tv BHOC Thatcher Tribute CSPAN April 15, 2013 12:00am-1:25am EDT
>> she lives with her favorite uncle james buchanan. years later he becomes president. because he's unmarried, she serves as white house hostess. she is so popular that she sets trends in clollingting and we will look at her andr. her predecessor. also on c-span radio hand c- span.org -- and c-span.org. >> on wednesday the british house of commons held a special tribute session to honor margaret thatcher. speakers included david cameron, the deputy minister and the opposition leader. the funeral is scheduled for
she won three elections in a row, serving this country for a longer continuous. than any prime minister for more than 150 years. she defined and overcame the great challenges of her age and astride the parliament has been recalled recalled to mark our respect. next also right that wednesday, lady thatcher's coffin will be draped with the flag that she loved. it will be placed on a gun carriage and taken to st. paul's cathedral. members of all three services will line the roof. this will be a fitting salute to a great prime minister. today, we in the house of commons are here to pay our own tribute to an extraordinary leader and woman. what she achieves, even before her three terms in office, was remarkable. those of us who grew up when margaret thatcher was already in downing street can sometimes fail to appreciate the thickness of the glass ceiling that she broke through. at a time when it was difficult for a woman to become a member of parliament, almost inconceivable that one could lead the conservative party,
and virtually impossible but a woman could become prime minister, she did all three. it is also right to remember that she spent much of her life under direct personal threats from the ira. she lost two of her closest friends to terrorism. and she herself was only inches away from death in the brighton bomb attack of 1984. get it was the measure of her leadership that she shook off the dust from that attack, and a few hours later gave an outstanding speech, reminding us all why democracy was never given in to terror. in number 10 downing street today, there are still people who worked with her as prime minister and the top of her family. one assistant tells of one -- when she got drenched.
margaret thatcher major she was looked after and found her dry clothes. she did always preferred dries to wets. once she left off a hyphen. margaret thatcher was faultlessly kind to her staff and utterly devoted to her family. for more than 50 years, dennis was always at her side, and invaluable confidant and friend. of her he said this, i have been married to one of the greatest women the world has ever produced. all i could produce was love and loyalty.
we know just how important the support of her family and friends were to margaret. and i know that today, everyone in this house will wish to send our most heartfelt and don'ts is to her children, her grandchildren, enter many loyal friends. she was always incredibly kind to me. it was a huge honor to welcome her to downing street shortly after i became prime minister. something that when i started working for her in 1988, i never dreamed i would do. as this day of tributes begins, i would like to a knowledge that there are members here in this house today from all parties who profoundly disagreed with mrs. thatcher, but to come here today willing to pay their respect. let me say to those honorable members, your generosity of
spirit does you great credit and speaks more eloquently than any one person can of the strength and spirit of statesmanship and democracy. she was a remarkable type of leader. she said clearly, i am not a consensus politician, but a conviction politician. she could sum up those convictions with her upbringing and values it just a few short phrases. sound money, strong defense, liberty under the rule of law. you should not spend what you have an earned. governments don't create wealth, businesses do that. the clarity of these convictions was applied with great courage to the problems of the age. the scale of her achievements is only apparent when you look back to britain in the 1970's. the success of government had failed to deal with what was beginning to be called the british disease. appalling industrial relations, poor productivity, persistently high inflation.
though it seems absurd today, the state had got so big that it owned our airports and airline, the phones in our houses, trucks on our roads. even a removal company. the air was thick with defeatism. there was a sense that the role of government was something to manage decline. margaret thatcher rejected this defeatism. she had a clear view about what needed to change. inflation was to be controlled, not by policies, but i monetary and fiscal discipline. industries were to be set free into the private sector. trade unions handed back to their members. people should be able to buy their own homes. success in these endeavors was never short. her political story was one of a perpetual battle, in the country, in this place, and sometimes even in her own cabinet. an career could have taken entirely different path. in the late 1940's, before she
entered politics, she went for a job at ici. the personnel department rejected her application and afterwards wrote this -- this woman is headstrong, obstinate, and dangerously self opinionated. [laughter] even her closest friends would agree she could be all of those things. the point is this, she used that conviction and resolve in the service of our country and we are all the better for that. margaret thatcher was also a a great parliamentarian. she loved and respected this place and was for many years its finest debate here. she was utterly fastidious in her preparation. i was a junior party researcher in the 1980's, and the trauma of preparation for prime minister's questions is still seared into my memory. twice a week it was as if the arms of a giant octopus shook
every building in whitehall for every problem, every answer, to every question. i respect for parliament was instilled into others. early in her first government, a junior minister was seen running through the lobby. his hair was disheveled and he was carrying a heavy box and a full tray of papers on his arm. another member cried out -- slow down. rome wasn't built in a day. to which the minister replied, yes, but margaret thatcher was not the foreman on the job. [laughter] as tony blair rightly said this week, margaret thatcher was one of the very few leaders who changed not only the political landscape in our own country, but in the rest of the world, two. she was no starry-eyed internationalist, but her approach was rooted in some simple and clear principles. strength abroad begins with strength at home. the importance of national sovereignty, which is why she
felt so passionately for britain's interest in europe and always believed that britain should keep its own currency. above all, she believes that the court was her being. that britain stood for something in the world. for democracy, for the rule of law, for right over might. she loathed communism and believed in the invincible power of the human spirit to resist and ultimately defeat tyranny. she never forgot that warsaw, rob, budapest, these were great european cities, capitals of free nations, temporarily trapped behind the iron curtain. today, in different corners of the world, there are millions of people who know that they owed their freedom, in part, to margaret thatcher. in kuwait, which she helped free. across eastern and central europe. and, of course, in the falkland islands. as we gather to lay margaret thatcher to rest, the sun will be rising over the falklands.
