Margaret Thatcher
A Portrait of the Iron Lady


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

England. stored in a retrieval system. Thatcher. I. p. or by any means. All Rights Reserved www. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data — 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. paper) — ISBN 978-0-87586-632-1 (ebook) 1.085’8092—dc22 [B] 2008036677 Front Cover: 1983. or transmitted in any form. 3. 4. paper) — ISBN 978-0-87586631-4 (case laminate: alk. Great Britain—Politics and government—1979-1997. Women prime ministers—Great Britain—Biography.algora.T47B58 2008 941. ISBN 978-0-87586-630-7 (trade paper: alk. cm. Conservative Party (Great Britain)—Biography.The Rt. without the express written permission of the publisher. First Lord of the Treasury and Conservative Member of Parliament for Finchley. Includes bibliographical references and index. John. Honorable Margaret Thatcher is the Prime Minister. © Bettmann/CORBIS Printed in the United States . Title. Margaret.© 2008 by Algora Publishing. Prime ministers—Great Britain—Biography. 1952Margaret Thatcher : A portrait of the iron lady/ John Blundell. 5.London. DA591. 2.

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


List of Acronyms ARP ASI BA BAA BBC BIS BOAC BP BSE C. Kennedy Airport London School of Economics London University Conservative Association Massachusetts Institute of Technology Market and Opinion Research International Member of Parliament North Atlantic Treaty Organization National Coal Board National Federation of Self-Employed (Later FSB) . of E. 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.

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 .

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

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. .

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


Liberating the Economy 12. Education Secretary 7. Power 11. Beating the Miners 16. Going to War 15. Opposition II 10. Launching 4. University 3. Reforming the Unions 17. Reflections 8. Opposition I 6. Selling Off Public Housing 14. Privatizing the Commanding Heights 13.Table of Contents Preface Introduction 1. Leader 9. Elected 5. 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 .

Family Denis Carol Mark 24. Her World 26. Kicking Down the Wall 20. Retirement 23. Men Alf Keith Ronald Alfred Alan Ralph 25. Dealing with Brussels 21.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady 18. Ten Lessons Postscript: What Remains to be Done Further Reading 137 141 147 155 165 173 173 177 178 181 181 182 184 186 187 189 191 197 207 211 xvi . Resignation 22. Befriending America 19.

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

My first recollection of her is as Secretary for Education and Science. Hayek being less combative and more reflective). nearly four years in Cabinet as Secretary of Education. brief spells in two more senior Shadow Cabinet slots and four years as Leader of the Opposition. My predecessor as Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Ralph Harris (later Lord Harris of High Cross) often told me about also going to see her as Education Secretary in the early 1970s 1 Backbench as opposed to frontbench.e.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady men and women and was deeply passionate about making the world a better place. She was twenty years in the making. 3 In the British system every government minister is shadowed by a member of the official opposition party. intelligence and training in science and law to bear. three in the Shadow Cabinet. She was always master of her ground while being ruthlessly probing and terrifyingly insightful on anything new we might have to say. I think we used to prepare at the rate of one day for every 15 minutes in her presence. A. or maybe alert is a better word. And you have to be nimble when you are with her. 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). 2 . This meant I covered lots of polytechnics and other universities as well as London University. 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. And she was like that with everyone. She could hack through mumbo-jumbo with a sharp scythe — take you off at your knees rather than your ankles. six shadow3 posts. not part of the leadership. 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. 2 MP stands for Member of Parliament. As Prime Minister she was a problem solver bringing her determination. i. 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..

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

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

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

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

0%. The Labour Government.8%. It started on January 3. 24. 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. Successive British governments. 15.4% so what you could buy for £100 in 1974 cost £240 in 1979. 16. struggled desperately to hold onto power. annual price increases were 16.Introduction “Now is the Winter of our Discontent.2 1 In the six years from 1974 through 1979. 8. under Prime Minister James Callaghan. Decades of abject policy failure culminated in three months of anarchy.5%.” the United Kingdom’s winter of 1978–1979. thus precipitating a General Election. William Shakespeare It was called the “Winter of Discontent. Ulster Unionists. This happened on only one other 11 . 1979 when Her Majesty’s Government lost a no-confidence motion by just one vote.3% and 13. both left and right. and Scottish Nationalists — depending on the issue of the moment.3%) to annual double-digit price increases1.2%. 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. 1979 and ended on March 28. helped by opportunistic Liberals.” —Richard III.

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

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

The UK surely does not have the vibrant private rental sector one sees in the United States. 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. the unions were out of control (“running the country” even) and the nationalized industries were under performing. The British (in particular the English majority) play cricket and it was simply assumed just like baseball that you had your turn at bat and then the others had their turn.” The socio-economic group we call “the middle class” had leapt from 33% to 50% of the population. As Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson (later Lord Lawson) was to remark. It had become a nation of entrepreneurs with self-employment doubling from 7% to 14% of the workforce. Sir Robert. 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. To meet him is to understand why Missouri is known as the “show me” state. But 18 years later Britain had jumped from 19th to 2nd place on the OECD ladder. and gobbling up billions in subsidies. was raised in Kansas. while born in Missouri. it does detract from labor mobility. “I do not think the solution to Britain’s problems is to blow up all its capital!” He found the idea so preposterous as to be laughable. Home ownership (as opposed to private renting or public housing) had also leapt from 53% to 71%2. 1 In the late seventies Economics Nobel Laureate F. And they believed it. 14 . 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 1998.5m to 0. 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. What was needed. However. So the Brits were told by all sides. Hayek commented to the author.A.1 Inflation was rampant. unaccountable.3 and as we will see tax rates were slashed.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ing them to build new ones while Britain struggled with old capital. Radical policy solutions were pooh-poohed. Even the French GDP was streets ahead of the British. was stability not change.5m. it was believed.

15 . the woman who woke up her nation and made it once again a world leader and player. And both service and product quality have been improved many times over. 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. This book is my personal portrait of Margaret Thatcher. the woman who was the pivotal point of the rescue of a country. It is not only the story of her life but also an examination of the ideas.Introduction The transformation was stunning on many fronts. entrepreneurs and shareholders. After all she did not operate in a vacuum. The choice and level of quality and service that had so stunned me on my first visit to the US in 1974 was becoming commonplace in the UK of 1997. poor products and a craven business class. and circumstances surrounding key events. Pre-Thatcher a sclerotic union dominated economy was typified by surly service. interests.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. starting in 1944. nights on fire-watch. It was war-time: blackouts. However. 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. It will not always get you to the top. That is the recipe. I asked her just over 60 years later “are you more proud of being the first lady Prime Minister or the first scientist Prime Minister?” “Oh. University “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. rationing. 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. Most British degrees take three years as opposed to four in the United States. 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. And you graduated with both a Bachelors and a Master’s degree. but should get you pretty near. Miss Margaret Roberts arrived at Oxford to study Chemistry. definitely scientist. right about her 18th birthday. the growing flow of mature often married ex-servicemen anxious to make up time and get on with 25 .” she replied instantly and typically without a doubt. queues and no sugar in your tea were the order of the day.” So in early October 1943.

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

She took her time — after all.” Her fourth-year dissertation reports another biographer Hugo Young was effectively to be Hodgkin’s research assistant. In the Thatcher memoirs Hodgkin is described as an “ever-helpful tutor” who got her some modest college grants to see her through.” John Campbell. That required money. was or “her determination by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances. and former Commons Speaker. 27 . the choir. 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. They failed but she nevertheless got her degree and the chemistry puzzle they worked on was not cracked until 1980. Lady Thatcher herself was admitted to the Order of Merit in 1990 as the fifth female OM1..” But as Campbell asks: “Why should she be? She had no intention of becoming a chemist except in the short term. according to the citation. In between long walks. quotes Hodgkin on Thatcher as follows: “I came to rate her as good. One could always rely on her producing a sensible. ballerina Dame Ninette de Valois in 1992. University Majesty the Queen in 1965. Betty Boothroyd in 2005. She adds that Hodgkin was “a brilliant scientist and gifted teacher. There were a few girls studying at Oxford from “northern” grammar schools but female students were mostly public (i. The OM for Hodgkin was the first awarded to a lady since that given to Florence Nightingale in 1907. and Miss Roberts just did not have it.e. she had four years. The Nobel. private) school girls with the resources to exploit all Oxford had to offer. Working with a German refugee scientist she pushed forward on a new scientific frontier suggested by Hodgkin’s own work.” 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. 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.2. one of Thatcher’s many biographers. After Margaret came the opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland in 1991. 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).

