Yesterday was great — I gave away lots of free Kindle editions of my books and received some very heart-warming feedback. They are still free through Sunday, and I won’t be able to do this again until March (Amazon regulations!). So go for it —
- The Wiring Diagram
- Six Nine, Two Ten: A Body, Big and Small
- A Basic Glossary of Invertebrate Zoology
In The Wiring Diagram I have several quotes from Margaret Thatcher’s speeches and memos, but there’s nothing like watching her in action in the House of Commons. Below are two clips from her last appearance to answer questions from Parliament, on November 22, 1990. Despite stepping down as head of her party (and thus Prime Minister), she was on fire like never before.
The clip above starts with a little explanation from C-SPAN (I recorded this from the C-SPAN’s video library), then there’s the opening by the Speaker and the beginning of Neil Kinnock’s statement (he was the head of Labour, the main opposing party). I skip the remainder of Kinnock’s statement and the start of Thatcher’s, but at 1:24 I continue with the end of her opening remarks and the start of her fielding questions from the benches. This leads to one of the most famous verbal drubbings of socialism delivered anywhere, including Thatcher’s gesticulations to illustrate her main rebuke—all the great amusement of her supporters (and, to some degree, her opponents).
This second clip starts a few minutes after the first one and covers Thatcher’s most forceful statements about the European Union and adoption of a single European currency. The Conservatives (her party) favored joining the European organization, but Britons were surprised to learn that their membership meant higher prices and an outflow of money to subsidize certain operations in wealthier countries. Thatcher fought for money back from the Europeans, and as the union became more centralized and run by remote bureaucrats, Thatcher (with the Conservatives in tow) pulled back.
The highlight of the clip is at 2:34, when Alan Beith (Liberal) asks Thatcher if she plans to continue her “own personal fight against the single currency and an independent central bank when she leaves office.” Before she can answer someone quips, “No, she’s gonna be the guv’nor,” and hilarity ensues. She replies, “What a good idea!” and continues from there, exclaiming at one point (4:04), “I’m enjoying this! I’m enjoying this!”