because of her courage, skill, reverie and sacrifice of our armed forces, it will rise again for freedom. much has been said about the battles that margaret thatcher fought. she certainly did not shy from the fight, and that led to arguments, to conflicts, and even to division. what is remarkable, looking back now, is how many of those arguments are no longer arguments at all. no one wants to return to strikes without a ballast. no one believes that large industrial companies should be owned by the state. the nuclear deterrent, nato, the
special relationship, these are widely accepted as cornerstones of our security and defense policies. we argue, sometimes very passionately, about tax. none of us are arguing for a return of tax rates of 98%. as winston churchill once put it, there are some politicians who make the weather, and margaret thatcher was undoubtedly one of them. in the members lobby of the house of commons, there are four principal statues. lloyd george, who give us the beginnings of the welfare state, winston churchill who gave us victory in war, kevin atlee who gave us the nhs, and margaret thatcher who rescued our country from postwar decline. they say, study hour, cometh the man. in 1970 time came the power and the lady. let this be her epitaph that she made our country great again. i commend this motion to the house. >> order. the house has considered
matter of tributes to the right honorable baroness thatcher. mr. ed milliband. >> i want to join him in sending my deepest condolences to her children, carol and mark. the whole family and her many close friends. today is an opportunity for us to reflect on margaret thatcher's personal achievements, her style of politics and her political legacy. as the prime minister said, the journey from being the child of a grocer to downing street is an unlikely one. it is particularly remarkable because she was the daughter, not the son of a grocer. at each stage for life she broke the mold. there was not a single woman in the university who held a full
professorship. a woman chemist when most people assume scientists had to be men. i woman candidate for parliament in 1950, against the opposition in her local party at the age of 24. a woman mp in 1959 when just 14% middle of the house were women. the only woman in the cabinets, when she was appointed in 1970, and the first woman prime minister. it is no wonder she remarked as early as 1965 in a speech, in politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. if you want anything done, ask a woman. [laughter] i am sure some people in this house -- i am sure some people in this house and no doubt many more in the country will agree with that sentiment. having broken so many conventions of a woman, she was
someone who in so many other areas of life was willing to take on the established orthodoxies. her ability to overcome every obstacle in her path is just one measure of her personal strength. that takes me to her style politics. you can disagree with margaret thatcher, but it is important understand the kind of political leadership was. what is unusual? it is that to be rooted in people's daily lives, but she also believed that ideology mattered. not for her, the contempt, sometimes heaped on ideas and new thinking in political life. she never would've claimed to be or wanted to be seen as an intellectual, she believed in showed that ideas matter in politics. in 1945, before the end of the war, she bought a copy of "road to susston." she said it left a permanent mark on her political character.
nobody can grasp her achievement, thatcherism, without appreciating the ideas that were its foundation. the way which they departed from the prevailing consensus of the time. in typical homespun style, on breakfast tv, she said this in 1995 -- consensus does not give you any direction. thes like mixing all constituents ingredients together and not coming out with a cake. democracy is about the people being given a choice. it was that approach that enabled her to define the politics of a whole generation. and influence the politics of generations to come. the prime minister, the deputy
prime minister and i all came of age in the 1980's. when you defined your politics by being for or against what she was doing. it is fair to say, we took different paths. [laughter] the people of britain still argue about her legacy. she was right to understand the sense of aspiration that people across the country. she was right to recognize our economy needed to change. it1982, she said how absurd would seem in a few years time the state owning removals and the gleneagles hotel. she was right. she was right to defend the falklands and bravely reach out to new leadership in the soviet union. something often forgotten, she was the first political leader in any major country to warn of the dangers of climate change. ofg before anyone thought hugging a husky. but it would be dishonest and not in keeping with the
principles, if margaret thatcher, not to be open with this house about strong opinions and the deep divisions there were over what she did. i mining areas, like the one represent, the community felt angry and abandoned. gay and lesbian people felt stigmatized among which today's conservative party has rightly repudiated. it is no accident that when he became leader of the conservative party, the right honorable member wrote a pamphlet called there is such a thing as society. on the world stage, as this prime minister rightly said when he was the great the opposition, she made the wrong judgment about nelson mandela and sanctions in south africa. debates about her and what she represented will continue for many years to come rid this is a mark of her significance as a political leader. someone with deep convictions, willing to act on them.
moree put it, politics is when you have convictions than multiple maneuverings to get you through the problems of the day. as a person, nothing became her so much as the manner of her final years. the loss of her beloved husband, dennis, and her struggle with illness. she bore both with the utmost dignity and courage. the same courage she showed decades earlier after the atrocity of the brighton bombing. mr. speaker, i will always remember seeing her in frail health, but determined to pay her respects to our troops and to her duty by the country. whatever your view of her, margaret thatcher was a unique and towering figure. i disagree with much of what she did, but i respect what her death means to the many people
who admired her. i honor her personal achievements. on previous occasions, we have come to this house to remember the extraordinary prime ministers who have served our nation. today we also remember a prime minister who defined her age. >> order. >> it is a pleasure to rise after two outstanding speeches. ofy captured the essence margaret thatcher, the woman and the essence of architecture the politician and states woman. we are getting the day off to a superb start. i would just like to put on record that she was the best [indiscernible] i was chief policy advisor in the middle years.
