>> next come a program from the booktv archives. nicholas wapshott analyzes the difference between ronald reagan and margaret thatcher. her tenure overlapped eight years and mr. wapshott offers the leaders are advocates of each other. margaret thatcher died on april 8, 2013. this is a little over an hour. >> few would've believed the itinerant shoe salesman that would seek to revitalize the dispirited nation ultimately be seen as changing the world. likewise, few would have imagined that their neighborhood grocer's daughter was destined to change the course of her country and influence the direction of an international community.
how fortunate for the cause of freedom that these two individuals under president ronald reagan and baroness thatcher came to positions of leadership from both of their nations needed them most. as iraq are today will discuss, there is this political marriage based upon ideology and a true meeting of the mind. ronald reagan -- "ronald reagan and margaret thatcher: a political marriage," nicholas wapshott reveals even more clearly the rare relationship between these two world leaders. mr. wapshott is an editor at the new york sun and the former new york are achieved for the times of london. he was previously editor of the saturday times of london and founding editor of the "time" magazine. as a political editor of the observer, he was fortunate to go to cover margaret thatcher's
familiar synopsis that he can speak from direct experience as well. please chime in welcoming our special guest to the heritage cody on. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you indeed for attending this lecture. i am very heart and that everybody is still interested in ronald reagan and margaret thatcher because it has been quite a time ago. at the same time, why are they relevant today? you a listing each the candidates point out there's a genuine son of ronald reagan and the other ones aren't so much and some as old as ronald reagan, some a little older even. some married as often as ronald reagan. during many comparisons between ronald reagan. none of them are quite the site down because he was on that.
as indeed was margaret thatcher. they would have been strangely bill clinton's change in the democratic party and the vcs tackle the important things like welfare reform had it not been his time in office is it knowledge margaret thatcher had said it had a lot of truth in it and put into effect changes and didn't roll back the changes made to britain. when they met in 1975, they were both between jobs. he had done for two terms heading toward a favorite conservative to become the presidential nominee, but not quite. by rick thatcher had just become the new leader of the
opposition, which the conservative party is an old, stuffy, misogynistic old boys network of general major roads were rather sharp to find a strain on who i don't think any of them entertained other. it is a completely due thing. they discovered in a leader of the opposition's office that they had a meeting set between 20 and 30 minutes and they found they were finishing each other send this. this one of those moments where great people come together in the same -- never to be seen
again. it is to be extraordinarily effective in the way they look at domestic affairs and share to borrow from each other's ideas see. i should explain in 1975, the reason margaret thatcher knew who ronald reagan was a she's very worldly in a way. she's never seen and only knew quite to revise. but because it been then to a lecture a couple years before, he came home and said it's exactly what you're saying. it started getting programs. it is absolutely on the same.
i've been told by justin dart, one of the californians who provided the money and the inspiration to commiserate into an nsaid or near passing through london, you should meet our great thatcher because she talks just like you. that's exactly what happened. in 1975, they met. her hot there is a conviction politician and their various subtle to anything written. what they said was profound and theoretical, they didn't need friedrich hayek to tell them the market had enormous value. if you keep a close eye in the
money supply, to price controls will go that way. it is quite interesting that we have been the end be spurring the the instinct of individuals who tromp people like me in all of this here, have spent time trying to explain an errand the lessons they were later to save just with conservatism. ronald reagan was the son of a shoe salesman and darker at thatcher was what she described nothing of the sort. both mother and father ran it. behind the counter she and her sister lived in the attic with
an outside toilet. there's a garden. they had no time. they were too busy selling. the experience of their parents were because it shows they're absolutely the cutting-edge of market. you have to be hauled into every fiber of holy. the customer is very important and the cutting-edge of the market is where the parents, both jack reagan as a shoe salesman and offered roberts works. and they watch them doing it. there is a significant difference. he actually ended up owning two stories. doesn't grant them, which mostly makes a really compared and sent
to the state. ronald reagan was the lead as someone who sold shares. there was that one time they sit just shed that he would take jack reagan on as a partner. there's no doubt jack reagan was profoundly disappointed in the promise made was never kept. so they set off from the virtues of the market. reagan's father of five and ronald reagan was two people surprise a democrat until the early fifth ease. he was also a trade union and. but he saw operating the new deal trying to find jobs in the small town in illinois, which was all of america and had. of course he thought it was a
good idea, but when he discover quickly was two things going on. first of all seem to have far more bureaucracy and government employees who are pretty well off administering the program and also you could get a fall amount of money and so you ended up the difference between working and not working was not so much that went for welfare problems. those margaret touchier as christians.
