Margaret Thatcher does not have a view on the referendum

It must be a new low for the stay in campaign when they turn to the dead to support them.

May Margaret Thatcher rest in peace. She was in her political prime 30 years ago, before the treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon transformed a relationship based on trade and business into much more of a common government. I was her chief policy adviser in her middle years and would not presume to attribute views to her about current political issues. She never expressed a view as PM without thorough briefing and study of the issue.We do know that she did object very strongly to economic and monetary union before she left office and showed no appetite then for the high degree of integration we now experience under common EU laws, powers and policies.

I find it disappointing that Lord Powell should presume to be able to communicate with the dead and tell us what they are thinking. It’s not the first time pro EU people have tried this, as they often assert Churchill wanted us to be part of the united Europe he talked about when most of his references to that made clear he also wanted the UK to be part of a separate Union of the English Speaking peoples and not part of the United Europe. That of course was why he wrote a History of The English Speaking peoples rather than a history of Europe, as that set of books makes clear.


  1. Nick W
    February 7, 2016

    The problem with our Prime Minister and his Government is that their allegiance and loyalty is owed to their fellow members of the Governing classes in Europe, and not to Britain or the British people.

    Margaret Thatcher was “One of us”, Cameron is “One of them”.

    1. alan jutson
      February 7, 2016

      Nick W

      Margaret Thatcher was “One of us” Cameron is “One of them”

      Brilliant, says it all.

  2. Leslie Singleton
    February 7, 2016

    Haven’t they heard (Actually, thinking about it, maybe they haven’t) of the de mortuis rule? How could they insult her so? What do they think the (Iron) Duke of Wellington would have thought? Idiots. One reads that Cameron is panicking and well he might–this calumniation of Maggie proves it. Everything he says and does makes Out more likely, so chin up everybody.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 7, 2016

      He doesn’t have to rush to the country this June with nothing more than a load of vacuous nonsense to offer the electorate; in practical terms he has until late autumn in 2017 to hold the referendum, under the Act, and so he could easily give himself more time to get some significant changes agreed and signed.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      February 7, 2016

      Cameron may have to choke on the fact that his disaster of a re-negotiation, in particular his lies or his idiocy in continuing to talk about it’s being substantial and legally binding, is acting as a proxy for the EU itself–people see right through what he is doing and the vote will be heavily dependent on that. In plain English, people will think the re-negotiation has failed and so has the EU; and they won’t be far wrong. Note BTW that “substantial” (which it isn’t) is by no means the same as the “fundamental” originally promised, though admittedly a Cameron promise cannot be held to have meant much.

  3. Cheshire Girl
    February 7, 2016

    I agree. Seems some people will say anything to get support for their cause. I often wish Margaret Thatcher was here now. I would listen very carefully to what she had to say, and would feel that I could rely on her judgement. Maybe I’ m wrong, but I truly believe that she would have put Country before Party. She was a woman of principle!

    1. Kevin Dabson
      February 7, 2016

      I would absolutely want her here now. Actually I would go much further and take a Enoch Powell or Alan Clark….

      I was brought up in a Labour area to despise Conservatives via brainwashing, but as I got older and stayed in the USA for a few years, and set up some business’s I have completely changed my view.

      Best Regards


    2. Lifelogic
      February 7, 2016

      We can listen to Norman Tebbit instead perhaps.

  4. Lifelogic
    February 7, 2016

    Indeed it is not so much “disappointing” as rather pathetic of the man. Clutching at straws as they simply have no rational arguments to put forwards.

    As I keep saying, even those in favour of the sclerotic antidemocratic, proven disaster this is the EU should vote “leave” in this referendum and wait just for a proper negotiation to follow and an improved deal. Followed by the “get it right” this time referendum that the establishment will certainly arrange to follow.

    The should refuse that deal too.

    1. Graham Wood
      February 7, 2016

      Lifelogic. Your ‘clutching at straws’ comment is reinforced by some interesting if not startling news coming from an unexpected quarter as regards the legality of Mr Cameron’s negotiations.
      Interesting too that Chris Booker in the ST today makes the same point.