Of course she was known to be a Conservative as she rose through the ranks of OUCA. long afternoons in the laboratories. where so many politicians have and still do cut their teeth. 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. The war of course put quite a damper on party political activity. 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. 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.” 28 . she threw herself into OUCA and by her 4th and final year (1946-1947) she became its second ever lady President. 1 The first was Rachel Willink just a few terms earlier — she was the daughter of Henry Willink. Churchill’s Minister of Health. No other university has come close to its domination of recent British politics. Starved of a possible debating career in the Union. Douglas-Home (’63–’64). Indeed 25 British Prime Ministers have graduated there and Prime Ministers Attlee (’45–’51). One long term lesson she learned at Somerville was the importance of small units. Margaret Roberts found Oxford overwhelmingly left wing although less fractious than the 1930s. an early insight into the principle of subsidiarity. Eden (’55–’57). The overwhelming orthodoxy was an overarching role for big centralized government. The famous Oxford Union debating society. Wilson (’64–’70 and ’74–’76). While chemistry labs might need to be organized at the university level there was a lot to be said for living in small colleges. Margaret Roberts was therefore the first Lady President without high “connections. Macmillan (’57–’63). 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. Heath (’70–’74). as a budding chemist. Interestingly.1 She led resurgence in OUCA during the fall of 1946 as membership passed 1.000 for the first time in two decades. she seems to have kept such ideas to herself at church and within the Choir. one might argue! Oxford was important to Margaret Roberts in many ways.

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

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

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. 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 is its hold on the British people. 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. Not to be confused with guacamole. 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. 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. the expansion of welfarism.2.1 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. 31 . Even in 1988 Prime Minister Thatcher was forced to say “the NHS is safe in our hands”. a dog’s breakfast of socialism and corporatism with a few odd bones for the free marketeers. 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. Those were the glory years of collectivism with the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy. With Churchill out and her exams behind her. a loud. jolly. Yorkshire’s even tonier Harrogate and a rejuvenated Manchester getting into the lineup in recent times. 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. Churchill was reportedly not at all happy with it. This unease was further reinforced in May 1947 as she prepared to leave Oxford and her party published its Industrial Charter.

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

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


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

Second. she managed to persuade her party’s HQ. First. to put her on the approved list of candidates post ante. If she had tried to go as one of. and took up lodgings or “digs” in her constituency of Dartford. dropping her off at Liverpool Street Station for a late train back to Essex. February 1949 was a trebly important month. The Tory Party ranked Dartford as “a most hostile part of the county. six representing Colchester. at a celebratory dinner for senior constituency officers that very night. While Kent lies east of London and south of the Thames Estuary and is often called “the garden of England.” After three rounds of interviews Margaret Roberts emerged as the candidate on January 31. she would have been way down the list. she met businessman Denis Thatcher who had been at her adoption meeting and very much liked what he’d seen and heard. let’s have some fun with this incredibly dynamic. Kent constituency that they asked her to apply to be their candidate.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. joined J Lyons in central London as a research chemist. she got the support of the whole of the constituency membership (all 100%. 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. Later that evening he drove her into central London. Because the local Tories were never ever going to win such a seat they had nothing to lose — what the heck they thought. 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. 36 . Conservative Central Office. rather than just its officers) at her formal adoption meeting.” it also has its rougher industrial areas of which Dartford was one and Labour held it with a huge majority of 20.000. Within a year the 1950 General Election 1 This was a bit of a backdoor way in. energetic woman who is so young and beautiful we might get a little national publicity.1 She was days short of turning 23. 1949 aged 23! She has since speculated that the size of the Labour majority helped in her selection. Third. say.

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

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

Conservative MP for Maidstone. founder of Anheuser-Busch. slashed another good chunk off of her opponent’s majority getting it down to just over 12. The General Election did indeed follow quickly on October 25 in the fall of 1951. She had become great friends with a remarkable character called Sir Alfred Bossom.3. 10 Downing Street. 3 A life member of the House of Lords is distinct from a hereditary member. the founder of Methodism. followed by 12 Downing Street. had moved to the US in 1903 to build skyscrapers and marry Emily Bayne from New York City in 1910. After working for Carnegie Steel in Pittsburgh on social housing for workers. 1951 to be married in Wesley’s Chapel2 on City Road in London. He was made a Baronet in 1953 and a life member3 of the House of Lords in 1960. Launching Some of the scenes were particularly on target politically.1 Margaret Roberts and Denis Thatcher now chose December 13. 2 Wesley’s Chapel was built by John Wesley. Next door is 11 Downing Street. Margaret Roberts. it became Wesley’s London base. home of the Chief Whip. 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. 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. A baronet abbreviated to Bt. They had met soon after her 1949 adoption. Kent from 1931 to 1959. on August 12. home of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. where he worked on many buildings including the Adolphus Hotel for Adolphus Busch.000 on an 85% turnout. Scenes in the movie of the free residents of Pimlico cut off by the UK government were redolent of the Blockade. is a hereditary title. The Conservatives won with a workable majority of seventeen and Winston was back in No. I suspect. In the US the Chancellor of the Exchequer is called the Treasury Secretary. Denis Thatcher was Sir Denis Thatcher 39 . Designed by George Dance Junior and opened in 1778. turning 26 just twelve days before. Bossom moved to Dallas. After making his fortune Bossom returned to England and entered politics. The former is for life only while the latter passes on down the generations. 1 Downing Street has been the official London residence of over 50 British Prime Ministers going back over 250 years. an architect. Bossom.

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

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

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

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

She was just 5 days short of turning 34.500 to 16.” 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. 44 .260.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady “unanimous” was in fact only an “overwhelming. The only question was how far she would go. The election rolled around 14 months later and on the October 8. the twins had just turned 6 — she was on her way. 1959 Margaret Thatcher duly became MP for Finchley with a majority up by 3.

While Finchley was well up in north London. near Farnborough in his home county of Kent. Anything underlined three times is obligatory.” New Members of the House of Commons face interesting decisions regarding domestic arrangements. Thatcher always drove home. especially central London seats. This was their sole residence and regardless of the lateness of the night Mrs. To her. and Mrs. Mr.” Early on as an MP: “Of course you have doubts but I have not just come to this out of the blue. 45 . 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. Those with London.4. Elected “If you set out to be liked you would be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime. 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. are not forced to maintain two homes and again tend to live in or very near to the constituency. they purchased a large home with a garden well south of London. whatever the day might hold. and you would achieve nothing. Thatcher decided otherwise.

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

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

This normally runs to 15 minutes.” The result was that many billions of dollars of taxpayers’ monies were being spent in secret. Most members tried to get away back to their constituencies on Thursday evenings so the Commons was often empty. 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. goes on to a five-minute segment on your new constituency which makes the Garden of Eden sound like a slum. Margaret Thatcher MP was outraged. 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. and finishes with five minutes on something non-controversial. On both sides of the Thatcher Bill groups sprang up. It was all a very cozy arrangement between the councilmen and their paid officials but it was an outrage and Mrs. Now she faced another decision. She became so close to Keith that she dedicated one of her two volumes of memoirs to him. 48 . 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.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ings. She had thought of speaking on some of the technical monetary issues raised by Lord Radcliffe in his recently published Report on the 1 Public Choice theory is the use of economics to study the actions of voters. The 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. the newspaper editors and journalists to support it and the local authority councilmen and their officers to oppose it. her family and all who worked for her while Prime Minister. the other volume was dedicated to Denis. She knew this from observation and to counter it she wrote personal handwritten letters to all 250 Conservative backbenchers asking them to attend. When the Government approves of the choice of such a Bill then the path forward suddenly clears. politicians and bureaucrats as self-interested maximizing agents. Private Members’ Bills were debated on Fridays.

so that. On the big day the turnout was about 200. She spoke and voted in favor of the caning and birching of violent young offenders. 49 . just shy of 36. Elected Working of the Monetary System.2 The Bill duly became an Act of Parliament and thus the law of the land. So when one of only three wanted to leave government. she often felt out of step with “modern” Conservative thinking.4. uniquely (as far as I can discover). 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. so this was significant praise. Some 68 colleagues joined her and it was the biggest revolt of this whole period of Conservative Party rule namely 1951–1964. She felt it would harm her chances of advancement. 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. socialism and communism were not being vehemently countered with free-market arguments. All this boiled over in her one and only revolt against the Whip in 33 years as an MP. 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. though not without some epic fights as it went through all its stages — quite an education for a brand new MP. traditional Tory values were being ignored. Despite this early success. her maiden speech was one introducing a Bill. a door opened and in the fall of 1961. 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. 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 39.1 but she could not prepare her Bill and at the same time draft the 30-minute speech that would be needed to introduce it. 3 National Insurance is the UK’s social security. huge for a Friday — her letters had paid off splendidly. On the other hand. she became the junior Minister for Pensions and National Insurance (NI)3 responsible to Cabinet Minister John Boyd-Carpenter. 2 A very high number of new MPs were elected in 1959.

and so on. and many on the right. South Africa. thus making the plan even more unsound. Pakistan. Two days after her 39th birthday she held her own seat in Finchley. India. Margaret Thatcher MP was just right for handling them. Australia. but once the plan caught the public’s fancy it became difficult not to introduce the benefits immediately. and the analytical tax-lawyer mind brought by Mrs. based on an optimistic scenario and implying. A year after Douglas-Home became Prime Minister. Today pensions are with the Department of Work and Pensions and NI is with HM Revenue and Customs. this was not much more than a vague irritant compounded by the ethnicity and attitude of the man saying “non. New Zealand. albeit with a majority cut to 50 . that taxpayers’ pension contributions are linked to their pension entitlements. This French rejection was nothing but a minor trade matter. It was a case of over promising. To Mrs. for whom this was absolutely meat and potatoes — if not milk and honey. In all fairness. as first Macmillan and then Sir Alec Douglas-Home shuffled the deck chairs on the sinking Conservative liner. 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). as the United States Social Security program does. the Brits had their special relationship with the United States and with their Commonwealth of some 50 countries including Canada.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady gesture that she made sure she always did the same later as Education Secretary. Back in 1961 the system’s flaws were apparent. Over the next three years she served three different Ministers. She relished the grind of mastering all aspects of the complex problem and then mastering her socialist opponents. The Ministry for Pensions and National Insurance no longer exists. Margaret Thatcher MP.” After all. he lost the fall 1964 General Election and socialist Harold Wilson moved into 10 Downing Street with a majority of four. at the outset Lord Beveridge had suggested a 20-year wait to allow funds to build up.

