay tribute and stick to doctors’ orders.” She noted that.

Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady While denouncing the “evil” empire. and as heaven’s morning broke. he lifted up the world. in grinding poverty. in Kiev and in Moscow itself — the world mourns the passing of the Great Liberator and echoes his prayer “God Bless America”. For we may be sure that the Big Fella Upstairs never forgets those who remember Him. he wished men of goodwill might emerge.” “He was able to say ‘God Bless America’ with equal fervor in public and in private. And so today the world — in Prague.’ We here still move in twilight. He was best known for organizing the anti-fascist resistance movement and fighting Soviet influence. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God’s children. And when one did emerge Ron stepped forward and shook his hand. in Sofia. And as the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset. in Budapest. 1 Tito was the first Prime Minister of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1945–53 and its second President 1953–80. I like to think — in the words of Bunyan — that ‘all the trumpets sounded on the other side. in Bucharest. 186 .” She finished the taped speech: “For the final years of his life. He is himself again — more himself than at any time on this earth.” Ron and the American people “loved America and what it stands for — freedom and opportunity for ordinary people. “Nothing was more typical of Ronald Reagan than that large-hearted magnanimity — and nothing was more American. in Warsaw. He grew up with rickets. He was expelled from the Communist Party for “Titoist1 deviationism” and through a career as a journalist moved to a free-market position. 3% was pure gold.” Alfred (later Sir Alfred) Sherman was as unlikely a person to advise a future Conservative leader as ever lived.” She went on: “With the lever of American patriotism. We have his example. That cloud has now lifted. He served in the British Army in World War II and then enrolled at the London School of Economics. But we have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. Ronnie’s mind was clouded by illness. and then became a communist machine gunner for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.” Alfred “97% of what he wrote was beyond the pale.

When asked in 1987 if Sherman still had the Prime Minister’s ear the then Conservative Party Chairman Norman Tebbit replied. Alan served as her personal economic adviser from 1981–1984 and again in 1989. Sherman also hosted a curious weekly breakfast conspiracy with Enoch Powell and Keith Joseph in a humble café near Victoria Station. Sir Alfred was a welcome exception. He did so invariably. Heath would still be leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. 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. Courtiers flatter. Mr. Powell would be invited to concur with the Sherman thesis that the Conservatives were being over cautious or over timid. Mrs. As Powell sat then as an Ulster Unionist. Alfred Sherman only ever upbraided. Thatcher admired him and it was said that while 97% of what he wrote was beyond the pale 3% was pure gold. Alan “You know what you can do best. He wrote many of Keith’s speeches and did much to stimulate Margaret Thatcher’s thinking. but remained a ‘friend of the family’ throughout her time as Prime Minister. This was a rather bold move by her.” 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. Men becoming one of the co-founders of the Centre for Policy Studies with Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher. not as a Tory. 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. this was an oddity. to bring back in an official role a person that the last Tory 187 .24. and you know what needs doing.” He was an utterly irascible man — very difficult indeed and by 1984 he was sacked. 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. “Not if she sees him coming he doesn’t.” Sir Alan Walters was throughout the Thatcher era one of her most trusted and senior advisers. British politics is mostly inhabited by the smooth and the mannerly.

so Lawson promptly resigned. she was still fond of him. 188 . he goes or I go.” This was not enough for Lawson who offered Mrs. At first Alan had doubts about Prime Minister Thatcher. She simply replied: “You know what you can do best. but the row continued leading Prime Minister Thatcher to state publicly “Advisors advise. Despite Alan’s resignation even after she asked him to stay on. 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. simply by speaking to her he saw her conviction and her willingness to do what was right which shone through in her actions. Thatcher an ultimatum. But his mind was soon changed. Alan was in many ways the most important advisor she had in Downing Street. and you know what needs doing.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. Alan then in the same afternoon also resigned as he felt the government “needed a clean slate” in order to go on governing effectively. While ministers would tell her what was popular Alan would simply tell her what was right. It was the intercession of Keith and Alfred that brought Alan back to Downing Street after his bad experiences with Heath. The high esteem in which Alan was held by Prime Minister Thatcher is clearly evidenced when he asked her for his terms of reference. However the battle over the ERM was not without its casualties. 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. Ministers decide. Lawson was convinced that Alan was undermining his position as Chancellor. She made it clear to Lawson that Alan was no threat and that he would stay. It caused the resignation of both Lawson and Alan. Without his advice it is doubtful whether the UK would have the strong economy it enjoys today. Both Howe and Lawson pressured her to take the UK into the ERM. This of course was not true at all. She used the same rhetoric as Heath did in the early days and Alan was worried that the results would be the same.

