The Wit and Wisdom of Margaret Thatcher: And Other Tory Legends

The Wit and Wisdom of Margaret Thatcher: And Other Tory Legends

by Richard Benson
     
 

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

Margaret Thatcher, UK prime minister 1979-1990 and leader of the Conservative Party 1975-1990, was the only woman to hold either post, and was re-elected for an unprecedented third term, earning her a place in British history as one of the most extraordinary figures of the

Overview

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

Margaret Thatcher, UK prime minister 1979-1990 and leader of the Conservative Party 1975-1990, was the only woman to hold either post, and was re-elected for an unprecedented third term, earning her a place in British history as one of the most extraordinary figures of the late twentieth century.

This collection gathers together pithy and often witty quotations by the outspoken Iron Lady and fellow party members-many of them still surprisingly relevant today.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780857655882
Publisher:
Summersdale
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
1 MB

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The Wit and Wisdom of Margaret Thatcher and Other Tory Legends


By Richard Benson

Summersdale Publishers Ltd

Copyright © 2010 Summersdale Publishers Ltd
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-85765-588-2



CHAPTER 1

THATCHER ON THATCHER


I went to Oxford University — but I've never let that hold me back.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I was told beforehand my arrival was unscheduled, but on the way here I passed a local cinema and it turns out you were expecting me after all. The billboard read The Mummy Returns.

Margaret Thatcher at a Tory Election Rally in Plymouth, 22 May 2001

I hope that one quality in which I am not lacking is courage.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I've got a woman's ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it.

Margaret Thatcher

I still do the cooking myself ... rush in, peel the vegetables, put the roast in all before I take off my hat.

Margaret Thatcher in an interview with the Telegraph, after becoming spokeswoman for the Treasury, March 1966

* * *

I tend to look at things more logically than do my colleagues.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I like to be made a fuss of by a lot of chaps.

Margaret Thatcher

I always appreciate the other person's problem.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I cannot change my style. There are many people who are reasonably pleased that one gives a firm lead.

Margaret Thatcher on being criticised for not always listening and being domineering in style

I usually make up my mind about a man in ten seconds; and I very rarely change it.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I am really very normal. I'm just a perfectly ordinary person.

Margaret Thatcher

CHAPTER 2

THE IRON LADY SPEAKS


You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

If it is once again one against 48, then I am very sorry for the 48.

Margaret Thatcher

I don't mind how much my ministers talk — as long as they do what I say.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

If you lead a country like Britain ... then you have to have a touch of iron about you.

Margaret Thatcher

Being prime minister is a lonely job ... you cannot lead from the crowd.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.

Margaret Thatcher

There is only one small vowel ... between ruin and run. The small vowel ... is 'I'.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I'm not hard, I'm frightfully soft. But I will not be hounded.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I will not change just to court popularity.

Margaret Thatcher

I am not known for my objectives or purposes being unclear.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

To accuse me of being too inflexible is poppycock.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I am no Darth Vader and you don't have to protect yourselves from me.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

CHAPTER 3

OTHER TORY LEGENDS ON THATCHER


She was a tigress surrounded by hamsters.

John Biffen

* * *

History will surely recognise her achievements ... a leader with the courage of her convictions, who assailed the conventional wisdom of her day, challenged and overthrew the existing order, changed the political map, and put her country on its feet again.

Geoffrey Howe

It is quite clear that history will record that Margaret Thatcher was the greatest prime minister this country has had since Churchill.

Nigel Lawson

* * *

The truth of the matter is that in my experience she was almost always right, and therefore there wasn't a great necessity for her to admit she was wrong.

Ian Gow

She is a formidable politician. She has always spoken her mind. She has a right to do it, and she will continue to do so.

John Major

* * *

Working with a team is not her strong point.

David Howell

I think her greatest achievement is to have made people believe that the impossible is possible. That the things which were said in 1979 to be beyond resolution, the problem of the trade unions for example, she boldly took it on and she did it. If politicians can learn that lesson from her, that there is no problem which is too big to be solved, then she's contributed something enormously important to our life.

Norman Tebbit

The trouble is, we've got a corporal at the top, not a cavalry officer.

Francis Pym

* * *

She has made a remarkable contribution to Britain's history and has led this country with great distinction in the 1980s.

Michael Heseltine

I never thought of her as a woman.

John Biffen

* * *

She was like Boadicea, hammering away at those wicked people seeking to carry out policies alien to her trusted beliefs and nature.

James Prior

* * *

We were all her creation.