Under that system there was no shopping around. 1 The Conservative Party was also tired after thirteen years in power. And the socialists could always outbid them on the public spending front. tainted by scandal. stayed home at best. First. Heath had stopped the practice of having manufacturers stamp the prices of products on the packaging. Second. Consumers saw this as a rip off because it prevented retailers from offering discounts. Elected some 9.000 by a determined young Liberal named John Pardoe (later MP for North Cornwall. Douglas-Home had campaigned on his own turf. muddled over economic policy. 51 . pretty much ignoring the so-called bread and butter matters that interest the electorate. It was almost a miraculous result for several reasons. If a new Beatles record album was 19 shillings and 6 pence in a local shop.4. 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. This practice was ended (which by the way allowed for the creation of the supermarket. 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. in other words. but small business proprietors. 1966 to 1979). a natural conservative constituency. the Conservatives had alienated the small business vote by abolishing Retail Price Maintenance (RPM) in the immediate run up to the election. which did not then exist in the UK. namely international issues. annoyed with the French veto. Based on an IEA report by Professor Basil Yamey of the LSE. Third. it was 19 shillings and 6 pence in every shop in the land. it prevented retailers from competing on the basis of price cuts. well.1 This move by Edward (Ted) Heath (President of the Board of Trade) was warmly supported by his colleague Margaret Thatcher.


Shadow Minister for Tax.5. and Shadow Minister for Education. Shadow Minister for Transport. Harold Wilson duly asked Her Majesty the Queen to dissolve Parliament and in March 1966 came back with a majority of +97. and I believe that in the end good will triumph. Shadow Minister for Fuel.500 over Labour. Now each MP was to have a vote.” 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. over a six-year period she mastered five new and different Shadow briefs: Shadow Minister for Housing and Land. Opposition I “I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil. 53 . Starting as Shadow Minister for Pensions. The Conservatives moved rapidly to dump Douglas-Home and elect a new leader. 1 Previously leaders had “emerged” through consultation. These last three were in the Shadow Cabinet. Margaret Thatcher MP increased her own majority to 9. with Liberals now in third.1 Ted Heath quickly trounced all before him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to 11-year-olds and to increase school meal charges. Her detractors revel in pointing out that she killed more grammar schools than any other Education Secretary. The withdrawal of these circulars had been a clear manifesto commitment and on her eighth day on the job they were withdrawn. the wise use of resources and a presumption against upheaval. She instinctively and intellectually sided with the latter while the political reality of the day rested with the former. In the late sixties and early seventies a group of British education policy experts with a passion for reform as well as a sense of humor published the Black Papers. the long serving careerist officials of both her Department and the teachers’ unions were inordinately friendly toward each other. The truth of the matter is that she landed in that job just as the wave was cresting and without her presence many more such good schools would have been closed. which moved from Conservative control to Labour in 1972. she rejected over half its plans and saved eighteen grammar schools. The second said that authorities which refused to submit such a plan would be deprived of capital funding. while on the right the authors of the Black Papers1 championed choice and vouchers. While her civil servants were “professional. indeed within just twelve days of the election and eight days of entering her department. In Birmingham alone. She had inherited two socialist policy circulars to the local authorities which run education on a day-to-day basis in the UK.” like most of America’s public school system. One circular demanded that all such authorities submit to the Department plans for going totally comprehensive.” the ethos of the world of education was overwhelmingly socialist in the sense that it was driven by notions of “equality. 64 . they were replaced by a new circular stressing local needs. Even as the foundations of the Berlin Wall were being chipped away. Her most notorious policy however was to withdraw “free” school milk for 7. Arguably her finest moment as Education Secretary came in her first month. The 1 British governments consult through Green Papers and set out policy in White Papers.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. not even her focus and determination could turn back the tide of comprehensivization that was then sweeping the country. While she saved many grammar schools.

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

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

so if you did not double your salary every 28 months you fell behind. matters went from bad to worse.” Unfortunately for Prime Minister Heath. 3 Inflation was soon to hit close to 30%. In the end Heath won the popular vote by over two hundred thousand5 but came second in seats to Harold Wilson’s Labour. 1974. knowing full well they were completely unelectable at the ballot box. 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. and bad news piled up. 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. or even flight. and tripartite talks with the unions (TUC)1 and big business (CBI).6. Instead the entrance is manned 24 hours a day. After a weekend of failed talks with smaller parties. Heath resigned and Wilson once again had the keys to No. inflation3 and interest rates soared. Bush in 2000 but garnered fewer Electoral College votes. His industrial relations strategy collapsed. 2 The CBI is the Confederation of British Industry the UK’s NAM. The highest annual rate hit was 24.8%. 10 and it does not have a key hole. 5 In the UK you can win the popular vote but still lose on seats won. Had he gone for early February he might well have won but instead he opted for February 28. were clearly trying to protect their interests by other means.2% in 1975 but one annualized monthly rate hit 29. 297 to 301. Out went any idea of relying on the self-correcting mechanisms of the market economy. a statutory pricesand-incomes policy of the sort President Nixon was also introducing.6 1 TUC Trades Union Congress the UK’s AFL-CIO. Education Secretary ers (UCS) plus an industrial dispute with the coal miners plus unemployment topping one million led to a full scale retreat. 6 There are no real keys to No. 10 Downing Street. rout. massive daily intervention in all aspects of the economy. Also the Wilsons did not move back into the apart- 67 . In came the inflation of the currency. The burning question of the day on all lips and minds was “who rules: the miners or the government?” Prime Minister Heath dithered. Indeed the far left in the unions.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. clearly not wanting an election. just as US presidential candidate Al Gore officially won half a million more votes than George W.

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

with the points being made that the UK was not giving up any sovereignty. the courts would not be affected and British law would prevail as always.” Professor Alan Walters (later to be her personal economic advisor for two spells). official documents of the era have been released in recent years and show a clear pattern of deception. Enoch Powell warned of the changes as did journalist Russell Lewis in Rome or Brussels?. Walters predicted it would lead to inflation and he was asked to leave. 69 . Education Secretary man. but he was right and Heath was wrong. labor and capital. How well would she learn it? 1 Conservative MP Rt. as it was called.6. or Common Market. in which he argued that Brussels was dominated by an interventionist spirit. 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. it was hard to be against the Common Market.3 In retrospect. 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. 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. 2 Under the 30-year rule. Political ramifications were downplayed. The arguments presented were purely ones of free market economics: it was all about the free movement of goods. clashed with his boss Prime Minister Heath over loose monetary policy. As the government’s economic policy unraveled. If you favored a market economy.1 However Heath’s own advisers2 had predicted trouble. We now know Heath’s top constitutional advisers were warning him that signing the Treaty of Rome meant a serious surrender of sovereignty. so Britain moved closer to and finally joined the European Economic Community (EEC). Hon. published by the IEA in 1971.


. In the meantime Ted Heath promoted Margaret Thatcher to Shadow Environment1 Secretary. While some “green” issues came under its umbrella it was mostly concerned with housing. 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. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.7. On the housing front inflation. planning costs and delays. and she reveled in mastering a raft of housing and local taxation issues. high interest rates. called rates. Reflections “My politics are based . pay your bills on time. local government and zoning. 71 . support the police. 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.” 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. live within your means. on things I and millions like me were brought up with. put by a nest egg for a rainy day. On local taxation. 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.

a family of five consuming far more. She had never felt totally comfortable in her home in the Conservative Party. 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. Chief Administrator (then 1 He was later a key advisor to Sir Geoffrey Howe over the suspension of exchange controls. which she gladly accepted.2 Chief fundraiser was Nigel Vinson. See Chapter 21. yet to be devised.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ing tiny amounts of local services exactly the same as. While she was having a very good summer that raised her profile and standing in her party and around the country. to cap mortgage interest rates at 9½% by means of tax relief to the lenders rather than subsidies. the former journalist and communist machine gunner in the Spanish Civil War. Alfred Sherman. deeper waters were being explored elsewhere. and he was a second cousin to Nicholas Ridley MP. and to abolish the current local tax system of rates and replace it with a new. Heath’s own economic advisor Adam Ridley1 sat on the board and Keith Joseph invited Thatcher to become his Vice-Chairman. Chief Guru was Joseph’s fellow Jew. And it never seemed able to give the electorate an internally consistent message based on principle. fairer system. 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. 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. Her close friend Keith Joseph was in the Shadow Cabinet with her but had no departmental portfolio. While she had rebelled but once and never dreamt of leaving.” 72 . she was never entirely happy. In addition to these three an unlikely cast of characters was assembled. a successful businessman “on loan” from the Board of Trustees of the free market IEA. say. to help first time buyers on the mortgage deposit front. It was also too quick to shoot its messengers and too slow to examine the content and real detail of the message. 2 Alfred was later famously to declare “I invented Margaret Thatcher. rather he had a wide brief to reexamine policy.