Alan went back to his mentor. About the age he should have been leaving school (say. North London. but perhaps most fundamentally. Lord Harris of High Cross. “No — everything I knew has been drilled out of me. “Do you know anything about anything?” his former teacher replied. 14) Alan’s brother was drafted. Both came from modest backgrounds in the deeply provincial East Midlands. The boss agreed. the dividing line between a white collar career and a blue collar one. there was Ralph Harris. There was a natural affinity between Alan and the Prime Minister. “I think I want to become a teacher. but a teacher in his secondary modern school saw real talent and encouraged him. in that case you had better study economics as it starts from the basis of no prior knowledge. His Dad was an active communist. He then worked for the Conservative Party. the dad was hired and Alan got his diploma. 189 .” he said. employee of the newly created Institute of Economic Affairs. In January 1957. lectured at St.” —Margaret Thatcher to Lord Harris.24. Both were natural fighters. he became the first. 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. Ralph came from a modest working class home in Tottenham.” was the answer. After two years in the military. at the end of World War II. Finally. Alan failed the British 11+ exam. albeit part time. hired by Antony Fisher. Men Alan was a remarkable man. “Well. Andrews University and wrote leaders for the Glasgow Herald before heading south back to London. 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.” came the reply. 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. Ralph “It is primarily your foundation work which enabled us to rebuild the philosophy upon which our Party succeeded. It was the first time any external student had topped all the internal ones.

always with beliefs. Ralph in turn helped her with speeches and the CPS with its development. One of the first was to write to Fisher saying that the IEA had “created the climate of opinion which made our victory possible. ‘That’s it. Alfred.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Twenty two years later Mrs. Alan and Ralph. Thatcher entered Downing Street. and Lord Harris. That was all public. Baroness Young1 — but these six were pivotal: Alf. Yes. private property and the rule of law. Ralph Harris had a charm and geniality that beguiled her.” Another was to ask that Ralph be made a member of the House of Lords as soon as possible. He made classical liberal economic ideas fun as well as simple. 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. She had a long list of urgent tasks ahead of her. Ronald. Who in the 1970s would have anticipated the degree of change? ‘It started with Sir Keith and me. 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. she stopped to reflect on the morning’s discussion. The Thatcherite revolution itself was unexpected. starting in 1955 the IEA had long made the case for free market. with the Centre for Policy Studies. He was amusing and not in awe of her. Indeed.’ ” There were many other important men in her life — she only ever promoted one woman to Cabinet. 190 .” And later the authors recount her closing words thus: “At the top of the stairs. Keith. What was not so public was that between 1974 and 1979 Margaret Thatcher attended many IEA events and read its monographs.’ She paused. 1 Baroness Young served Margaret not as head of any great department but from 1981–1983 as Leader of the House of Lords. with beliefs. at the Institute for Economic Affairs. Yes. 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. You must start with beliefs. it started with ideas.

” She was the first woman leader of a major Western political party. 11th Harold Wilson. 16th Ramsay MacDonald. Her World “As more power is taken away from the people. 18th John Major. 4th Sir Winston Churchill. so there is less responsibility for us to assume” “We must have an ideology. 12th Tony Blair. 17th Sir Alec Douglas-Home. 2nd Clement Attlee. 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. 10th Stanley Baldwin. she was voted the 16th greatest Briton ever by the left-leaning BBC. 20th Neville Chamberlain. 3rd Edward Heath. 6th Sir Henry CampbellBannerman. 15th Andrew Bonar Law. 191 . The other side have got an ideology. she was the only person in the 20th century to win three successive British general elections. we must have one too.” So what did she stand for? Above all she was a conviction politician. she was the longest serving Prime Minister of that century. 8th Herbert Asquith. 13th James Callaghan. 14th Arthur Balfour. As the leftist Tony Benn said on her 80th birthday: 1 The full list goes as follows: 1st Margaret Thatcher. 19th Sir Anthony Eden. 9th David Lloyd George. 7th Lord Salisbury. 5th Harold Macmillan.25.

She could be impatient. That is the recipe. like you intellectual commentators in the South East. The memoirs of her contemporaries map many different characteristics. She could be sympathetic. It is said her successor John Major consulted everyone much that so very little got decided. She was no ordinary Prime Minister. It will not always get you to the top.” she once said. almost as though she was about to sit an exam” wrote her Chancellor Nigel Lawson. who appeared to only need four hours sleep a night. “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. Thatcher said what she meant and meant what she said. And did it. That is her authentic voice.” she remarked. “What Britain needs is an Iron Lady. Every Prime Minister has their style of working. As Leader of the Party in 1975 she shared everyone’s surprise at her new role. This can become ponderous. Everyone knew what she wanted to do. she was plainly in her stride. but it should get you pretty near. Margaret. She meant the strange combination of muddling and complacency that is the British state. She could be kind. confident of her own abilities and her own instincts.” “Whether before Cabinet or the more effective smaller meetings. … she did not do anything by deception. After the striking victory in the Falklands War followed by the crushing of the miners’ strike. always did her homework on the subjects for discussion. the junior minister plus a senior civil servant. She could be imperious. She was often abrupt with the leftist intellectuals of the media: “I have no hang ups about my background. The British Cabinet is 22 or more individuals. These were usually the Secretary of State involved in any topic. It is possible to discern how her demeanor evolved over time. Prime Minister Thatcher preferred small meetings of often no more than three or four individuals. That is what it got. As Prime Minister in 1979 she was slightly in awe at her own office. It was wry that she would often refer to “The Government” as her enemy. Prime Ministers conventionally defend the Government. When you are actually doing things 192 .Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady “Mrs.

