Margaret Thatcher

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If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher (born 13 October 1925) was the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1979-1990).

Sourced

Backbench MP

  • In considering our traditional ties with the Commonwealth we should remember that it now differs greatly from the entity which existed 20 or 30 years ago. Many of us do not feel quite the same allegiance to Archbishop Makarios or Doctor Nkrumah or to people like Jomo Kenyatta as we do towards Mr. Menzies of Australia.

Education Secretary

Shadow Secretary for Environment

  • I wish I could say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had done himself less than justice. Unfortunately, I can only say that I believe he has done himself justice. Some Chancellors are macro-economic. Other Chancellors are fiscal. This one is just plain cheap.

Leader of the Opposition

  • She's ruled by a dictatorship of patient, far-sighted determined men who are rapidly making their country the foremost naval and military power in the world. They are not doing this solely for the sake of self-defence. A huge, largely land-locked country like Russia does not need to build the most powerful navy in the world just to guard its own frontiers. No. The Russians are bent on world dominance, and they are rapidly acquiring the means to become the most powerful imperial nation the world has seen. The men in the Soviet politburo don't have to worry about the ebb and flow of public opinion. They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns. They know that they are a super power in only one sense—the military sense. They are a failure in human and economic terms.
My job is to stop Britain going red.
  • My job is to stop Britain going red.
    • Statement (3 November 1977)
  • I hate extremes of any kind. Communism and the National Front both seek the domination of the state over the individual. They both, I believe crush the right of the individual. To me, therefore, they are parties of a similar kind. All my life I have stood against banning Communism or other extremist organisations because, if you do that, they go underground and it gives them an excitement that they don't get if they are allowed to pursue their policies openly. We'll beat them into the ground on argument... The National Front is a Socialist Front.
  • I can't bear Britain in decline. I just can't.
    • Interviewed by Michael Cockerell for BBC TV's Campaign '79 (27 April, 1979).

First term as Prime Minister

  • Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.
  • I have thought long and deeply about the post of Foreign Secretary and have decided to offer it to Peter Carrington who – as I am sure you will agree – will do the job superbly.
    • Edward Heath, "The Course of My Life" (Hodder and Stoughton, 1998), p. 574.
    • Letter written on 4 May 1979 to Edward Heath, who had been hoping for the job of Foreign Secretary in Thatcher's government.
  • We are not asking for a penny piece of Community money for Britain. What we are asking is for a very large amount of our own money back, over and above what we contribute to the Community, which is covered by our receipts from the Community.
    • Statement at a press conference when she was trying to renegotiate Britain's EEC budget contribution at the EEC Summit in Dublin (30 November 1979). Often quoted as "I want my money back".
  • Gentlemen, there is nothing sweeter than success, and you boys have got it!
    • Her comment to the SAS group, at 9.45 p.m. soon after Operation Nimrod (5 May, 1980)]
  • To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. [laughter] The lady's not for turning.
  • My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.
    • The News of the World (20 September, 1981)
  • Defeat—I do not recognise the meaning of the word!
    • The Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins
    • This was Thatcher's response when, prior to the Falklands War, she was told that engaging Britain in such a seemingly irrelevant conflict thousands of miles from Europe could result in defeat.
  • The right hon. Gentleman is afraid of an election is he? Oh, if I were going to cut and run I'd have gone after the Falklands. Afraid? Frightened? Frit? Couldn't take it? Couldn't stand it? Right now inflation is lower than it has been for thirteen years, a record the right hon. Gentleman couldn't begin to touch!

