Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1979 Dec 31 Mo
Margaret Thatcher

Preface to Edward Leigh’s Right Thinking ("A personal collection of quotations dating from 3000BC to the present day which might be said to cast some light on the workings of the Tory mind")

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Article
Venue: -
Source: Right Thinking (London, 1979), p8
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Item listed by end of year of publication. Curiously there are two prefaces to this book, Ian Gilmour providing the second (a witty defence of borrowed wit). In MT’s contribution there is mention of a seminal text: her "American book of Presidential quotations", which played a weighty part in the rhetoric of the eighties. It was mislaid when she left office.
Importance ranking: Trivial
Word count: 365
Themes: -


The Rt Hon. Mrs Margaret Thatcher MP Prime Minister

I was very pleased indeed to hear from Edward Leigh that he had assembled a book of Conservative quotations for publication. I have been aware of the lack of anything of substance in this field for a long time.

Over the last year or two there has been added interest in Conservative philosophy amongst opinion formers and the public at large and so Edward Leigh's book could not have been compiled at a more appropriate time.

For several years I have kept an American book of Presidential quotations in my office and often refer to it. Once Edward Leigh's book comes out it will join that volume and be a valuable addition.

I wish it every possible success. [end p1]


by the Rt Hon. Sir Ian Gilmour Bt., MP

During the negotiations with the Irish in 1921, Austen Chamberlain, the leader of the Conservative Party, was shown at 10 Downing Street a quotation for possible use by Lloyd George. Having grown whiter and whiter while reading it, Chamberlain handed it on to Birkenhead with the comment, ‘I don't like quotations.’ But Chamberlain, as another leader of the Conservative Party, Balfour, once said, was ‘a bore’. And certainly there is something badly wrong with anybody who does not gain pleasure from quotations.

The reader will find his favourites in this book. Edward Leigh has quite rightly used many passages from Burke and Disraeli. But he has also covered a great deal of ground that will be unfamiliar to most people. He has ranged as far afield as China and Japan, and he has taken from all the ages, even the darkest. His erudition is impressive, and he has given us the opportunity to seem erudite too. Many an after-dinner speech will be improved as a result of this book.

Mr Leigh has, however, done far more than provide a useful aid for political speakers. Any Tory will find here much to stimulate his musings about his party and about the nature of Conservatism. Mr Leigh has provided an excellent introduction to Conservative thinking. And he has provided a lot of entertainment. Only a dull dog like Austen Chamberlain could fail to enjoy this book.