they would equally resonate with the electorate. in other words the state. Her World you do not have time for hang ups. Margaret Thatcher spoke truths. live within your means.” These were characteristic sentiments. pay your bills on time. There was a deep practical streak to her. put a nest egg by for a rainy day. They were not the voice of any speechwriter: “My politics are based…. support the police.” The startling verity was a jolt to those who wanted the great abstraction “Society” to solve problems.” Also.” Her intuition and her sentiments proved she was nearer to the people than all her rivals.” This blunt sentiment enraged her enemies. “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he had had only good intentions. They have to be earned on earth.” 193 . “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country. The idea of individual responsibility seemed to conflict with their sense that it was through the aggregate power of the people. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. There are individual men and women and there are families. Pennies do not fall from heaven.” Not only would such sentiments invite the mockery of her metropolitan opponents. “It is passionately interesting for me that the things I learned in a small town. nationally or locally. in a very modest home. She could be wonderfully caustic. These were homilies that sometimes invited scoffs from her opponents or from her more snobbish Tory colleagues. They were simple truths but they were of a nature of plain-speaking not heard on Prime Ministerial lips before. that most matters should be administered. are just the things that I believe won the election. She famously remarked: “There is no such thing as Society. He had money as well.25.on things I and millions like me were brought up with. On learning from a majority of her Cabinet that she should not continue as Prime Minister: “Treachery with a smiling face.

I mean it.” She was good at amusing put downs.” Although all politicians have to compromise her instinct was to remain tenacious. W. but there is no sympathy in politics.” She clearly had memories of the seventies. Yet this fact never seemed to dent their enthusiasm. she remarked: “As Opposition Leader he was out of his depth. Bush. She could appear more like Adam Smith than Smith himself. Of Neil Kinnock.” she declaimed.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady “Power is like being a lady…if you have to tell people you are…. “To cure the British disease with socialism was trying to cure leukemia with leeches. you are not. the Labour Leader. I regard them as Quislings.” Of her predecessor as Tory Leader: “I’ll always be fond of dear old Ted.” 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.” A repeated theme was her distrust of “wobblers” as she once described an unsure George H. as in: “There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty. 194 . as traitors. Yet it was a miserable failure in every respect.” 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.” 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. “There are still people in my Party who believe in consensus politics. 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.

in other words reverse her policies and accomplish a U-turn. “Carol.” It was a simple little quip but it signalled her determination to liberalize the economy and not revert to the flawed policies she inherited. nearly twelve years. 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. That is half as long again as any President of the United States.” Although wounded by her loss of the Leadership and her Premiership. I think my place in history is assured. “U turn if you want to: the Lady’s not for Turning.25.” 195 . She expressed it with a vivid metaphor: “In the fine print of policy.” As she remarked to her daughter. 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. the Tory Party merely pitched camp in the long march to the Left.


ŪŪ She enfranchised millions of former local authority serfs through the right to buy public housing. She was the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century and so had 11½ years to get the job done. 197 . ŪŪ She transformed the nation’s view of the benefits of a market economy. But what a job: ŪŪ She took on the whole union movement.” Lady Thatcher’s legacy is far reaching. ŪŪ She taught us the need for monetary continence if we wish to enjoy low inflation. Every one of us can make a difference.26. And by returning to our basic principles and beliefs. 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. brought it back under the rule of law and gave it back to its members. ŪŪ She privatized the commanding heights of the economy thus transforming their fortunes and starting a worldwide movement. ŪŪ She made Brits walk tall again with a principled. firm and robust approach to foreign relations.

three decades after she came to power and two decades after she left.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ŪŪ She started the process which has now led to peace in Northern Ireland. 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. A future Prime Minister who did that would deserve to have Margaret Thatcher’s reputation. although difficult. and ŪŪ Balance the books. well articulated. She could turn to a room full of powerful men and in effect simply say “I know this is right. Thatcher have to do to rival her record? How about this list: ŪŪ Deregulate and stop the tsunami of new legislation. ŪŪ Bring crime down. ŪŪ Increase educational standards.” An early example came in April 1980 just a year after she entered Downing Street. If the chief has a set of clear. and personal satisfaction. is the highroad to pride. ŪŪ Simplify and reduce taxation. ŪŪ Renegotiate with the EU. or Mr. What will the next Mrs. the only question is how we do it. 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. ŪŪ She helped Ronald Reagan tear down that wall without a shot and destroy the evil empire.” It wasn’t the bossiness of the cartoons so much as total conviction. And it built teamwork. ŪŪ Reduce welfare rolls. if they want to stay in the wigwam. selfesteem. Today. ŪŪ Reform the National Health Service. A group of six Iranian ter198 . And as she once said “disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important. it is interesting to speculate. consistent principles then all the little Indians know exactly what to do…. you know this is right.

