Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady

By John Blundell | Go to book overview

22. RETIREMENT

“I had the marvellous privilege of being there for 11½, nearly 12
years. That’s nearly half as long again as any American president
can be president of the United States.”

The idea of Mrs. Thatcher actually retiring is laughable to those who know her. Even today 6 years after being told by her doctors to slow down and take it easy she has a busy diary and even complained to me in my role as Director General of the IEA recently “you don’t invite me here often enough!” Yes, Prime Minister1.

Sixteen months after leaving Downing Street she would step down as MP for Finchley at the April ’92 General Election. Labour leader Neil Kinnock greeted this news in his usual fashion as follows: this is “one of her wiser judgments” as “she does not want to face losing her seat or at best going on the opposition benches.” For a man who never held office in government and ended up in the House of Lords despite being a critic of the Upper House, this was rich indeed. Mrs. Thatcher expressed a desire to stay in politics — however, as a member of the House of Lords, which was pretty much her prerogative as a former Prime Minister. The only post-war Prime Ministers not to have taken a

1 In the UK former Prime Ministers are normally referred to as Mr. X or Sir Y or Lord Z. Margaret Thatcher is unique in that many people still address her as “Prime Minister.”

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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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