Kenneth Baker

Everyone likes to win arguments. She likes to win them more than most.

William Whitelaw

* * *

If Margaret Thatcher had been prime minister at the time, there would have been no Treaty of Maastricht.

Douglas Hurd

* * *

I suppose I began to like her when she made me a Cabinet Minister.

Kenneth Baker

I think it was much more a peasants' uprising than a religious war. It was seen much more as the overthrow of the tyrant king rather than a great ideological shift.

Chris Patten on Margaret Thatcher's election to the Tory leadership

* * *

I tell you something she's not very good at; she's not very good at relaxing, taking time off. That's the nature of the creature. God bless her, I think.

Keith Joseph

I've always had a great respect and been very candid with her, and I hope the reverse is the case.

Chris Patten

* * *

She'll be prime minister until the middle of the next century.

Jeffrey Archer

* * *

It wasn't an election. It was an assumption.

Norman St John-Stevas on Margaret Thatcher's election as leader of the Conservative Party

CHAPTER 4

THE STRONGER SEX


If you want something said, ask a man ... if you want something done, ask a woman.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

You chaps don't like short answers. Or direct answers. Men like long rambly, waffly answers.

Margaret Thatcher

On what she learned during her time in politics: Men are not a reasoned or reasonable sex.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

The cocks may crow, but it's the hen that lays the egg.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I owe nothing to Women's Lib.

Margaret Thatcher

Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

Most women defend themselves. It is the female of the species ... which tends to defend when attacked.

Margaret Thatcher

The woman's mission is not to enhance the masculine spirit, but to express the feminine.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I don't notice that I'm a woman. I regard myself as Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher

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

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

No, they seem to like ladies.

Margaret Thatcher, when asked if she was surprised that the male-dominated Conservative Party had elected her as their leader

It's easier for a woman than a man to give up his power because you are not so lost. A woman can fill the time spring-cleaning the house.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I'd like to get on with the job without being in the limelight all the time.

Margaret Thatcher on why she wished there were more women in parliament

CHAPTER 5

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES


I'm going to have furniture I like ... because I intend to be there a long, long time.

Margaret Thatcher on living at Number Ten

* * *

Jim Prior: I read in my paper you had developed a sexy voice. Margaret Thatcher: Jim, what makes you think I wasn't sexy before?

I adore red, but of course I can only wear it at home or on holiday. People really do comment, you know.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I'm here in my red chiffon evening gown ... The Iron Lady of the Western world? Me?

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

You know how it is, if your hair looks awful you feel awful.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

My hats seem to incense some people.

Margaret Thatcher

Now I am very sad and sorry that I didn't make picture of the year. I think I could have done one with the caption on it: 'It's in the bag'.

Margaret Thatcher on being photographed on the night of her election

* * *

It is expensive to be in politics ... one has to be well groomed, and one has to entertain.

Margaret Thatcher

CHAPTER 6

WHERE THERE'S A WILLIE, THERE'S A WAY


It is never wise to appear to be more clever than you are. It is sometimes wise to appear slightly less so.

William Whitelaw

* * *

I was one of those people who was always rather frightened of women politicians.

William Whitelaw

I have kissed her often before (but not) on a pavement outside a hotel in Eastbourne. We have done it in various rooms in one way or another at various functions. It is perfectly genuine and normal — and normal and right — to do so.

William Whitelaw, when questioned on kissing Margaret Thatcher outside the National Young Conservatives'

Conference in Eastbourne

Lawless schools produce lawless children.

William Whitelaw

* * *

I have the thermometer in my mouth and I am listening to it all the time.

William Whitelaw on party morale in the election campaign of October 1974

* * *

The Labour Party is going about the country stirring up apathy.

William Whitelaw

CHAPTER 7

THERE'S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK


You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

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 had everything to do, and you've done it.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I wasn't lucky. I deserved it.

Margaret Thatcher

I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

There must be no hankering after soft options.

Margaret Thatcher

One only gets to the top rung of the ladder by steadily climbing up one at a time.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

Freedom is not synonymous with an easy life.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I am always on the job.

Margaret Thatcher

One thing aggravates me more than anything else — inefficiency. I can be very sharp about that.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.

Margaret Thatcher

We hanker after a West German standard of output.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

There is nothing inevitable about rising unemployment.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

Whatever we want to achieve, we have to do something about it ourselves.

Margaret Thatcher

I couldn't live without work. That's what makes me so sympathetic towards those people who are unemployed. I don't know how they live without working.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

The world has never offered us an easy living.