she was that great figure, because the private side was so different than the public side. yes, many people beyond this house remember the woman who was so powerful in arguments, fierce and convictions. but what we saw who worked with her closely was someone who worked incredibly long hours with great energy and diligence, because she was so keen to get it right. she took a very wide range of advice. when you were working with margaret thatcher and you have an idea and you are putting it to her, not only did you need to produce all the evidence and facts and go over it many times, but you knew that person after person coming to downing street were going to be given it as a kind of test. they didn't know they were part of a running focus group, but your idea was there in front of the guest. she was so desperately concerned never to use the power of the great office without proper thought, and she was so keen to make sure, before she did anything, she knew the
consequences, she knew what michael wrong with it. there was a lot to recommend it. they spend time, they take trouble, they go to a wide range of advice and make sure that something works well before it is put out there. margaret thatcher came in the middle of her time in office, to be the champion of wider ownership and participation. to me, this was her at her best. when she could reach out beyond the confines of the party, and beyond the confines of her voting support, much water in the country. a prime minister can become a great national leader when their ideas resonate more widely and when they become popular or
taken off by those who would normally oppose. it was that spirit of margaret thatcher, as a schoolgirl to officers, then a graduate to parliament, then a parliamentarian to the cabinet. that made her feel that opportunity was there for people. she recognized it was very difficult, particularly for women, and people of certain backgrounds. she was always telling us that it didn't matter where you came from, who your mother and father were, what mattered was what you could contribute. that is a message that goes way beyond the confines of the conservative party or the years of her supremacy in parliament. it is something we should all remember. policiesry to reduce to reflect this more generally, we came up with the idea that owning a home is been the privilege of the rich in society. why couldn't it be something
that everyone could aspire to? that was where the council helped the idea gather momentum. people in the early days were very unhappy about this, and there still remain debates about it. an awful lot of labor voters decided it was a really good policy and joined us with it. i think it was one of those policies that reached out more widely. we tried to extend the ownership of small businesses with a program of wider share ownership and employee elements and public elements and privatization. she was determined to try and get britain to break out of the debilitating cycle of decline. just one fact the house might like to bear in mind, is that the newly nationalized coal industry had 700 thousand employees, and by the time margaret thatcher came to office, 1979, there were only 235,000 of those jobs left. a massive hemorrhage of jobs throughout the postwar. similar figures for rail, steel,
it was that which drove her on to say there must be a better answer. there must be a way of modernizing the old industries and bringing in the new industries. one of her legacies is the modernization of the power industry which gathered momentum under the labor government and more recently under the coalition. her other great triumph as the prime minister mentioned, was to establish to a much wider audience around the world. it was the export of the ideas of empowerment, and franchise meant, participation, new ideas, allowing the public to be part of this process, which took off around the world.
a spirit of revolution in eastern europe which led to the bringing down the berlin wall. if you you want a single picture that i will remember as a result of the thatcher legacy, it is the tumbling of the berlin wall. by path of freedom adopted all, but journey and communism does not work. a great lady,stateswoman, and huge personal achievement, a big achievement politically. it shows the world that there is a better way, a democratic way, a freedom loving way. >> nick clegg. >> on behalf of the liberal democrats, i would like to pay tribute. we send our severe condolences to her family and friends.
like all of us here, who are not members of the conservative party and someone who disagrees with many of the things she did, i thought long and hard about what to say. i am also a sheffield mp, it elicits strong reactions. i would like to think she would be pleased that she still provokes trepidation and uncertainty amongst leaders of other parties, even when she is not hear herself. eyeballing is across the house. those of us who are not from her party can still respect margaret thatcher even if we shun thatcherism. it is and that's era that i would like to make three short observations. first, whether you liked or disliked her, it is impossible to deny the imprint she made both on the nation and the wider world. she was among those very rare leaders who became a towering, historical figure, not as written in the history books, but when still in the prime of her political life.
whatever else is said about her, margaret thatcher created a paradigm, setting parameters for economic, political, and social debates for decades to come. she drew the lines of a political map that we here are still navigating today. second, she was one of the most caricatured figures in modern british politics. she was easily one of the most complex. on the one hand, she is remembered as an ideologue, responsible for her own -ism. you first politics were subtle, pragmatic am a sometimes driven by events. she was a staunch patriot and much more comfortable reaching out across the atlantic then across the channel. she participated in one of the most profound times of european integration. she herself an architect of the single market. while she was a conservative to her core, leaving a party which
traditionally likes to conserve things, she held a deep aversion to the status quo. she was restive about the future, determined to use politics as a force for reform, never fearing short-term disruption in pursuit of long- term change. in many ways, a traditionalist, she was one of the most iconoclastic politicians of our age. margaret thatcher was far from the cardboard cutout that is sometimes imagined. for me, the best tribute to her is not to consign her to a simplified harrowing ordeal in. but remember her with all the nuance and complexity she possessed. finally, there was an extraordinary, even unsettling directness of her political presence. i vividly remember, age 20, reading that margaret thatcher said there is no such thing as society. i was dismayed.
it was not the kind of thing that a wide eyed idealistic social anthropology undergraduate wants to hear. in hindsight about what strikes me, while i disagreed with the words, i never for a second thought that she was being cynical or that she was striking a pose or taking a position for short term effects you always knew margaret thatcher believed what she said. it is interesting to reflect on how she would react to today's political culture of 24-hour news, testers, and focus groups. she seems blissfully indifferent to the popularity of what she said, entirely driven by the conviction of what she said. somehow her direction as they do feel as she was arguing directly with you. the clash of her convictions against yours. as a result, you somehow felt that you knew her even if you did not. whether she inspired or confronted, lead or attacked, she did it with clarity.
