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Joy not grief as those opposed to Thatcher celebrate her death


United Kingdom

Joy not grief as those opposed to Thatcher celebrate her death

Champagne corks popped in Glasgow as hundreds gathered to celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher.

Similar outbursts of joy broke out in Liverpool, Brixton in London and parts of Wales.

In Northern Ireland the Nationalist community detested her uncompromising nature and during her tenure support for Republicanism increased:

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was at the heart of the Republican confrontation with the British establishment:

“Margaret Thatcher, in her terms as British Prime Minister, did great hurt to people in Britain, to working class communities across Britain, but also to people here in Ireland. And I suppose most Republicans and Nationalists will remember her for for the shameful role she played during the epic hunger strikes in 1980 and 1981.”

The Maze or Long Kesh hunger strikes left ten people dead as Thatcher stubbornly refused to restore their status as political prisoners.
Public sympathy for the strikers grew and resulted in Bobby Sands, one of the strikers, being elected to the House of Commons before his death.


Thatcher’s quotable quotes


  • “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.” – as Education Secretary in 1973, six years before becoming Britain’s first, and so far only, woman prime minister

  • “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.” – Quoting St Francis of Assisi after her 1979 election victory

  • “I am not a consensus politician. I’m a conviction politician.” – 1979

  • “I don’t mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say.” – 1980

  • “We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty.” – On the 1984-85 miners’ strike which provoked some of the fiercest union opposition to her economic policies

  • “We are not asking for a penny piece of community money for Britain. What we are asking is for a very large amount of our own money back, over and above what we contribute to the community, which is covered by our receipts from the community.”- At a European Economic Community summit 1979

  • “To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.” – 1980 Conservative Party conference, to colleagues urging her to soften her economic policies that were blamed for high unemployment

  • “This is a day I was not meant to see.” – To reporters the day after surviving a deadly 1984 Irish Republican Army bomb attack on the Conservative Party conference

  • “We have become a grandmother.” – On the birth of her first grandchild, 1989

  • “No! No! No!” At the House of Commons in 1990, the climax of an anti-European outburst that moved Geoffrey Howe to quit as deputy prime minister and deliver a resignation speech which called for her to be challenged for her job

  • “I fight on, I fight to win.” – In November 1990, after failing to win enough votes to avoid a second round in the Conservative leadership contest. She resigned the next day

  • “It’s a funny old world” – On her decision to quit in 1990


Under Thatcher the IRA stepped up its campaign of violence and Sinn Fein grew as a potent political force.

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