Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1990 Apr 27 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

Written Interview for student journalist (Elm Park College)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: Thatcher Archive
Journalist: Carol Williams, Elm Park College
Editorial comments:

1000-1015. Elm Park was a school for children with special needs. Following completion of the written interview MT saw Carol Williams, with her father, for 15 minutes on 27 April 1990.

Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 944
Themes: Autobiographical comments, Executive (appointments), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Defence (general), Religion & morality, Media, Law & order, Foreign policy (general discussions), Environment

Question

Which part of your work do you most enjoy?

Mrs. Thatcher

I enjoy most aspects of my work. But the thing I enjoy most is meeting people and hearing their views. I try to visit different parts of the country as often as possible and during these visits I always take the opportunity to talk to a wide cross-section of people, particularly those working in offices, shopping centres, hospitals, schools and factories. This is one of the ways in which I am able to keep abreast of opinion as in my job it is important to hear views first hand. Also when I am on overseas visits, whether it be to the Far East, Africa, the Middle East or the Soviet Union, I like to meet and talk to as many people as possible. In this way you can learn a great deal more about what is actually happening.

Question

Which is the most difficult part of your job?

Mrs. Thatcher

I think the most difficult part of my job is when I have to ask a colleague to give up his or her Ministerial post. These are people with whom I have often had a close association for a number of years. I always see them fact to face in my study at No 10. But it is necessary to make changes from time to time so that younger members can be brought into the team.

Question

Which world leaders do you most like to work with?

Mrs. Thatcher

During my years as Prime Minister I have met leaders from various parts of the world. Of course, Britain has always had a close association with the United States of America and that relationship became even closer during President Reagan's time in office. This has continued with President Bush who I met on many occasions when he was Vice-President. On the other side of the world there is the Soviet leader President Gorbachev. He is a man whose vision and courage is bringing about many changes for the people of the Soviet Union so that they have much more democracy and greater freedom. I have always said that Mr Gorbachev is a man one can do business with and we always have extremely good discussions whenever we meet.

Question

What is your reaction to events in East Germany?

Mrs. Thatcher

Tremendous changes are not only taking place in East Germany but also throughout the whole of Eastern Europe. The recent free and democratic elections in East Germany mark a new beginning for the people and a further step in the spread of democracy through Central and Eastern Europe. But the road to democracy is not easy. Everyone has to play their part in building a democracy. The task now facing the people of Eastern Europe is to build a genuine democracy and this can only be done one step at a time.

Question

Do you think there will ever be a third World War?

Mrs. Thatcher

ONe can only hope and pray that there will never be a third World War. Wars are not caused by the build up of weapons. They are caused when an aggressor believes he can achieve his objectives at an acceptable price. Our task is to see that potential aggressors, from whatever quarter, understand plainly that the resolve of the West would deny them victory and that the price they would pay would be intolerable. That is the basis of deterrence.

Question

What do you think is the cause of the violence today? Do you blame television, or do you think people are just getting more violent?

Mrs. Thatcher

When I was young and had just entered politics it seemed to me, and to many of my contemporaries, that if we reached an age where we had good housing, good education and health, and a reasonable standard of living, then many of our social problems - violence included - would disappear. It would be easy to blame television for violence in our society today, but we all have good and evil in us and a choice and a responsibility to choose between them. No amount of good social conditions can eliminate that choice, or the problems of human nature. It is important from an early age that we are taught what is right and wrong and also learn that we have to have respect for other people and other people's property.

Question

Do you feel that policemen need more protection: Should they carry guns?

Mrs. Thatcher

This is a question that is often asked. But both the Government and senior police officers are determined that policing should continue to be by traditional methods. And I am sure that the people of this country do not want to see our police patrolling the streets carrying guns. Sadly, on some occasions it is necessary for the police to be armed for their own protection and also for the protection of the public.

Question

Do you feel optimistic about the future, when your grandchildren will be growing up?

Mrs. Thatcher

Yes I do, but it is for all of us to make sure that our grandchildren have a promising future. The world is becoming much safer because of the changes that are taking place between nations but none of us should be complacent. We should continue to strive all the time for world peace. The other thing we should not forget, however, is the threat to our global environment. Every nation needs to make its contribution to the world efforts to protect our planet from pollution. As I said in my speech to the United Nations last November:

“We are not the lords, we are the Lord's creations, the trustees of the planet, charged today with preserving life itself - preserving life with all its mystery and all its wonder.”