Margaret Thatcher

Quotations

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.

Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002)

Never believe that technology alone will allow America to prevail as a superpower.

Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002)

I came to office with one deliberate intent: to change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society — from a give-it-to-me, to a do-it-yourself nation. A get-up-and-go, instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Britain.

Speech to Small Business Bureau Conference (8 February, 1984)

A man may climb Everest for himself, but at the summit he plants his country’s flag.

Speech to a Conservative Party Conference (14 October, 1988)

Defeat—I do not recognise the meaning of the word!

The Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins

I had applied for a job in 1948 and was called for a personal interview. However I failed to get selected. Many years later, I succeeded in finding out why I had been rejected. The remarks written by the selectors on my application were: “This woman is headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated!”

Quoted by K. Sathyanarayana in The Power of Humor at the Workplace (2007)

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.

TV Interview for Channel 4 A plus 4 (15 October, 1984)

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.

TV Interview for Channel 4 A plus 4 (15 October, 1984), referring to the Brighton bombing in which the IRA attempted to assassinate her.

I believe that the royal family are a focus of patriotism, of loyalty, of affection and of esteem. That is a rare combination, and we should value it highly.

Statement in the House of Commons (24 July 1990)

We must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.

Speech to the American Bar Association (15 July, 1985)

You know, if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, wouldn’t you, at any time? And you would achieve nothing!

Interview for Press Association (10th anniversary as Prime Minister). 3 May 1989

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them.

TV interview for Thames TV This Week on Feb. 5, 1976

It is a great night. It is the end of Socialism.

On hearing the results of the 1992 general election (9 April, 1992)

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.

Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002)

What government has to do is to set the framework for human talent to flourish.

Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002)

I fight on, I fight to win.

Remarks to journalists in Downing Street (21 November 1990)

Constitutions have to be written on hearts, not just paper.

Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002)

Pennies don’t fall from heaven, they have to be earned here on earth.

Speech at Lord Mayor's Banquet (12 November, 1979)

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.

Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002)

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.

Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2002)

Oh, but you know, you do not achieve anything without trouble, ever.

TV Interview for ITV 1984 Nov 30

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.

Statement on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, after her election as Prime Minister (1979)

I can’t bear Britain in decline. I just can’t.

Interviewed by Michael Cockerell for BBC TV's Campaign '79 (27 April, 1979).

In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.

Evening News newspaper of May 20, 1965. See also Quote Investigator.

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