her memory will no doubt continue to divide opinion and stirred deep emotion. as we say farewell to a figure, one thing is for sure. the memory of her will continue undimmed, strong and clear for years to come. in keeping with the unusual, unique character of margaret thatcher herself. >> thank you, mr. speaker. may i begin, on behalf of my right honorable friend, pushing our deepest sympathies to the family of baroness thatcher to her children and grandchildren. i want to thank you, mr. speaker, for calling parliament. it is the right thing to do in this chamber that she dominated for so long. we, the representatives of the people of the united kingdom should meet here to pay to get and also to reflect on her long period in office.
pioneer,any things, a first female leader of a major political party in the united kingdom. the first female prime minister. she did break that last ceiling. she also broke through the social barriers, standing in the way of anyone at that time and generation from becoming the leader of a major political party. she was a woman of personal and political courage, a politician of formidable ability, a states woman who transformed not only the united kingdom, but also paid an enormous role in fundamentally changing the world order. there are many who disagreed with her, even within her own party, and those of us who are unionist. particularly in the relation to the anglo-irish agreement. whatever our views, people today must accept the knowledge and admire her as a politician, a statesperson of conviction. how many times have we heard it said during her lifetime that you like her or love her, she stood where she stood and people admire that in their politicians.
that is certainly something that people want to see. part of her attraction was that she was seen as taking on the vested interest. she was impatient of the old brigade, prepared to shake things up. like all great human beings, great politicians, she was a woman of contradictions. very often her rhetoric did not match up to the actions. for instance, she did become persuaded him some issues against her better judgment. on europe, she lauded for the action she took securing our rebid for a stance against european federalism. for her stance in defense of our currency. yet, she did sign and lament the single european act, which many
see as the forerunner of the maastricht agreement. northern ireland, she was full of contradictions. those of us in these benches and the entire unionist community in northern ireland opposed the anglo-irish agreement. many right honorable members on the conservative benches opposed it as well. once she has said that oster was as british as finchley. when she said it was out, out, out to a united, federal ireland or joint authority. in 1985, she sent the anglo- irish agreement without any consultation with the entire unionist community and without their consent. the reason that so many unionist felt so strongly and
spoke so strongly and there are still strong feelings about that era, they remember her strong stance during the hunger strikes. ofn she stood up in defense democracy and against terrorism. when she suffered the losses the prime minister and others are prepared to of her close colleagues. when she, just a year before had survived and ira assassination attempt. yes, she was persuaded to sign the anglo-irish agreement. i am glad that in an earlier life she came to recognize that that was a mistake. just as her former close advisors said the other night, mary queen of scots, the words calle were inscribed on her part.
without the words anglo-irish agreement would be inscribed in the heart of margaret thatcher. people say it was a template for the future that we now have in oster. i say it is not that template, as you can face the future on exclusion. i say that as a unionist in northern ireland with all of our history. we must move forward with the inclusion of all communities. today, there is very little of the anglo-irish agreement today we have a settlement which has been consulted and has the consenting agreement of both communities in northern ireland. i am glad that is now what we have as opposed to the previous approach. she was instinctively a great patriot, a great unionist, a great return. that is why we are right to pay tribute to her today. recognizing her faults, recognizing the divisions that
are there, of course there are divisions. there were divisions long before margaret thatcher and there will be divisions long after in other areas as well. you are not unique. i here today, gerry adams and other stock about the legacy of margaret thatcher, created the violence in northern ireland rated the hunger strikers were convicted of terrorist acts long before she came to office. and those who are out on our streets, in belfast and elsewhere in the united kingdom, engaging in the sort of ghoulish celebrations. obscene acts which i think appalled the entire nation. she knew that she was doing was right and they hated her for
that. mr. speaker, we must remember margaret thatcher for the great things she has done for our country. not remembering her through rose tinted spectacles, but it is right that we do mark her time in office and her life as one of enormous contribution and everlasting memorial to democracy and freedom in this country and across the world. >> sir malcolm rifkin. >> i was privileged along with my right honorable friend to serve in margaret thatcher's government for the full 11 years of her term of office and to be in her cabinet for almost half that time. it was never dull. [laughter]
each day we saw political leadership and state leadership of the highest order. each day we saw a prime minister with remarkable personal qualities. shes sometimes said that did not have a sense of humor. it's true, there was very little wit in many of her speeches. i recall one occasion, she was asked, do you believe in consensus? to our surprise, she said she did believe in it. there should be a consensus behind my convictions. [laughter] at the time, i thought this was an extraordinary example of wit, that the years of gone by -- >> [laughter] >> she was being deadly serious. it was also said that she could be very tolerant with those who did not agree with her. that was also a parody of the truth. she was intolerant of people who were wooly, who argued that
things couldn't be done because they would be unpopular. then she met someone who is actually able to argue from a point of fact and whom she respected, she not only listened but could change her mind. i was moved to the foreign office at the time of the falklands, and she recalled mr. parsons. they had never met before. when he started trying to report to her, she kept interrupting him. he was not used to this. interruption,th he stopped and said, prime minister if you didn't interrupt me so often, you might find that you didn't need to. she not only kept quiet, but six months later appointed him her foreign-policy adviser. she was a great leader of the conservative party.