And it was not a do-tank. concerned with policy dots and commas. 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. not Ted Heath. Finally there was a somewhat mysterious. 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. 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. who wore many hats. With other parties in the picture this meant an overall majority of just three. once in 1966 and twice in 1974. In practical terms this meant the government would be walking on eggshells. 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. challenging virtually every populist policy tenet of the past three decades and lumping them all together as “socialist.7. rich. Surrounded by people who had been preaching a consistent free-market approach for years. For the Conservatives.” regardless of who had been in power at the time. whose sense of humor and orderliness kept the place running. The CPS was not a think-tank as such. 73 . The source of his wealth became apparent when he was jailed for cocaine trafficking. Margaret Thatcher became increasingly involved with the CPS and its mission and this challenged her to read and think more widely than past years as Education Secretary had allowed. It was primarily a talking shop where journalists. Sherman and Frost. Its other role was to act as a high level secretariat for Joseph as he began a series of major public lectures around the UK. wheeling and dealing on many fronts to keep a day-to-day majority. not like the IEA which had been pumping out free market studies for two decades by then. it meant Ted Heath had lost three out of four general elections. fashionable and iconoclastic character named Martin Bendelow. Reflections and later for many years) was another ex-journalist Gerry Frost.

the odds were stacked against her.” 2 McKenzie was an LSE graduate and taught at the school from 1949 to his death in 1981. of course. He also chaired the discussion sections of each episode of Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose.” 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. with Robert Carr a third possible. 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. 74 . bitter bruiser. 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 Tories wanted and needed new leadership and the consensus was that it was a two horse race between Keith Joseph and William (Willie) Whitelaw. But as the BBC election night coverage ended in the dawn light of October 10. 1974.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. affable. 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. 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.2 Despite the plug Margaret Thatcher received from Bob and the favorable coverage she had been receiving in The Spectator from Patrick Cosgrave. the former of the new right and the latter of the old Heathite left. I jotted down the last lines of his speech as follows: “I.” not “1 and 3. Bob McKenzie. perceived as self-important and needlessly offensive.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”. a Canadian-born political scientist and psephologist tossed another name into the pot — namely that of Margaret Thatcher.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

she won handily with a majority of 43 over all others: Votes CON LAB LIB OTHER 13.or five-minute slots on each of the five terrestrial TV channels.10. To support family life. the disabled and those who are in real need. a message or a bouquet. While the idea of unseating the likes of John Fraser MP in Lambeth’s West Norwood — one of her stops — proved too ambitious. 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. but parties are instead allowed free broadcasts. 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. and concentrating welfare services on the effective support of the old. by helping people to become homeowners. four.5m 4. Power 4. the division between her message and the vision of party bureaucrats (too many still in place from Heath’s era) became ridiculously stark when they suggested that Heath should do a Conservative Party Political Broadcast. With Easter intervening it was. In the United Kingdom. paid political advertising on television or radio is illegal. even by British standards. However. 5. freedom and liberty and much more damning on the union question than her colleagues back at Party HQ wanted.3m 1. 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. Minor parties have to run a substantial number of candidates before they qualify. raising the standards of their children’s education. at rally after rally. However her rhetoric on the road. To strengthen Britain’s defenses and work with our allies to protect our interests in an increasingly threatening world. Wales.7m Seats 339 269 11 16 Compared to Oct ’74 +62* -50 -2 -10** 1 Party political broadcasts are “free” three-.7m 11. 91 . 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.1 To her Heath’s vision was as bad for the country as the socialists’ and her Party Chairman received a good dressing down. a short campaign. the sick. was much more forthright and full of references to choice. She crisscrossed England.

deliver? 1* She lost only one seat. 92 . namely Glasgow.3m voters gained it a mere 11 seats whereas the more concentrated 1. ** “Other” parties such as those in Scotland and Northern Ireland tend to be very regional whereas the Liberal Party of 1979 did fight nationwide.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Both the swing (5. coming mostly 3rd.2 million) were the biggest since Attlee’s historic victory in 1945.7m votes garnered 16 seats.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. 6 months and 24 days. Cathcart. held by her great ally Teddy Taylor. Would she. Hence its 4. could she. 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.1 Number 10 Downing Street was to be her home for the next 11 years.

the lady’s not for turning. Under the socialism of both parties the British economy was atrophying. The UK accounted for 20 per cent of world trade in manufactures in 1955 but only 10 per cent by 1979. That was down to 3 per cent by 1979. It was a brilliant move. Exchange Controls for Ever? 93 . to beg for foreign 1 Robert W. One of the earliest and most bold reforms was to break free of the Exchange Controls. Miller and John B. but someone1 had spotted that to “suspend” the exchange controls legislation was not required. Primary legislation was needed formally to abolish the exchange controls.” From being a dominant trading nation Britain’s presence on world markets had shriveled.) In late October 1979. Wood in a 1978 IEA monograph. I have one thing to say. passport in hand. the U-turn. if you want to. and the effect was the same. You turn. Liberating the Economy “To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase.11. It had exported 33 percent of the world’s cars in 1955. Brits could now move around freely — they no longer needed to go to their banks weeks ahead of time. (These were the controls on the amount of sterling one could take abroad that had been introduced at the start of World War II. Prime Minister Thatcher’s Chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe suspended exchange controls.

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

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

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

” The twin star of the series was a ubiquitous civil servant called Sir Humphrey Appleby. Even leftists of all parties today acknowledge the need for a vibrant private sector and low taxes to encourage it. The British public laughed at his every line but deep inside they knew he was real and they learnt a lot. Young economists in training in the sixties salivated at the idea of being a trainee at the regional electricity board.11. Minister” followed by “Yes. (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. in other words a safe job in a nationalized industry. By a subtle process the brightest and best no longer sought sinecures in the armpit of the state but fortunes in the markets. Liberating the Economy but a huge drop.” The whole balance of society shifted. The idea that the man in Whitehall really knows best was finally put to rest and buried with the brilliant comedy series “Yes. Interestingly the Thatcher era marked a clear break in the type of person to lead the party and their economic background as this chart shows: Leader Churchill Eden Macmillan Douglas Home Heath Thatcher Major Hague Duncan Smith Father Lord Baronet Publisher Lord Small business Small business Small business1 Small business2 Small business3 97 Education Independent Independent Independent Independent State Grammar State Girls School State Grammar State Comprehensive State School . But by the eighties it was off to the City and a job in the private sector. Jay in particular to this day acknowledges this influence on his scripts. Prime Minister. I once heard him say to a cheeky interlocutor: “I learnt my public choice economics from James Buchanan via the IEA.) Jay had also studied “the economics of politics” as pioneered by James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock of George Mason University in northern Virginia.

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

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. local communities were fiefdoms of municipal socialism that kept the streets dirty and the trash left to rot. but you pay twice to meet the ever increasing deficits of the capital investment. we believe in turning workers into owners. Selling Off Public Housing. 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.” “Labour believes in turning workers against owners. The rubric of privatization covered all three moves.12. 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. 99 . 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. Second there was the “Contracting out” of public services such as trash removal to private firms. badly run and losing money.

The argument went as follows: “If we denationalize then the other lot. Bob Poole. what if steel had been sold to hundreds of thousands of small owners..e. Some Tory local government leaders were almost as wedded to having a large stock of public housing as their socialist counterparts were. the socialists. head of the Reason Foundation in Santa Barbara and author of a little book called Cutting Back City Hall. “contracting out” and “denationalization” got off to slow but steady starts before moving up the gears as the ’80s unfolded. In this book he explained how all you needed to 1 He was a Committee member ’68–’69. It was IEA author Russell Lewis — the man Margaret Thatcher kissed on election night 1979 — who solved this dilemma. just as happened with Fiat in Italy and with Volkswagen in Germany? Surely it would be very difficult to renationalize a widely-held business. he asked. The intellectual case for “contracting out” came from an American MIT-trained engineer turned policy wonk. Steel had been nationalized in the ’40s.1 And contracting out could be a two-edged sword. Vice Chairman ’69–’70. 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. and Chairman ’70–’71. 100 . 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.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Not all of the Prime Minister’s Tory followers were necessarily in favor of such policies. He pointed out in Goodbye to Nationalisation (1971) that steel in the past had been sold back to a small group of people. While the “Right to Buy” was quickly enacted and went off with a bang.” There was some truth to this argument. This must have been unsettling. Instead. Comparing his three years with the three socialist preceding years. 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. denationalized in the ’50s and renationalized in the ’60s. new families housed in socialist projects jumped 66% and new construction of such project housing went up 130%. i.