      It must be a delicious irony that a senior judge from the ECJ, of all people, has just pronounced that the results of Mr Cameron’s negotiations are not legally binding. As reported by two blogs today (Vote Leave, and EU Referendum).

      Leaving aside such vexed questions as to how a draft set of proposals , and the deposition of a document with these proposals with the UN can somehow be legally binding, the judge confirms what we already knew, namely that treaty change would be necessary. This would be particularly relevant to the “ever closer union” clause in the TEU which is one of the pillars of EU policy. Vote Leave’s report:
      “One of the most senior judges in the country has blown apart the Government’s claims about the legality of its EU deal. In evidence given to Parliament and revealed by Vote Leave today, Sir Konrad Schiemann, a former English Court of Appeal and European Court of Justice judge contradicts claims by the Government that the renegotiation will have legal force straight after the referendum. He says that it will be a ‘political understanding’ but that changes to the treaties – which are necessary to give the deal legal force – can ‘only be achieved by following the lengthy processes in each Member State for ratifying Treaties’.
      He also contradicts Government claims that the changes will be ‘irreversible’ and he says that the removal of ever closer union will not ‘achieve anything in particular’.”
      Sir Konrad continued further, noting: “that there can be no possibility of altering the Treaties before the referendum date”. On the “ever closer union” clause he commented further that this is: “more in the nature of an aspiration than a legally binding commitment to achieving anything in particular”.

      Well, this gentleman should know his stuff as a judge, and I think is more to be relied on than a bevy of legal advisers who must have misled Mr Cameron into make his outrageous assertions?

      This being the case how can Mr Cameron continue his weak and controversial claim that his negotiations are legally binding in the light of comments from such a source?

      The implications are huge, and most certainly shoots the ‘remain’ party’s fox, removes any real chance of a June referendum if treaty ratification by 28 member states is required, and places Mr Cameron, and members of his cabinet and his other sycophantic ‘remain’ MPs in an extremely embarrassing position.

      In my view the opinion coming from this quarter ought to dramatically change the dynamics of the whole EU/UK membership debate in the coming months.

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 7, 2016

      There is a developing media narrative that even if Cameron has got no concessions of any value that really makes no difference, because it would be better to stay in the EU as it is now rather than leave. But where would that put those who have been sitting on the fence saying that they would vote for staying in a “reformed” EU?

    3. Lifelogic
      February 7, 2016

      Having said that Lady Thatcher certainly did make a lot of mistakes. John Major being the biggest of them.

      Also allowing the large Libdim wing to push her into the ERM or indeed to be in the Tory party at all. They have their own party already and we saw how unpopular that was at the last election.

  5. RB
    February 7, 2016

    This is a witty riposte!

  6. alan jutson
    February 7, 2016

    I think Mr Cameron and a number of Conservative and Labour Mp’s need to really think about their future, if they want a future.

    Putting Self, or Party, before Country, may well result in the voters at the next General Election putting another candidate in first place, who does not put themselves or Party first.

    Cameron is playing a very dangerous game with his Party Mp’s futures.

    The lies and spin are slowly being unwound on the internet, and now in the media (other than the BBC of course).

    Mr Cameron has already of course given up on wanting to become re-elected, as he has said already he is going to quit, so he has nothing to lose, others have !

  7. Kenneth
    February 7, 2016

    I agree that using Margaret Thatcher in this way was a low blow

    John, it seems that you and other eu-sceptics will increasingly have trouble getting your point across.

    The BBC/David Cameron/Labour Party line is: “the sceptics have made up their mind already and nothing in the negotiation will change their views”.

    The BBC, which has the greatest access to the public, has been hammering this line all week, often with this being their opening line of enquiry.

    This approach of attempting to invalidate the OUTs point of view before they open their mouth allows the INs to avoid argument and debate.

    There is nothing you can do if Piggy’s got the conch and won’t let go of it.

    1. The Active Citizen
      February 7, 2016

      Well said JR. Thoroughly shameful by that ex-FCO apparatchik.