Second term as Prime Minister

Socialists cry "Power to the people", and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean—power over people, power to the State.
  • It was a lovely morning. We have not had many lovely days. And the sun was just coming through the stained glass windows and falling on some flowers right across the church and it just occurred to me that this was the day I was meant not to see.
  • I personally have always voted for the death penalty because I believe that people who go out prepared to take the lives of other people forfeit their own right to live. I believe that that death penalty should be used only very rarely, but I believe that no-one should go out certain that no matter how cruel, how vicious, how hideous their murder, they themselves will not suffer the death penalty.
  • I have made it quite clear — and so did Mr Prior when he was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland — that a unified Ireland was one solution. That is out. A second solution was confederation of two states. That is out. A third solution was joint authority. That is out. That is a derogation from sovereignty.
  • 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.
  • Don't you think that's the way to persuade more companies to come to this region and get more jobs—because I want them—for the people who are unemployed. Not always standing there as moaning minnies. Now stop it!
  • From France to the Phillipines, from Jamaica to Japan, from Malaysia to Mexico, from Sri Lanka to Singapore, privatisation is on the move...The policies we have pioneered are catching on in country after country. We Conservatives believe in popular capitalism—believe in a property-owning democracy. And it works! ... The great political reform of the last century was to enable more and more people to have a vote. Now the great Tory reform of this century is to enable more and more people to own property. Popular capitalism is nothing less than a crusade to enfranchise the many in the economic life of the nation. We Conservatives are returning power to the people. That is the way to one nation, one people.
  • In a decision of the utmost gravity, Labour voted to give up Britain's independent nuclear deterrent unilaterally. Labour's defence policy—though "defence" is scarcely the word—is an absolute break with the defence policy of every British Government since the Second World War. Let there be no doubt about the gravity of that decision. You cannot be a loyal member of NATO while disavowing its fundamental strategy. A Labour Britain would be a neutralist Britain. It would be the greatest gain for the Soviet Union in forty years. And they would have got it without firing a shot.
  • A world without nuclear weapons may be a dream but you cannot base a sure defence on dreams. Without far greater trust and confidence between East and West than exists at present, a world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.
  • I, along with something like 5 million other people, insure to enable me to go into hospital on the day I want; at the time I want, and with a doctor I want.

Third term as Prime Minister

  • (The Community Charge is) the flagship of the Thatcher fleet.
    • David Butler, Andrew Adonis and Tony Travers, "Failure in British government: the politics of the poll tax" (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1994)
    • Remarks to Conservative backbench MPs, July 1987
  • "They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours."
    • Interview on (23 September 1987), published in Woman's Own (31 October, 1987). The original context was a remark on "people constantly requesting government intervention", but it is usually quoted out of context. The sentiment and wording resembles a quote from libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick (qv).
  • The freedom of peoples depends fundamentally on the rule of law, a fair legal system. The place to have trials or accusations is a court of law, the Common Law that has come right up from Magna Carta, which has come right up through the British courts—a court of law is the place where you deal with these matters. If you ever get trial by television or guilt by accusation, that day freedom dies because you have not had it done with all of the careful rules that have developed in a court of law. Press and television rely on freedom. Those who rely on freedom must uphold the rule of law and have a duty and a responsibility to do so and not try to substitute their own system for it.
  • Mr. Chairman, you have invited me to speak on the subject of Britain and Europe. Perhaps I should congratulate you on your courage. If you believe some of the things said and written about my views on Europe, it must seem rather like inviting Genghis Khan to speak on the virtues of peaceful coexistence! ...The European Community is one manifestation of that European identity, but it is not the only one. We must never forget that east of the Iron Curtain, peoples who once enjoyed a full share of European culture, freedom and identity have been cut off from their roots. We shall always look on Warsaw, Prague and Budapest as great European cities...To try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging and would jeopardise the objectives we seek to achieve. Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European personality...it is ironic that just when those countries such as the Soviet Union, which have tried to run everything from the centre, are learning that success depends on dispersing power and decisions away from the centre, there are some in the Community who seem to want to move in the opposite direction. We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.
  • Human rights did not begin with the French Revolution...[they] really stem from a mixture of Judaism and Christianity...[we English] had 1688, our quiet revolution, where Parliament exerted its will over the King...it was not the sort of Revolution that France's was...'Liberty, equality, fraternity' — they forgot obligations and duties I think. And then of course the fraternity went missing for a long time.
    • On the French Revolution; quoted in '"Les droits de l'homme n'ont pas commencé en France," nous déclare Mme Thatcher', Le Monde (11 July, 1989)
  • Imagine a Labour canvasser talking on the doorstep to those East German families when they settle in, on freedom's side of the wall. "You want to keep more of the money you earn? I'm afraid that's very selfish. We shall want to tax that away. You want to own shares in your firm? We can't have that. The state has to own your firm. You want to choose where to send your children to school? That's very divisive. You'll send your child where we tell you."
  • It seems like cloud cuckoo land... If anyone is suggesting that I would go to Parliament and suggest the abolition of the pound sterling — no! ... We have made it quite clear that we will not have a single currency imposed on us.
    • To the media immediately after the EEC Rome summit meeting (28 October, 1990); as reported in A Conservative Coup: The Fall of Margaret Thatcher (1992) by Alan Watkins.
  • The President of the Commission, M. Delors, said at a press conference the other day that he wanted the European Parliament to be the democratic body of the Community, he wanted the Commission to be the Executive and he wanted the Council of Ministers to be the Senate. No. No. No.
  • I am still at the crease, though the bowling has been pretty hostile of late. And in case anyone doubted it, can I assure you there will be no ducking the bouncers, no stonewalling, no playing for time. The bowling's going to get hit all round the ground. That is my style.
  • Paddy Ashdown: ...this is an agreement which the right hon. Lady will be entitled to regard with a certain pride and satisfaction as she looks back on the twilight days of her premiership...
  • Margaret Thatcher: ...The first eleven and a half years have not been so bad—and with regard to a twilight, please remember that there are 24 hours in a day.