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

The total cost of capital write-offs and grants since World War II was given as £40. While “contracting out” was an imported idea. Yet nationalization was an economic disaster. information technology and software services. large or small. pubs) in Carlisle!1 More seriously.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Today it offers back office administration. human resources. But there had been no concerted campaign to get these loss-making behemoths out of the public sector and into private hands. and four public houses (i. necessarily placing the interests of all ahead of the interests of the few. Ireland and India. 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.000 million expressed in 1982 prices. leading to poor business performance and an ongoing drain on the Exchequer. 1 The story goes that these four pubs were the only ones in a neighbourhood where munitions workers lived. it was also a matter of exposing them to competition and the real world and developing wider public ownership of shares. The claim seemed enhanced by the war effort where the government had commandeered resources to one end. 102 . never exceeded zero. 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. at the time of grave financial crisis in 1977 Callaghan had sold off a chunk of British Petroleum (BP). Denationalization had flickered in the ’70s. The rate of return on all the state’s ventures. Heath had sold off the travel agency Thomas Cook.e.5 billion and a staff of 27. Mr. treasury and financial services. During World War I the government took them over so as to monitor and control the consumption of alcohol by these key workers.. It was not just a matter of stemming the red ink of subsidies. the Channel Islands. strategic support and more and has a turnover of $3.000 at 250 sites all over the UK. 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.

British Telecommunications 6. Everyone’s self interest became engaged in the success. Privatizing the Commanding Heights The big difference between the early 1970s and early 1980s was that the intellectual groundwork had been much better done by people who really believed in it and there was much greater political will. British Shipbuilders and Naval Docklands 7. A key strategy was to involve the workers in every case by using a variety of tactics: offers of free shares. former Chancellor Nigel Lawson sets out a decade of sales. British Petroleum 2. incentives to keep shares long term. In The View From Number 11. Britoil 4. Amersham International 3. and no limits on the number of preferential shares that could be bought — once only. Individuals no longer acted as sullen trade unionists but as active investors. National Power 103 . Enterprise Oil 5. The inventory of nationalized bodies that were brought to the market is formidable. British Airways and 9. programs that reserved a certain percent of the float for staff and pensioners. Finally there were seven others for a total of 38: 1. British Gas 8. Associated British Port Holding 5. get one free. Nine have names starting or incorporating “British” or “Brit.12. Cable and Wireless 2. British Steel Then there were eleven electricity companies and eleven water companies.” as in: 1. matching programs — buy one. British Aerospace 3. in that case. Jaguar 6. National Freight Corporation 4. discounts. These ideas neutralized or converted opposition within the state’s industries. Rolls Royce and 7.

albeit at a much slower pace. And even today. 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 . Captive markets were a guarantee of revenue — and dividends. Once private they were very much owned by the people and open to constant monitoring.” Initially it took real courage on the part of Prime Minister Thatcher and her ministers to force these rusting hulks out into the market. privatization continues around the world and even under New Labour. as the pioneers of this great movement all bask or doze on the red leather benches of the House of Lords. These flotations had to appeal to the stock market. 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.100. 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.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Every single one of these companies was transformed.200 staff in 1990. by 1995 after privatization it employed a mere 5. 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. 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. In some cases astonishing levels of over-manning were revealed as in National Power which pre-privatization employed 17. 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. As former Prime Minister Blair himself once said “What matters is what works.

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

106 . Some argued on the grounds of liberal competitive capitalism. Others saw it as a hitherto unnoticed source of revenue. Liabilities became assets.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. 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. Before these adventures under her leadership the world had only experienced the slow accretion of industries into state ownership. The British auction of its otherwise unrewarding industries was a true alchemy. it succeeded in producing the desired results. Whatever explanation one chooses.

they would “build the Tories out of London. 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.” — comment from Margaret Thatcher to the author When Prime Minister Thatcher’s father Alf was a young man.” So the percentage living in public housing began to rise from close to zero in 1900 to over 30% by the 1970s. About 90% of the population did so.13. Firstly the socialists realized that having large numbers living in public housing (or council housing as Brits call it) was a good vote-winner. Over the next few decades that was all to change. the norm in Britain was to rent one’s home privately. This was almost pure patronage for the Labour Party. the rest owned their home or were in social housing of one sort or another. This depressed the 107 .” The Conservatives had nothing to say other than to agree the gaunt municipal housing estates were the future. 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. “Vote Labour and we’ll get you a council house. As the prominent socialist and later Cabinet Minister Herbert Morrison put it so neatly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Ridley MP. nor her junior minister at the Foreign Office responsible for the issue. April 2. It is doubtful any of her Cabinet would have fought the conflict at all. The islanders did not want it (indeed. They transformed Prime Minister Thatcher’s standing in her own nation and made her into a world figure.” Americans mostly do not realize that the British had been in the Falkland Islands since 1690.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Turks and Caicos Islands. 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. 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. Under Prime Minister Thatcher he was Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1979–81). 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. 114 . after victory in the South Atlantic. 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. namely to remain loyal subjects of HM The Queen. Her staunch resolve made her quite a hero to some. Hon Nicholas Ridley was MP for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (1959-1992). Some were territorial anomalies.1 The Argentinean invasion on Friday. that the Islanders were entirely British. as she put it. that: “The aggressors should never succeed and that international law should prevail over the use of force. The islanders were unanimous — they simply wanted the status quo. From the start the war was not so much about territory and citizens — important though they were — but rather. 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. 1982 was a complete surprise to Britain. 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.

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

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

from the UN and the US State Department to the Labour Party and the British Foreign Office. where I made a $100 bet with a professor of economics. 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. but the cost in lives would be thousands. In late April. 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 far Al Haig and Francis Pym bent over. Technically I lost the bet as British casualties totaled 255 — but I was more right than wrong. I was visiting New York University. so knees began to tremble at all the usual places. 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. It was clear that both the 25 de Mayo and the Belgrano group were serious threats. 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. He said we Brits might win.14. 117 . “Diplomacy” finally came to an end on April 29. I said we would win and casualties would not exceed 250. as the British painlessly took the outlying islands of South Georgia and got daily nearer to the main target. 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. they met with nothing but Argentinean intransigence.” It was a scrappy war.886 miles away. 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. Going to War 200-mile radius and it became a top priority to block Argentina’s use of the Port Stanley Airfield. The 25 de Mayo hightailed it to port and was never seen or heard of again. and rules of engagement were issued to British submarines. However. with accompanying destroyers which were close to the Total Exclusion Zone and very well supplied with missiles — well over 300.

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. The nature of their morale was entirely different. father of the all-volunteer army in the US. 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. 17 Argentinean aircraft destroyed May 25: HMS Coventry sunk May 28: 2nd Parachute Regiment lead by Colonel H Jones takes Darwin at Goose Green. HMS Ardent (lost). in France. The result was: British dead 17 Argentinean dead 55 Argentinean surrendered 1. Milton Friedman. Its motto is “Who Dares Wins. in the air.050. By now the SAS1 and the SBS2 had arrived on the scene — I believe they had long been there supplying intelligence but now they began to strike. but she never flinched. An Exocet missile supplied by the French took out HMS Sheffield with the loss of 20 men and a Harrier jet aircraft went down. While the war continued on land. The “Argies” crumbled. and HMS Brilliant (heavily damaged) were hit and two British helicopters taken out with nine Argentinean fighters destroyed too.” 2 SBS stands for the British Navy’s Special Boat Service which specializes in water borne operations. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan met at the G7 Summit at Versailles. HMS Argonaut. As such casualties were reported. 118 . the British military leaders feared she would waver and pull back. was smiling. 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. and at sea. It is apt to register that the Argentinian soldiers were all conscripts while the British troops were all volunteers. And so it went: May 23: HMS Antelope sunk.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Not everything went smoothly. But 5.000 men had been landed. On May 21 the first British troops landed at Port San Carlos with no loss but as daylight came three British ships.

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


and indeed they had done so only a decade earlier. Prime Minister Thatcher’s massive 1983 victory (144 majority) outraged the Left. I think it possible that her defeat of General Galtieri emboldened her to take on the mineworkers with a robustness she may otherwise not have shown. As early as September 1981 Energy Secretary Nigel Lawson — a brilliant man — quietly began building up what became massive coal stocks.” “These few men are the wreckers in our midst. in particular Arthur Scargill. They had an aura of invincibility. had twice defeated Ted Heath (see Chapter 6) and they held a special place in the political landscape. 1 Ian MacGregor was born in Scotland but had immigrated to the USA. They could bring down a government. Peter Walker became Energy Secretary and Ian MacGregor1. who spent most of his working life in the US. the Marxist leader of the NUM who was soon talking about not needing to wait until the next election to get rid of her. supported by most of organized Labour.15. became Chairman of the National Coal Board. Then in the fall of 1983 two key moves were made. which is much more difficult but just as dangerous. In 1976 the then Labour government had brought him back to try to sort out a nationalized 121 . Beating the Miners “We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands and now we have to fight the enemy within. not at the pit heads but rather at the power stations.” Arthur Scargill’s flying pickets.

