Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1979 and 1990, planned to make a speech on 25th March next, appealing for Britain to leave the EU. There is a faction in the Conservative party to form instead a union with the USA and Canada. Supporters of this faction claim that the British people have more in common with their transatlantic cousins than with Continental Europeans, however, this faction is confined to the right wing of the Conservative Party. The Iron Lady was persuaded not to make the speech by Conservative Party leader, William Hague, who claimed it would divide the party just before it goes to a general election, for which Tony Blair has yet to set a date, although 3rd May has been claimed to be the most likely day by observers. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook made a political mountain over this incident, claiming that the only difference between Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Hague is that she has the courage to say in public what he and his party feel in private. Mrs. Thatcher has often stated that the worst mistake of her political career was the signing of the Single Europe Act in 1986. She said recently: “Throughout my life, all our problems came from the Continent (Continental Europe) and all our solutions came from English speaking nations, which kept alive freedom for the future”. Mrs. Thatcher’s successor, Prime Minister John Major, considered these declarations as “idiotic”. As so often, politics depends on people and certain people can be very different after lunch from what they were before it. People generally in Britain favour closer links with Europe and a spirit of cooperation with their partners in the EU. Britain has come through the mists of its post-imperial days, assumes itself as a modern, multi-racial society and launches itself on a path of collaborative agreements worldwide. The Iron Lady is confined to the past, a figment of the memory, if not the imagination.


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