people are entitled to ask, was she actually a conservative? does not normally mean something who is weighted and tradition, cautious of change? the most radical prime minister of the last few generations. there is never the less the consistency between these two. what she had recognized was that britain had gone the wrong way, taken the wrong path for 20 or 30 years and needed change. that is what made her radical. many honorable members know that great novel where the hero says, if you want things to stay the same, things will have to change. that very much was her belief. i am conscious of the fact, having spent a lot of my time in the foreign office, the diplomats in the foreign office were not her favorite department. i went to see her when i was defense secretary some years later after she had retired. she said to me, the ministry of defense, your problem have no allies.
the foreign office, they are not wet. they are drenched. [laughter] she had a remarkable capacity when it came to the foreign office and diplomats, sometimes to distance yourself from the government of which she was prime minister. one glorious occasion, that i was personally involved in, we had a difficult negotiation getting a package of sanctions against self africa which to not include economic sanctions. she was unhappy that one of the proposals was that we should withdraw our defense. it took an awful long time for her to be persuaded to go along with it. she was unconvinced but one along with it. some weeks later, we had a visit from the president of mozambique and i was asked to sit in on the meeting. the president reviewed her for not doing enough against apartheid in south africa. i will never forget her response. she bridled. she said, that is simply not the case.
we are refusing to sell arms in south africa. we negotiate an agreement where we don't have a sporting context. we are using all of our means to try and bring down apartheid. the president of mozambique was rather bemused. although she may have had mixed feelings about the foreign office, she owes a great debt of gratitude to the foreign office. one of her greatest triumphs, her relationship with mr. gorbachev was that the results of the diplomats in the foreign office, spotting at a very early stage, at this youngest member of the bureau was a man to try and cultivate.
she had the wisdom to accept their advice and what followed from that, we should not underestimate. what followed from that, the way in which she persuaded ronald reagan to accept review that per attempt was a man with whom to do business, or chop -- reagan would not have accepted that advice from most people. heing from the iron lady, thought, if she believes that. he result was not only a remarkable set of initiatives, but the end of the cold war and the liberation of eastern europe. i don't want to speak for too long. i want to make one other point. one of the big issues, relative to the debates we have today, in the relationship the united states, two british prime ministers have to always agree with the president? margaret thatcher had no doubt the answer was no you don't have to. and several occasions, she had deep as agreements with ronald
reagan, one of her closest friends. for example, on the question of the soviet oil pipeline in the early 1980's, where british companies have got contacts to help build it, the americans threatened sanctions against bridge companies. architecture bitterly criticized them. i was sent off to washington to have meetings with the american deputy secretary of state. we reach a compromise. the only thing we can't agree on was what to call it. she openly and publicly disagreed with reagan on the reykjavik summit when she felt it was surrendering too many weapons that getting enough in return. she bitterly resented the invasion of granada. i recall that grenada was invaded by the united states
who had forgotten that her majesty was the head of state of grenada and had not even informed them what they were about to do. she not only criticized him, but she went on the bbc world service attacking the united states, saying they cannot behave like this. reagan recorded in his memoirs, he was sitting in the oval office and was told that the british prime minister was on the phone, would he take the call? of course. she berated him for quite some time. when she was in full flight, reagan put his hand over the receiver so she couldn't hear, turned to his aid and said, gee, isn't she marvelous. [laughter] and of course appreciated that sometimes you get it wrong and even your closest allies are entitled to point that out or if i conclude by saying that
margaret thatcher with somebody who did not worry, as has been already remarked, on people being rude about her. the term iron lady was first coined by the soviets as an insult. of took it on as a badge pride. she was referred to memorably as attila the hen. someone said she had the eyes of caligula and the lives lives of marilyn monroe. she took them all as a compliment, she asked for no quarter and certainly gave none. this wednesday, in two days' time, -- i was at churchill's funeral. that is not what the whole truth. i was an 18-year-old student who had hitchhiked to london and spent the night on the pavement and watched the arrival at st.
paul's cathedral. we will honor the other great prime minister of the last 50, 60, 70 years. in a similar way. that is something that not only we can be proud of, the country can be proud of, but the whole world has a debt to her in which they fully recognize as well. >> angus robertson. >> thank you for the opportunity to be able to make a brief contribution. i would like to acknowledge that margaret thatcher was one of the most formidable politicians of recent times. to her family, friends, colleagues, supporters, i extend the condolences of my party. would be wrong not to put on record the profound as agreement with her socially and economic devices policies, which were particularly opposed in scotland and wales. we will never forget, we will never forgive the poll tax eating imposed on scott's the year before the rest of the uk.
no country should have such policies imposed on them when they were rejected at the ballot box and the existence of the scottish parliament and the welsh national assembly remembers this. >> she will be remembered for a long time in scotland and wales. >> sir peter lilley. >> for those of us who admired mrs. thatcher, her death is sad. there is one small compensation. that is, she leaves video memories. so vigorous and energetic, and decisive with her personality. she is unforgettable, not just to those of us who worked with her, but to everybody in the country who was there at the time.
i first worked for her as a humble speechwriter, long before i entered into parliament or became a minister and jointer cabinet. my most personal memories conflict with the caricatures that has been built up over time, as much by her friends as by her opponents. firstly, she was immensely kind. the less important you were, the kinder she was to you. she gave her ministers a pretty hard time, and quite right. shemember education where returned from three days abroad, and i was caught in her speech writing machine and she ofshe was immediately full solicitude to me and vast contrast to her tearing off of the minister. third, she could be remarkably diplomatic, not least to how she handled those who worked for her.