jack reagan as a catholic and had two sons. the person is baptized in the second half wasn't a catholic. he was brought up their. she was not allowed to go to movies on the same day. she wasn't allowed to read fiction. they both lived in communities connected to the church, what they learned how to perform an attack and to the men how to play the church organ. i think they might be encouraged to develop. the foundation christianity lacked for jury duty. they had a strong foundation at
the same time, neither of them became great churchgoers. this disappointment but it wasn't the fact. anything to make sure is that they are conventional. she switched her church. when she married dennis, the very first church of the methodist movement, preached or her own church. a factor as it became necessary as a conservative party member to join the leadership, she switched to the anglican episcopal church, which is always bad described as a conservative party of prayer. so also i think the experience
of ronald reagan in hollywood is particularly significant for a number of reasons, all of which led to resist core understanding and refusal to achieve. as that of the screenwriters guild, he discovered communism firsthand. he was in so much interested but somehow they were trying to set the message is that he was irritated and trying to run a perfectly good trade union of screen actors and these two hijacked meetings. b.c. declared meaningfully. it is a soviet vietnam, it didn't have the market was run by communists, very straightforward to them.
margaret thatcher came to her views in a similar sort of way. it is something you could live with. the union where people could accommodate, you should confront if at all possible. i'm sorry we have to go to and fro, not only because they were an ocean apart, they were almost a generation apart. it gave them -- to the loud annoying the friendship of which became a marriage that the shipments is probably sick if you can't. back to reagan's progress, he discovered another name about his acting experience and that
he said he joined the war effort. he was very shortsighted as you may know and wore contact lenses throughout his time in hollywood and is unfit for active duty, the second two were two principal things. making people join the forces in making movies where you have a model of tokyo to scan the camera across the top. a very important job in fact, a very interesting one, too. when reagan came out, first of all it terms of the history of democratic societies, where time is the worst in terms of his people. does the first world war and
world war ii saw the greatest increase in government organization gave the speed with which the government took interest in control of so many aspects of national life. reagan again that it is horrifying when he returned to hollywood acting come in the first thing was the disappointment which led him to another truth, that he was heavily tax. he was behind the because it's easier to spend an account. people like ronald reagan would know a lot her the favorite character. he was never the first leading man in any case. he was always the leading man's best friend.
the memory seven and a very genial fellow. he founded in 1945 the returning soldiers and so on didn't consider that affable person is the person they wanted to see. in the early 50s, william holden is a much more cynical care they are, who was ronald reagan's best man in a second marriage. they were looking for something else. he was very open about it. he had hoped to but as woodrow wilson has done in the great war to win the war came to an end, all those people who served to be given a waiver and they wouldn't have to pay their taxes.
