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Some of the core problems we face today are:

1. Over-centralised power, coupled with waste.
2. Failing foreign policies.
3. Over dependence on a service-based economy.
4. Unsustainable consumption of resources.

She would have more influence on America, but whether she would have the right influence I don't know.

For the rest, I don't think she'd even see them a being a problem.

It really doesn't matter what Lady T would or would not have done. It's a question with no answer, a red herring, an Aunt Sally. What counts is what is the best way forward NOW. Cameron and co think it is best to sidle into office but not into power with many an oily apology on the way. The only reason they can offer for this - other than furthering their own careers - is that they will "manage" better - a sadly uninspiring and doubtful case. Those who look further ahead disgree.

As it happens I think Lady T a wonderful influence as far as defence and the economy were concerned but she neglected the egalitarian cancer at the heart of education. She also completely failed to head off the rise of so called "anti-racism", that Marxist conspiracy theory that holds all whites guilty of bigotry until proven innocent.

So, Cameron's critics are not in thrall to the Iron Lady. It is merely a convenient device for Bruce Anderson to pretend that they are.

Bruce Anderson is most odd...this obsession in politics with normal backwardisation is pathetic. The past is history. Had Churchill been less a francophile and keen to build up France to control Germany after 1945 we should not have the EU menace at all.

In fact if Britain had not built its entire 20th Century foreign policy since 1904 on aligning itself with French plans the country might have had far better outcomes than it did.

The mess the country now finds itself in is a product of decisions made by previous governments which have shortchanged the public, there is no reason to believe current political leaders will be any better.

Let me rush to the defence of Marianne. From 1870, Britain's enemy was Germany. It had always been Bismarck. He hated us for our classical liberalism. We were too powerful, too insular and too thick to realise this until his protege came crashing through Belgium. He was, of course, making the first teutonic bid for world power. Does TomTom really think the Germans would have stopped there? They were showing signs of Nazi sickness long before Hitler - see the career of Mengele's father in Africa. France gallantly bore the brunt of German agression for two and a half terrible years, suffering enormous casualties at the hands of a powerful, ruthless, pagan neighbour. She fought the fight for what Churchill nobly called Christian civilization. Let noone attack our good friend, fellow liberal and tencacious ally the glorious republic of France.

Leaving policy aside for a moment, Mrs T would have eaten Blair and Brown alive in Parliament. Blair wouldn't have survived 5 minutes until she was gone.

I suggest Simon Denis reads "To Lose a Battle: France 1940" by Alistair Horne.

I've read it - and Julian Jackson's more recent work - and stand by what I say. Britain really never thinks seriously about the French situation, or makes allowances for it. With no channel to hide behind, a smaller, older population than Germany's, not much in the way of military help from a smug, disarmed John Bull and after years of demoralising standoffishness from the crummy likes of Chamberlain (see Corelli Barnett) - what do people expect? Dowding seemed happier to fight his battle with the Luftwaffe over Kent and Hampshire, even though it would surely have been more sensible to sustain the same over Burgundy and Flanders. Still, such was the degree of his short-sighted insularity.

From 1870, Britain's enemy was Germany.

That is so ridiculous - you imply because France was defeated by Prussia that it was Britain'e enemy. In fact Kaiser Bill was NOT Bismarck's protege at all.....go look at that nice Punch cartoon about "Dropping the Pilot". Bismarck had a nice series of alliances in the Reinsurance Treaty and Kaiser Bill let it lapse.

Britain had been an ally of Prussis since the days of Frederick The Great, had been saved at Waterloo by Bluecher, and Prussia had been built up to prevent a resurgent France. It was France which in 1870 declared war on Prussia and tried to humiliate the Prussians over the Spanish throne.

France thinks it is Europe and all nations must do its bidding. It even retains the tomb of a French dictator in its capital, even though he laid waste most of Europe in war.

It was France that had demanded Belgium and Luxembourg as the price for neutrality during the Austro-Prussian War.....even though The 1839 Treaty of London guaranteed Belgium.

It has been France that has stirred up most of the problems in Europe for around 400 years

And Paxton?

Bruce Anderson's judgment over the last ten years has been consistently flawed. A few days before the 2001 General Election, I went to a lunch where he claimed that Labour's majority would be greatly reduced. He was utterly wrong. Now he has failed to come up with any credible explanation for why the path of progress is to reheat and reserve Butskellism.

