Margaret Thatcher’s thoughts from a life in politics

LONDON — Here are quotes from Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Britain, on her life and career.

“In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.” — 1975


Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

“I don’t mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say.” — 1980

“It wouldn’t have happened if they had had a woman prime minister at the time.” — 1987, on Britain’s losing the 13 colonies

‘‘There are dangers in consensus: it could be an attempt to satisfy people holding no particular views about anything. . . . No great party can survive except on the basis of firm beliefs about what it wants to do.’’ — Oct. 10, 1968, Conservative Party conference


‘‘Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you tonight in my red chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my fair hair gently waved . . . the Iron Lady of the Western World. Me? A Cold War warrior? Well, yes — if that is how they wish to interpret my defense of values of freedoms fundamental to our way of life.’’ — Jan. 31, 1976

“If you lead a country like Britain … you have to have a touch of iron about you.” — 1986.

‘‘You turn if you want to; the lady’s not for turning.’’ — Oct. 10, 1980, Conservative Party Conference


‘‘When you’ve spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it’s exciting to have a real crisis on your hands.’’ — May 14, 1982, commenting on the Falkland Islands war

‘‘We fought to show that aggression does not pay and that the robber cannot be allowed to get away with his swag. We fought with the support of so many throughout the world. . . . Yet we also fought alone.’’ — July 3, 1982, on the Falkland Islands war

‘‘I was asked whether I was trying to restore Victorian values. I said straight out I was. And I am.’’ — July 21, 1983, speech to British Jewish Community

‘‘There is no week, nor day, nor hour, when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their supreme confidence in themselves, and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance. Tyranny may always enter — there is no charm or bar against it.’’ — July 19, 1984, during the coal miners’ strike

‘‘I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together.’’ — Dec. 17, 1984, speaking of Mikhail Gorbachev

‘‘No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.’’ — Jan. 6, 1986, television interview

‘‘There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.’’ — Oct. 31, 1987, magazine interview

‘‘We are a grandmother.’’ — March 3, 1989, announcing the birth of her first grandchild

‘‘If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing.’’ — May 3, 1989, commenting on her 10th anniversary as prime minister


‘‘I am not immortal, but I’ve got a lot left in me yet.’’ — Sept. 9, 1990