      Kenneth, very good post. I noticed the same thing. Loved the Lord of the Flies reference, by the way.

    2. Bob
      February 7, 2016

      I’ve been telling our host for years about the malign influence of the BBC on Britain.
      He usually censors my messages when I give advice as to how the Licence Fee may be legally avoided.

      Anyway, it’s a bit late now, we’re approaching crunch point with the referendum looming, and Westminster and the BBC working towards complete subordination to the EU. The years of dumbed down education and dis-information may now pay them the dividend they’ve been working for.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 7, 2016

        The BBC/Libdim agenda has caused huge damage to the UK. Distorting democracy and shifting all politics in the UK well to the left of the centre.

    3. Lifelogic
      February 8, 2016

      Exactly, and the Piggy BBC has got the conch alas.

  8. Antisthenes
    February 7, 2016

    It is a pity that David Cameron is no Margaret Thatcher, Churchill or even Chamberlain despite his faults and pathetic bit of paper. Take note Corbyn and other appeasers Chamberlain failed because Hitler believed that GB would not go to war with him. So no deterrent means no binding deals and aggression will not be neutralised. David Cameron of course is guilty of something similar he has made plain that he will not take putative action if fair and binding agreement is not reached. So he lost the renegotiation even before he started it.

    No Cameron is all gloss and no shine. Pretty on the outside but dull on the inside. A PR man not a statesman. The EU has run rings around him. If he had been Margaret Thatcher they would never have got away with it and he does not have to worry about a bunch of Conservative grandees being around to stab him in the back.

  9. agricola
    February 7, 2016

    Agree, distasteful, but I am sure we will see much more as the campaign develops. Lifebelts for the unscrupulous I fear.

  10. Denis Cooper
    February 7, 2016

    It’s possible that Cameron has made a significant tactical error with this one.

    Most of those who have a particularly high opinion of Thatcher are older people on the right, and being older many of them are also wise enough not to be swayed by a claim that she would have supported his non-existent “deal”, a claim which of course cannot be substantiated.

    On the other hand most of those for whom Thatcher is a hate figure are younger people, too young to have any personal memory of the total mess the country was in when she became Prime Minister in 1979, and just going by what their elders and the left wing propaganda say about her, and for them a supposed posthumous recommendation from Thatcher is likely to incline them the other way.

    Which could have a significant effect on the outcome of the referendum in those parts of the country where she is still viewed with especially intense dislike – Scotland, of course, but also Wales and northern and central England, and maybe also London – should those who are campaigning for us to leave the EU have the nouse to exploit it properly.

  11. turbo terrier
    February 7, 2016

    This is the price we have to pay for having people like Lord Powell in such positions as to be able to pass such comment and be listened to as credible. Well done John for highlighting this sort of behaviour it needs to be highlighted more often the man is worse than pathetic and it is only the rules of being entered on your blog that stops one from saying what we really feel. Somebody should leave him the pistol on the table and hopefully he would do the honourable thing.

    These people have no principles and as reported in todays Sunday Telegraph we have yet another (yes another) SNP politician found out for creating a company for tax avoidance to save the sum of £35k despite standing on a platform of the more wealthy should pay their proper taxes for the benefit of the poorer in society.

    All the lies and fear information being talked about by those desperate to stay within the EU does nothing but bring even more disgrace upon Westminster and actions similar to the above drags it deeper into the mire.

    Is it any wonder that a lot of people admit to being confused about the whole EU referendum.

  12. James Matthews
    February 7, 2016

    An interesting approach to campaigning from Powell the professional. To this amateur is seems vanishingly unlikely that anyone who respected Margaret Thatcher’s politics is going to be persuaded to vote “in” by someone claiming to channel her views from the next world. On the other hand, those for whom Thatcherism was anathema might, if they believe it, (a big “if” of course) just be pushed a centimetre or two towards Brexit.

    Desperate stuff from the Remainers. Were it not a calumny on someone who can not respond, verging on the comical.