Until Daladier tried to offload French treaty obligations to Poland and Czechoslovakia onto Britain we had no involvement other than guaranteeing Germany's Western border under Locarno.

Dowding was right. The French wanted Britain RAF strategic reserve committed to France so Britain would go down with them - they had hangars full of Hotchkiss aircraft from the US......no shortage at all. Go read the stories of Polish pilots and their assessment of the French Air Force in May 1940....it didn't need the RAF...but it needed Britain to go down with it......

Just as Lord Gort was right to disobey Churchill and withdraw the Army to Dunkirk once the Belgians did their secret capitualation and left the Belgian coat undefended.....had Gort followed Churchill his Army would have been encircled completely

Astonishing that people can still fall for rogue Bismarck's con tricks even today. Never heard of the Ems Telegram, TomTom? Moreover, I do not imply that Germany's victory in 1870 is evidence of her hostility to Britain. The evidence for that lies elsewhere, in Bismarck's many anti-British utterances and in his attitude to British influence at the Berlin court. In this, despite Punch, Wilhelm certainly was the old brute's protege - and how!

Until Chamberlain's ludicrous too-little, too-late guarantee, France had no obligations to Poland. Moreover, as far as Munich is concerned, both the western powers were equally guilty. That stiff-necked old maid, Chamberlain, thought it a marvellous deal. Daladier was - ahem -wiser. The hard fact is that in the twenty years from 1919, infected by the sort of reactionary Francophobia all too evident in TomTom's contributions to this debate, Britain consistently betrayed, humiliated and abandoned her ally and fellow democracy, France, to fawn upon her increasingly authoritarian enemy, Germany. The fawing continued at the highest circles long after the German regime's murderous anti-semitism had become plain. Dreyfus, the Cagoule and Darquier de Pellepoix are nothing to Germany in that regard. Rather than planning properly to defend the eminently reasonable and just Versailles settlement - Germany WAS guilty of engineering the first world war - Britain chose to stick her head firmly in the sand. She then scuttled and ran in 1940, taking all air cover away from her allies - just as she was to scarper at Singapore and just as she retreated all the way until 1942, when the Russians were doing the Verdun job which Britain always squeals about.

So let me get this right. Britain was at fault (with which I agree to a certain extent) whilst France did no wrong both in the run up to and during the war? Bizarre.

No, Bill, of course France was at fault. Both western democracies were wrong to think that the job of defending their interests had been done. It never is. If I write intemperately and blur my meaning it is get through to these stuffy, teutonophil dunderheads the fatal role played by their own country in the debacle of 1940. When you think of how criminally weak Britain's armed forces were, how pitiful the help she offered to France - not the soldiers, who were "magnifique" as ever, but the whole diplomatic and military package, it should give you pause before you attack the French. Yes, they broke at the Meuse, but the soldiers there were older men and veterans - a sort of Dad's Army on active service. France was forced to this expedient because the British Army was so tiny. Do you think Pike and Jonesy and Mainwaring would actually have held the Werhmacht at bay? The truth is in the detail and it favours a kindly view of France.

It depends on the question. Is it asking if Thatcher were twenty years younger, and emerged at the top now? Or is it asking if Thatcher remained in office from 1979 to now (assumng good health and everything else)?

That's difficult. I think she's a better leader than Cameron. I don't mean in a lead-my-party sort of way, I mean in the more important lead-my-country way. When she speaks people listen, even now. Obviously she's got iron in her blood, and that is very attractive to people. Strong rather than weak leadership is always preferable.

She'd make mincemeat with Blair and Brown, she was as skilled a performer as Blair and as tough a one as Brown, and she has the added advantage of being blunt and honest - that alone would win her masses of support.

How would she address the issues of the day? Well, in a way, she'd set them. The environment only became so (politically) huge once Cameron began to go on about it, so if she were in charge, it may not even be an issue. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know...I'm slightly sceptical about the Church of Environmentalism, I must confess. Though let's not forget she was a chemist by training, and I believe in the last few years she began to make speeches about the environment.

I'm an adoring Thatcherite, and a sceptical Cameroon. The problem for me is not what Cameron says - he says it very well, and most of it is spot on. It's whether he will do it. We've seen all this with Blair, and now we see him with Blair's methods; will we see Blair's results, too? Today, if you ask people who remember about Thatcher, they'll say "she was strong, she said what she thought, Mrs Thatcher [they always call her] was a leader." And most of them with any sense have come round to the idea that she was right all along, even if they didn't agree at the time.