set a meeting with the of state, we were summoned before her to argue our respective cases out. i thought my arguments were the better of the two. she summed up in favor of the secretary of state. subsequently, she sent a private message to me saying, peter, i was impressed by your arguments, but it would have been white wrong for me to senior minister over a junior minister in a matter that was not of paramount importance. she was right. she was very cautious. in contrast to the idea that has been built up, that she
recklessly took on all comers. she deferred that at the expense of eight humiliating in her first parliament, a confrontation and should another one come, the nation would not be held at ransom. her trade union reforms were implemented by that, progressively. except by set. whatever she thought she had bitten off enough for her parliament, she would politely reject puzzles for further reform. however much they appealed to her. once convinced that a policy was right in principle, workable in practice and elaborated in detail, of which she had a masterly grasp of maintaining a
focus on the central issues, she would push it through with unswerving tenacity. it is probably not done on these occasions, to actually face up to criticisms made of her. mrs. thatcher was never one to be limited by what is the done thing. if i may, i want to respond to the points that have been made more in the media, but by the previous speaker, but she was deliberately harsh and divisive. harsh. she made his face reality. and reality was harsh. those who did not like reality projected their hatred of reality onto her. but the human cost of facing reality would have been much less if previous governments of both parties had not permitted a false analysis and cowardice, go to own up to those realities deal with him earlier on.
[indiscernible] those who hated reality transposed their hate to her. those who hated being proved wrong transfer their hatred to her. those who hated seeing their allusions shattered transfer their hatred to her. fortunately, she was big and strong enough to act as a lightning rod for their feelings. the second adjective which was used of her this morning by the bbc, headline news, which tells us more about the bbc - the word divisive. a divisive leader. for any division, there has to be two sides. made of those who were opposing the changes which proved so
necessary, but it is stranger still in that her greatest success, by her own admission, was converting her opponents to her way of seeing things. not a single one of the major measures she introduced was subsequently appealed or reversed by those who followed with her. she has the extraordinary achievement of uniting all parties in this house behind a new paradigm. before she came along, the assumption is that all problems could best be solved by top-down directions and control of the state. she introduced the idea, quality and efficiency are most likely to follow if people are free to choose between alternatives. that is now a model being adopted, implemented by tony blair, even in the public services where she had feared. apart from eating divisive, she was someone who leaves a legacy
which unites us all. >> dr. alastair macdonald. >> thank you very much. i rise to sympathize with baroness thatcher's family and friends and colleagues in this house and elsewhere, and i offer my profound condolences. but i rise as a proud irish nationalist and in the proud tradition and the positive political tradition of my processors. this is a solemn day. it is with solemnity and sincerity that i speak on the behalf of democratic irish nationalism. i hate knowledge the wide of contribution across this house. it is clear from some of these testimonies that those who
personally knew her sought and cherish her. i am not here to deny those personal truths. as a democratic irish nationalist, i must speak with honesty about the political contribution in the legacy. she herself always expected and respected candor. not to register our differences with our politics and dereliction of responsibility. contributions that she made a divisive political contribution and was left -- that was the case in ireland. she was a formidable lady. she was a formidable politician. could've politician made it great for that she made. it cannot be denied that there
was great pain and distress in ireland. she was ill-advised and the deep political issue, driven by by injustice, many injustices in ireland could be solved purely by military and security methods alone. the policy of her approach to hunger strikes polarized modern opinion and demonstrated a lack of knowledge of ireland and our peoples. her actions proved counterproductive to our own cause, pounding the ira, political propaganda victories after political propaganda victories. the licenses had from government was also a major problem. by the time the concerns were raised and dismissed -- these have been vindicated by da silva and many police reports. all of these things served -- it has left many questions.
a large part of the unfinished legacy is how we must deal with the past and how we have to have the many victims, not just in ireland, but on this side of the sea as well. willuest for truth therein go on. our difficulties and differences politically did not stop on the shores these islands. andsdlp also opposed to disagreed with the attitude toward the since nelson mandela. i know they have displayed a
great history though -- we can deal with the many difficulties and differences -- showed that the signing of the agreement by margaret thatcher as prime minister was a pivotal in defining moment in our shared history. indeed, a pivotal moment in changing our direction of relationships on these islands. it was the first significant agreement between ireland and the -- and britain between -- since the treaty in 1921. it laid the progress for much of the piece that has taken place over the past years. it changed the relationship between our two countries and laid the foundation for so many of the positive changes we have experienced since. it is poignant that today is the 15th anniversary of the signing of the belfast agreement, the good friday agreement. dopingfort involved
layers upon layers of onerstanding, and moving from that agreement in the last 15 years has agreed building more layers of understanding. mr. speaker, we have to agree that the bedrock and the foundation for all that has been achieved was the agreement in 1985. the signing of that agreement showed that baroness thatcher did listen to good advice, prominent advisors, and she also listened to her friends, formidable friends like president ronald reagan from the u.s. just as prime minister thatcher might not have recognized the malignant and polarizing effect of her policy towards hunger strikes, she may not have appreciated or recognized the onential benign effect further relationships of her
commitment and that agreement. it changed the traditional -- challenged the traditionalist union mindset to read it put political constitutional nationalism to make an even more compelling case against the violence to those who were engaged in violence, which laid a foundation for stopping the violence in ireland. the pages were turned into our new history, a new history in northern ireland, and with it, a new history on these islands as a whole. the benefits of the anglo-irish and good friday agreements are being reaped by the peoples of britain and ireland who continue to benefit on the cost of engagement that started with and continues to flow from baroness thatcher's signing of the anglo-irish agreement. baroness thatcher may not recognize the full effect of
