What would Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher do in respect of Brexit? That’s the question with which we’re wrestling as the second woman premier to lead Britain, Theresa May, flounders toward the March 29 date by which, absent a deal or an agreed-upon delay, Britain will finally regain its independence. How would the Iron Lady handle what the nervous Nellies are calling a colossal constitutional crisis?
We understand that Thatcher has left this mortal coil. We focus on her because, as we’ve often marked, the idea of Brexit took flight only after Thatcher delivered her famous speech at Bruges, Belgium. That was the speech in which she declared that Britons had not rolled back the frontiers of the state at home only to see “a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”
That was in 1988. The speech inspired many among the conservative intelligentsia in Britain — the Bruges Group, it got dubbed — to think about independence. Yet punctilious editorial writing moves us to mark that Mrs. Thatcher herself stopped short of calling for Britain to leave the EU outright. Plus, too, she spoke in a heartfelt way about Britain’s historical and cultural ties. Bruges was a moderate speech.
Thatcher didn’t know it at the time, but she herself had but two years left as premier. Her party leaders turned on her in 1990. So how did her thinking go after that? It happens that there is a riveting clue being linked now on the internet (and above). It features remarks that Mrs. Thatcher delivered to a Conservative Party rally at Plymouth, where she lit into the prime minister at the time, Labor’s Tony Blair.