  13. Douglas Carter
    February 7, 2016

    In the most immediate comparison, I very much doubt Maggie would have claimed in Parliament that something that could not be considered as ‘legally binding’ in any international respect was in fact exactly that – even for short term political convenience and exigency. Let alone assert such a falsehood in front of Parliament. Probably because she was a strong, competent, principled Prime Minister.

    She would have rightly seen such a claim for what it was. A cynical and blatant lie, and clutching at straws.

  14. majorfrustration
    February 7, 2016

    Yes its dirty but lets not go there. We need somebody like Max Hastings to stand up and say it like it is – politicians are just not believed no matter how right they may be.

  15. Mark B
    February 7, 2016

    Good afternoon.

    Desperate people do desperate things.

    To use, or should that be missuse a dead person in a political campaign must be a new low for the info campaign. ,

  16. Ian wragg
    February 7, 2016

    The remain camp are desperate. Endless negative quotes and assertions.
    We would never have been in this mess is she hadn’t been deposed by the Brussels arm of government.

  17. oldtimer
    February 7, 2016

    Perhaps Lord Powell is seeking to distract attention away from Cameron`s draft dodgy dossier (which we actually can read for ourselves) to the late Mrs Thatcher`s non-existent views (which exist only in his imagination).

  18. Know Dice
    February 7, 2016

    Whilst none of us can really say what Baroness Thatcher would say today and it’s very disrespectful for even those that think they may have been close to her to suggest they they do.

    I’m pretty sure that she would have had a very vocal opinion on the giving away voting rights and rebates that she fought so hard for us (the UK) to get.

  19. Margaret
    February 7, 2016

    But you were there John and I would imagine that you discussed yours and Margaret’s views and came to an understanding . That part of Mrs T remains. My mother had a strong dislike for Margaret Thatcher; I was just a follower. My father was a Churchill and Thatcher person. They are long gone , but you are not and can and have made an impact more recently as you did when you were younger. This Brexit notion is growing.

  20. Qubus
    February 7, 2016

    I seem to remember, “No, No, No”. What isn’t there to understand about that?

  21. Maureen Turner
    February 7, 2016

    You are correct Nick W in that the late Margaret Thatcher was one of us not one of them but it seems we are saddled with a one of them for possibly the next four years as regardless of the outcome of the Referendum I can’t see him stepping down before 2020. He said he would depart prior to the next GE but we know he says lots of things which are here today and gone tomorrow.

    The PM seems to find it difficult to like his core vote, some of whom are now known as fruitcakes and closet racists. Only last Friday he advised his MPs to ignore the Party Assocs. and members who no doubt helped him into No. 10. He really is in desperate need of that little book some of us read as teenagers – How to win friends and influence people.

    Unusually for a PM of a UK government Mr. Cameron went straight from being an MP into his premiership without a stint in Cabinet and it is this that most likely makes him so lacking in the necessary collegiate skills. We have seen in recent weeks just how authoritarian he can be re this EU referendum with gagging orders on his own Cabinet for goodness sake. It’s a bit late in the day to learn – when to win and when to lose – which would have been rather more sensible than closing down those who might disagree with you.
    Really good earlier piece today JR. Pleased to learn your compiling your blogs and sending them out to various groups. Running this blog alone must take a lot of pretty exhausting work regardless of your parliamentary business but it is much appreciated and
    serves us all as an informative and welcome pep talk. Thanks.

    February 7, 2016

    Adversaries in the world, sometimes apart from day-to-day intercourse, see everyone in this world with English as a first language as One.

    Those self-declared opponents of English language speakers do from time to time very much include individual nations states of the EU.

    Certainly within living memory of two generations, these EU states have by themselves and in evil cahoots with others in the EU physically attacked us, shot us, stabbed us, bombed us, gassed us, killed us, tortured us, robbed us of trade, impoverished us, conspired against us openly and importantly in secret yet all smiles and cooperation to our faces.