in deed, harry chernin wasn't as forgiving as woodrow wilson, so he found himself a huge deficit and needed to work. there's three careers. the hollywood at their end finally, the blissfully air divided into the governorship and presidency. the general election is the character down today and the reason it's such a powerful force. this employed to short films with hollywood stars, can he is then a day. on a thursday night are hugely successful, top ratings until they were overtaken by bonanza. the second part of the general
electric job was to do what became for him fascinating. that was to sort of cheer up the workers and the fact series. deliberately so, what should be more difficult to manage and spread the workers out and was there in order to keep them hot tea. said he would go on tour and he would be asked with usual questions, why did you do for use janeway name? gradually, he started providing to say i've been where you've been. i worked hard enough at very and i know if you named. he gave pieces of advice, which together turned out to be the
speech. the speech was an extraordinary document and the speech became something much propelled the forefront of conservative policies in america. but barry goldwater, a farmer of reagan ended tend to change the republican party from a white party of nebulous beliefs into a party of true conservatives on, when goldwater was making his final effort, he was in deep trouble and rather resented ronald reagan and thought he was superficial in the general underestimating. he was brought to -- ronald
reagan -- the speech was an extraordinary thing because it is not only perfectly honed, but also became some pain which raised an enormous amount of money, but it also changed reagan for being someone around the periphery of republican politics to the absolute sure favorite of the conservative wing of the party. gibbering margaret thatcher up to speed work on different models. margaret thatcher, too young to serve. in fact, she was slightly anxious in 1945 -- she was
anxious looking back that she should've gone to the workers, but anyway she did it. shortly after that, she became a scientist and choose the research chemist and and a seat in the paper and it's very interesting on the elasticity, and unlikely topic may be. what that means is how much air can you pump in two ice cream so you can and that's where she studied. she got the political battle. you should take part in public affairs and an interest in public life and honed himself.
her ideas or maybe split the oliver the place when she was young. but what she wanted to do this be a member of parliament. but she married denis thatcher, he'd been married before. it all went wrong. but he was an executive at what he was able to provide us the wherewithal without running what he read on the table would come from. but it's true. she went from ctc and finally found a seat.
in 1955, we have black-and-white television and the government allocated time to make a nice edge because she was a young house by with two children, twins, she seemed to be the rate for the conservative party, so she would take part, but she were a dress which i'm television causes a stir than the fact. you're wearing this dress, which makes it very difficult. you know, i thought it might be the wrong address. here's a woman prepared for any eventuality.
both rick and not shareware called. at the beginning of the 70s, when it took place, and the opec countries decided to reduce the supply of oil, the combination caused widespread inflation and the response was to impose price controls. let me say in brief if you cap prices, you undermine the whole system in which the market operates. all you do is you don't intend to get towards inflation.
you just treat the symptom that the band-aid. both of them understood this. this is the nature of the conservative party and she would have been foreign minister said the chancellor of the exchequer, which is that she wanted to be. in that debacle that followed the collapse of nixon's presidency, which if you can believe this, for someone who believes for margaret thatcher to sit in a cabinet that not only does anything including wages, but it meant that -- i'm
sorry i'm fussing here. the other side of the equation equation -- the three-day week. a country so desolate that the prime minister had to say that i only work a three day week. television stopped at 10:00 so everybody goes to bed early. margaret thatcher believed there were other ways to do these things and it was a tragedy. many came forward in order to be reelected as the general election. a few others have taken their encores. and so, he left again several months later in a cobra 1974 and allowed everybody to say never
win another election. he said on a fundamental conservative monitor is market-oriented platform. reagan came to the same conclusion when he and his governorship of california operated on quite a different way with foreign affairs chores. therefore we get to this stage when the two of them finally met. they don't know it, but upon the threshold of their greatest jobs and their greatness. so the kid to have this partnership works together. i was inspired in terms of this book because i knew it was a great story to be told. i'd written a biography of margaret thatcher 1983. i then became full-time ended to