yet she also listened. Prime Minister Thatcher demanded the defeat of the terrorists and brought in the crack special forces men from the Special Air Service (SAS). But as well as being clever she had this knack of simplifying and communicating. The terrorists demanded the release of political prisoners in Iran. The old friend had been elected in 1983 and was now a junior minister. (2) She was able to cut through the guff.26. simplify it and communicate it. He was running. They undervalue her ability to synthesize. People are being cruel when they say she never had a single original idea herself. 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. 199 . “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. 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. 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. the nonsense. chucking percussion grenades in ahead of them. 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. Ten Lessons rorists stormed the Iranian Embassy in central London and a siege ensued with 26 hostages. of getting to the heart of the matter and expressing it in simple words that made sense and resonated. (3) She did lead and she expected and got a lot out of those around her. the fancy embellishments and get right to the heart of the matter. there were no police or SAS officer casualties. 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. The result was that five out of six terrorists were killed and 19 out of 20 hostages saved.

some potatoes? Roasted. what kind of steak? Sirloin.” cried the young minister over his shoulder. would you like an appetizer? Prawn Cocktail. please. Waiter: Mrs. T: Waiter: Mrs.” called the new MP. please. what about the vegetables? Oh. how do you like your steak? Rare. “Yes. please. T: Waiter: Mrs. in this case based on a Spitting Image TV cartoon. She worried about abolishing exchange controls. T: Waiter: Mrs. “Slow down. T: Waiter: Mrs. 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. in reality she was a better listener than usually given credit for. Prime Minister. please.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. A waiter enters and heads to Margaret Thatcher. T: Prime Minister. 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.” That is a true story. for your main course? A steak. Prime Minister. they’ll all have steak too! That was the perception. “But Margaret wasn’t the foreman on that job.” he added. At the Café Royal Margaret Thatcher sat at the head of the table with say 20 men in suits down each side. please. Prime Minister. And she was not always the hard driving freemarket radical portrayed so often today. Prime Minister. The next is 100% apocryphal but instructive nonetheless. T: Waiter: Mrs. “Rome wasn’t built in a day. she was not sure about public housing sales at deep 200 .

She once said “popular capitalism is nothing less than a crusade to enfranchise the many in the economic life of the nation. All of the great privatizations included special staff deals — hence the disproportionate boost among union members. 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 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. Likewise with privatization where the shares were very widely spread and quickly appreciated. Laid back generalists from the foreign office — let alone the ministerial muddlers in charge of them — could not be relied upon. “No. We conservatives are returning power to the people. By contrast. In the late ’70s I told her to give it all away to the sitting tenants. Ten Lessons discounts feeling those already on the housing ladder might rebel.” she replied — “people will not value it unless they pay something for it.” A couple of years later she launched the right to buy.” (4) She championed policies that went with rather than against the grain of human nature.26. Just mail them the deeds. I was in my element.… I was also passionately interested in the technical developments and strategic implications. 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. 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.” Take public housing. I said. Home ownership soared as nearly 3 million units changed hands under this scheme. and some privatizations unnerved her a little. 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 .

But the Tories were becoming infected with ideas and intellectuals. Guided by an IEA monograph Geoffrey Howe. Employee response ranged from 19% to 99% and is highly correlated to the generosity of the proposed deal as one might expect. As she herself said. ideas from the IEA such as: ŪŪ Markets work — governments fail ŪŪ Labour market reform ŪŪ Privatization and ŪŪ The conquering of inflation.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.” There was some truth to this — some. Thatcher. “standing in the middle 202 . take the suspension of exchange controls. Meanwhile intellectuals from industry (John Hoskyns) and academia (Alan Walters). David Davis and Michael Portillo — were changing the Conservative party. Prime Minister Thatcher built up coal reserves to very high levels before she took on the miners. John Redwood. and young men from the universities such as Peter Lilley. There was only enough coal for industry to operate a 3-day week. showing how much fat there was in industry. Michael Forsyth. so he just did it. the Chancellor. Lord Donoghue used to remark in his LSE lectures that the Tory party is “the stupid party. committed people to draw on. (5) There was a lot of strategic thinking well ahead of time. overall production did not fall. Or. Strangely. to some. Ted Heath in his winter confrontation with the miners in 1973–74 had been forced into a corner by lack of coal reserves. dedicated. 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. (6) She had a lot of very smart. spotted that he did not need Parliament’s approval.