    We of the English speaking world are viewed by all those who are not, as the winners of the last war. Everyone loves a winner. Except the losers. Except perhaps those who were not strong enough and humiliatingly, in their view, had their countries handed back to them by the Anglo-Saxon world of UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. Even for we in the UK, it continues to be hard to accept “the yanks” help, was decisive. We would have much preferred to have beaten Hitler all by ourselves. So we sometimes call them “Big heads” Na-nana-naa-nah! And say they should have helped two years before they did, help in fighting a war thousands of miles from USA territory and in many ways nothing to do with them. But they did come. They came to help their fellow bigheads in thousands.
    We should understand and give careful respect to our “allies” inner feelings in the EU. All is not said outright. All is not what it seems. Unless you’re a Corbynista, then all the world is Hobbiton with round doors,round windows and a round of toast with strawberry jam and hot crumpets oozing with butter.

    As to Margaret Thatcher, one can expect the STAY campaign to quote everyone and anyone who is not available to deny it.
    Their scholars are busily reading Beowulf to see if there is something useful to their otherwise useless cause. So we expect them to come up with “Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, spoke and thus said he, we are better off with those wonderous folks through ye olde Channel tunnel.”

  23. Tony Wakeling
    February 7, 2016

    I read more careful,insightful analysis on this site than all the rest together. John, your country needs you to lead the “Leave” campaign. Time to step up to the plate.

  24. M Davis
    February 7, 2016

    … “One thing is becoming increasingly clear. During this referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, the establishment will pull out all the stops to try and convince Britons to vote to remain in an expansionist, European superstate with no borders. The best defence is to share the facts.” :-

  25. Iain Moore
    February 7, 2016

    The In campaign has been telling some real whoppers in an attempt to shore up their cause. We got an example of this with the BT boss on Weekend World suggesting our trade and deficit with the EU makes us needing the EU more than the EU needing us, but it plumbs new depths for them to claim to speak for the dead.

  26. Adam
    February 7, 2016

    Labours desire to undermine Capitalist Britiain knew no bounds in the 1970s when they brought the country to the brink of hyperinflation with their ceaseless borrowing and mal investment. Rather than face the consequences with the electorate they decided to bail themselves out by singing up to the IMF market liberalisation loans.

    It is a shame that this looked really bad to the faithful as it has resulted in an all out war to save the parties credibility and its target was to become Margaret Thatcher. Maggie was at fault for all the consequences of that decision. Anything to avoid facing up to the devastation consequences of their own failures.

    It seems attacking Maggie still goes on today, partictularly when times get tough. And certainly Socialists continue to sign up to IMF bailout packages today, as we have seen so recently in Greece.

  27. Anonymous
    February 7, 2016

    We know that Mrs Thatcher was against the privatisation of BR.

    We also know that Mrs Thatcher understood the connection between home ownership and the groundswell in Conservative support.

    BTL must be crushed unless a minority of ageing Lifelogics are all that is to be left of the rump of Conservative support.

    We can accurately invoke Mrs Thatcher where it suits us. Let’s not dwell on whether she is dead or alive. Her spirit lives on.

  28. Bert Young
    February 7, 2016

    I was always a fan of Margaret Thatcher ; the way she faced up to the Union problem and the reforms she introduced were absolutely right at the time . She faced considerable differences with her colleagues but always achieved a result that left her still very much in charge . Her leadership today would be a godsend to this country ; she was a real Conservative and very much admired by the Americans .

    1. RB
      February 8, 2016

      I was always a fan of Margaret Thatcher ; the way she faced up to the Union problem

      Well we have another Union problem now.

  29. DaveM
    February 7, 2016

    OT, and not hugely important, but you may want to mention it next time you’re at the BBC:

    It seems to have been replaced already because I had to search for it, but something struck me about the picture at this link:

    Anyone else notice?

    I was also confused by the BBC headline “Scotland beaten by England” rather than “England beat Scotland”!

  30. Tim L
    February 7, 2016

    There are plenty of people in in UK who would rather not be on the same side as Mrs Thatcher.

