Monday, March 7, 2011

Quote: Margaret Thatcher

“The lady’s not for turning.”

- Margaret Thatcher

The above phrase, used by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in her speech to the Conservative Party Conference on 10 October 1980, has become a phrase defining her personality and character.

According to Brain Walden, BBC commentator:
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.
Following is an excerpt from the speech by Margaret Thatcher from which the phrase comes:
If our people feel that they are part of a great nation and they are prepared to will the means to keep it great, a great nation we shall be, and shall remain. So, what can stop us from achieving this? What then stands in our way? The prospect of another winter of discontent? I suppose it might.

But I prefer to believe that certain lessons have been learnt from experience, that we are coming, slowly, painfully, to an autumn of understanding. And I hope that it will be followed by a winter of common sense. If it is not, we shall not be diverted from our course.

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. The lady's not for turning." I say that not only to you but to our friends overseas and also to those who are not our friends.
The speech records her refusal to perform a U-turn to liberalise the economy, as had been urged by commentators and politicians. Written by playwrightr Sir Ronald Millar, who was also Thatcher’s speechwriter, the phrase was a pun on Christopher Fry’s play The Lady’s Not For Burning. Thatcher was not aware of the pun at the time.

Her character was also well summed up by French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac in 1988 during the 1988 Brussels Summit, when he uttered the words:
What does she want, this housewife? My balls on a tray?
It caused a minor diplomatic incident when reported in the British press.

Btw, a movie is being made of her life, with Meryl Streep in the role of Margaret Thatcher:


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