Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Lady Thatcher Speaks on Falklands Liberation Anniversary

Lady Thatcher has today recorded a message for the 25th anniversary of the retaking of the Falkland Islands tomorrow. It is for the islanders and armed forces. Here is the text.

I feel privileged, and very moved, in making this broadcast. The Falkland Islanders are celebrating the anniversary of their liberation. The memories of that time are for many as fresh as yesterday. Such intense experience unites us in spirit - even though a quarter century has passed, and though we are 8,000 miles apart. Today, I send my best wishes to them - you are in my thoughts and in my prayers.

Twenty five years ago British forces secured a great victory in a noble cause. The whole nation rejoiced at the success; and we should still rejoice. Aggression was defeated and reversed. The wishes of local people were upheld as paramount. Britain's honour and interests prevailed. Sending troops into battle is the gravest decision that any Prime Minister has to take. To fight 8,000 miles away from home, in perilous conditions, against a well armed, if badly led, enemy was bound to be an awesome challenge. Moreover, at such times there is no lack of people, at home and abroad, to foretell disaster. Then, when things go well, they are just as quick to press some hopeless compromise.

So we could never at any stage be sure what the outcome of the Falklands War would be. But of two other things I could be sure - first that our cause was just, and second that no finer troops could be found in the world than those of our country. That is still the case. Britain's armed services are unmatched in their skill and professionalism. More than that, they are the model of all that we wish our country and our citizens to be. The service they offer and the sacrifice they make are an inspiration.

The Falklands war was a great national struggle. The whole country knew it and felt it. It was also mercifully short. But many of our boys - and girls as well, of course - are today stationed in war zones where the issues are more complex, where the outcome is more problematic, and where life is no less dangerous.

In these circumstances, they often need a different sort of courage, though the same commitment. So, as we recall - and give thanks for - the liberation of our islands, let us also recall the many battlefronts where British forces are engaged today. There are in a sense no final victories, for the struggle against evil in the world is never ending. Tyranny and violence wear many masks. Yet from victory in the Falklands we can all today draw hope and strength. Fortune does, in the end, favour the brave. And it is Britain's good fortune that none are braver than our armed forces. Thank you - all.

It is very rare that we hear from Lady Thatcher nowadays, but when we do it is always a privilege. We salute her leadership and the bravery of our armed forces in recovering British territory. And tomorrow we shall celebrate an important anniversary and remember those who lost their lives.


Anonymous said...


Has the MacLean Bill died?

David Lindsay said...

What a nerve!

Hers was what amounted to the open invitation to Argentina to invade the Falkland Islands, followed by the (starved) Royal Navy’s having to behave as if the hopelessly out-of-her-depth Prime Minister did not exist, a sort of coup without which those Islands would be Argentine to this day.

In that war's dying days, she reasserted herself, so that her cack-handed piracy even managed to give the nasty Argentine regime a legitimate grievance.

Away with her!

Anonymous said...

Mmm I must remember to buy some rose tinted glasses ,then I can see these thatcherite dreams you have Iain,remember her defence minister Nott storming off the tv.

Anonymous said...

There certainly are some small minded and mean spirited people around tonight, Iain. Thank God Maggie was of a different ilk!

Tapestry said...

I saw a TV programme about six months pre-the invasion showing interviews with Falkland Islanders all saying that the Argentines were about to invade. That won't be seen for a while.

A friend of mine wa staying with the British Naval Attache in Buenos Aires at that time. He told me that they sent daily reports for about a year to London advising that the Argentines were preparing to invade.

How the Joint Intelligence Committee managed to be surprised when the invasion actually happened defies logic.

Conspiracy or cock-up? I've no idea.

Anonymous said...

Thought the Andrew Marr modern history programme last night about the Thatcher years was excellent.

She was ditched because of her stance on 'Europe' - but she has done nothing since to seek to make up for her own and the party's treachery.

Anonymous said...

She's doing well for her age. I think her speech is much more slurred than it used to be, though, perhaps due to those strokes.
Falklands was one of her most remarkable achievements.

Anonymous said...

As I said, she had right on her side. Blair does not.

Anonymous said...
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Iain Dale said...
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The Huntsman said...

The Foreign Office was desperate to get rid of the Falkland Islands and had been telegraphing it for ages to the Argentines, so it is unsurprising they did not lift a finger.

I'll bet the FCO heaved a sigh of relief when the invasion took place, thinking that the problem was now irrevocably solved and the could go back to sucking up to France and Germany and all the other 'business as usual'.

I'll bet they were apoplectic on the Monday morning when they realised they had got to do some real diplomacy for a change and that Mrs. T was going to biff the Argentines.

She is in a different league from the rest of us and remains head and shoulders above what passes for a politician these days.

Her dishonourable political assassination by a cabal of lesser men will redound to the discredit of the Tories for many many years to come.

Anonymous said...

She was lucky in her early enemies: Galtieri and Scargill.