downing street every day. i forced close friendships with all the thatcher people who are generous to me at all times. i knew it was the story because i knew this was special. there are very few relationships like this actually. churchill obviously combined together and laterally of course we've had blair and clinton and blair and bush, which would make it onto later. what i wanted to know until i got started doing the research because the documents started teaming out the reagan memorial library panel said the thatcher foundation with a huge collection of documents in churchill college. what i discovered is this meeting of nine, this political marriage is even more like a
they both consoled each other at the time of each, and both shared, it must be a very uncomfortable feeling that people want to dispose of you. and i won't say that they felt after that that they'd been chosen for anything, i think that would be overestimating what they put on the message, but i think that it's true to say they both felt they'd been spared to do something, amounted to a very similar thing. they borrowed from each other when it came to approaches to problems. very early on in the reagan administration, the first administration, he had a public sector strike, the people who direct the air traffic, the air traffic controllers went on strike. his response was absolutely straightforward. he went straight out onto the floor, he gave them 24 hours to get back to work, otherwise they
could consider themselves fired. this is not the way that up until then labor relations had been run by any white house. thatcher did a very similar thing with the miners, even more difficult problem. written about britain in the 1970s, difficult to imagine this today where the steel industry, the coal industry, the trains, the buses, all sorts of institutes like ici, these are all owned by the government. and also shipbuilding, steel making. all of these businesses were going out of businesses. all the jobs were being done better in the far east and elsewhere in the global economy, it was becoming absolutely obvious this was happening. so she had to deal with a coal industry where the miners -- very romantic figures, the miners, particularly in the industrial movement -- but she
knew because it was the miners who brought down ted heath that what they needed, she needed to do was save up coal stocks and take them head on, which she did very effectively. it took a year, it was very uncomfortable to live in britain at that time. the pictures on the television were horrible to watch. a lot of people never forgave her for the nature with which she disposed of the miners. but like reagan, she took a tough line, and it worked. when it came to things like the falklands war, they were, too, very intimate and very friendly, very helpful. in this case, though, what happened was that ronald reagan, who had because of the monroe doctrine and because of his interest in keeping everybody within his administration relatively happy, he did not p come out, much to mrs. thatcher's irritation, did not say britain was in the right and that the argentines who had taken the falklands by force and
occupied it, british territory, should back out or withdraw immediately. he said the morality was on the side of the british, but he didn't back them unequivocally. but what he did do was absolutely search, and that was to forbid anybody else to help. casper weinberger, the defense secretary at the time, discovered very early from reagan that if he wanted to help, he was entitled to. and he did. he provided all of the material that the british needed just in terms of equipment. he provided the base on the ascension eye -- islands, he used satellite tracking and intelligence which he provided about what was going on in argentina and what about what ws going on in the falklands. enormous success. falklands totally changed margaret thatcher's standing in britain and in the world. britain had been in that famous phrase of dean acheson's a
country that had lost an empire and was looking for a role. well, in the falklands what margaret thatcher let people know was that we might be a sleepy old empire as was, but my goodness, we're not going to be messed around with by petty tie rants from argentina or anywhere else, for that matter. it completely transformed her. when that war started, she was the most unpopular prime minister in britain since opinion polling had begun, which was a good 50 years. she came out of it on an enormous trajectory, and it was inevitable to me, anyway, that she was going to become the prime minister and be reelected with a huge party, and that's why i wrote my first biography, to try to explain who this woman was. there was a sort of tit for tat with the falklands. as i said, they followed each other quite often in terms of general things to do. the falklands was considered
such a success that i don't have any doubt that when ronald reagan heard that there'd been a marxist coup in granada that he thought that, actually, it would be relatively easy to put down and, actually, no harm would come of it in terms of a display of his own determination and resilience. literally was, as mrs. thatcher pointed out to him clearly on telephone conversations in the book, this was a british colony. the queen was the head of granada. it was a marxist coup, but they took over there -- it was one of a succession of marxist coup. it was just another one could de line. and there was an embarrassment inasmuch as he was determined to invade anyway, and he invaded, and it was a great success. a lot of cubans who had been trained there for goodness knows what were killed and captured which proved ronald reagan's point.