Post-Prime Ministerial

  • It is a great night. It is the end of Socialism.
    • On hearing the results of the 1992 general election (9 April, 1992), as reported in The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume Two (2000) by Woodrow Wyatt.
  • The trouble with you John, is that your spine does not reach your brain.
    • On Conservative backbencher John Whittingdale after being summoned to her room to urge MPs to vote against the Maastricht Treaty. Whittingdale was reported to have emerged from the room in tears. (The Times 26 November, 1992.)
  • We could have stopped this, we could still do so... But for the most part, we in the west have actually given comfort to the aggressor.
    • On Western non-intervention in Bosnia, as reported in 'Thatcher warns of "Holocaust" risk in Bosnia appeal' by Anthony Bevins and Stephen Goodwin in The Independent (17 December, 1992)
  • [It is a] killing field of the like of which I thought we would never see in Europe again [and is] not worthy of Europe, not worthy of the west and not worthy of the United States... This is happening in the heart of Europe and we have not done more to stop it. It is in Europe's sphere of influence. It should be in Europe's sphere of conscience... We are little more than an accomplice to massacre.
    • After UK Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd claimed lifting the arms embargo to Bosnians would create a "level killing field", as reported in 'Thatcher says massacre brings shame on west' by Philip Webster and Robert Morgan in The Times (14 April, 1993)
  • Douglas, Douglas, you would make Neville Chamberlain look like a warmonger.
    • On Douglas Hurd, as quoted in "Atticus", The Sunday Times (2 May, 1993)
  • I am not sure what is meant by those who say that the Party should return to something called "One Nation Conservatism". As far as I can tell by their views on European federalism, such people's creed would be better described as "No Nation Conservatism".
  • I might have preferred iron, but bronze will do. It won't rust. And, this time I hope, the head will stay on.
    • "Statue of Margaret Thatcher Unveiled", Associated Press, 22 February 2007.
    • On the unveiling of a statue of her in the Members' Lobby of the House of Commons. Baroness Thatcher referred to a previous marble statue which was decapitated in 2002.