That's the difference between Cameron and Thatcher for me: she has iron in her blood, and I don't think he does. He comes across as floppy and weak, and that gives people the impression he doesn't believe in what he's saying, and doesn't have the strength to ensure it happens, when I think actually that's untrue and unfair. We need a leader that will speak and act honestly, clearly and passionately. Cameron's doing clear, he's not doing passionate, and I'm unsure about honesty.

For me, that's the difference. In that respect, Thatcher is a far greater leader than Cameron, but you only get a leader like that at exceptional times. Cameron isn't faced with as dramatic a problem as she (or Churchill) was, and nor does he have the iron to take the reigns and fix it. But we are facing new challenges, and, generally, he's facing them well, albeit not with iron.

Her character is such though, that I think, were she leader today, we'd be seeing another three-term Thatcher Government in the near future. Her power is within her, leaders are born with steely conviction, not made. But we're not going to see another Thatcher Government, and people must accept that. I, as huge a Thatcher fan as you can get, have. Cameron is the future, and generally, he's not doing too bad. To put him up against Thatcher and Churchill is unfair though, because he isn't in the same mould.

You're not French are you Simon? Dowdings' decision which eventually got him the sack from a francophile Churchill was the correct one. France in late May/June 1940 lost the will to fight.

Irrespective of who leads the party now, or who leads the country in the near future, the challenges and problems are somewhat different from the late 70's and early 80's, that ought to be strongly recognised.
Thatcher was right for the time, right for the job, and right for the country, and it was in promoting Britain's interests in an international arena that she perhaps has not received sufficient credit for. Our current generation of leaders can learn a lot about strength and courage from Maggie's term in office.
Perhaps issues such as this would then receive priority treatment!

All right, Malcolm, cards on the table - half - a product of a smaller scale Entente Cordiale. Doubtless this affects my judgement and I do accept that the French government had by June given in. But put yourself in their position. They were old men who thought it would be another 1870. Yes, the corruption of defeat led to one compromise after another until such indelibly shameful episodes as the Vel d'Hiver, but the initial act of surrender was not remotely at the same depth of iniquity. Moreover, more widely, I know of at least one very distinguished German or at least Germanic historian - Hartmutt Pogge von Strandman (yes, he exists) - who unlike TomTom et al lays the blame for WWI squarely on the Kaiser and his court. So does the Anglo-German historian, John Rohl. So nationality plays only a small part. The wish to stand up for one of my countries together with a certain hope that they are in fact friends, doubtless lends me energy in this matter. So, however, does a concern for simple justice and understanding. Not being an extreme nationalist or marxist, I believe that the common pursuit of true judgement is both worthwhile and possible, regardless of origins.

It is notproductive for Bruce Anderson to infer that those who critiscise Cameron are in thrall to Margaret Thatcher.It is without question that without Mrs T Britain would have become ungovernable under the heel of public sector unions.However as others on this thread have pointed out the failure to address the mess that is our eductaion system and the lack of real public sector reform are stains on Thatcher's legacy.

This failure has allowed Blair to hijack the agenda.New Labour recognised fully that the economic arguements had been lost.They resolved to retain much of the Thatcher reform and rely upon unfettered markets to allocate resources.However the price of this ,paid to the traditional left,to maintain loyalty is a massive social engineering project.Political correctness abounds in schools where the curriculm is consistently weakened.Traditional science subjects are replaced by generalised discussion and Mathematics is taught in a problem solving fashion.

At the same time private schools refuse to obey this nonsense and consequently the gap in attainment between state and private sector's widens.This is why it is so disappointing to here DC refuse to contemplate the extension of the Grammar School(where local communities demand) This is not backward looking.We must rescue social mobility

Indeed, I am a Thatcherite and also a Cameroon.

I really have to take issue with Simon over his criticism of Dowding. Does he seriously think to have sacrificed Fighter Command over France and Belgium, (a lost battle) was tactically sound?? I can't believe anyone could accept that!!
Dowding's decision to oppose Churchill's request for Spitfires to be sent to France, (only Hurricanes had up till then been sent) and that a minimum of 52 squadrons be retained for home defence, was unarguably the right one. History is Dowding's judge, France was beyond help, we had to fall back and protect our Island's in the hope we could one day act as the springboard for Europes liberation. Dowding deserves all our thanks.

Until Chamberlain's ludicrous too-little, too-late guarantee, France had no obligations to Poland.


