Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where Were You When You Heard Margaret Thatcher Had Resigned?

The New Stateman has a Thatcher Special this week - yes, you did read that correctly. One of the features is a WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU HEARD SHE HAD RESIGNED. They have edited my contribution, so I thought I'd give you the unedited version here...
The night before Margaret Thatcher’s resignation, I remember having had rows with two Tory MPs who owed their seats to Margaret Thatcher, yet intended to switch their votes away from her in the second ballot. I went home to my dingy flat in Walthamstow feeling angry and let down – almost tearful. Watching the news, my left wing flatmate came home and started crowing about what trouble Mrs T was in. I’m not prone to physical violence, but I was tempted to hit him. By the time Newsnight finished I had realized she was finished.

The next morning, I was at my desk in Grosvenor Gardens (I had just set up a lobbying company) when I heard the news on the radio. The world stood still for a moment. I wasn’t surprised that she had stepped down, but it was still a shock. Only a few days before my three year old niece, Emma, had asked: “Uncle Iain, is it possible for a man to be Prime Minister?” We were about to find out.

I don’t mind admit I could barely talk and that my eyes were moist. It really was the end of an era. A candle went out that day. The woman who had inspired my interest in politics, saved the country from trade union control and done so much to win the cold war, had gone. Forever. Politics for me would never be quite the same.
So where were you on that terrible morning when you heard she had resigned?

58 comments:

Paul Halsall said...

Oh, I was so happy.

I was sitting in a chair, on Thanksgiving, in East Greenwich RI, when my American friends were amazed by my whooping with Joy.

I have to say, I like her better in retrospect. But you can't change history.

The Grim Reaper said...

I was most probably at school.

Old Holborn said...

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU HEARD SHE HAD RESIGNED

Opening Champagne

Lenin Cymru said...

After collecting my giro, I went to my local in Aberaeron to celebrate with a pint of Brains beer.

Seamaster73 said...

I was in a sixth form classics lesson devoted to Sophocles' _Oedipus the King_.

I can well remember my classics master saying, "In years to come, when people ask you where were you when you heard Thatcher had resigned, you can reply 'Discussing incest'".

cassandra said...

The Tory party died in my eyes when certain traitors in the cabinet/Parliament stabbed her in the back for personal gain and for fear of losing the next election, to betray their greatest leader in order to dave their own miserable careers.
Maggie would have won the election but the cabal of self interested back stabbers saw their chance and took it, I always remember it as the great betrayal!
The self absorbed midgets that took over steadily destroyed the party I loved, I cried all night when I heard and it still brings a lump to my throat when I remember it.
The long decline of the Tory party started then with a gross act of betrayal and continued through the wilderness years and on through to 'opperation shift left' ending in the creation of the new centre ground social democrat party that was once the Tory party.
The new party remade itself to reflect the 'new consensus' and it looks like a typical eurotrash middle ground gang of self absorbed beaurocrat penpushers better suited to run the regional euro local council that the UK is soon to become.
Isnt it strange that the labour party is showing more loyalty to Brown than the Tory party showed Maggie?

Raedwald said...

Haven't got a clue. I was pretty well blotto from 1988 to '93 or '94 or so. Ah, the City after Big Bang deregulation - with half a dozen credit cards propped on the till of each bar in the square mile, and all one had to do was order another bottle of the Widow and point at one and mutter "on that". Plus all the crap music. And the drugs. Took me at least a year to realise that John Major was a different Prime Minister, not just Maggie looking rough.

richardwillisuk said...

Iain,

I shared your sentiments. I was just finishing Officer training at RAF College Cranwell and I was absolutely stunned and shocked. To think that such a bunch of second rate men had over-thrown the greatest post-war Prime Minister in such an underhand way was beyond my comprehension.

This country owes a massive debt to Maggie Thatcher, who mopped up after the last disastrous Labour administration and set this country on the path to success and worldwide respect. It has taken another Labour Government to set us back to where we were just before she came to office.

The spiteful comments of some on the left (seen on your site above) illustrate their own ignorance and make me all the more determined to get a Conservative Government back into office.

Jonathan Cook said...

I was at University - eating dinner.

I wanted to watch the news but was over ruled by the majority, computer studies students, who wanted to watch Star Trek instead.