The Downing Street Years (1993)

  • No theory of government was ever given a fairer test or a more prolonged experiment in a democratic country than democratic socialism received in Britain. Yet it was a miserable failure in every respect. Far from reversing the slow relative decline of Britain vis-à-vis its main industrial competitors, it accelerated it. We fell further behind them, until by 1979 we were widely dismissed as 'the sick man of Europe'...To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches.
  • The significance of the Falklands War was enormous, both for Britain's self-confidence and for our standing in the world...We had come to be seen by both friends and enemies as a nation which lacked the will and the capability to defend its interests in peace, let alone in war. Victory in the Falklands changed that. Everywhere I went after the war, Britain's name meant something more than it had. The war also had real importance in relations between East and West: years later I was told by a Russian general that the Soviets had been firmly convinced that we would not fight for the Falklands, and that if we did fight we would lose. We proved them wrong on both counts, and they did not forget the fact.
  • The star of that year's conference was undoubtedly the Swedish conservative leader—since Prime Minister—who delivered a speech of such startling Thatcherite soundness that in applauding I felt as if I was giving myself a standing ovation.
To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.

Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World

Thatcher, Margaret (2002). Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, New York: HarperCollins.

  • For my part, I favour an approach to statecraft that embraces principles, as long as it is not stifled by them; and I prefer such principles to be accompanied by steel along with good intentions.
    • pg. xxii
  • We now know that bin Laden's terrorists had been planning their outrages for years. The propagation of their mad, bad ideology -- decency forbids calling it a religion -- had been taking place before our eyes. We were just too blind to see it. In short, the world had never ceased to be dangerous. But the West had ceased to be vigilant. Surely that is the most important lesson of this tragedy, and we must learn it if our civilisation is to survive.
    • pg. xxv
  • The habit of ubiquitous interventionism, combining pinprick strikes by precision weapons with pious invocations of high principle, would lead us into endless difficulties. Interventions must be limited in number and overwhelming in their impact.
    • pg. 37
  • I should therefore prefer to restrict my guidelines to the following:
    • Don't believe that military interventions, no matter how morally justified, can succeed without clear military goals
    • Don't fall into the trap of imagining that the West can remake societies
    • Don't take public opinion for granted -- but don't either underrate the degree to which good people will endure sacrifices for a worthwhile cause
    • Don't allow tyrants and aggressors to get away with it
    • And when you fight -- fight to win.
      • pg. 39
  • The West as a whole in the early 1990s became obsessed with a 'peace dividend' that would be spent over and over again on any number of soft-hearted and sometimes soft-headed causes. Politicians forgot that the only real peace dividend is peace.
    • pg. 40
  • Never believe that technology alone will allow America to prevail as a superpower.
    • pg. 47
  • But if Saddam had been in a position credibly to threaten America or any of its allies - or the coalition's forces - with attack by missiles with nuclear warheads, would we have gone to the Gulf at all?
    • pg. 49
  • For every idealistic peacemaker willing to renounce his self-defence in favour of a weapons-free world, there is at least one warmaker anxious to exploit the other's good intentions.
    • pg. 50
  • Successful entrepreneurship is ultimately a matter of flair. But there is also a fund of practical knowledge to be acquired and, of course, the right legal and financial framework has to be provided for productive enterprise to develop.
    • pg. 65
  • It is always important in matters of high politics to know what you do not know. Those who think they know, but are mistaken, and act upon their mistakes, are the most dangerous people to have in charge.
    • pg. 104
  • Singapore's success shows us that:
    • A country's wealth need not depend on natural resources, it may even ultimately benefit from their absence
    • The greatest resource of all is Man
    • What government has to do is to set the framework for human talent to flourish.
      • pg. 118
  • All corporatism - even when practised in societies where hard work, enterprise and cooperation are as highly valued as in Korea - encourages inflexibility, discourages individual accountability, and risks magnifying errors by concealing them.
    • pg. 121
  • My father, more perceptive than many, wryly commented that by the time I was an adult there might not be an Indian Civil Service to enter. He turned out to be right. I had to settle for British politics instead.
    • pg. 195
  • Patched-up diplomatic solutions designed to answer the needs of the moment rarely last, and as they unravel they can actually make things worse.
    • pg. 203
  • North Korea desperately needed the foreign currency which this lethal trade could bring; its role as chief 'rogue' reinforced its prestige among anti-Western states, near and far; and it could also hope at the right moment to extort new instalments of Danegeld from America and her allies.
    • pg. 212
  • Constitutions have to be written on hearts, not just paper.
    • pg. 256
  • You only have to wade through a metric measure or two of European prose, culled from its directives, circulars, reports, communiqués or what pass as debates in its 'parliament', and you will quickly understand that Europe is, in truth, synonymous with bureaucracy - to which one might add 'to', 'from' and 'with' bureaucracy if one were so minded.
    • pg. 324
  • What we should grasp, however, from the lessons of European history is that, first, there is nothing necessarily benevolent about programmes of European integration; second, the desire to achieve grand utopian plans often poses a grave threat to freedom; and third, European unity has been tried before, and the outcome was far from happy.
    • pg. 327
  • 'Europe' in anything other than the geographical sense is a wholly artificial construct. It makes no sense at all to lump together Beethoven and Debussy, Voltaire and Burke, Vermeer and Picasso, Notre Dame and St Paul's, boiled beef and bouillabaisse, and portray them as elements of a 'European' musical, philosophical, artistic, architectural or gastronomic reality. If Europe charms us, as it has so often charmed me, it is precisely because of its contrasts and contradictions, not its coherence and continuity.
    • pg. 328
  • Not that this appears to affect the intentions of the political-bureaucratic elite, which in Britain as elsewhere in Europe believes that it has an overriding mission to achieve European integration by hook or by crook and which is convinced that History (with an extra0large 'H') is on its side.
    • pg. 388

