Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady

By John Blundell | Go to book overview

10. POWER

“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony

Where there is error, may we bring truth

Where there is doubt, may we bring faith

Where there is despair, may we bring hope.1

“Give me six strong men and true, and I will get through … very
rarely did I have as many as six.”

British General Elections are called by or forced on Prime Ministers at very short notice. Callaghan had lost a vote of confidence 311-310 on Wednesday March 28 and an election could have been held as early as Thursday, April 26. However he successfully argued for Thursday2 May 3 as the Government needed a few days to tidy up business. Two days later, on March 30 during this period of phony war between the parties as they geared up for the real thing, Margaret Thatcher lost her

1 These words of St. Francis of Assisi were quoted by the new Prime Minister on entering 10 Downing Street. They were chosen for her by a speech writer called Ronnie Millar and all one can say is that they are not really appropriate or remotely Thatcherite. However, they did get air time! It has since been claimed that while she was told they were the words of St. Francis they were in fact some more modern anonymous verse.

2 British General elections are traditionally held on Thursdays but there is nothing to stop other days being selected. In 1931 the General Election was a Tuesday and in 1918 it was a Saturday.

-89-

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Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • List of Acronyms ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Protocol xiii
  • Table of Contents xv
  • Preface 1
  • Introduction 11
  • 1- Childhood 17
  • 2- University 25
  • 3- Launching 35
  • 4- Elected 45
  • 5- Opposition I 53
  • 6- Education Secretary 63
  • 7- Reflections 71
  • 8- Leader 77
  • 9- Opposition II 83
  • 10- Power 89
  • 11- Liberating the Economy 93
  • 12- Privatizing the Commanding Heights 99
  • 13- Selling off Public Housing 107
  • 14- Going to War 113
  • 15- Beating the Miners 121
  • 16- Reforming the Unions 127
  • 17- Battling the I.R.a 131
  • 18- Befriending America 137
  • 19- Kicking Down the Wall 141
  • 20- Dealing with Brussels 147
  • 21- Resignation 155
  • 22- Retirement 165
  • 23- Family 173
  • 24- Men 181
  • 25- Her World 191
  • 26- Ten Lessons 197
  • Postscript- What Remains to Be Done 207
  • Appendix I- Table of Margaret Thatcher’s Elections* 209
  • Appendix II- General Election Results from 1945 -2005 210
  • Further Reading 211
  • Index 213
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