but he didn't, he would not explain to margaret thatcher that he was about to invade. she thought he was, he was going to invade. she called him up and said let me know if you're going to invade, because i think it's a really bad idea. she sent her foreign secretary to the house of commons in order to declare we've just spoken to the u.s. administration, and there will be no invasion. by the time he got back to his office, the invasion had started. and then there is the most extraordinary and wonderful telephone conversation between ronnie reagan who calls up margaret thatcher in order to explain to him, like a husband who stayed out too late one night, that maybe he had -- as he said, margaret, very first line of the conversation, margaret, if i were your husband, i would throw hat through the front door before i explained myself. this is what you do with sort of the wife who slams you over the head with a frying pan.
puts the hammer on you. there were other important differences which were to do -- they shared the understanding that the soviet union should be confronted, and it would be over. but when the soviet union divided from poland over the issue of solidarity and the free trade union which set itself up in defiance of the communist party in poland, the soviet union actually was on the point of collapse. it was in very bad state and, actually, the soviet union, they did some military exercises. they actually allowed the poles themselves to declare martial law because they had decided they wouldn't invade no matter what happened. this was unknown until some years. at that time reagan said, well, that's it, we're going to impose wholesale sanctions on the soviet union u and that'll bring them to heel. the big project at that time,
and it's now back in the news because russia's been using it as weapons against its former satellites, they decided that a very long pipeline which was taking oil and natural gas from russia and from the southern part of the soviet union and selling it to western europe, that was vulnerable. that is, the soviets needed the revenue, they had a currency which was collapsing. they had the hard currency desperately, and this western-financed oil pipeline and gas pipeline was exactly what they needed. so reagan said, well, we'll start with that. the problem was, of course, all of the contracts were by european companies including british companies. and there was a very interesting argument, let's put it no more than that, it was pretty rough where she raid down the law. -- laid down the law. and it's a pretty interesting principle even today about america's power in the world. she said this is just
extraterritorial, nothing to do with you. if we want to impose sanctions, we will, but you cannot punish our companies for doing something you don't want them to do. and that's a very interesting debate. none of this came out in public at the time. they were side by side against the soviet union in favor of solidarity and so on, but the it's a very interesting thing. then when we come to -- and i'm going to wrap this up, because i know you want to get to some questions. the final thing where they disagreed was actually the most important of them all, the most important issue probably of the second half of the 20th century and even today. in fact, it preoccupies us, and that's proliferation of nuclear weapons, the use of nuclear weapons. reagan was one of those people very like winston churchill. he felt if only given the chance to sit across the table from someone, he could persuade them to do anything. he was so convinced of his own salesmanship and his own powers of persuasion, and he wrote very long -- often to the state department -- embarrassing letters to soviet leaders saying this is where i see the world,
and why can't we get together and talk about it? and he said the lack of democracy in the soviet union had mended that the top of the soviet leadership, it was aier on tock rah si. these were old, gray men nearing death. and as ronnie reagan said, you know, i'd love to negotiate with a soviet leader, but they keep dying on me. margaret thatcher turned it to good effect. yes, they were dying, but, actually, she was invited to every funeral. there were four in a row. she thought maybe if i go to the funeral, maybe i can work out to who comes next, and she did. the narrowed it could down to to people. one of them was roam november, but anyway, he played his cards wrong, and mikhail gorbachev succeeded. but thatcher operated as a go between. she invited, actually, she
invited both roam november and gorbachev to london, and when they arrived, she realized gorbachev must be the one. she made absolutely clear she wasn't going tock the honest broker -- to be the honest broker between russia and america. if you're talking to me, you may as well be talking to ronald reagan. you can't get a cigarette paper between us, we are absolutely one. but she tested them. she went through the arguments and so on, and then she did this important thing which was to call up ronald reagan to say mikhail gorbachev is a began man we can do business with. gorbachev was atop a collapsing organization which just, i mean, internally the contradiction, the inability to run a country of that size from ministries in moscow was appalling. all of the eastern european cups had worked out that the game was up as far as they were concerned. they were changing their regulations, they were letting people travel freely between countries and all the other things which had been forbidden. i think when thatcher said