Mulligan said...

In a meeting at Rolls Royce, Derby , and the reaction of all concerned was more of shock than the supposed worldwide celebration most would have you believe.

Sadly the vitriolic people who attack Thatcher conveniently forget what a mess she inherited (after 5 years of Labour following the useless quisling Heath) - 11 years that turned us back into a proud nation, which is ironically roughly the same time is has taken New Labour to completely bankrupt us back to a third world joke.

Milton Keynes and Northampton Bookcrossing Meets said...

I was sitting on the table watching TV in my student flat at Aston University - I remember it vividly!

Womble On Tour said...

I was at work, feeling physically terrible.

I have always been very healthy - I'm hardly ever ill. That day I felt so bad that I went to the doctor; he diagnosed shingles. I was off work for a month.

Were the two related ? I'll never know for sure, but they do say shingles is a stress-related condition !

Tom said...

Probably in school aged six not having a clue what a Prime Minister was or what was going on in general. At that age I thought Margaret Thatcher was the same person as the Queen.

Rammie1962 said...

I really don't know... obviously was not something that was imprinted in my head as a date worth noting...

Steve Lewis said...

I was a student, living in halls. I had gone back to my room between lectures, and this was a rare day in that my TV off, rather than being tuned to This Morning. The cleaner came in and told me what she had just heard, cue me lunging at the telly to switch it on.

Nic Conner said...

I was at nursery school I presume. I may not remember that day and her great leadership but I do know the party got ride of a leader who never lost an lost an election and for-would thinking that change the world; it has not been match since.

A sad day for thatcherites, sad day for conservatives, sad day for Britain, sad day for the world!

C Hogan-Taylor said...

Was just coming to the end of my very first school year. Think we were making clay dinosaurs. Can't be sure whether I was happy or sad, although I seem to remember my dinosaur being bigger than my friend Nick's, so...

Good that the NS isn't just enclosing balloons though.

justine walshe said...

I was working in London. I had actually met Margaret Thatcher while working in North London and remember being surprised at how small she was!

Cath said...

In the Politics department of Leeds Uni, feeling very out of place.

Montague Burton said...

Inside a rather attractive blonde, I'd been pursuing for a month. We turned off the tv, finished the extra-curricular-marital-ghastliness then headed off into Glasgow for a march to the Tory office office just off Sauchiehall street for a party. Drink was taken.

JuliaM said...

At work - we went to a nearby pub at lunchtime, that had a tv, to watch her leave 10 Downing Street.

Oddly, there were no catcalls or comments from the pubgoers - they watched in silence. It was an Irish pub too!

Man in a Shed said...

In the Safeway's supermarket in Edinburgh when I saw the newspaper headline. Whilst I had expected it it was still a great shock, and I felt physically sick on seeing the news.

She is the greatest prime minister this country has ever had, as is evidenced by those who have attempted to follow her.

To understand what Margaret Thatcher means you had first to live through the alternatives in the 70's.

Alan Douglas said...

"Is it possible for a man to be Prime Minister?"

You have a very perspicacious niece.

On the evidence so far since Mrs Thatcher, ie Major, Bliar and McBroon, the answer has to be a resounding NO !

Alan Douglas

wv confirms : roponsis

anonaLon said...

Are you a fan of Margaret Thatcher then, Iain.......

Daniel1979 said...

John Mason Secondary School, waiting for form tutor to come in for afternoon registration. Someone poked their head around the door and broke the news gleefully.

I remember feeling a little shocked and upset, I had only ever know Margaret Thatcher as PM.

eventsdearboyevents said...

I was 4 years old, probably at playschool, or just starting infant's school.

Totally unaware of the world at large.

Head of Legal said...

Sitting at my desk at Marie Curie Cancer Care's old offices on Belgrave Square. I was working as a fundraiser, filling in time before law school. An IT bloke came in with the news and the six or eight of us in the room just stopped work for about ten minutes discussing her. I remember thinking at the time this was what people meant when they talked about hearing of Kennedy being shot: you'd always remember where you were.

John Peel said...

Tearful! Iain you are a big Jessie, just get over it.

Idolising the leader is creepy and dangerous as your knowledge of a certain middle European state should tell you.

She would have lost the 1992 election by a country mile.