  31. Richard1
    February 7, 2016

    I’d be interested in the views of Henry VIII on the referendum if anyone has any insights? The Reformation was after all the formative event in England/the UK’s relationship with Europe – our history would surely have been very different had it not happened.

    reply I suggest you ask Lord Powell to communicate with him. I agree it would be good to hear from the original Eurosceptic King.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 8, 2016

      Indeed get out the Ouija I see Lord Powell did modern history at Oxford like Osborne. Is that course perhaps nearly as bad as PPE?

      I see that Osborne has rightly been told by Andrew Tyrie that his comprehensive ratting on his IHT promise of many years ago (to raise the IHT threshold to £1M each) is far too complex. The response seems to have been tough lost of other places have over complex rules. Does he not realise that this huge over complexity is a large tax in itself. One that does not even raise money for the state. We cannot all work as tax lawyers, accountants, advisers, tax collectors and the likes. Some people do have to do the productive things too.

      Osborne is just a tax, borrow and piss down the drain socialist – until the pips squeak, rather like Dennis Healey. It cannot be very long before he get up to 78% income tax rates again. It is hugely counter productive to the economy.

      Meanwhile the poor public services just get worse and worse and he is still borrowing to the hilt. Also about to mug private pensions again too it seems.

      If we vote leave will we have the bonus of getting rid of Osborne and Cameron?

    2. Mitchel
      February 8, 2016

      We dusted off our Ouija board last night and I can tell you King Harold isn’t for staying in either.

      There’s one in the eye for the stayers!

  32. hefner
    February 7, 2016

    There might be a “Third Way” between the sclerotic EU and a return to the UK cocoon: has anybody looked at what DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) is proposing?

  33. Lifelogic
    February 8, 2016

    Also from Cameron we have today:

    “We must make prisons work for offenders”. What about making them work for the public at large for a change. The best way to do this is to have some real deterrents to crime in the first place and then to keep serial offenders off the streets so they cannot rape, murder, cause injury, rob and thieve at will, as so many ex-offenders do every single day after their prison sentences. Also to have a police force that actually bother to try to catch real criminals as so many have largely given up on it. It is hardly very easy to get into prison in the UK, they are usually serious serial offenders even before they go there.

    Yet more scaremongering drivel from Cameron.

    He clearly thinks the public is daft as a brush.

  34. Mitchel
    February 8, 2016

    She wasn’t the only one.President de Gaulle said he loved Germany so much he hoped there would always be two of them!

  35. A different Simon
    February 8, 2016

    Quote “We do know that she did object very strongly to economic and monetary union before she left office”

    You were there John .

    Was Mrs Thatchers stance on further EU integration a significant factor in why she was knifed in the back ?

  36. stred
    February 8, 2016

    Interesting that the 500k immigration figure is about the same as currently for the UK, subtracting emigrants,many of whom are retirees going to sunnier shores or highly qualified taking jobs in the Anglosphere.

    Re Eural’s pathetic attempt to scare the thick with dreams of Jungles along the South coast, David Davis has pointed out that we already deal with the problem in other ports and airports by fining carriers if they bring in passengers without valid papers.It also suits the French ports to have their customs officers in Dover to check on British undesirables and speed up exit from ferries and trains, which are mostly owned by French companies. Beside which, free of the EU and foreign courts, we could arrest illegal immigrants, lock them up and ferry them home.

    1. RB
      February 9, 2016

      David Davis has pointed out

      David Davis would destroy Cameron is a leadership contest if it took place now.

  37. Lindsay McDougall
    February 8, 2016

    “May Margaret Thatcher rest in peace. She was in her political prime 30 years ago, before the treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon transformed a relationship based on trade and business into much more of a common government.”

    You still won’t include Maastricht at the start of this list of treaties, yet that was the treaty that started the federal ball rolling. Is this from a sense of guilt or to protect John Major’s reputation? Surely not.

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    February 8, 2016

    The other Powell – I speak of Enoch – did not hold similar views to Lord Powell.

    “I would be prepared to live under Communism for 30 years if, at the end of that time, England was still England.”

    That is the authentic voice of nationalism & sovereignty, whether you love it or loathe it.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 8, 2016


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