here's a man i can do business with, what she was not expecting was that ronnie ray began would -- reagan would put into ifect what he had harbored for a long time and recently george shultz, his sec tear of state in the second administration, and that is that, actually, maybe we should abolish all nuclear weapons everywhere? it could be possible. we could negotiate them away. and he went to reykjavik. you may remember story. they met for four days of solid negotiations, they could have signed on the dotted line except that gorbachev believed something which even today is impractical. he thought that the star wars project was going to work, and it was going to be happening pretty soon. and he used the star wars project as a way of saying i can't agree. otherwise, they could have signed on the dotted line. however, what reagan had failed to do was clear the lines with thatcher, and thatcher took a
very different view. and as soon as he came back from reykjavik, she got on a plane and flew right out to meet him at camp david. again, extraordinary conversations took place where she laid down the law, and she said, now, look, mutually-assured destruction, the fact the soviets and the americans were capable of completely obliterating each other, has actually kept the peace for 50 years, and it's done it pretty cheaply too. if we take nuclear weapons away, we will have to employ hundreds of thousands of troops, so will the soviet union, and we'll put them on the german border, and we'll have to equip them, buy all of the equipment and all the rest of it. it's a very bad idea. and i guess that was the most profound and the last difference between them. but maybe identify stressed the -- i've stressed the unlikely thing was they disagreed behind the scenes. i can't stress enough this was an amazingly effective, warm-hearted, genuine political friendship which changed america, changed britain, and it
changed the world undoubtedly for the better. i just, i did briefly read -- it'll take two seconds -- their final letters to each other. they -- reagan was always a wonderful letter writer, and so was she. but he was maybe even warmer than shement at the -- she. at the end of even an official note, they would add a little note to each other in ink asking about nancy or dennis or referring to some event. but these are the two final letters when ronnie came to his, the end of his time at the white house. dear ron. as you leave office, i wanted simply to say thank you. you've been a great president, one of the greatest, because you stood for all that is best in america. your belief, your convictions, your faith shone through everything you did, and your unassuming courtesy was the hallmark of a true, perfect gentleman. you've been an example and an inspiration to us all. we also thank nancy for all the
warmth and support which she has given you as well as her own special contribution in the war against drugs. dennis and i wish you both every happiness as you lay down your great burden. and he replied: dear margaret, before leaving the white house i want to take this opportunity to express my deepest thanks for her majesty's message and for your own kind words. for the past eight years, our partnership has strengthened the ability and the resolve of the western alliance to defend itself for the cause of freedom everywhere. the world's improving prospects for peace and security are the ideas we cherish, ideas you began planting in britain a decade ago. you've been an invaluable ally, but more than that, you're a great friend. it's been an honor to work with you since 1981. nancy joins me in sending you and dennis our very best wishes for your continued success in the years to come. and if you remember, when it came to ronald reagan's demise, margaret thatcher -- who by
then, she's now 82, but this is in her mid 70s, she suffered a number of small strokes which made it very difficult for her to speak at will. she can speak but not necessarily when she wants, ronnie reagan had asked nancy that margaret thatcher speak at his funeral. and she, rather like the early tale about the television advertisement, she decided that she couldn't count on herself to do it live. and so she waited for a moment when she was perfectly coherent, and she made a video played at the funeral here in the national cathedral in washington. and then if you want any proof of how close these two were, margaret thatcher was the only non-reagan family member who then flew with the casket on air force one back to simi valley for another ceremony, again with
thatcher very prominent, looking very dramatic in a very large black hat, very large veil. and it was as if somehow, well, maybe there were three widows at that funeral. there was nancy, of course, there was his first wife, and then there was also margaret thatcher. and i must say it's a very touching thing. there are tapes available of it. it's well worth looking at. so there we are. i'm afraid i've gone on a bit too long, but this is how margaret thatcher and ronald reagan came to the beliefs they had and then how, in practice, they mostly worked very closely together, but behind the scenes they often disagreed. thank you very much. [applause] >> and, yes, we will take questions, but rules of the house, please, make it a question. and if you would be so kind as to state your name and affiliation as a courtesy to our guest. and if you remember, we have microphones that they'll need to -- >> absolutely. this gentleman's got his hand up
already. [laughter] >> hi, alan lowe, wright state university. i've always wondered about, and you we believe the through rah -- you went through reagan's development, it's very curious to me that reagan when he was governor spent a lot of time supporting the regulatory activities of the california government, the resources board, in developing their pollution policy. and that a seems to be in conflict with the policies that he articulated when he became president. have you come across anything in his character development that shows that there was a change in between the two periods, or was it a matter of practicality? or, in general, how would you explain that? >> i think although it's a very good question, although both of them were -- came to be thought of as idealogues, they were both also very practical politicians. politics being the art of the possible. they worked out that you couldn't go through the whole gamut if it was um possible.
