A brief YouTube history of Margaret Thatcher


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The Independent Online


1. Christopher Hitchens on the day he was spanked

The Prime Minister asked Hitchens to bow. He did. She told him to go lower. He did. She spanked him on the rump before walking off with a saucy look. This, apparently, is something that actually happened and not a canned script for Carry On Up the Conservatives.



2. 1979 arrival in 10 Downing Street

A seminal moment. 10 Downing Street had been a man's home since Sir Robert Walpole first took residence in 1732. Mobbed by reporters on the doorstep, Thatcher talks of her pride in being asked to form a government: "It is of course the highest honour that can come to any citizen in a democracy".



3. Thatcher in her second car

Wearing anything but army regulation clothing (a deep blue trouser suit and bright red pumps to be precise) the Prime Minister takes control of a tank on a visit to British troops in West Germany. Everything rolls along as planned - and the PM, pleased by her drive, later probes an officer on how long it takes to get a license for one. Thankfully she never got round to putting in the 15 hours required.




4. "The lady's not for turning"

Everyone knows the quote. But can you put it in context? Thatcher's not referring to her walking habits. This 1981 speech came at the Conservative Party Conference and was in answer to critics asking if she was ready to perform "that media catchphrase, the u-turn". Also included is a vintage 80s political joke.




5. "Winter of discontent" - 1979 political ad

Political ads have got a little more snappy and a little less bizarre in the 34 years since this moody, blue-cheese broadcast. Long shots of cold parts of Britain are followed by a 'trial' of various citizens who are condemned by a disembodied voice for crimes like wanting to work hard and get on. Then a man lying in a Union Jack bedspread (hint: Britain) is described as having "double" pneumonia. (Which is in fact a real condition... not just an unusual qualifier).




6. I sunk your battleship: PM roasted over Belgrano

Geography teacher Diana Gould came to public attention after she appeared on BBC TV's Nationwide and badgered the Prime Minister mercilessly on her decision to sink the Argentine warship General Belgrano. It was after this interview that Denis Thatcher complained the BBC was in the hands of "a load of pinkos". Thatcher was later vindicated when it emerged that the Belgrano did in fact pose a threat to British troops - it was building up to a pincer attack.




7. Margaret Thatcher slams socialism

Probed in the Commons in 1990 on whether her government could be proud of its record - given that the gap between the rich and the poor increased dramatically - Thatcher proceeds into a mighty harangue of socialist principles, jabbing a pen in the air furiously and claiming that Labour would desire "the poor were poorer, provided the rich were less rich."