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

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

the major oil companies. From being a menace and a threat who intimidated the nation Arthur Scargill was reduced to being an object of derision. illiteracy. 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.e.” In 1996. to save the local hospital.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady doned Clause IV1 in its quest to become electable. Scargill founded the Socialist Labour Party.” And at the same time a policy of nationalizing “Britain’s banks. along with the major insurance companies and other industries. 124 . which despite having only 2. which recorded over £20 billion profits in 2000.07% of the popular vote despite standing in only one constituency with one policy. 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. it also embraced Margaret Thatcher’s economic reforms including privatization and the reforms that had finally brought the unions under the rule of law. disease. Scargill saw New Labour as “a willing handmaiden to multinational corporations and bodies like the International Monetary Fund which preside over global poverty. government ownership) of most of the business sector. war and pollution.” With these types of policies it is no surprise they do so badly in elections as they are clearly completely out of touch with public opinion and some would say reality.958 individual members has still managed to have several internal wars between the membership resulting in some factions being expelled by Scargill. getting only 0. 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. a post-Margaret Thatcher audience simply laughs — treating his comments as a trip down memory lane.. after abandoning the Labour Party.07% of the popular vote. To put that in context a local party called the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern got 0. an entertaining show put on by an affable and now harmless museum piece. William Hague.” 1 This was the clause in its constitution which committed it to public ownership (i. Prime Minister Thatcher had illustrated once again her Iron Lady credentials. Their impact on the 2005 election was negligible.

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


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

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

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

This remains in contrast to the constricted nature of French or German employment policies. 130 .Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady feature of the sudden surge in British industrial vitality.

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

Even many friends of Britain. ’80s and even early ’90s. 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. when more troops moved in to tend to the wounded. This is false. Nicholas Knatchbull and crew member Paul Maxwell. also visiting the hospital where the 1 Recently converted into a branch of Pret A Manger. Americans included. the Hon. the second bomb was exploded. The first bomb was set off by remote control and then. Thatcher had barely gotten the Prime Ministerial seat warm when on August Bank Holiday Monday (August 27) the IRA murdered Lord Mountbatten (the Queen’s cousin) and three others: the Dowager Baroness Brabourne. which is what most of the Protestant majority want. 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. 132 . 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. Mrs. In central London at least that was not the case for large parts of the ’70s. If anything the Ulster Protestants are Scots not English. The very same day eighteen soldiers were killed at Warren Point in a two bomb pincer movement. or Northern Ireland. she flew less than 48 hours later unannounced and wearing a flak jacket to the hotbed of “bandit country” in South Armagh. not violence. is often caricatured as an English colony. Prime Minister Thatcher’s reaction was threefold. Ulster. Prime Minister Thatcher refused to compromise to the demands of terrorists. are unaware that the island of Ireland has two divergent peoples. It is easy to forget. First.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady in a public corner is not immediately a cause to clear everyone out. Four others were injured as a bomb blew apart Mountbatten’s boat off the Irish coast. she wrote a personal note to all the families involved. Second.

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

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

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

Ian Gow and Airey Neave always stir in her memories when Northern Ireland is the topic of conversation.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. politically and religiously to the Unionist cause. philosophically. However it can be seen as a stepping stone en route to the Good Friday Agreement of April 10. 1998 and the St Andrews Agreement of October 13. For someone so deeply attached personally. it was a remarkable achievement for Prime Minister Thatcher. 136 . Unionists hated it. The IRA hated it. 2006 which lead to power sharing in a devolved Assembly at Stormont today. she often admits that the murders of her three Tory colleagues Anthony Berry. Her close friend and former PPS Ian Gow (later to be murdered by the IRA) resigned over it. Republicans hated it. 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

Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady

This was a time when her fellow citizens were being trained to squat under their desks if and when the Russian bombs fell. And she was deeply influenced by the likes of dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn and academic Bob Conquest. On gaining power in 1979, Prime Minister Thatcher inherited a defense posture that had been gravely weakened by five successive cuts in spending. It reduced new modern equipment and kept the forces’ pay levels beneath those of the civilian population. The British military services were demoralized. There was also the very evident contrast with the British presence in Western Germany, meant to deter the Red Army, living in straitened circumstances amongst the affluent Germans. The “Iron Lady” sobriquet had come on January 31, 1976, when she spoke at Kensington Town Hall. To the Leader of the Opposition the overarching role of any government is to protect its people. She questioned whether the current government was doing that as it seemed to be cutting back on defense just as threats were rising to new heights. She reported that military sources had told her that the “balance” was shifting in favor of Russia and her allies. She accused the Labour Party of just not listening; they were blind to the fact that Russian weapons could be pointed at the UK! She wondered if “some people in the Labour Party think we are on the same side as the Russians?” According to her, the Soviets were not in the business of self-defense. Their leaders were out to build “the foremost naval and military power in the world.” She spoke as someone who faced what seemed to be an implacable and rapidly-arming enemy. She relentlessly offered the opinion that a huge land mass like Russia really did not need to build the world’s biggest navy. She turned her fire on the old men in the politburo: “They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns.” Of course, she did have the guns of Washington to back her up. She then elaborated her view that Russia’s “utterly lame” economic performance and its “brutalization” of its subject peoples had seemed to nourish military priorities for the Soviet leadership. 142

19. Kicking Down the Wall

She cited figures demonstrating that the USSR was outspending the US and by how much, and she warned that there were some indications the USSR had overtaken the US in military might. To her, “the United States is still the prime champion of freedom” and it was to the US and NATO she now looked. In particular she sympathized with a post-Vietnam America (also in an election year) and called on NATO allies to do more. A Conservative government led by a Prime Minister called Thatcher would play a “special role,” she promised. There came a time when her view of the Red Army appeared to be inflated, but even in the early ’80s it was good politics to be emphatic about the Soviet Union. She continued to compare the UK’s levels of defense spending with other NATO countries in very critical terms. Many felt that the UK’s lack of financial power was caused by socialism. As she wound down, she said:
“But let us be clear about one thing. “This is not a moment when anyone with the interests of this country at heart should be talking about cutting our defenses. “It is a time when we urgently need to strengthen our defenses. “Of course this places a burden on us. But it is one that we must be willing to bear if we want our freedom to survive.”

She went on:
“Throughout our history, we have carried the torch for freedom. Now, as I travel the world, I find people asking again and again, ‘What has happened to Britain?’ They want to know why we are hiding our heads in the sand, why with all our experience, we are not giving a lead.”

Her core message remained that she believed in a foreign policy based on a close understanding with the United States. She argued it was an affinity between the Anglo-Saxon nations as well as the formal alliance of NATO. The moment had come for her party to sound a warning — the UK/ US were at a historical crossroads. She ended pleading:
“Let’s ensure that our children will have cause to rejoice that we did not forsake their freedom.”


containment policies notwithstanding. Margaret Thatcher MP. It was primarily the Army that was deployed. however. Prime Minister Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. 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. Chequers. Labour as we know it will never rule again. “I am cautiously optimistic. Many economists associated with the IEA had long voiced serious worries about waste and environmental degradation. Arthur Seldon CBE wrote in the Times on the August 6. 1980: “China will go capitalist.” To Mrs.” Guided by her Cabinet colleague Peter Walker. it was never a question of “if” the Soviet Union would collapse but rather “when. felt that their chief rival was still strong enough to be a problem.” With the death of Chernenko in 1985 and Gorbachev’s rise to the leadership she found herself in a very special situation. she famously declared to John Cole of the BBC. as when Reagan visited the UK in 1982 and proclaimed to its politicians: 144 . We can do business together. Margaret Thatcher was not alone in describing the USSR as an economic failure and in believing it had to collapse one day. Indeed the Institute’s editorial director Dr. Soviet Russia will not survive the century. she met future Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the funeral of Yuri Andropov and quickly invited him to London.500 miles to the east. a little curiously. Gorbachev.000 miles to the west and a growing acquaintance with the President of the USSR 1. some said. It is apt to be reminded the British armed forces were engaged throughout her leadership in a low level civil war in Northern Ireland. The “Troubles” in Northern Ireland meant British soldiers were trained in danger and combat and. Both employed rhetoric to build support for stronger measures. would return to German postings for rest and recreation. Stalin and Roosevelt. After long discussions at her official country weekend home.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady The Iron Lady tag was meant to be offensive and to denigrate her. Shades of Churchill. enjoying a deep friendship with the US President 3. I like Mr.