Mind you even this country boy did blub a bit when St Kenny stood down from the Liverpool job in 1991 - just kidding.

freddo41 said...

I was on my BMW motorbike driving north on the A3 autobahn between Nuremberg and Frankfurt. It was snowing heavily and I pulled into a rest area to clear my visor. An English truck pulled in beside me and the driver wound down his window and told me the news.

I had 500 miles still to go so I filed the news in the back of my brain and waited till I reached London before I thought about it again.

albertmbankment said...

I was sitting in the bar of the Carlton Club, of which I was then a member, quietly laughing my socks off. She was at least 2 years beyond her 'Best Before' date. So sad that she didn't quit, without the wretched palace revolution, when she'd done 10 magnificent years straight. It should have ended in glory, not tears, and it was only her mad intransigence that brought it about.

Guthrum said...

Watching the TV with a massive smile on my face, she had lost the plot after two terms,becoming more royal than the royals

Andrew Allison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Allison said...

was 19 at the time and I was helping my Mum with the grocery shopping in Morrisons. I can't remember how I found out, but I found out in the shop what had happened and we rushed home to put the television on.

I was 8 when she became PM and she was the reason I became a Conservative. The world certainly stood still for me and there were tears in my eyes.

denverthen said...

I was in an English seminar run by an annoying American professor called Frank Stack. He came in late, full of weird, mid-Atlantic socialist glee, blurting "She's gone! She's gone!" My first reaction (having been an American in my childhood) was: why do you care? My second was: butt out, Yank.

To my temporary shame I didn't say to him exactly what I felt there and then about his pathetic performance. But I was in the process of being turned by said Stack and his familiars to the dark side of the Arts through the use of the woolly-thinking method that was popular at the time: post-structuralist (et al) literary theory and the impermanence that, he and his mates were telling me, is the product of our experience of something called "cultural reproduction". (Matthew Parris kind of touched on this in his beautiful article in The Times today).

So I wasn't very sure of myself, as you might expect and said nothing.

Anyway, that's where I was the day the Tories died.

Newmania said...

Boris claimed to have been drunk soemwhere in Europe blubbering , "They shot Nanny.."

Chris Whiteside said...

I was at work, and my then girlfriend, who was a colleague in the same department, told me she had just heard that Mrs T was stepping down.

I recall that I promptly got on the phone and spent twenty minutes or so making calls aimed at what I saw at the time as political damage limitation. Then emotion hit and I had to go and hide in the toilet for a few minutes so my work colleagues wouldn't see how close I was to bursting into floods of tears.

Nigel said...

It's funny, but I really can't remember any temporal particulars. Unlike (for example) the Falklands, or even the Heath power cuts.

She had outstayed her welcome, and I do recall a mild sense of relief. Which would have been greater had the replacement been of higher quality.

Christian said...

Having my nappy changed.

David Gregory said...

Open plan office.
Every single phone went off at the same time.

Jabba the Cat said...

At home rolling a spliff, whilst trying to work out how to hang draw and quarter that little shit Heseltine in the most protracted and painful manner.

Simon Gardner said...

There was this wonderful feeling that a terrible burden - an awful long, dark nightmare the country had been going through - was finally lifting. Despite John Major, it was a time for celebration and joy.

There was hope - where there had been none for what seemed like at eternity.

Oh joyous day.

Old Holborn said...

Iain,

Next time you meet her, ask her

She'll have no idea. None whatsoever.

Iain Dale said...

Old Holborn, I was going to delete that comment. It's typical of your hateful personality. And of course it is so wrong.

I met Margaret Thatcher recently. I talked to her about events when she was Prime Minister. She had total recall. It is her short term memory which is a problem.

You're just plain sick if you think dementia is a matter for that kind of comment.

Old Holborn said...

Iain

I'm not seeking a fight with you

I have never insulted you. You however have called me a "revolting piece of scum"

I still send you thousands of readers every month (which you refuse to acknowledge publicly but bank the money) and still respect your views.

I'm a cynic, certainly.

Anyway, no one knows who I am. It drives Draper mad because he can't sue me or threaten me. It drives you mad because my blog, top ten in the UK, doesn't accept advertising, and doesn't moderate. All the rest do, including you.

