Margaret Thatcher: 'This Is No Time to Go Wobbly' and Other Memorable Quotes

Article excerpt

Margaret Thatcher is being remembered as the prime minister who remade Britain's economy, the "Iron Lady" who stood up to communism and who fought and won a war in the distant South Atlantic.

But to this reporter (who briefly overlapped with Mrs. Thatcher as the Monitor's Paris correspondent from 1989 to 1994), she is remembered as the British leader who could be counted on for a good quote.

Amid a sea of mild, if sometimes dull, European leaders, Thatcher stood out for always speaking her mind.

At the end of various summits of the European Council, reporters fretted over which of the many simultaneously scheduled press conferences with this president or that prime minister to attend. But there was no such deliberating over Thatcher. She always got the big auditorium while other leaders had to settle for diminutive side rooms.

Part of Mrs. Thatcher's draw was her reputation. This woman among men, who always carried her handbag with her to the press conference stage, was remembered for telling Europe in 1984, "I want my money back!" (Her actual quote, as she insisted that Britain deserved a refund of its contribution to the European budget, was, "We are simply asking to have our own money back.")

But she never disappointed. One of her more memorable quotes came in 1990 (although not at a council summit): "No. No. No," she declared in response to Frenchman Jacques Delors, then president of the European Commission, and his prediction that European institutions would become the seats of democracy in Europe. …