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

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

Slovenia and Malta. Hungary. 147 . 2004 ten new countries2 with a combined population of 74 million became members of the European Union. Slovakia. Latvia.” “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. Before turning to Prime Minister Thatcher and the EU. This meant that the EU had a population more than 50 per cent larger than that of the United States. Estonia. really is.20.1 On May 1. And when Romania and Bulgaria joined on January 1. 2006. 2 The new members are Cyprus. let’s take time to understand just what the latter. Lithuania. in the view of the author. Poland. 1 Based on a speech given by the author at The Heritage Foundation. on September 28. Washington DC. 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. the Czech Republic. 2007. bringing the total EU population to 454 million. 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. Dealing with Brussels “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady strengths and global destiny. As the “free market” Common Market metamorphosed into the institutions described above so more and more Tories began to move against it. should ever have become part of it will appear a political error of the first magnitude. 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. There are a handful of Labour and Liberal Democrats with EU concerns. 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 Tory Party however is different. but not many. The EU does pose a real challenge today for her Party. Polls suggest 63% of grass root Tory Party members and a majority of Tory MPs are Eurosceptic.

well.21. They flinched when she proclaimed in 1989 that she was “fit for 10 more years. and. After nearly a decade in office and well over a decade as Party Leader. if they attack one personally. she was an even more senior. 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. she had just lost her first nationwide vote in June 1989 for the latter. and you would achieve nothing. she was 3 and 0 in General Election victories1. there were many who owed their entire career to her. 155 . but equally many who felt overlooked. you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time.” To most Americans the sudden departure of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in late 1990 was and still is a matter of great puzzlement. Resignation “If you just set out to be liked. She was never defeated at the polls. And she never lost a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. 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. it means they have not a single political argument left. 1983 and 1987 and European Elections in 1979 and 1984.” although many close to her thought she would win a fourth general election and then retire. “Have the Brits gone mad?” many Americans asked me. 1 While she had won UK General Elections in 1979.

for example. Sir Anthony Meyer MP. a complete unknown. Her critics say the decline started as early as 1985 with the so-called Westland affair. Later he would chair all manner of groups campaigning to abridge British sovereignty by joining the EU. making sure the minister is kept well informed of backbench opinion on his or her performance. the poll tax. the loss of Howe and then Lawson. the French rewarded him with a medal. 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. her Bruges speech. An appointment as a PPS is seen as the first rung on the ladder towards ministerial office. His career had peaked in the early 1970s when he had been a Parliamentary Private Secretary1 (PPS) at a minor department. with a hereditary title and inherited wealth. ran against her for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Meyer was the antithesis of Thatcher. The young Mrs. Critics trace that one incident through her increasingly presidential style. and she supposedly did not trust any man with a beard. 156 . Meyer was resoundingly humiliated on December 5. PPSs are expected to vote with the government and to keep a low profile in the House. bad by-election results to Sir Anthony Meyer. There was ample of time for the numbers of the disaffected. be a member of a select committee or table an amendment to a Government Bill. If a week is a long time in politics (as Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said). In 1989. 1 A PPS acts as a minister’s eyes and ears in Parliament. he’d spent years in the Foreign Office in the days when it was leaking secrets to Moscow. then fifteen years as leader and eleven as Prime Minister must seem like eons.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady It is said she never promoted an MP with a beard — there were three. Thatcher MP herself jumped this bottom rung. disappointed and disreputable to grow. when Michael Heseltine favored a European rescue and Leon Brittan favored the US firm Sikorsky. 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. A PPS cannot. Eton educated.

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

Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady rested on that day alone and the damage costs exceeded $800. writing: “I do so [resign] with very great regret. centrist. top-down vision of a European superstate. 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. the issue which still splits the Conservative Party in two to this day. Almost sixteen years have passed since you asked me to serve as Shadow Chancellor. 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. head of the European Commission and his federalist. 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. 1 Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) is an infectious degenerative brain disease occurring in cattle. There was a host of other minor problems such as a new burst of price increases. a BSE1 scare and a continental beef ban. high interest rates. It can be transferred to humans. It has been a privilege and an honour for me to have contributed to that success. against the odds. Your own strong leadership has been of crucial importance in making this possible. who had been her first brilliant Chancellor. riots in a prison in the northern city of Manchester. Even Tories with safe seats trembled at such a Labour lead.000. Prime Minister Thatcher launched a vigorous attack on Jacques Delors. He resigned the very next day. to rebuild the economic and political strength of our nation. 158 . in the House of Commons. Since then we have done so much together. On October 31. but the real clincher was the European Union. It was clear that such civil unrest was affecting Prime Minister Thatcher’s standing in the party and in the polls.

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

the overlooked and the cowardly. 1 Westland was a British Helicopter firm that was going bust. 160 . a major publishing company. he was also ambitious. he was wealthy having founded and built up Haymarket. It was not to be. 201 is a simple majority but if. This is crucial in understanding what happened to Prime Minister Thatcher. 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. say. While Thatcher wanted the American firm Sikorski Fiat to take over the company. 2 Years later the author asked him. “What are you doing these days?” “Writing a biography. 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. He was experienced. This was serious stuff even if he was a complete corporatist and not the sharpest blade in the kitchen2. 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. Prominent leftist Michael Heseltine (who had left her government in typically flamboyant style over the Westland Affair1 in 1986) rapidly moved to challenge her. photogenic and a rallying point for the Left. This is a small change but it led to momentous events. “My own!” he said. it had been changed from 15% of those voting to 15% of those entitled to vote. totally intrigued. the dumped. “But isn’t that an autobiography?” I said. He was a big man in the jungle of politics. “Whose?” I asked. Heseltine (at the time the Defense Minister) preferred a European consortium’s rescue package.3” There had also been that very significant rule change regarding the margin needed for victory on the first round. twenty people abstained or spoiled their ballots then according to the 1965 rules the margin had to be 15% of 380.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady The timing could hardly have been worse. 3 See previous explanation in Chapter 8.” he replied. despite the shareholders preferring the Sikorski deal. whereas in 1990 it had to be 15% of 400 — 57 versus 60. Take an easy example of 400 MPs. Unlike the nondescript Meyer. With his shock of brushed back long blond hair he was known as Tarzan. In a two-horse race.

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

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

Many felt that a Prime Minister should be forced out of office only by either Parliament (vote of confidence) or a General Election. love. Davis in particular warned her that her support was not crumbling. John Townend MP. battered and bruised by this chorus of naysayers. “Don’t go on.” A major chapter of British history had ended. 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. “The only people peddling that line were the people who had voted for Heseltine” observed Davis! The next day. Resignation MP. November 27.” had been the advice of her ever loyal Denis. 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. she withdrew. The second round took place on Tuesday. George Gardiner MP and Edward Leigh MP. 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.21. The oft heard line “Oh. and the result was: John Major Michael Heseltine Douglas Hurd Majority Turnout 185 131 56 54 372 Technically Major (“the best of a very poor bunch” she reportedly said) was just short on both conditions for winning (as he did not get an absolute majority or a 15% majority over his nearest rival) but Heseltine and Hurd withdrew making a third ballot unnecessary. Chris Chope MP. 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. 163 .


Prime Minister1. That’s nearly half as long again as any American president can be president of the United States. Thatcher expressed a desire to stay in politics — however. which was pretty much her prerogative as a former Prime Minister. Even today 6 years after being told by her doctors to slow down and take it easy she has a busy diary and even complained to me in my role as Director General of the IEA recently “you don’t invite me here often enough!” Yes.” The idea of Mrs. Thatcher actually retiring is laughable to those who know her. The only post-war Prime Ministers not to have taken a 1 In the UK former Prime Ministers are normally referred to as Mr. as a member of the House of Lords. this was rich indeed. X or Sir Y or Lord Z.22. Retirement “I had the marvellous privilege of being there for 11½. Sixteen months after leaving Downing Street she would step down as MP for Finchley at the April ’92 General Election.” 165 . Margaret Thatcher is unique in that many people still address her as “Prime Minister. Mrs.” 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. 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. nearly 12 years.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

He was charged with contravening two sections of the RSA’s Foreign Military Assistance Act. The result was a 391 page book outlining every episode from the arms deals in the Middle East to construction contracts in the Gulf to the coup in Equatorial Guinea. not Margaret) gave some interesting insights to British press: ŪŪ Mark has a short attention span and does not “think straight”. Michael will one day be the 3rd Thatcher Baronet. two investigative journalists from the UK. ŪŪ Despite all the scandals he is still his mom’s “blue-eyed boy”. an equally rich suburb of Dallas. Texas. Michael (born 1989) and Amanda Margaret (born 1993). After his arrest in South Africa and now armed with a criminal record. and to show him Christian humility does not include being his personal doormat”. Family In 1987 he married the car dealership heiress Diane Burgdorf in Dallas. decided to catalogue all of his business deals and attempts at a career. 2004 in Constantia. Mark eventually made a deal. ŪŪ “If I was struggling with bags at an airport. 179 . By this time Mark Thatcher’s dealings had become so newsworthy that Mark Hollingsworth and Paul Halloran. where he was representing the Lotus car company.” He was finally arrested August 25. he’d look back at me impatiently”. ŪŪ “I want closure with Mark Thatcher. paid a fine of $500. 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. he was refused entry back to the US and went home to mom in London. Texas. He was bailed and put under house arrest while his wife and children returned home to Highland Park.000 and received a four-year suspended sentence. Specifically he was thought to have funded the purchase of a helicopter to be used in a military coup in Equatorial Guinea. Divorce soon followed and Lady Thatcher (Diane. 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”. ŪŪ Mark called his mother “Prime Minister” even in private.23. They had two children. a very rich suburb of Cape Town.