now, rather like britain is actually much more leftward leaning than any other part of the country. and i think he just realized you couldn't fight and win every single battle, that you really had to make some changes. he's actually quite eloquent about this in his own memoirs. but it's, for instance, there are a number of things which clinton achieved which he wanted to achieve but didn't. for instance, he wanted to balance the budget. he never did that. he didn't, he increased military spending, we know, but he also, he didn't cut taxation as much as he wanted to either. and thatcher was the same thing. in a way i think that if you appear to be stalwart and unbending, you're in a much better position to do a quiet compromise. and i think that's what -- they were able to achieve things. and if they'd been absolutely pure, then they wouldn't have achieved half as much as they did. it's purely practical. they were just good politicians.
>> i'm going to ask you, was there any particular surprise at all? number one, i bet mrs. r. was a little surprised at the closeness. [laughter] >> well, let me -- yeah, let me just talk a little bit about that. in a way, it's like an office marriage. it's quite uncommon. it happens, people get on with each other, and ronnie and nancy and dennis and margaret were similar but different. dennis was absent always from all the key moments of margaret thatcher's. he was absent when they, when she had twins. he was absent at her collection to the conservative leadership -- at her election to the conservative leadership. he was, actually -- he was someone who let her get on with it by providing all the resources she thought she needed. nancy was slightly different. she was con sill yea, and she
provided all of the support. it should be said neither of them really needed anything from their partner apart from the support that they got. they didn't actually need any reassurance which is one of keys about why reagan and thatcher were so close together. they were both very separate not only by nature, but they were separate from the governments they presided over. you worked for reagan, so you'll know that he was of called the old man. he was a generation above everybody else and sat in rather splendid isolation. and thatcher, because of the nature of the fact she was a woman and also because she turned round this party full of fossils and turned it into a dynamic, election-winning party -- she was resented by a lot of her own people, and a lot of people who sat around her cabinet table. the prime minister doesn't have the ability as an american does to choose exactly which cabinet ministers they like. they have to choose people who were elected. that's very difficult if you imagine having only to choose from the senate or the house people to work in your cabinet.