Margaret Thatcher

Jobs grow not out of windy promises and implausible targets. They spring from individual effort.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

I do not make forecasts of unemployment.

Margaret Thatcher

CHAPTER 8

THE TRUTH ABOUT POLITICS


In politics, the unexpected happens.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

The politician's prayer is: may my words be ever soft and low, for I may have to eat them.

Norman Lamont

* * *

In democracy everyone has the right to be represented, even the jerks.

Chris Patten

The wisdom of hindsight, so useful to historians and indeed to authors of memoirs, is sadly denied to practising politicians.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

We're not saying, 'We're politicians, trust us.' We know you don't trust us.

Michael Howard

* * *

In politics, it is the half-hearted who lose.

Margaret Thatcher

In politics people give you what they think you deserve and deny you what they think you want.

Cecil Parkinson

* * *

You don't tell deliberate lies, but sometimes you have to be evasive.

Margaret Thatcher

I believe that in politics one should decide what is right and then decide the presentation, not the other way round.

Norman Lamont

* * *

MPs are divided into two categories — whips and former whips.

Cecil Parkinson

If you discover one thing over the years, it is that you cannot plan a political career.

Malcolm Rifkind

* * *

No one can win alone. Ever. You can only win by having a lot of people thinking and working the way you do. It's not a victory for Margaret Thatcher, it's not a victory for women. It is a victory for someone in politics.

Margaret Thatcher, when asked if she viewed her victory in winning Conservative Party leadership as a victory for herself alone or as a victory for women in Britain

It is better to be a has-been than a never-was.

Cecil Parkinson

* * *

Politics is a life sentence. It's an obsessive, all-demanding, utterly fascinating, totally committing profession — stimulating, satisfying, stretching.

Michael Heseltine

CHAPTER 9

ME, TARZAN


They say a man should be judged by his enemies. I am very proud of mine.

Michael Heseltine

* * *

I am humble enough to recognise that I have made mistakes, but politically astute enough to have forgotten what they are.

Michael Heseltine

Yes, I do talk to my trees. I did say to one 'You'd better smarten yourself up or you'll be gone' and the next year, well, you've never seen such a mass of flowers.

Michael Heseltine

* * *

If the basis of trust between the Prime Minister and her Defence Secretary no longer exists, there is no place for me with honour in such a Cabinet.

Michael Heseltine's resignation statement, 9 January 1986

We must fight to regain a place in our cities because by any standards I understand they will be better run if we do.

Michael Heseltine

* * *

I keep telling my Tory colleagues: don't have any policies. A manifesto that has policies alienates people. In 1979 the manifesto said nothing, which was brilliant.

Michael Heseltine

I always knew that Neil Kinnock belonged in the economic nursery. Now, God help us, we've got twins.

Michael Heseltine on John Smith during the run-up to the 1992 election

* * *

The market has no morality.

Michael Heseltine

CHAPTER 10

SINGING THE BLUES


I believe the Conservative Party is the last bastion between Britain and disaster.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

The fundamental question is, is the Conservative Party leadable?

Michael Heseltine, following William Hague's resignation as leader of the Tories, 9 June 2001

It behaves more like a tribe than a democratic institution ... responding to custom rather than reason and using its own liturgy and language for the conduct of its domestic affairs.

Chris Patten on the Conservative Party, The Times, 10 October 1981

* * *

We're always short of money. We need a lot more. Do you think we should take a collection at the door?

Margaret Thatcher, when asked after winning Conservative leadership if she would be able to attract finance to the party

No great party can survive except on the basis of firm beliefs about what it wants to do. It is not enough to have reluctant support. We want people's enthusiasm as well.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

An election victory such as ours is impossible without teamwork.

Margaret Thatcher

CHAPTER 11

TAKING SIDES


Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

There are still people in my party who believe in consensus politics. I regard them as quislings, as traitors ... I mean it.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus.

Margaret Thatcher

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.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

If you have conviction people are much more likely to come out and support you.

Margaret Thatcher

It pays to know the enemy — not least because at some time you may have the opportunity to turn him into a friend.

Margaret Thatcher

* * *

You don't win by just being against things, you only win by being for things and making your message perfectly clear.

Margaret Thatcher during a press conference after winning Tory leadership

* * *

My job is to stop Britain going red.

Margaret Thatcher


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Wit and Wisdom of Margaret Thatcher and Other Tory Legends by Richard Benson. Copyright © 2010 Summersdale Publishers Ltd. Excerpted by permission of Summersdale Publishers Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Richard Benson is the author of F in Exams.

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