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Quotes by Margaret Thatcher

Updated on April 19, 2013

In Margaret Thatcher's Own Words

The Iron Lady Britain Needed

She said, “What Britain needs is an Iron Lady.” And so she became Britain’s Iron Lady.

Her name is Margaret Thatcher and she was a trailblazer. In 1979, she was the first woman to be elected as Prime Minister in Britain. She died on April 8, 2013 at the young age of 87. Some of her achievements are cited as controversial and unpopular by some. They include reducing social programs and the power of unions, as well as privatizing industries that were government run. Indeed she forged new paths through her work. To some she’ll be remembered as Britain’s Iron Lady but for those of us that delight in rhyme and reason she’ll be remembered for leaving us with a “taste of iron.”

We can learn a lot from our leaders, especially Margaret Thatcher. Below are some of her most remembered quotes;


Margaret Thatcher on Achievement

She said, “Being prime minister is a lonely cannot lead from the crowd.”

No leader leads from behind and Margaret Thatcher didn't. In 1979 when she was elected Prime Minister of Great Britain her country was in an economic decline. Unafraid of the naysayers that believed she would fail, she went out to prove them wrong through hard work and discipline. She said, “Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem and personal satisfaction.”

Unlike many people that set out to be liked and admired Thatcher's plan was to win at all costs. She said that people who set out to be liked are easily compromised and in the end achieve nothing of substance. No matter how hard the battle or tough the fight, she was definitely in it to win it. One of her most famous quotes was that she would fight on and fight to win.

Many times women in leadership don't like to be seen as lady. Margaret Thatcher was all woman. She said power is being lady. Women who have to tell people they are a lady simply aren't according to the Prime Minister.

Indeed she stood as a champion for many women. She implored others to seek the advice of a woman if they wanted something done. She said women have an innate ability to stick to a job when others walk off.

Her greatest tips on achieving success is plan your work everyday and then work it. Success she said was mixture of flair and purpose. Indeed she had both.

Margaret Thatcher Speaks Truth to Power

Certainly Margaret Thatcher had guts, but she also had a wicked sense of humor and showed admiration for others. Throughout her life she showed respect for the people that impacted her and was quick to give praise to others for their accomplishments. It takes a special kind of leader can speak truth to power, give praise and poke fun of herself. Prime Minister Thatcher was some kind of special.

Like most leaders she loved argument and debate but she didn't want anyone to simply agree with her because she was the Prime Minister. She wanted those under her control to obey her orders. In regards to her minister's she said, “I don’t mind how much my minister’s talk, as long as they do what I say.”

A strong lead accepts responsibilities for their actions whether they have consensus or not. Thatcher said this about consensus; “To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all belief, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.”

In speaking truth to power, she was not ashamed. She believed in platitudes. Many defined platitudes as trite and meaningless but Thatcher called platitudes truth. She said, "Truth usually is the same old story." She even had something to say about lying. She said, "You don’t tell deliberate lies, but sometimes you have to be evasive.”

Margaret Thatcher Gives Praise

When it came to giving praise Thatcher was not evasive, she said this about Ronald Reagan words to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva summit; “I cannot imagine how any diplomat, or any dramatist, could improve on words to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva summit: ‘Let me tell you why it is we distrust you.’ Those words are candid and tough and they cannot have been easy to hear. But they are also a clear invitation to a new beginning and a new relationship that would be rooted in trust.”

Pokes Fun At Self

Thatcher was no shrinking violet. She knew her worth and place in history but she did not allow it to feed her ego. She often poked fun at herself. In 1990 when she resigned from power she said she was not immortal but she still had a lot left in herself. After serving three terms many thought she was old and could not perform anymore. She called the world old and funny after resigning.

Like a lot of people that experience set backs Thatcher would find ways to cheer herself up. She said this when she attacked personally in politics; “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

Remembered Worldwide for Her Vision, Values, Leadership


Margaret Thatcher on Economics, Finance & Money

Every leader has an economic policy. Margaret Thatcher was no different. She policies emphasized modesty, hard work and discipline as a means to economic health and wealth. She said, “It may be the cock that crows, but it is the hen that lays the eggs,” which can be interpreted as to walking the walk instead of talking the talk. She said it wasn't the creation of wealth that was wrong, but the love of money for the sake of it was wrong.

In regards to the biblical story of the Good Samaritan, she said, “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well.” We need money to accomplish things and get others to pay attention.

She believed she won the election because of her modest upbringing. Here's her most famous quote about this; “It’s passionately interesting for me that the things that I learned in a small town, in a very modest home, are just the things that I believe have won the election.” She defined her simple economic principles in laymens terms she said, “You and I come by road or rail, but economist travel on infrastructure.”

Margaret Thatcher on Having a Purpose & Self Confidence

Patience and purposes fueled her confidence and character. Although she was a woman she did not believe she owed anything to women's lib. She said it flat out and plain, "I owe nothing to Women’s Lib. I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph.”

Margaret Thatcher on America, Europe and Britain (the UK)

“Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.”

“To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukemia with leeches.”

“If you lead a country like Britain, a strong country, a country which has taken a lead in world affairs in good times and in bad, a country that is always reliable, then you have to have a touch of iron about you.”


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    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great hub, Princess! I learned all kinds of little things that i don't remember knowing! Thank you! Up+

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

      Very true. It is a hard job to take a country and change how things are run, but I still believe you must have a listening ear. I like how you put the hub together.

    • livelifeworryfree profile image

      Princess Clark 4 years ago from The DMV

      Thanks so much for comment. You are not alone. I've met many in my travels that I have said the same thing. I'm sure it's not easy being first especially when you are a woman surrounded by men. I've talked to women leaders in the military who have said they have had to wear a "hard edge" in order to incite change. It's sad that even today some women have to put on toughness to lead. I don't know if she really lacked empathy or if she needed to wear a mask to do her job. After all her job like most world's leaders didn't stop at 5 pm.

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

      I was not a big fan of Maggie. We attended the same church in London and I was often disappointed by her lack of courtesy to others. She may have made some tough decisions but her lack of empathy, in my opinion, cost her dearly in the end.