Bill Dunn seemed to express the spirit of January 1979 when he said. the Right To Buy public housing. Mrs. much more so than that of Bush and Blair. inflation. Margaret Thatcher used her 3 to 4 years in opposition to prepare for government.” It appears she had extraordinary foresight. If we serve the idea faithfully. if ‘lives must be lost. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher instinctively felt that was wrong and evil. with mounting alarm. see John Hoskyns’ Just In Time and see Richard Cockett’s Thinking the Unthinkable. As early as 1950 she said. In this regard. saying: “There can have been few in Britain who did not feel. Either we got it done now or we became. privatization. Some people still believed the future lay with communism. socially and economically. The nation was in need of a major turnaround — just what she provided with her leadership. exchange controls. that is the way it must be. you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides. (9) Preparation — Politicians in power are too busy to think and they are surrounded by bureaucrats and pestered by those with vested interests. we have nothing to fear from Russian communism. that our society was sick — morally. of the ambulance men’s pay demands. Ten Lessons of the road is very dangerous. Thatcher herself recognized this. It was very special indeed. with tenacity of purpose. Trade Union leader Mr.’” There were strikes galore. Ideas regarding labor markets. an Argentina — a formerly prosperous country turned basket case. say. And the economics profession was nearly 100% against her. contracting out and Enter- 203 . “We believe in the democratic way of life.” (7) There was a very strong sense of being in the last chance saloon. (8) We must not forget Ronald Reagan and their partnership.26. There were mountains of trash — the dead were not being buried. The winter of 78/79 had been awful. some still believed Soviet statistics.

particularly on labor market reforms and privatization. (10) She did not try to do it all at once. Have patience 204 . Prepare before you are in power and 10. Lead but always listen 4. Every year advances were made on privatization and bit by bit a momentum was established. 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. Develop policies that go with the grain 5. Use circumstances 8. Simplify and communicate 3. Think through your strategy ahead of time 6. And she made it quite clear to her research and support staff what she believed in.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady prise Zones were all well discussed before 1979. Make good allies 9. Build good teams 7. Have a strong compass 2. Every year the unions were slowly but surely brought back under the rule of law. She tackled problems one slice at a time.

26. Ten Lessons In conclusion. 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. Margaret Thatcher’s influence is everywhere. the Thatcher era 1979–97 (she went in 1990 but there was no Major era) is an extraordinary story of change. On the international scene there were several positive devel­ opments: ŪŪ the worldwide spread of privatization. where some young men and women are making surprisingly Thatcherite political points. the IEA. ŪŪ China going capitalist. of a country saving itself in a turbulent world. is very proud of the small part we played in her education! 205 . And my institute. and ŪŪ reforms in central and eastern Europe.


ŪŪ The greatest arm of the British state is the National Health Service measured either by its employee rolls or by its budget.” 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. It would be more accurate to call it the nationalized death service.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 The BBC. Britain’s huge broadcasting public corporation. Competition is emerging slowly. The IEA’s distinguished contributor Sir Alan Peacock chaired a committee into its public funding but concluded little could be altered. It has changed its defenses from a mercantilist hostility to timber product importation. Technology is dissolving the BBC’s status as satellite. inhibited all attempts to reform it. ŪŪ Some nationalized industries endure. cable and now digital techniques erode its monopolist assumptions. Now it purports to be protecting wild life. The Royal Mail remains a loss making state corporation but it has forfeited its monopoly of letter traffic. ŪŪ The Forestry Commission. a state timber venture set up in World War I seems untouchable by political reform. 207 .

They must comply or lose their funding.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. Attempts to create parental choice and diversity have been blocked by the producer groups that hold it captive. ŪŪ The British social security system offers diverse benefits. VAT is levied as a condition of being an EU member state. She saved Britain. Efforts to promote voluntary philanthropy such as friendly societies have yet to prove successful. 208 . ŪŪ Both the level and complexity of British taxation bamboozles even the experts. but the forces of bureaucracy and meddling continue to flourish. ŪŪ Despite the many liberalizations the proportion of the British GDP absorbed by the state continues to rise. ŪŪ With the exception of the University of Buckingham and a forprofit university. She was unique. Both its recipient dependents and its employee numbers seem to grow regardless of political party. Margaret Thatcher defeated the dragons she set out to slay. Politics needs leadership and courage. I doubt we will ever see a person of such tenacity and commitment as Margaret Thatcher. all of UK higher education is funded by the state. She altered world history. ŪŪ Income taxes are supplemented by National Insurance which is little more than a tax on employment. Nominally autonomous colleges have to comply with detailed interventions from London. BPP. The challenge of politics is without end.

