Speech at 40th anniversary conference on Margaret Thatcher

I spoke on Saturday at the Anniversary Conference at the Thatcher Centre, Somerville College Oxford.

I spoke about wider ownership policies, about the poor economic background to the start of her premierships and about the impact difference on European policy had on her period in office. I am asking for a copy of the video of the speech to be available here for those interested.


  1. Lifelogic
    June 17, 2019

    Indeed well when Labour leave power there is always a poor economic background as we have learned. Imaging what it will be like if/when Corbyn/Mc Donnall are voted out after trashing the economy and stealing private assets.

    All that is needed is freedom, choice, low taxes, a bonfire of red tape, cheap reliable energy, peace and small government. Alas the Conservative endlessly fail to deliver this too. Hammond/May has increased taxes to the highest for 50+ years and is still increasing taxes and government debt while delivering poor and declining services and much more red tape too.

  2. Bryan Harris
    June 17, 2019

    Oh for the spirit of Thatcher to drive our country to greater things again …

  3. Cheshire Girl
    June 17, 2019

    Id love to see it.

    Many will disagree, but I long for the day when we have someone like Margaret Thatcher to lead us again, but I know its not going to happen.

    This country is in a mess, and I don’t see anything much being done about it. Reading the recent crime statistics is very depressing in itself.

  4. Dominic
    June 17, 2019

    Oh my , how we now need a politician like Thatcher. Spine, courage, principled and a steely determination to confront the forces of the left. And what have we got on offer? I tried to watch that pathetic farce dished up by the Tory hating Ch.4. Excruciating, utterly excruciating. God help the UK

    1. Lifelogic
      June 17, 2019

      It was indeed, but let us hope Boris can step up to the job and actually deliver. I think he just might do it. But it will not be easy for him when most Tory MP are Libdims at heart and he will have no majority – thanks to the appalling Theresa May.

      Edwina Curry described Theresa May as saintly today. What is saintly about a lying, incompetent, broken compass using, disingenuous, fraudulent traitor? Why did ths daft socialist remainer like her ever join the Conservatives?

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      June 17, 2019

      I suspect there are many politicians around who meet your description Dominic. Whether they could gather 100+ votes from colleagues in either parliamentary party is another question.

  5. Mark B
    June 17, 2019

    Good morning – again

    That is very kind of you, Sir John.

    Many thanks.

  6. Peter Wood
    June 17, 2019

    Good Morning,

    IF ONLY the Tory PCP had somebody half as competent as Mrs T.! However we’ve got Boris, so lets put the best possible team around him:
    Raab for Brexit secretary again
    Sir John, for Finance
    Hunt to stay as Foreign office
    Javid for Home Office
    McVey for Development (foreign giveaways)
    Patel to Education
    Fox to stay at Trade
    Steve Baker at Defence
    Rees-Mogg at Business
    Mark Francois at Transport
    Braverman to Work and Pensions

  7. rose
    June 17, 2019

    I am certainly interested. Thank you.

  8. rose
    June 17, 2019

    It is distressing to think of this anniversary in conjunction with last night’s Channel 4 disaster.

    It is crazy to give the media all this power to humiliate and divide just when we were hoping to get back Cabinet government under a new PM. There is no need for them to submit themselves to the broadcasters at all. The contest is an internal affair, and all unseemly disagreements should be well away from the media. Otherwise, how are they to come back together again to lead the country? There is scrutiny and debate galore going on behind the scenes and the media must just accept we have a Parliamentary democracy, not a Presidential one.

    The result of caving in to the media last night was that they had all been spun, and this in turn made them seem wooden. Raab had been told to say three nice things about women, which he had said earlier on in the day, and the week; Hunt tried to dispel the idea he was Theresa in Trousers; Gove tried to appear commanding and the original Brexiteer; Javid had far too much family background intruding; and Stewart was staging artificial fights with Raab over his own fantasies. None of them came across as their natural selves (whatever that may be in Stewart’s case). Perhaps Boris will still come across as the natural person we feel at home with, but don’t count on it.

  9. rose
    June 17, 2019

    On the subject of spinning, can anything be done to stop the harm it is doing? To go back to Raab, for example. His enemies got wind of the fact that women like Raab. So they resurrected an ancient remark on feminist bigotry – with which most women concur. But the spin doctors are fearful women will turn against him because of this; so they make him say he has championed women’s perks, and they tell him to keep smiling all the time, even in the street. What women liked about him was that he was serious, and steely, and then when he did smile, it was charming. They will go off him if he is turned into a spin doctor’s wooden doll with an inane smile on its face.

  10. formula57
    June 17, 2019

    Thank you: I shall look forward to viewing. It is nice to look back on days when we had a proper prime minister.

    (That would be the same Oxford that refused to confer on M. an honorary degree, hitherto traditional?)