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. sister of Viscountess Rothermere. eleven months after divorcing his first wife. his mom “hand washed all of Mark’s shirts. Her opinion matters more than mine and he enjoyed her company more that mine. 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. ŪŪ “Mark used to refer to moments like that as ‘little spurts of mothering’. pressed them and folded them neatly in little plastic bags for traveling”. California and confronting him and his latest lover.” One wonders how Baroness (Margaret) Thatcher got on with her forthright now ex-daughter in law Lady (Diane) Thatcher. After all.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady ŪŪ When Mark and Diane visited and stayed at 10 Downing Street in 1987. A week earlier the government of Equatorial Guinea had issued an international warrant for Mark’s arrest. 180 . secretly tailing him to a hotel in Santa Monica.

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

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

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

They knew in their hearts that the former was doomed and that the latter was the only road ahead. I look forward to working closely with you and with your colleagues in your new Administration. Roosevelt. 1989. was to write a letter of thanks to Prime Minister Thatcher on January 11. 184 . 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. 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. And early in their relationship he said that their friendship made the “special relationship stronger than ever. 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. his last official act. 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.” 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.” He won the Cold War “without firing a shot…not without a little help from his friends. 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.” And then there was Ronald Reagan. I look forward to an early opportunity of discussing with you the urgent problems which we all face. play a crucial role in strengthening cooperation within the alliance. They became so close that the very last thing President Reagan did as President. I believe. on your victory in the presidential election? Remembering our meeting in London in 1978. “one of the greatest men of our time. and those of my colleagues in the British Government. And on Reagan being elected as the US President she sent him a letter of congratulations saying: “May I send you my warmest congratulations. 2 Margaret was so struck by Denis’s enthusiasm that she obtained a copy of Reagan’s speech.” 1 At the suggestion of Justin Dart (as in Walgreens). You will be assuming the presidency at a time when the close friendship between our two countries can.Margaret Thatcher — A Portrait of the Iron Lady Ronald “One of the greatest men of our time. which I hope will be soon.

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

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

Alan “You know what you can do best. “Not if she sees him coming he doesn’t. Powell would be invited to concur with the Sherman thesis that the Conservatives were being over cautious or over timid. As Powell sat then as an Ulster Unionist. Mrs. When asked in 1987 if Sherman still had the Prime Minister’s ear the then Conservative Party Chairman Norman Tebbit replied. 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. to bring back in an official role a person that the last Tory 187 . and you know what needs doing. Thatcher admired him and it was said that while 97% of what he wrote was beyond the pale 3% was pure gold. Sherman also hosted a curious weekly breakfast conspiracy with Enoch Powell and Keith Joseph in a humble café near Victoria Station. 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. Keith described him as the “hair shirt” of the Conservative Party while he (Sherman) claims that he “invented Margaret Thatcher” and without him “Mr. Mr. Alan served as her personal economic adviser from 1981–1984 and again in 1989. Sir Alfred was a welcome exception. He did so invariably. Heath would still be leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. this was an oddity. but remained a ‘friend of the family’ throughout her time as Prime Minister.” He was an utterly irascible man — very difficult indeed and by 1984 he was sacked. This was a rather bold move by her. not as a Tory. Alfred Sherman only ever upbraided.” He was brilliant but difficult. British politics is mostly inhabited by the smooth and the mannerly.” Sir Alan Walters was throughout the Thatcher era one of her most trusted and senior advisers. Courtiers flatter.24. Men becoming one of the co-founders of the Centre for Policy Studies with Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher. Alfred Sherman was probably of greater influence in the Opposition years but he acted as a sort of conscience for her when she was Prime Minister. He wrote many of Keith’s speeches and did much to stimulate Margaret Thatcher’s thinking.

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

After two years in the military. His Dad was an active communist. hired by Antony Fisher. Alan went back to his mentor. lectured at St. In January 1957.24. Ralph “It is primarily your foundation work which enabled us to rebuild the philosophy upon which our Party succeeded. Alan enrolled locally to do an external degree from London University and became the first external student ever (and possibly since) to garner the highest grades of all the students. the dividing line between a white collar career and a blue collar one. albeit part time. in that case you had better study economics as it starts from the basis of no prior knowledge. He then worked for the Conservative Party.” —Margaret Thatcher to Lord Harris. 189 . Ralph came from a modest working class home in Tottenham. the dad was hired and Alan got his diploma. The boss agreed. but a teacher in his secondary modern school saw real talent and encouraged him. “No — everything I knew has been drilled out of me. “I think I want to become a teacher. North London. Andrews University and wrote leaders for the Glasgow Herald before heading south back to London. Alan failed the British 11+ exam. “Do you know anything about anything?” his former teacher replied. Both came from modest backgrounds in the deeply provincial East Midlands. 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. 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. It was the first time any external student had topped all the internal ones. employee of the newly created Institute of Economic Affairs. About the age he should have been leaving school (say. 14) Alan’s brother was drafted. Finally. Both were natural fighters. “Well. he became the first. Lord Harris of High Cross.” he said. There was a natural affinity between Alan and the Prime Minister. but perhaps most fundamentally.” was the answer. there was Ralph Harris. Men Alan was a remarkable man. at the end of World War II.

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

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

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

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

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

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


26. ŪŪ She enfranchised millions of former local authority serfs through the right to buy public housing. Every one of us can make a difference. She was the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century and so had 11½ years to get the job done. 197 . Ten Lessons “We must never be prepared simply to accept the “received wisdom” of those who claim to be wiser. ŪŪ She made Brits walk tall again with a principled. firm and robust approach to foreign relations. ŪŪ She privatized the commanding heights of the economy thus transforming their fortunes and starting a worldwide movement. we can find new ways to revivify our policies and to forge a brighter future for ourselves and for our children. brought it back under the rule of law and gave it back to its members. And by returning to our basic principles and beliefs.” Lady Thatcher’s legacy is far reaching. ŪŪ She taught us the need for monetary continence if we wish to enjoy low inflation. 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.

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

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

in this case based on a Spitting Image TV cartoon. She worried about abolishing exchange controls. would you like an appetizer? Prawn Cocktail. please. 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.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. please. Prime Minister. please. The next is 100% apocryphal but instructive nonetheless. Prime Minister. please. T: Waiter: Mrs. At the Café Royal Margaret Thatcher sat at the head of the table with say 20 men in suits down each side. The story goes that in 1989 her cabinet and senior staff held a private dinner on the 10th anniversary of her becoming prime minister. please. for your main course? A steak. she was not sure about public housing sales at deep 200 . Waiter: Mrs. And she was not always the hard driving freemarket radical portrayed so often today. some potatoes? Roasted. “But Margaret wasn’t the foreman on that job. Prime Minister. they’ll all have steak too! That was the perception. Prime Minister. what about the vegetables? Oh. T: Waiter: Mrs.” That is a true story. in reality she was a better listener than usually given credit for. T: Waiter: Mrs.” called the new MP. “Rome wasn’t built in a day. “Yes. how do you like your steak? Rare. T: Prime Minister. Prime Minister. T: Waiter: Mrs.” he added.” cried the young minister over his shoulder. “Slow down. what kind of steak? Sirloin.

I said. All of the great privatizations included special staff deals — hence the disproportionate boost among union members. and some privatizations unnerved her a little.” she replied — “people will not value it unless they pay something for it. Just mail them the deeds. She once said “popular capitalism is nothing less than a crusade to enfranchise the many in the economic life of the nation. 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. 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. I was in my element. In the late ’70s I told her to give it all away to the sitting tenants. “No. By contrast.… I was also passionately interested in the technical developments and strategic implications. Ten Lessons discounts feeling those already on the housing ladder might rebel.26. Likewise with privatization where the shares were very widely spread and quickly appreciated. 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. As noted earlier general public ownership of shares went from 7% to 23% while ownership by trade union members went from 6% to 29%. Home ownership soared as nearly 3 million units changed hands under this scheme. 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 .” A couple of years later she launched the right to buy.” Take public housing.” (4) She championed policies that went with rather than against the grain of human nature. Laid back generalists from the foreign office — let alone the ministerial muddlers in charge of them — could not be relied upon. We conservatives are returning power to the people.

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

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

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

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


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

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

978 Conservative majority of 3.614 25.73% 1974 Finchley 12.33% 1970 Finchley 14. Table of Margaret Thatcher’s Elections* Constituency Did Not Fight Dartford Dartford Did Not Fight Finchley 13.789 24.701 29.878 Conservative majority of 9.580 21.260 Conservative majority of 8.011 N/A 24.334 Conservative Winning Party and Majority Year 1945 1950 1951 1955 1959 Labour Liberal Turnout 1964 Finchley 12.587 7.437 12.040 5.40% * Strict comparisons are not possible because of the constituency boundary changes 209 .603 69.918 71.697 80.22% Labour majority of 13.070 23.480 65.913 38.504 13.30% 1974 Finchley 12.802 Conservative majority of 9.05% 1987 1992 Finchley Did Not Fight 12.254 20.490 27.408 15.46% 1979 Finchley 13.302 7.185 Conservative majority of 5.221 18.616 69.763 19.314 Conservative majority of 8.128 40.094 5.638 Labour majority of 12.464 Conservative majority of 11.81% 1983 Finchley 10.51% 85.Postscript: What Remains to be Done Appendix I.78% Conservative majority of 16.295 7.384 16.591 78.498 69.690 5.180 77.202 11.18% 1966 Finchley 14.968 75.760 85.911 Conservative majority of 7.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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