978 Conservative majority of 3.46% 1979 Finchley 13.81% 1983 Finchley 10.094 5.302 7.180 77.603 69.78% Conservative majority of 16.30% 1974 Finchley 12.763 19.614 25.638 Labour majority of 12.498 69.185 Conservative majority of 5.22% Labour majority of 13.221 18.701 29.591 78.802 Conservative majority of 9.408 15.913 38.878 Conservative majority of 9.51% 85.437 12. Table of Margaret Thatcher’s Elections* Constituency Did Not Fight Dartford Dartford Did Not Fight Finchley 13.260 Conservative majority of 8.697 80.616 69.254 20.202 11.587 7.73% 1974 Finchley 12.05% 1987 1992 Finchley Did Not Fight 12.490 27.918 71.070 23.011 N/A 24.040 5.504 13.760 85.480 65.464 Conservative majority of 11.295 7.18% 1966 Finchley 14.33% 1970 Finchley 14.911 Conservative majority of 7.Postscript: What Remains to be Done Appendix I.128 40.968 75.580 21.334 Conservative Winning Party and Majority Year 1945 1950 1951 1955 1959 Labour Liberal Turnout 1964 Finchley 12.789 24.314 Conservative majority of 8.690 5.40% * Strict comparisons are not possible because of the constituency boundary changes 209 .384 16.

Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Appendix II. 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. 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 210 .

John — The President. Pimlico (2004).” The Guardian. 1. Dale. Mark and Halloran. Mainstream Publishing (2006) Hoskyns. Regnery (2006). Russell — Margaret Thatcher: A Personal and Political Biography. Campbell. John — Just In Time: Inside the Thatcher Revolution. John — Margaret Thatcher: Iron Lady Vol. 211 . Harris. the Pope. Pimlico (2001). Iain (Editor) — As I Said to Denis. Routledge (1984). Lewis. 2 November. 1971. Iain (Editor) — Margaret Thatcher: A Tribute in Words and Pictures. Cockett. Simon — Thatcher and Sons: A Revolution in Three Acts. John — Margaret Thatcher: The Grocer’s Daughter Vol. Allen Lane (2006). Dale. Richard — Thinking the Unthinkable. Terry — “Margaret Thatcher Interview.. Robson Books Ltd (1998). and the Prime Minister. 2. Hollingsworth. Paul — Thatcher’s Fortunes: The Life and Times of Mark Thatcher.. Aurum Press Ltd (2000) Jenkins. Kenneth — Thatcher.: Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations. HarperCollins (1994).Further Reading Campbell. Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1988). Coleman. Weidenfeld & Nicolson (2005). O’Sullivan.

HarperCollins (1995). Vol.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Ridley. Sergeant. Thatcher. Faber and Faber (1982). Ltd (1992). W. Yergin. Thatcher. Allan — A Conservative Coup: Fall of Margaret Thatcher. Hutchinson (1991). HarperCollins (1996). Geoffrey — The Strange Death of Tory England. Scott-Smith. HarperCollins (1993). Nicholas — My Style of Government: The Thatcher Years. 212 . Wells. Nicholas — Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage. Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd (1983). Thatcher. John — Maggie: Her Fatal Legacy. John — Anyone for Denis?. No 4. Giles — ‘Her Rather Ambitious Washington Program’: Margaret Thatcher’s International Visitor Program Visit to the United States in 1967. Simon & Schuster Ltd (1998). 17. Macmillan (2005). Watkins. Winter 2003.H. Contemporary British History. Wapshott. Carol — Below the Parapet: Biography of Denis Thatcher. Joseph — The Commanding Heights: The New Reality of Economic Power. Sentinel (2007). Daniel and Stanislaw. Wheatcroft. Gerald Duckworth & Co. Margaret — The Path to Power. Thatcher. Thomson. Allen / Virgin Books (1990). Penguin Books Ltd (2005). Margaret — The Downing Street Years. Carol — Diary of an Election. Andrew — Margaret Thatcher: The Woman Within.

George W. 65. 156 Brocklebank-Fowler. 136 Beveridge. Rupert.Index A Adams. 73 Benn. 122. Humphrey. 51 Bright. Adolphus. 191 Bendelow. 116. 13. 86. 8. 132 Beckett. 50 Biffen. Hilary. Herbert. Martin. 26 Armstrong.. Colm. Thomas. 177-178 Andropov. 169. 1 Bruce-Gardyne. 67. 137. 29 Benn. Leon. Hon Dr. Arthur. 39 Boyd-Carpenter.. Graham. 191 B Baker. Christopher. 26 Asquith. 39 Bush. James. Stanley. 194 . 134. Clement. 48. 191 Boothroyd. 179 Busch. Betty. Anthony. Sir John. Jonathan. 144 Appleby. 137. 162 Baldwin. 29. Peter. 68 Buchanan. 191 Atkins. Francis. John. 161 Brittan. 191 Bandaranaike. 68 Birch. 191 Benn. 42. 97 Burgdorf. Jock. 156. 132 Aitken. 84 Blair. 11. Kenneth. Tony. 96 Brogan. Sir Robert. John. George H. 13. 194 Bush. Edward. W. Sir Humphrey. Sir Alfred. Sir Rhodes. 133 Brooke. 65 Branson. Anthony Wedgwood (Tony). Yuri. 191 Balfour. 169. Nigel. 13 Brabourne. Sir Richard. Sirimavo. Rt. Diane. 27 Bossom. 97 Armstrong. 61 Berry. 133 Attlee. Lord. 49 Boyle. Dowager Baroness. 30 Brooke. 29 Boyson. Gerry.