    1. Lifelogic
      June 17, 2019

      Indeed Oxford and indeed even Cambridge now are appallingly left wing, PC and pro the anti-democratic embryo EUSSR.

      Oxford PPE (and Geography) seems to churn out the most appalling idiots. But perhaps this is just due to the dire types who apply to for the course.

  11. Ian
    June 17, 2019

    Those were the days, the best P M since Churchill, there has been nothing to compare to
    With Mrs. Thatcher, as for the last, no comment

  12. BR
    June 17, 2019

    A great woman and PM. Sorely missed.

  13. Justin Shasha
    June 17, 2019

    Here is the video of the event:

    Dr Sir John Redwood MP, Former Adviser and Minister in Mrs Thatcher’s Government, talks about his experiences in her Govt during the 1980s Margaret Thatcher: 40 Years On

    #johnredwood #margaretthatcher #margaretthatchercentre


    1. Lifelogic
      June 17, 2019

      Thank you, most interesting largely as I thought. A shame that most current “Conservative” MPs have learned so little from her period in office and her experiences. A shame too that we then had to suffer Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and May.

      All complete big state, high tax, misguided EUphilip disasters who pushed endless foolish economic policies and counterproductive wars that were entirely predictable disasters and very easily avoidable ones too.

      1. Lifelogic
        June 18, 2019

        EUphile !

        1. rose
          June 18, 2019

          The thing your modern disasters, especially the current incumbent, should note from what Sir John says here, is that Mrs T was an honest woman who liked to do things correctly, through the proper channels. This also stood out in last night’s programme, that all the people round her were showing respect for the proper way of doing things, too. This is sorely missed.

    2. formula57
      June 17, 2019

      @ Justin Shasha – thank you. Viewed with much interest.

  14. Lynn Atkinson
    June 17, 2019

    I have written to Boris promising to vote for him if you are Chancellor.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 18, 2019

      Unlikely we will see JR as Chancellor alas. Let us at least hope it is someone competent who does the sensible things JR would surely do. Lower simpler taxes, cheap energy and less red tape. Grow the tax base and stop businesses and people leaving to places where the grass is greener.

      Kwasi Kwarteng says the right things sometimes. Just do the opposite of the Hammond May agenda of high absurdly complex taxes taxes, regulate to death then piss the money down the drain on the EU plus endless waste, wasteful overseas aid and gross general incompetence.

      1. Lifelogic
        June 18, 2019

        Truss too says the right things sometimes, but does not seem that bright to me.

        Plus she read PPE at Oxford so is likely to be another economic illiterate. But she might be a rare exception to the rule.

        1. rose
          June 18, 2019

          Her father is a scientist though which should commend her to you.

        2. a-tracy
          June 19, 2019

          It’s a good thing that not all Billionaires feel the same way as you Lifelogic with regard to the Humanities “The University of Oxford has said it is to receive its biggest single direct donation “since the Renaissance”, after it unveiled a £150m gift from the US billionaire Stephen Schwarzman to fund humanities research and tackle looming social issues linked to artificial intelligence.

          The money will be used to create the Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, bringing together disciplines including English, philosophy, music and history in a single hub with performing spaces and a library, alongside a new Institute for Ethics in AI to collaborate.’

          It takes all sorts to make up a good team not just STEM graduates!!

  15. Andy
    June 17, 2019

    Thatcher did some good.

    The single market, for example, is her crowning achievement which – ironically – in future will benefit all of Europe except us.

    But we must not gloss over the huge damage she did to communities up and down the country. Her government destroyed swathes of the country – decimating industry.

    Parts of the country have still not recovered from what she inflicted.

    I was in my politics A level class when news came in that she had resigned. How we cheered!

    Every prime minister that has followed her – with the exception of Theresa May – has been better.

    Because unlike Thatcher – who imposed her policies on the country – the rest have all sought to govern by consensus. And as we have seen over the last 3 years – by selling out to extremists on the right, as Thatcher and May both did, all you get is pain.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      June 17, 2019

      Is your name Andy Capp?

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      June 17, 2019

      the rest have all sought to govern by consensus

      You mean populists? From whence came this consensus?

    3. Jiminyjim
      June 17, 2019

      You are showing, Andy, that you know nothing about the Thatcher years or, far more importantly, the years that preceded them. The Single Market Thatcher’s crowning achievement? Dear God, do you genuinely understand so little? Perhaps you really do.

    4. Richard1
      June 17, 2019

      History will record Thatcher as the greatest post-war PM of the UK and the greatest peacetime PM of the C20th. Opinion polls now support this. I always knew they would but it’s happened quicker than I thought. Thatcher transformed the UK economy immeasurably for the better, initiating policies imitated and followed throughout the world. Together with Reagan she won the Cold War and destroyed soviet communism, as bigger threat to us as the Nazis.

      Major as chancellor took us into the ERM foolishly, and signed up to the Maastricht treaty, albeit with some successful opt-outs. Thus the more or less free trade focused EC transformed into the emerging federal monster of the EU.