Attributed

  • I think Essex Man will vote for a Conservative Government.
    • April 1982.[1]

Unsourced

  • Every Prime Minister needs a Willie.
    • Referring to her Deputy Prime Minister William Whitelaw
  • If my critics saw me walking over the Thames they would say it was because I couldn't swim.
  • If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.
  • If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.
  • It may be the cock that crows, but it is the hen that lays the eggs.
  • It's a funny old world.
    • Opening remarks to the Cabinet on 22 November 1990, announcing her decision to withdraw from the Conservative leadership contest.
  • Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it.
  • Of course it's the same old story. Truth usually is the same old story.
  • Of course, people tell me that I shouldn't gloat. Well, I am gloating.
  • One only gets to the top rung of the ladder by steadily climbing up one at a time, and suddenly all sorts of powers, all sorts of abilities which you thought never belonged to you— suddenly become within your own possibility and you think, "Well, I'll have a go, too."
  • People think that at the top there isn't much room. They tend to think of it as an Everest. My message is that there is tons of room at the top.
  • Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.
  • To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.
    If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.
  • To wear your heart on your sleeve isn't a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best.
  • We were told our campaign wasn't sufficiently slick. We regard that as a compliment.
  • When you've spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it's exciting to have a real crisis on your hands. (On the Falklands conflict.)
  • You don't tell deliberate lies, but sometimes you have to be evasive.
  • You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
The Prime Ministers who are remembered are those who think and teach, and not many do. Mrs. Thatcher... influenced the thinking of a generation.
  • If you want something said, ask a man, if you want something done, ask a woman.
                                                         -Margaret Thatcher

