Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1989 Sep 8 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

Remarks visiting Forres Academy (IRA in Dortmund; Scottish education)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Remarks
Venue: Forres Academy, Forres, Morayshire
Source: Scottish TV Archive: OUP transcript
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Between 1010 and 1130. A COI transcript of MT’s remarks exists, but is far from complete.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 1252
Themes: Education, Private education, Secondary education, Foreign policy (Western Europe - non-EU), Northern Ireland, Terrorism, Voluntary sector & charity
MT leaves the school and walks a few steps over across to the schoolyard to waiting journalists

MT

We have seen some excellent education this morning. A wonderful headteacher and your director of education are really … [next few words inaudible] … the best possible educational start in life, both in the traditional subjects and also in the new technologies.

Questioner

Might we ask you about the German situation overnight?

MT

Yes of course.

Questioner

Is there anything that can be done at this stage to make soldiers' families safer?

MT

They are constantly trying to do that. They are up against the cowardly actions of terrorism, who go for innocent defenceless people. We get very good cooperation from the German security services, as you know, they set up … just as concerned about it as we are, and we are constantly trying to strengthen the security. We say always to our people in Germany: “Do be as careful and as observant as you possibly can” . It is very difficult to give—indeed it is impossible—to give a 100 per cent defence. And it is just that everybody can [unclear] to try to catch those who pursue those cowardly deeds against innocent and defenceless people.

Questioner

It has been suggested that families might actually be asked to stay at home. Is that something that the Government is likely to consider?

MT

Look—families cannot stay at home the entire time, can they? It isn't life. It isn't life. The children have to go out to school; they have to go out and do their shopping; they have to go out and … pursue their own interests as well. It takes very considerable vigilance and watching the whole time, more and more surveillance, to see if there is anything unusual—unusual people about, unusual car hire about. Strict observance, and that requires quite a lot of people. And I must say we do get good cooperation from the Germans and the Dutch on the continent, and from the French, because we are all aware of the terrible deeds of terrorism.

Questioner

Prime Minister …

MT

You asked me earlier.

Questioner

… any indication that this might signal an increase in civilian targeting, as has been suggested? [end p1]

MT

[Pauses] I think there have been … there have been an increase in the activity of the terrorists against British forces and their families in Germany. That is obvious from the number that we've had. Er, it is the characteristic of terrorists that they go for people at a defenceless time and they do not hesitate to go for wives and children. Just let this message get across: terrorists don't hesitate to attack wives and children, people who are totally innocent and that shows you the evil nature of the work they do. We are constantly trying to increase the security forces, er, and they are taught to observe anything that looks different, and of course quite a number of things are stopped, which we don't hear about. By pretty astute observation—because someone has spotted that something is unusual, that something is different. And you saw a soldier that spotted that there was a bomb under his car, just by acute observation before he touched his car. And we have to step that up, and again I must say we do get excellent cooperation from the … police forces of Europe. They are as concerned as we are to try to eliminate terrorism, which is a rule of force replacing the rule of democracy. The terrorist represent the force.

Questioner

Is there any specific measure that you are now considering in the light of the latest outrage?

MT

I don't think there is any specific measure, because you need to have constant vigilance on the wider front. And as I say, you don't hear about the successes we have, obviously, and you do hear about the tragedies. But the use one can make of this is to alert everyone but everyone to be vigilant, and to continue to be vigilant—not just for two or three days after a tragedy, but each and every day to see if there is anything different, to see if there are different people about, behaving strangely or in a strange way, and to watch anything unusual, and to take as much surveillance of the streets where these people have to go to do their shopping and so on as you possibly can.

Questioner

What are your general impressions of your Scottish visit?

MT

Ah, excellent so far. As you know we went round … we've seen wonderful businesses. We saw the Keillers where they have revivified the whole business They've bought it ups it's thriving. Good products and good marketing. We went to see Volvo, which I think is the only big factory producing trucks that we have here now, and it was very interesting indeed to see the product and the excellent way in which they are all working together.

Questioner

[Tries to interrupt.]

MT

We've been … to television, we've seen some of the press, and we started off with raising money for the Royal Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children. I then saw quite a lot of industrial people to learn about how they are tackling things. And this morning—having been a Secretary of State for Education—I was very anxious to see some Scottish education. I have a double reason for doing so. My headteacher in England was a Scottish headteacher, Miss Gillies, and I am eternally grateful to her for the excellent education I got. I wouldn't be here in this capacity if I hadn't had it. And you have had much more … a much more common curriculum in Scottish schools, and much more cooperation with the Department of Education in Edinburgh than we ever had in English schools, and so what we were getting was that English children hadn't necessarily got the good basic foundation in all subjects in every schools. And the good schools—there are good schools all over, and the good schools get on with it and [end p2] there is nothing that we can do to improve their education, the teachers are good and they teach the children in an interesting way and they get on better with parents. What we had to do further south was to try to raise the standard for the schools that weren't so good. And so we had really started to emulate Scottish education in the kind of curriculum which they …

Questioner

Is this a [inaudible word] we are going to see set up elsewhere?

MT

Is this a …? Look, there is always a reason why we as citizens should do something extra. That's what life is all about. It is good if you obey the law, but you need to do more than that. That's what life is all about. We've got the tax rate down, and people have some spare money, and if they can do something extra, which they might not otherwise be able to give everyone, so be it. It pulls up the standard of everyone. These … primary school children come to have a look at and use these facilities as well. You never just do the minimum.

Questioner

Is private cash to further for education?

MT

No, the the … education has its basic, and its most excellent basic, from the taxpayer. But you know, if ever we have a society where people say “I have no responsibility, the State must do that” , then it will be a very poor community indeed. You too have a responsibility. [MT turns away.]