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Margaret Thatcher: In her own words

Margaret ThatcherConservative Party (UK)PoliticsBBC

As education secretary in the 1970s, Margaret Thatcher said she did not think a woman would become British prime minister in her lifetime. She would occupy the job for nearly a dozen years, moving into 10 Downing St. in 1979.

Thatcher died Monday at the age of 87. Here are memorable quotes from her political career:

“I stand before you tonight in my Red Star chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up and my fair hair gently waved, the 'Iron Lady' of the Western world. A cold war warrior, an Amazon philistine, even a Peking plotter.... Yes, if that's how they wish to interpret my defense of values and freedoms fundamental to our way of life.”

-- Responding to being called the “Iron Lady” in 1976

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"To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning."

-- At the 1980 Conservative Party conference,  during an economic recession

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“We have ceased to be a nation in retreat. We have instead a newfound confidence — born in the economic battles at home and tested and found true 8,000 miles away.”

-- From a 1982 speech about the Falklands War

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 “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We both believe in our own political systems. He firmly believes in his; I firmly believe in mine. We are never going to change one another. So that is not in doubt, but we have two great interests in common: that we should both do everything we can to see that war never starts again."

-- Speaking about then-Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev in a 1984 interview with the BBC’s John Cole

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"This is a day I was not meant to see."

-- Addressing reporters after surviving a 1984 Irish Republican Army bombing at the Conservative Party conference in Brighton

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“I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand, ‘I have a problem; it is the government's job to cope with it!’ or ‘I have a problem; I will go and get a grant to cope with it’ … and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families, and no government can do anything except through people, and people look to themselves first.”

-- From an interview for Woman's Own magazine in 1987

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"It's a funny old world."

-- At her final Cabinet meeting in 1990

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"I might have preferred iron, but bronze will do."

-- At the unveiling of a statue of herself at the British House of Commons in 2007

 

ALSO:

Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female prime minister, dies at 87

Death of Thatcher stirs up wartime memories in Argentina

Timeline: The life of Margaret Thatcher

 

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