This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Margaret Thatcher: in her own words on law, disorder, police and peace

Parliament has been recalled today to pay tribute to the passing of one of the last century's most notable Prime Ministers: one Margaret Thatcher. As this blog is (mainly) about policing, crime and safer, more peaceful communities, I thought I would dig out some of her own quotes on these matters, as my way of contributing to the tributes (with grateful thanks to wikiquote for most of these, which has the references too).

Perhaps her most famous speech is the one that she made when entering Number 10 for the first time:
Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.
And on the police:
My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police
And on the rule of law:
At one end of the spectrum are the terrorist gangs within our borders, and the terrorist states which finance and arm them. At the other are the hard left operating inside our system, conspiring to use union power and the apparatus of local government to break, defy and subvert the law.
The freedom of peoples depends fundamentally on the rule of law, a fair legal system. The place to have trials or accusations is a court of law, the Common Law that has come right up from Magna Carta, which has come right up through the British courts—a court of law is the place where you deal with these matters. If you ever get trial by television or guilt by accusation, that day freedom dies because you have not had it done with all of the careful rules that have developed in a court of law. Press and television rely on freedom. Those who rely on freedom must uphold the rule of law and have a duty and a responsibility to do so and not try to substitute their own system for it.
And on peace:
Mr. Chairman, you have invited me to speak on the subject of Britain and Europe. Perhaps I should congratulate you on your courage. If you believe some of the things said and written about my views on Europe, it must seem rather like inviting Genghis Khan to speak on the virtues of peaceful coexistence! ...The European Community is one manifestation of that European identity, but it is not the only one
The West as a whole in the early 1990s became obsessed with a 'peace dividend' that would be spent over and over again on any number of soft-hearted and sometimes soft-headed causes. Politicians forgot that the only real peace dividend is peace.
For every idealistic peacemaker willing to renounce his self-defence in favour of a weapons-free world, there is at least one warmaker anxious to exploit the other's good intentions
We are prepared to fight for peace. (Source)
And more generally / randomly
There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.
To me, consensus seems to be: the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that need to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner ‘I stand for consensus’?
People are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture. (Source)
I'm also very much aware that it is you who brought democracy to Chile, you set up a constitution suitable for democracy, you put it into effect, elections were held, and then, in accordance with the result, you stepped down. (Margaret Thatcher, speaking to Pinochet, 1999)
Let's make it clear: the Conservative Party has no plans for new NHS charges (April 1979)
We introduced the Community Charge. I still call it that. I like the Poles - I never had any intention of taxing them. (1996)
The Right Honourable Gentleman is afraid of an election is he? He is frightened, frightened, frit! (1983)
The lesson of this century is that Europe will only be peaceful if the Americans are on this continent. (1993)
When I look at him [Edward Heath] and he looks at me, I don't feel that it is a man looking at a woman. More like a woman being looked at by another woman. (1979)
If I lose, I will be out tomorrow. (on the eve of the 1979 election)
and finally
We should not expect the State to appear in the guise of an extravagant God fairy at every christening, a loquacious companion at every stage of life's journey, the unknown mourner at every funeral. (Source)

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