I don't do TV. You won't see me in the MSM. I don't earn a PENNY from blogging. I do it for FUN and encourage everyone to follow me.

That's what frightens you isn't it?

Manfarang said...

I heard the news on the BBC World Service in my room in Pratunam district of Bangkok.Like many others I had left the country in the Thatcher years.Thailand seemed a much better place than grim Britain.
Thatcher did not stem Britain's economic and social decline as history will reveal.

Iain Dale said...

That comment you left was awful. Even you must be able to see that if you have any sense of humanity.

You seriously think I am frightened of you and your blog. Get a reality check. You say you have never insulted me. You are clearly delusional. Go back and check. It shouldn't take you long.

Why should I care whether you take advertising? Why should I care whther you moderate? I deleted one comment from Chris tonight. I can't remember the last time I deleted a comment. But so what id I do? My space, my rules. Your space, your rules.

Believe it or not, I do it for fun too, although lately it has sometimes been less fun than it used to be.

The great thing about the blogosphere is that there is a place for everyone.

And unlike some of my MSM friends, that doesn't frighten me at all.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

I was a journalist in Cumbria.
The news came out just before I left the office to cover a CBI meeting.
Goaded by a Liarbour supporter, I made a snappy comment that at least the Tories would win the next election, though I believed we would have anyway.
Driving over the fells, with the radio on detailing the news, I parked the car and had a good cry for 10-15 minutes before continuing my journey.
Returning to the newsroom in the afternoon, the other reporters had bought a cake to celebrate.
I had a bit but it was an unpleasant experience.
And that nigh, watching the news with my YC member flatmate, again there was not a dry eye in the house.

no longer anonymous said...

I was only 7 and I can remember being in my house seeing the news when Mrs T said she would go onto the second round.

I can't remember where I was when she resigned but I suspect in the same place.

Downwind of the Cock said...

On that joyous day I was on a Central Line tube at Lancaster Gate, the doors opened and stayed that way for too long a time. Eventually the driver came on the tannoy and announced that he'd just been told that Maggie had gone and everyone - no exceptions - was smiling, laughing, over the moon that she'd finally gone, normally reserved strangers were gleefully talking to each other about the good news, it was one of the best days of my young life.

denverthen said...

Old Holborn: to be fair to Iain Dale and as much as I enjoy your blog, your comment here (I've just read it) about Mrs T's old age was pretty dreadful - and rather beneath you, actually.

Surely you can admit it was at the very least seriously misjudged - in terms of simple good taste if nothing else.

And surely, given that fact, you should offer some sort of apologetic qualification to the general public at whom your 'wit' was aimed via this conveniently well-read outlet, shouldn't you (though only as far as ego and your "challenging political blogger" image permits, naturally)?

It's just common decency, isn't it? Iain Dale's right about this, isn't he?

King Athelstan said...

I was at work at RAF Stafford when there was a newsflash, many cheered, I was not too sure how I felt at the time, of course Gulf War 1 was looming large. With retrospect if it was such a great day how come things never got better?

Scotmonk said...

Cassandra has it absolutely right - since Maggie, the tory party has degenerated into a Social Democrat party that has surrendered to the forces of statism and liberalism...

jane said...

I was in the bath at home in Reading, with Radio 4 on. I was getting ready to go to London to go on the BBC and review a book - from memory it was Max Hastings' book on the Korean War, I still have the review copy. I rang my then husband at work and told him and a cheer went up. No-one's cheering now. My word verification for this is "demensi".

acadman said...

I was in my University department, where I was notorious for my vociferous pro-Thatcher views.

I walked into the coffee room and the chief technician quipped to those already there: 'no, he hasn't got a black arm band on!'.

Shamik said...

Blimey! This takes me back. November 1990, in my first year of high school. I remember Mr Ryan, a French teacher, jumping up and down in delight and dancing through the corridors screaming "she's gone, she's gone!!!"

Happy days! :)

xtrapnel said...

I was in the bath. Sad, inevitable but probably for the best.

kris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kris said...

I was in the US Navy in North Audley Street.

The cabinet's treachery and backstabbing took my breath away. That's not how Americans roll.

I remember watching the House of Commons either that day or shortly thereafter when some jackass cabinet member "paid tribute" to her.

Was it Kinnock that shouted out, "Hypocrite"?

Classic.