DINNER IN HONOUR OF LADY THATCHER AT NO 10 DOWNING STREET ON TUESDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER 1995
[MT makes her way up the steps]
Oh. [turns] I was looking forward to borrowing your soap box, John. [Pause]
Prime Minister, Norma, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for this wonderful party among so many friends.
It is lovely to be back at this address - which I still think of as home ...... Please, don't misunderstand - Chester Square has its rival attractions.
Though, come to think of it, Gladstone did form his fourth administration when he was over eighty. So you have much to look forward to, Prime Minister.
For my part, I haven't changed.
Well, you wouldn't expect me to, would you?
They tell me I have become an "ism" in my own life-time. I didn't know quite how to take that to start with. But they assure me it's a compliment - one of the better "isms". They say all sorts of things about you when you've left office. They don't always wait for that. Do they, John?
It's odd the things one remembers. I am told I was always consistent - but never predictable. Well, of course: that's the feminine factor.
I'll tell you something else. It's proved a great deal more reliable than the "feel good" factor.
But seriously, it's a huge privilege to be Prime Minister of this country at any time. For me, so long as Britain is true to herself - with the freedom to decide for herself what is best for herself - she will always be Great Britain.
I am particularly proud to have had that honour throughout the eighties, during one of the most crucial periods of change - to which so many of you here tonight contributed so much.
That change must go on.
So to those who say it's time to ease up, to relax and to give the other side a chance, I say (if I may coin a phrase):
"NO!" "NO!" "NO!".
You and I, Prime Minister, have never lost an election: let's keep it that way!