that moment in history, but on the behalf of right -- irish nationalism, it is right to it.gnize i join others across this house, the president of ireland, and the irish government in extending my sympathies to the children, family, and friends of baroness thatcher, not just in britain, but across the world. enjoyed manycher political challenges. her legacy may be divisive. she herself did not shirk from that in life. as a national -- and irish nasa -- an irish nationalist, i to herbe dishonorable legacy. thank you, mr. speaker. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
monday was the day that we had all been dreading in recent months in recent years. -- and recent years. much has been written about the state of lady thatcher's health in recent years. only 18 months ago, mr. speaker, you can remember an occasion where she came to support me, one of her last visits to the halls of westminster. can i say, she was grateful for your support and kindness to her on that occasion. she came back from so many health scares that we thought she would go on forever for it words of the poem, if i had a thought that could step guide, i would not weep for the, but i forgot when by thy side, that thou could not would be. as i watched the coverage of this remarkable lady on the television, i also felt a deep sense of personal loss. some of us have lost a dear friend, and someone who was in
my case not only a friend, but a mentor, a protectress, someone i loved and cared for it very deeply. i first met margaret thatcher in christchurch when she came to support my friend, and over the years, she has been enormously supportive in my efforts to get elected to this place. i remember in 2001 when she came to support me in easily. -- eastley. she took me to a health club cover live on sky news. the chief executive came to welcome her. she nods to him that these places are a complete waste of time. [laughter] in 2002, i must've had the unique privilege of welcoming
ted heath and margaret thatcher to easily in the same month. month.ley in the same i want, for goodness sake, do not put out the flyers. they did. [laughter] ted looked at one and said, what on earth are you doing with those two? i suppose for him it was a as sheg compliment, said, i suppose it was something of a coup. she came back in 2005. alas, that was not to be. chris one. -- won. [laughter] in the run-up0 to the general election, she did what turned out to be the last dinner she ever had outside her home where she came to do an event for me and another candidate.
we entitled it quote women: for men to win." "women: for men to win." almost every sunday, i often bumped into you emma mr. speaker, on my way to justice square to see her when when you were returning from the gym. [laughter] we had great conversations on those sundays. they ranged very much, dependent on how she was on a particular day. if we were in good form, we would go through the papers, and we would have a look. i remember last november, showing her the pole in the sunday telegraph that showed the behind thees 9% labour party. she asked when the next -- next
election was. i said, two years to go. she said, that is not far enough behind at this stage. [laughter] i texted this piece of information to the prime minister. i'm not sure whether that shared up his sunday evening checkers. i think it reduce my prospects for a promotion. mr. speaker, there was one occasion where i took the taxi from here to share to see her -- chester square to see your, and the taxi driver said, which corner do you want? i said maggie thatcher's. he said, what are you doing? i said, i'm going to have a direct debt -- drink with her. he refused to take the fair. he said, you're fair tonight, --
tell her from me, ain't had a good one since. onee ain't had a good since. [laughter] thispeaker, i imparted message to margaret who looked at me and said, well, he is quite right. [laughter] i was then on the receiving end of a rant of how disastrous it was how i did not pay him. some of the remarkable achievements she had -- i remember on one occasion last yearithin the saying to her, well, you must've made mistakes -- she replies, i must've done. i said, can you think of any specific examples?
they usually happened when i did not get my own way. [laughter] mr. speaker, much has been made in the media about the controversial nature of margaret thatcher as a politician and her premiership. we should not shy away from that today nor should we be afraid to talk about that. that would be to betray who she was. a robust, principled, confrontational character. yes, she divided. yes, she pursued her policies with vigor and persistence. she believed, as she said to me, politics at its. his velocity and action. she believed in the battle of ideas. politics is velocity in action. she believed in the battle of ideas. she was not a tory at all.
she proudly stated, in fact, that she was a laws a fair -- .aissez-faire liberal i think the protests in some way are actually the greatest compliment that can be paid to margaret thatcher, that even in death, the left has to argue against her. she would take great pride in these protests. she would not get angry. she would regard them as utterly and completely absurd. for those engaged in them, look at how gracious she was and always what she said when her political foes parted the sea, most recently in the statement she issued about michael foot -- her enduring legacy is not just in what she achieved and the fact that the labour party has not reversed much of it. her true legacy lies here on these ventures and those who are coming up behind us. ,fter the 2010 general election
i had the honor of organizing a small number of receptions to introduce her to new colleagues. she drew great solace and comfort from the number of those colleagues at told her they were in parliament because of her inspiration and because of what she believed and did. even only two years ago, tony abbott, the aspirant prime minister of australia, asking to come and see her, towing her that his philosophy -- telling her that his philosophy was informed by what she had done while she was at -- he was at university. to somee was divisive degree, controversial certainly, she was an inspiration to many people way beyond these shores. i would like to and i quoting -- said inuoting what she her memoirs, the last authentic book she published, when she reflected on a visit in 1993. she wrote movingly about
attending a mass at the church of the holy cross. she wrote that occasion, "every note and cranny was packed, and the choral singing of unfamiliar parishioners as all the more uplifting because i cannot understand the verses. it forced me to try to imagine what the congregation was asking of god. for and though this experience was, it also gave me a comforting feeling, that i was but one soul among many in a fellowship of believers that crossed nations and denominations. when the priest rose to gave the i had -- give the sermon, the sense that i had become the center of attention. ted turned. people smiled at me. as the priest began, someone translated his words. he recalled that during the dark days of communism, they had been aware of voices from the outside world offering hope of a different and better life. the voices were many, often eloquent, and all were welcome
to people starve so long of truth as well as freedom. polls had come to identify with one voice in particular, my own. even when that voice had been relayed through the distorting lens of the soviet propaganda to my they had heard through the distortions the message of truth and hope. while communism had fallen and a new dumb -- democratic order had overtaken, they have not believed in the reality until today i'm a when they finally saw me in their own church. the priest finished the sermon, and the service continued. andkindness of the priest the parishioners have not been exhausted. at the end of mass, i was invited to stand in front of the altar. when i did so, lines of children presented me with little bouquets while their mothers and the -- mothers and fathers applauded."