      Blair and Brown crashed the economy having inherited a great legacy from Chancellor Clarke – going into the crisis with a big deficit, busting the banks and bailing them out unnecessarily. They invaded Iraq on a false prospectus, sold the gold and unleashed the bacillus of Scottish separatism

      Cameron was successful except for adopting a (civil service inspired) far too pusillanimous approach to his EU re-negotiation as a result of which we are where are.

      May has been hopeless.

      I have my doubts about Boris, but he can’t be worse than May, and his telegraph column at least indicates a thinking man. And he was much much better than than the dreadful Sadiq Kahn as mayor. Let’s hope.

    5. sm
      June 17, 2019

      I see you have fallen for the propaganda (again) Andy. Unlike you, I was an adult with a young family when Mrs Thatcher became Prime Minister, so I remember what a dire state the UK was in by 1979 – and believe me, industry was being decimated by idiot politicians and idiot Trade Unionists during the 70s.

    6. Pud
      June 17, 2019

      If you were doing your A-levels when Mrs Thatcher (the UK’s last decent Prime Minister) resigned, you were spared trying to do your homework by candlelight, as I had to when the unions caused power cuts.

    7. Lifelogic
      June 18, 2019

      Every PM since Thatcher has been appallingly worse than her. Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May. All big government know best, tax to death fools with the odd counterproductive, hugely damaging and destructive war thrown it.

      Even Thatcher made huge mistakes in failing to cut taxes sufficiently, failing to go for freedom and choice in health care and education, entering the ERM, appointing John Major as Chancellor, signing up to ever more EU controls and even falling for climate alarmism lunacy.

    8. Geoff
      June 18, 2019

      The actual facts on manufacturing, as opposed to the spin, can be found on the Office of National Statistics website where it details UK manufacturing from 1968 to 2019.
      In June 1979 manufacturing stood at 91.6 (compared to 100 in 2016)
      In May 1981 manufacturing stood at 73.8 (peak to trough a fall of 19%)
      In Dec 1989 manufacturing stood at 97.5 (trough to peak a 32% rise in a mere 8 years)
      These are the facts, the interpretation is up to you. My own interpretation is that high interest rates necessary to kill off massive inflation, also killed off a number of poor “zombie” companies allowing better companies to grow into the space. Of course some areas were badly affected, other areas benefited immensely. A number of other factors like deregulation, lower taxes and tackling the unions helped.
      In contrast:
      In May 1997 manufacturing stood at 101.1
      In May 2010 manufacturing stood at 96.3 (a fall of 5% in 13 years of Labour)
      I will leave the interpretation up to you.
      And, by the way, if you view a previous version you will see that manufacturing output has increased by 250% since 1948. The percentage contribution to GDP has decreased because the economy has grown so much more.

  16. BillM
    June 17, 2019

    Yes please, SJ. Mrs Thatcher was a revelation and turned around this country, the sick man of Europe into a Global powerhouse. It was a pity that there was collateral damage on the way to prosperity but it was either that or have the Country declared a Bond defaulter, which would have meant even worse to follow. Her policies were correct to limit the damage and eventually to provide Britons will a brighter future.
    The shame is, all of her efforts and the bad after-effects on those that were involved have been further crippled by successive less-capable Goverment leaders and EU policies that are penalising or shutting down our own home energy supplies. Like Coal and Natural Gas from fracking. Right now, this country needs a new revelation.

  17. mancunius
    June 17, 2019

    Margaret Thatcher’s two essays on Europe (‘Europe – Dreams and Nightmares’ and ‘Britain and Europe – Time to Renegotiate’) in ‘Statecraft’ (2002) are still surely the most surgical and comprehensive demolition of the EU ever made. The two essays can be found published separately, but it’s worth buying the whole book to read them.
    Her 1988 College of Europe address in Bruges shows just what a restraining influence on Maastricht and the creation of the EU she would have exercised, had she not been assassinated politically by her europhile enemies in the parliamentary party: “My first guiding principle is this: willing and active cooperation between independent sovereign states is the best way to build a successful European Community. To try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging and would jeopardise the objectives we seek to achieve. Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European personality. “

    1. Ken Barron
      June 17, 2019

      In that speech she warned against Britain moving to the fringe of Europe. That is exactly where the Brexiteers have led us

      1. Jagman84
        June 18, 2019

        We voted to leave a undemocratic political construct, not a physical continent and it’s constituent nation states. Hanging on to the coat tails of Germany is not being at the heart of Europe. It’s being subservient to it and a rule taker.

        1. margaret howard
          June 18, 2019

          What’s undemocratic about it? How are we hanging on Germany’s coat tails?

          1. Steve
            June 18, 2019


            Actually it’s Ireland hanging on to French coat tails.

  18. Iain Gill
    June 17, 2019

    You should just have your own YouTube channel with a collection of your interviews and speeches.

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