Quotes about Thatcher

  • She was a tigress surrounded by hamsters.
    • John Biffen, 'The revenge of the unburied dead', The Observer (9 December, 1990)
  • The Prime Ministers who are remembered are those who think and teach, and not many do. Mrs. Thatcher... influenced the thinking of a generation.
    • Tony Benn, as quoted in The Prime Minister: The Office and its Holders since 1945 (2001) by Peter Hennessy
  • Her strong points were her iron will. I've never known a will like it in politics and I've known a few politicians in my time in various countries. I've never known a man or woman faintly like her, she was as tough as they come, and anything that required guts and will she could do for you. Anything that required sensitivity, she couldn't, she had none.
  • The Prime Minister, shortly after she came into office, received the sobriquet as the "Iron Lady". It arose in the context of remarks which she made about defence against the Soviet Union and its allies; but there was no reason to suppose that the right hon. Lady did not welcome and, indeed, take pride in that description. In the next week or two in this House, the nation and the right hon. Lady herself will learn of what metal she is made.
    • Enoch Powell to Mrs. Thatcher after the Falkland Islands had been invaded by Argentina (3 April, 1982).
  • Is the right hon. Lady aware that the report has now been received from the public analyst on a certain substance recently subjected to analysis and that I have obtained a copy of the report? It shows that the substance under test consisted of ferrous matter of the highest quality, that it is of exceptional tensile strength, is highly resistant to wear and tear and to stress, and may be used with advantage for all national purposes?
  • Of all the elements combined in the complex of signs labelled Margaret Thatcher, it is her voice that sums up the ambiguity of the entire construct. She coos like a dove, hisses like a serpent, bays like a hound [in a contrived upper-class accent] reminiscent not of real toffs but of Wodehouse aunts.
  • Loathsome, repulsive in almost every way.
  • [She has a] patronising elocution voice [and] neat well-groomed clothes and hair, packaged together in a way that's not exactly vulgar, just low. [It fills me with] a kind of rage.
  • What does she want, this housewife? My balls on a tray?
  • A pity she did not understand them!
    • Enoch Powell on Mrs Thatcher's adoption of monetarist economic policies.
  • She behaves with all the sensitivity of a sex-starved boa constrictor.
  • For us she is not the iron lady. She is the kind, dear Mrs. Thatcher.
  • Don’t think of her as a politician. Think of her as a one-woman revolution – a hurricane in human form.
  • There’s one thing I know I'd like to live long enough to savour,
    That’s when they finally put you in the ground,
    I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down.
    • Tramp the Dirt Down, a song written about Thatcher by Elvis Costello
  • Car aucune femme sur la planète
    N's'ra jamais plus con que son frère
    Ni plus fière ni plus malhonnête
    À part, peut-être, Madame Thatcher
    • For no woman on the planet
      shall ever be more of a prick than her brother
      or more vain, or more dishonest
      except for, perhaps, Mrs Thatcher
  • Bus stop rat bag, "Ha Ha charade!" you are.
    You fucked up old hag, "Ha Ha charade!" you are.
    You radiate cold shafts of broken glass.
    You're nearly a good laugh,
    Almost worth a quick grin.
    You like the feel of steel,
    You're hot stuff with a hatpin,
    And good fun with a hand gun.
    You're nearly a laugh,
    You're nearly a laugh
    But you're really a cry.
  • Brezhnev took Afghanistan. / Begin took Beirut. / Galtieri took the Union Jack. / And Maggie, over lunch one day, / Took a cruiser with all hands. / Apparently, to make him give it back.

Margaret On The Guillotine by Morrissey (taken from the album Viva Hate! 1988)

The kind people Have a wonderful dream Margaret On The Guillotine Cause people like you Make me feel so tired When will you die ? When will you die ? When will you die ? When will you die ? When will you die ?

And people like you Make me feel so old inside Please die

And kind people Do not shelter this dream Make it real Make the dream real Make the dream real Make it real Make the dream real

Misquotations

  • A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.
    • Attributed to her in Commons debates, 2003-07-02, column 407 and Commons debates, 2004-06-15 column 697. According to a letter to the Daily Telegraph by Alistair Cooke on 2 November 2006, this sentiment originated with Loelia Ponsonby, one of the wives of 2nd Duke of Westminster who said "Anybody seen in a bus over the age of 30 has been a failure in life". In a letter published the next day, also in the Daily Telegraph, Hugo Vickers claims Loelia Ponsonby admitted to him that she had borrowed it from Brian Howard. There is no solid evidence that Margaret Thatcher ever quoted this statement with approval, or indeed shared the sentiment.

See also

  • Diana Gould, who had a televised confrontation with Mrs Thatcher in 1983

External links

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