the final paragraph reads thus, "of course, no human mind, nor any conceivable computer, can calculate the sum total of my career in politics in terms of happiness, achievement, and virtue, nor indeed of their opposites. it follows therefore that the full accounting of how much political work affected the lives of others is something we will only know on judgment day. it is an awesome and unsettling thought, but it comforts me that when i stand up to hear the verdict, i will at least have the people of the church of the holy cross in court as character witnesses." , i joined inr to my ownbute adversary, margaret thatcher.
for many, margaret thatcher was a snatcher.ith it would be idle to believe that many of her policies were anything but anathema. margaret was much more complex than that, both as a politician and as a person. her international significance was quite recently -- was emphasized quite recently when almost 24 years after she had stopped being prime minister, an actress in hollywood could win the bestess -- actress award oscar for portraying her almost as well as she portrayed herself. i sat in the shadow cabinet for 10 years and she was prime minister. i saw her in action. i often opposed her in action. after she left office, or rather was austin -- ousted from
office, i had contact with her from time to time. of course, as you may remember manyrliament, i deplored of the drastic changes she made him decide -- in society. i was labor's spokesman during the coal strike among which she provoked and perp paired for -- prepared for and one. -- and won. a victory for her, just as -- we have had reference to him this afternoon -- just as michael foot contributed very significantly indeed to her greatest election victory in 1983.
it was my job to oppose her legislation, whose impact on the social housing persist today. -- persists today. not to mention the blunders that finished her off, the poll e.x, unknown to europ after all, she was a tory prime minister and was not elected to implement policies that either me or my constituents favor. unlike winston churchill, she consensus.ost-war that was her objective. that was her achievement. in personal relationships and in some policy areas, she could be more than civilized, indeed punctilious and cordial. when shesing minister was shadow environment secretary. i recall an occasion when one of her front bench spokesmaen
violated the type of across the bench deal on which the function of this house depends. it was margaret who sought me out to apologize and say that she knew nothing about it and would have stopped it had she known. after she became prime minister , she balked at railway advertise asian. it was imposed by john major -- privitization. it was imposed by john major. though she won her second and third elections with enormous majorities, she was always accessible. she announced that any member of potter -- parliament with employment problems in his or her own constituency could come and see her at number 10. i availed myself of this offer when a computer label factory in closed.ituency was
we met in the prime minister study at 10 downing street, and i explained the problem. how are we to save it, she asked. i suggested it could be taken over by the national enterprise board, which had been created by labor. the junior minister responsible for this policy was present. she turned to him and asked, what did i do with the national enterprise board? [laughter] the factory isy now a blood transfusion center. still, she meant well. she was brave. in the parliamentary week following the bombing in which terrorists try to kill her -- tried to kill her and all her all of britisho democracy, she was here and perky in parliament with the government statement.
she was absolutely right on a considerable number of foreign- camerasssues against nerve-trembling on both sides of nerve-trembling on both sides of the house. she was utterly determined that the people of the falkland islands that wanted to be british and still want to be british today should be so -- should not be the victims of a fascist dictator. how some labour members of parliament could actually want or to doubt a response to an aggressive fascist dictator, i , and iunderstand then still do not understand today. when saddam hussein seized kuwait, she was actively part of the preparations to oust him by force.
having some of our own ventures -- i am here to try to obtain consensus -- [laughter] in the debate, which she was present, told the house that the labour party was not based on support in the united kingdom government, but on implementing united nations security council resolutions. , andnew what i was up to smiled a wry smile. she was much more farsighted than most united kingdom prime ministers about rightward trends in israel and the middle
east. when a shadow foreign secretary visited morocco, i was told by the united kingdom ambassador that she gave him a direct instruction to approach the leaders of the vendor -- the then-substantial moroccan jewish committee and urge them to exert a sizable numbers -- the sizable numbers to promote labor in the coming election. she generally found ways of getting her own way. a musical called "maggie may," and the saying went, "others may not, but maggie may." that was her freeze. i saw her from time to time
after she left office. i attended a social event, and when i came in, she bustled over to me. ice -- i recently published in a newspaper an article about protecting children from pornography on tv and videos. she told me how much she admired the article and said, "i carry it everywhere with me in my handbag." mr. speaker, to be part of the contents of margaret -- [laughter] -- to be part of the contents of margaret handbag -- margaret 's handbag, what greater apotheosis could one hope for. >> the funeral for former prime minister margaret thatcher will be wednesday in london. we will have coverage from the bbc including commentary and the sights and sounds of the funeral procession for