James. Gerald. 37 Harris. Robert. 74. David Hackett. Paul. 30. 191 du Cann. 128. 14. Ralph. Mikhail. Jimmy. Stanley. 67 Gow. 166. 181-182. 145. Edward. 176. Garret. 29. Barry. David. 8 Crosland. 158 Dennison. Marie. Hugh. John. 170. 74. Milton. Newt. 211 Hare. 179. 182 Frost. 138 Fisher. David. 29 de Gaulle. 175 Delors. Sir John. Bill. 81 Fraser. 163 George. 138 Forsyth. Sir Henry. 161 Clarkson. Iain. Al. 136 D Dale. 7 Douglas-Home. Bob. 135 Foot. 73. 133 Galloway.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady C Callaghan. 5. 41. 211 Dart. 1-2. Margaret. 162. Justin. 50 de Valois. 116-117 Hailsham. 199 Goldwater. 29 Crowder. 191 Cameron. Antony. 203. 115-116 Carter. 124. Chris. 211 Campbell-Bannerman. 211 Harris. 37-38 Coors. 169 Conquest. 17. 191 Clark. 191 Carr. 211 Cole. 9. William. Al. 144 Gore. 13. 26 Gardiner. 140 Hall. Kenneth. 26 Halloran. John. Jeremy. 169 Cockett. Anthony. Robin. 78 Carrington. William J. 191 214 . 1-2. 211 Collins. Col. 142 Cook. 94. Dame Niette. 55 Gandhi. David Lloyd. Alan. John. Michael. 189 Dexter. 17 Campbell. 91 Friedman. 182 E Eden. 189 Fitzgerald. 27. 191 Gilles. Ian. Terry. 80 Dunn. 101. John. Friedrich August von. 87. 167 Haig. 84. Margaret. 139 Hague. 26 F Fallon. Robert. Gerry. Richard. 86. 202 Fraser. 96 Ford. 123. Sir Anthony. George. 23 Gilmour. 191 Chope. Muammar L . Sir Winston. Beryl. 27. 194 Gingrich. Sir Ian. Dorothy. Lord. 189-190 Hayek. 162 Fischer. 50. 2. 138 Chamberlain. 27 Deedes. 43 Curie. 202 Day. Jacques. Charles. David. 118. 11. 163. Sir Alec. 144 Coleman. 184 Davis.. Indira. Joan. 163 H HM Queen Elizabeth II. Joe. 73 G Gaddafi. Lord. Michael. Michael. 87. 83 Goodrich. 22 Gorbachev. Neville. 163 Churchill.

133 Kinnock. Herbert. 139 Miller. 181182 Joseph. 84. 20 Millar. 26 Jones. 17 Howe. Sir Howard. Colonel H. 191-192 Maude. 191 Maguire. 53. 191 Morrison.. 150 Heseltine. 17. 134 Macmillan. 122. Margaret. 83 Klaus. 192. Edward. 57. 71. Nicholas. 107 Morrison. 157. 37. Sir Keith. B. 175 J Jay. 191 MacGregor. Reginald. 60 Meir.S. 87. 182 K Kempson. 200 Hewett. 42. 174 Hodgkin. 161-163. 163 Lewis. 59 Hickman. 133 Lynn. 72. 161-163. 166 Knight. 69. 12. 26 Hogg. Jack. 53. Neil. 133. Ramsay. Dorothy Mary Crowfoot. 121. 132 McAlpine. 168 Knatchbull. 48.. 156 Mill. 176. 161-162 Mountbatten. John. Angus.C. 116 Lynch. Arthur. 17. Peter. 74. Jeane. 132 I Ingrams. 211 Howard. Bob. 199. 97 M MacDonald. Leonard. Sir Geoffrey. Frank. 111 Koestler. Lord. 115 Kissinger. Jonathan. 19. 30. 194 Kipling. 84.. John. 169 Lovat. 174 Kempson. 53. 11. 82. Ian. Muriel. Nigel. Michael. 156. 72. 8 Jenkins. 55 McGuinness. 3 King. Martin. 51. Dr. Mario. 58. 13. Lord. 132 215 . 211 Horsburgh. C. 68. Irène. Florence. 28. Hon. 100. 166. John. Harold. 93. 66-69. Sir Samuel. 13. 161. 13 Menendez. Tom. 146. 29. Vaclav. Lord. Ted. 80. Golda. Michael. 89. Sir Anthony. Paul. Douglas. 63. 81 Joliot-Curie. Russell. 188. Eric. 166 McGregor. 84. Leila. 174 Khalid. Henry. 207 Leigh. Edward (Ted). David. 121 Maclean. 74 McPheeters. Simon. 162-163. 5. 140 Hollingsworth. 78 Moore. Ronnie. 18 Heffer. 30 L Law. Richard. 96 Mitchell. 118 Joseph. 81 Luce. 14. 211 Lilley. 78-83.. 84 Maudling. 165. 30 Lewis. 152. 166 Heffer. 160. Sir Antony. 63 Hoskyns. 191 Lawson. 21 Kirkpatrick.Index Heath. John Stuart. Rudyard. 93 Minford. 202 Lloyd-Webber. Patrick. Peter. 103.. 109-110. Andrew. 3. 202-203. Frank. Andrew Bonar. Simon. Richard. 119 Meyer. Charles. 56. 100. 211 Johnson. Quentin. 132 McKenzie. 179. 134 Major. 84 Maxwell. Robert W. 158 Hurd. Mark. Frances L.