However, the treators that brought her down in 1990 are still controlling the party and its policy on 'Europe'.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you can say about the British government's conduct up to the invasion (and there's no evidence that any other government at the time would have been any better), her conduct of the war, and that of the British forces, were excellent. We British are usually oustanding at war, and it is hardly surprising that the armed forces are just about the only nationally respected BRITISH institution left to us, after decades of politically correct sneering at concepts such as duty, honour and discipline.

Anonymous said...

"the armed forces are just about the only nationally respected BRITISH institution left to us, after decades of politically correct sneering at concepts such as duty, honour and discipline."

Those running the Navy have been busy recently trying to to wipe out that reputation.

Tapestry said...

The enemies within, Howe, Hurd, Heseltine did for her. Those goons probably still believe inflation in the EU is 2%. It's been at least 15% and the currency has impoverished every country that suffers it.

The Maastricht Treaty which brought in the EU and the Euro has been an unmitigated disaster for Europe.

When will the truth be allowed out?

I'm sick of having to pretend we have any respect for the bankruptcy of the EU. Why on earth are they still signing up more Treaties? It's just too awful for them to admit what a disaster it all is.

What was interesting about Maggie on the EU was not that she won. She didn't. She lost. But she was so right in every way about the disaster it was to be. Since her they've all lied - Major, Hague, Blair, Brown and even Cameron's not facing the reality.

Maggie dealt in truth. She was the last one who did.

Ted Foan said...


I was very saddened by some of the comments on this blog. Perhaps some of your contributors are not old enough to remember the tremendous sacrifice that was made by our service men and women to maintain the freedom of our countrymen?

We have to be very careful that history is not re-written by these callow youths who look to tarnish Margaret Thatcher's reputation by their fatuous and ignorant remarks.

Her broadcast to British troops today (and the accompanying video) - like Churchill's speeches in the Second World War - will be retained for posterity.

[But I note Iain that you had the help of Mike Rouse to upload the video - not what you said on 18DS last night!]

David Lindsay said...

Diablo, Margaret Thatcher's reputation and her record have never borne the slightest similarity to each other. This is but one among many, many examples.

Another, Tapestry, is that she did "win" over the EU: she was a federalist in office, and her hand-picked successor continued that federalism, such that, by the time he left office, there was no political integration left to do.

Which is why, Anonyomous 8:08, she was not ditched because of her stance on Europe: that was just the excuse, whereas she was in fact ditched because of the Poll Tax, which threatened the Tories with third place in a General Election which would probably have had to have been held to in 1991.

What, no comment on the Ascension Island situation? And who do you think it was who took away British Citizenship (now restored) from Saint Helenians in the first place? In this, she was as patriotic as ever, just as she was over the Single European Act, over the Anglo-Irish Agreement, over the Exchange Rate Mechanism, over the Grenada, over the Falklands, over ... well, the list never really ends.

Manfarang said...

Hong Kong was a bit of a different story.It reflected the real political realities of the twentieth century.

Ted Foan said...


Fantastic to hear that you are working on the re-emergence of morally and intellectually serious parties.

I am concerned though that you are known to your blogging enemies as "the prophet, apostle and high priest of paleo-Labour" (defined as "Old Labour means to High Tory ends") and "the statist, syndicalist, nationalist and theoconservative voice of the provinces".

You seem to be taking a lot on yourself. My advice is not to take too much notice of Iain Dale's blog commentators as they are all slightly weird!

Anonymous said...

sad to see the Ark Royal sailing up the River without a Sea Harrier in sight.
When will we see the replacement Carriers and Aircraft, or will this be the biggest defence cut of all time?, and then get told we will have to work closer with EU, and thus another nail, EU defence force.

Roger Thornhill said...

I have no basis for my assertions, but my gut feel is that the F&CO, chock full of self-loathers, engineered the weakness and played down the reports of build-up.

Still, nobody would have agreed to providing enough defence to prevent it happening, so it is rather academic. Argentina was tempted into showing its hand, of moving first and so paid the price, as was utterly right. The problem was resolved sooner rather than later.

Lady (then Mrs) T did not buckle, even though the self-loathers strained to prostrate themselves throughout. Shame on them and respect to her.

It was a just war. Our armed forces were used defending our fellow citizens. Surely that is their prime purpose?

Shame that our forces were and still are woefully under-resourced. Funny how Gordon, who loves to spend, cannot find the money for them...

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid you'll find Steve Bell has had the last word on this today - but I won't upset you be attaching the cartoon.

Scipio said...

I'm not sure that, 15 or so years after she left office, that she was actually wrong on any of the conclusions she drew about where the UK was and where it needed to go.

There are one or two things I wish she had done differently, but on the whole, she was an utterly brilliant PM, and the tosser we have in Blair is not fit to clean the shoes of Mrs. Thatcher!

Henry North London 2.0 said...

It is a pity that she couldnt mention how our way of life in the last 25 years has changed irrevocably because of the the threat of terrorism.