and so they found in each other, you know, one of those things everybody needs, you know? at the end of the day or when something's happened, you pick up the phone. you say, my goodness, i can't take this, you know? this is awful. when it came to iran contra, and the president because of his style was caught out. things had happened, and he didn't know about it. and it was at the time and encouraged by the press a great story. what margaret thatcher, her instant response as if he had taken ill. she flew to washington and gave a whole press interview, this is absolute nonsense. you've got one of the greatest presidents ever in america. for goodness sakes, you know, shape up and notice what you've got and, you know, don't take advantage of the poor fellow. so that happened. >> isn't that called handbagging? >> that's called handbagging. you'll see even on here, handbag. [laughter] very dangerous. [laughter]
now, have we got any more questions? oh, here's one. oh, you're close to the mic, but we'll come to you in a minute. sir. >> james rice, i work on capitol hill. i came in a little bit late, but you were speaking about the fact that both reagan and thatcher came by their philosophy based on experience, and it was instinctual. which i think is a very good point, but i also wonder if you could speak a little more about the influence of political philosophy on them? there's one story i've run across a few times i think when thatcher was turning around the party, she slammed down a copy of hayek's constitution of liberty and said this is what we believe. so there was some influence there. i'm wondering if you could explain how that relates to their -- >> it was almost entirely backwards. the person that thatcher arrived on was joseph who was a very rare thing for an np of either party, but particularly for the conservative party which is mostly thought to be the stupid party, as it were.
keith joseph was a real intellectual. and he provided reading lists for her, saying these are the books you need to read. and they set up really effectively the first think tank as a right of center for policy studies headed by alfred sherman, former communist as actually so many people strong in the conservative movement in the '80s turned out to be. and so, but the bookletting came after the event. when reading even hayek, it was complimentary. i can't think of anyone that either of them read, and it changed the way they thought. i think they were so secure in the foundation which came, as i explained, mostly out of childhood that it was back to front arrangement. which served them very well. yeah, this lady.
>> hi, i'm hillary herd with the governor's school. there was something that was disclosed about a month ago that was written by ford before he had died discussing reagan's presidency. and even though he was of publicly supportive of him at time, it sort of discredited his presidency, and i was just wondering if you could comment or if you knew the background sor of for that. >> ronald reagan wasn't the only president ford slagged off. there's actually a new book which is called you can print this when i'm gone -- >> when i'm gone,. >> when i'm gone, which i think the original remark was when i'm dead, which the publishers didn't like the word on the cover. [laughter] but, obviously, he stored up -- as all politicians do, nine-tenths of what they tell you you can't possibly use, not only is it libelous and
slanderous, but it would stop their career in their tracks. there's an old story about a young member of one political party or the other arriving in the house of commons for the first time and being shown around by an older hand. and as you know, the house of commons is wided, there's one -- divided, there's one party on one side, the other party on the other. government in opposition. and he pointed to the other side, and he said this is where we sit. and the young man said, yes, and that's the enemy. and he said, no, that's the enemy. the enemy is sitting behind you. and it's very often the case that, of course, the established differences between the two major parties is well known, and they are the enemy in one sense. but, actually, for all the things that are important to you and your philosophy, all of those arguments are going on within your own party. you can't actually take part in somebody else's party. so it's the people who are competing with you for ideas, for positions, for the candidacy, whatever which makes
them so sharp. of course, gerald ford's a very interesting case because, first of all, about the only unelected president in the history of the united states. and he was bumped by ronald reagan. and it was a very interesting moment in the convention that led up to reagan's candidacy when he was trying to work out whether gerry ford would make a good vice president. and plainly, i mean, once a president, i think, always a president. and there's a lesson to us here, if we were to have such a thing in the clinton white house, if you have a former president operating as gerry ford made clear, it would a be a joint presidency. the difference between the establishment within the republican party and the conservatives who differed with them that gerald ford thought
that reagan was just a salesman, just a pretty face that would front the administration. and gerry ford thought that he knew as a lifetime, and successful lifetime on capitol hill, thought that he knew exactly how to run the government, and the two of them could work in harness together. reagan spotted it very quickly, what gerald ford was really talking about was contradicting the democracy that had taken place in the republican party and instead shunting in this figure alongside who actually the party had deliberately not chosen. it's interesting. >> and one more here. then we'll wrap up. >> seth. >> fitzpatrick from vision journal. the overwhelming outpouring that took place at president reagan's funeral service here seemed to demonstrate that this is a man who connected with the american people in a very special way. whether people agree with him or disagree with him, they certainly thouof