162. 212 Thatcher. 175 Peyton. 115-116 S Sanders. 101. 92 Tebbit. 169 Roberts. 189 Robinson. Teddy. Dame Cicely. 152 Nott. 89 Stanislaw. John. 90. 74. 51 Parker III. Carol. Iain Duncan. 212 Redwood. Giles. 169. 203. Adam. Arthur. Bob. John. 134. 207 Penry-Jones. 202 Powell. 119.. 187 Prior. Karl. 211 P Pardoe. 161 Neubert. 42 Taylor. James. 202 Reece. Bobby. Sir Alan. 22. Enoch. 20-21. Augusto. 80. 84 Onslow. 163 O’Sullivan. 84 Rees-Mogg. 18. 114. Beatrice Stephenson (See Stephenson. 18 Stewart. Beatrice (See Roberts. 68. 186 Simon. 115. Cecil. Margaret Chase. Alfred (Alf). 179 Thatcher. 129. 110 Stephenson. Michael. 27 Sands. 162. Eric.. Airey. Richard. 6. Sarah. 116-117 R Radcliffe. 144 Sergeant. 131. 81-82 Pinochet. Sir Isaac. 29 Ridley. 22 St. Sir Denis. John. 162 Thatcher. 146 Peacock. 144-146. 21 O Olivier. Iain. Joseph. Dennis. John. 212 Seldon. 84. 181. 63. Norman. 18 T Taggart. William. William. 142 Sproat. 136. 194 Smith. Rupert. 48 Reagan. 125. 177 216 . Arthur. 138 Smith. 39. 9. 169. 187 Thatcher. 115. 17 Smith. 113. Hellen Artie. 22. 84. Cranley. Beatrice). 137-138. William. Bill. Eddie. Beatrice Stephenson). 184-186. Jeanne. 152. 81. 134 Robertson. 18. 198. Franklin D. 133 Savas.. Gordon. 100 Popper. Pope John. 176 Pym. Ronald. Michael. 129 Shakespeare. 80. Amanda Margaret. Sir Alfred. 138 North.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Murdoch. 68-69. 212 Stanley. 181. 55. 161 Newton. 30 Portillo. Sir Laurence. Joan. John. 18 Roberts. 128. 121. Steve. 212 Roberts. Muriel. Jim. Lord. 101 Scargill. 176 Scott-Smith. 55 Solzhenitsyn. 81. 180 N Neave. 17 Nixon. 84. Michael. Francis. Dr. 72. 184 Russell. Francis of Assisi. Richard. 167 Poole. 212 Shah. 124 Schulman. 11 Shattock. 162 Paul II. Nicholas. 80. Milton. 189 Roosevelt. 134 Taylor. John. James H. Rupert. 60 Tarleton. 55. 162. 161 Sherman. Alexander. 134 Shelton. 61 Parkinson. John. Mary R.

Geoffrey. 175. 181. George. 72 Y Yamey. 212 Wheatcroft. 81-82 Whitman. Sir Robert. 26 Willink. 83 Tullock. Sir Mark. Daniel. 109-110. 93 Worcester. Cicely Veronica. Rachel. Kathleen. 67. E. T. 84 Townend. Simone.Index Thatcher. 27 Weinberger. Lord Peter. John. Peter. 27 Younger. Walt. 187 Wapshott. 53. Nicholas. 162 Wakeham. Angela. Sir Alan. Harold. 177 Thorne. 157 Watkins. 191 Wood. 26 Vinson. 116. 144. 173 Wedgwood. Roberta. 175 Thorneycroft. 97 Twain. Nigel. 81 V Vaughan. 137 Williams. 62. 134. 48. 28 Willink. 50. William. 22. 73. 18. 170 Wells. 71. Henry. John. 212 Whitelaw. 163 Trudeau. Caspar. Allan. 161-162 W Wakeham. 74. 212 217 . Mark. 200 Walters. 212 Wareham. Gordon. 74. 134 Walker. 156. Basil. John B. 212 Young. Hugo. Shirley. 60 Washington. 121. 28 Wilson. Dame Janet. John. 51 Yergin. Pierre. 14 U Utley...