Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Radio Interview for BBC Radio 1 Speak Easy

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, central London
Source: (1) Daily Mail , 21 November 1977 (2) Daily Mail , 21 November 1977
Journalist: Jimmy Savile, BBC
Editorial comments: MT arrived at 1900. Her next appointment was at 2130. The programme was broadcast 1400-1500 on 20 November 1977. The second Daily Mail article was by John Harrison. The principal political interest in the programme arose from MT’s remarks about the firemen’s strike. The Liverpool Daily Post adds something to the Daily Mail account: "I do not believe you should get more money just because you have got industrial muscle". Claims should be settled on merit. Yet MT expressed "basic sympathy" with the firemen, whose work was dangerous, adding: "I just wish they hadn’t gone on strike. However, I recognise that we have to pay attention to their claim".
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 831
Themes: Arts & entertainment, Autobiographical comments, Autobiography (marriage & children), Pay, Taxation, Leadership, Strikes & other union action, Women
(1) Daily Mail, 21 November 1977

Maggie urges more for firemen

Tory leader Mrs Margaret Thatcher stepped into the firemen's dispute yesterday and urged the Government to pay them more.

She stressed that the Government's 10 per cent. limit is only an average.

Speaking on BBC radio she said: ‘I have never supported a strike to get more money; and I never will, but I do think there is one group of people apart from the rest.

They are the ones who look after either internal security—the police, the firemen and the prison officers—or external security, your Armed Forces.


‘They really are there to protect us from danger of one sort or another.

‘They are not the sort of people who go on strike and they shouldn't go on strike. But we really must pay attention to their grievances.

‘We must recognise he (the fireman) is in a different position from other people.

‘We rely on them, and I am prepared to pay them a bit more.’

Mrs Thatcher attacked Mr Callaghan 's inflexible approach in the deadlocked dispute.

She said: ‘My great complaint is that these people have been told they can freely negotiate, and then they've been told: &lsquoq;Its not free, you can only get 10 per cent.&rsquoq;

‘It's like saying you can have a car of any colour so long as its black.’ [end p1]

(2) Daily Mail, 21 November 1977:

Maggie: I'll be so cosy in No. 10

Mrs Thatcher is already planning to make 10 Downing Street ‘nice and cosy’—because she means to stay there for a long time.

The Tory leader gave a glimpse of her housewifely plans for the Premier's home in an interview on Jimmy Savile 's Radio One Speak Easy programme yesterday.

She said that on the floor above the Cabinet offices there is a complex of large dining and sitting rooms used for entertaining.

‘But it's too big to live in. You wouldn't be happy in those big rooms. At least, I wouldn't be.

‘Then I'm told there's a little flat at the top. I haven't been in it so I wouldn't know what furniture is there.

‘But I'm going to have furniture I like, which is nice, cosy furniture, because I intend to be there a long time and I think I might as well have soft and comfortable furniture.’

‘A terrible mess’

Asked who does the washing-up in the Thatcher household, she replied: ‘Denis ThatcherDenis and I. We do not have a washing-up machine.’ It is best done by hand, she said, because machines don't wash up pots and pans.

Mrs Thatcher the housewife, who says she does all her cleaning at weekends, added: ‘I am a very good cook. I like cooking. You know, I think it takes an awful lot to beat a roast and three veg for Sunday lunch. But you mustn't overcook the meat, otherwise it gets dry.’

Did she need to do housework? ‘The family living in a house—gosh, it gets into a terrible mess, every home does if it's lived in. They only look tidy if you see them in Homes and Gardens.’

Mrs T—as Jimmy Savile called her in the recorded programme—admitted she is over-sensitive to criticism, but soon sleeps off ‘the horrid things’ said about her.

She felt protective towards her twins, Mark and Carol. ‘I think what's most unfair is that the spotlight comes on your children and it makes it jolly difficult for them. I think it's very difficult for my children having a mum like me because if they do anything wrong, it's spotlighted.

But Mrs Thatcher added: ‘I've been very lucky. They've always been very loyal. Whatever's happened, we have been a family together. I've always said to them &lsquoq;whatever happens in your life, you can always come home. Home is the place to come to with your problems&rsquoq;.’

Shoulder to cry on

During the hour-long interview she revealed her dislike for punk rock.

And asked about impressionist Mike Yarwood, she said: ‘I watch Mike Yarwoodhim. I don't think he is particularly good at me, but I think he is marvellous when he does other people.’

Was it difficult becoming the first woman Tory Party leader?

‘It was it seems, quite natural that I became leader. It so happens the time was right for a woman leader. It was something different, something new, something exciting. I was just about right.’

But she confessed: ‘It is lonely at the top. It's the decisions you have to make. They are lonely because you have to make them alone.’

Mrs Thatcher went on: ‘I have a new definition of a leader. It's someone who's got no shoulder to cry on. They all come to cry on your shoulder.’

She added, however: ‘Curiously enough, I still like having the decisions.’

Would she make a good Prime Minister? ‘Yes.’

Would she make a popular Prime Minister? ‘Yes.’

And her first job as Prime Minister: To cut taxes.