Franco-Polish Agreement (this agreement was supplemented by a military agreement regarding its execution signed on the same day) concluded in Paris, February 19, 1921

THE Polish Government and the French Government, both desirous of safeguarding, by the maintenance of the treaties which both have signed or which may in future be recognized by both parties, the peace of Europe, the security of their territories, and their common political and economic interests, have agreed as follows:

1. In order to coordinate their endeavours towards peace the two Governments undertake to consult each other on all questions of foreign policy which concern both States, so far as those questions affect the settlement of international relations in the spirit of the treaties and in accordance with the Covenant of the League of Nations.

2 - Treaty of Locarno Between France and Poland

(October 16, 1925)

THE President of the French Republic and the President of the Republic of Poland,

Equally desirous to see Europe spared from war by a sincere observance of the undertakings arrived at this day with a view to the maintenance of general peace:

Article 1

In the event of Poland or France suffering from a failure to observe undertakings arrived at this day between them and Germany, with a view to the maintenance of general peace, France and, reciprocally, Poland, acting in application of Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, undertake to lend each other immediate aid and assistance, if such a failure is accompanied by an unprovoked recourse to arms.



Franco-Polish Treaties of 1921 to 1925 ............................ 407


The Polish-British Common Defence Pact was an annex to the Franco-Polish Military Alliance signed on August 25, 1939 between representatives of the United Kingdom and Poland. The pact contained promises of mutual military assistance between the nations in the event either was attacked by Nazi Germany

in May 1939, Poland signed a secret protocol to the 1921 Franco-Polish Military Alliance in which it was agreed that France would grant her eastern ally military credit "as soon as possible." In case of war with Germany, France promised to start minor land and air military operations at once, and to start a major offensive (with the majority of its forces) no later than 15 days after a declaration of war.

Given the major issues of today are;

economic migration
foreign policy
dishonest government and corruption
Economy (highlighting myth from reality)
Climate Change

She would choose economic migration as a key issue and deal with it thus;

Introduce a comprehensive package of safeguards for ALL economic migrants.
This would entitle them to full access to benefits from the day they arrive, the same rights as UK workers from day one, ensure adequate housing availble to avoid exploitation, a fund for local councils who need extra cash to deal with temporary strains on services, a special department at the home office designed to deal with the economic migrants problems.

Obviously this would require a visa system (because the EU open borders policy is open to abuse)so that the migrant workers coming here were looked after from day one, this would also ensure they were respected as completely legitimate and welcome in this country. Introduce serious fines and enforcement for any company NOT abiding by these rules.

This would result in Britain getting the workers we want whilst also stopping the exploitation of foreign workers, make it more difficult for people traders, sex workers and exploited gang labour in our country.

The EU would need to make some small concessions to their existing rules but only to protect EU migrant workers Human Rights.

This would be a policy to resolve the current disastrous, illegal, divisive and socially unnacceptable situation of unrestricted illegal migration.

It would take some courage in the current environment but would be in Britains interest, in the interests of the workers and expose the complete completely unnacceptable policy of deceit by NuLab on this issue.

Oh she would also insist the Home Office actually checked and stamped the passports of everyone entering the country which they refuse to do currently.

She certainly wouldnt ignore it because the PC/BBC/liberati might call it racist.

The fact that May 1939 saw the attachment of a secret protocol to the original 1921 treaty strongly suggests that the same was a dead letter - otherwise it would have needed no gingering up. Secondly, the protocol was the result of a British diplomatic initiative undertaken in the wake of Hitler's March invasion of the Czech rump. This blew the blinkers off Chamberlain's eyes and he blundered in with his guarantees. The French were essentially following suit, out of loyalty to Britain. Having adopted a passive and defensive foreign policy for at least fifteen years, the British government lurched onto the offensive whilst relying wholly on the land forces of its ally. Finally, no degree of grubbing about in the archives on TomTom's part will absolve Britain of her moral responsibilities to the Eastern European republics, which, as one of the leading powers in the League, she SHARED with France. So, to rephrase my position, France had no more responsibility to Poland than Britain did and given that Britain had almost no army at all in 1939 she had no right to revive the responsibility at such short notice.

As to Dowding and the RAF, surely since the Anglo-French forces were facing Blitzkreig on the Meuse it would have been wise to Blitzkrieg back at the earliest possible opportunity. It was precisely the habit of thinking in terms not of allied forces but of "British and French" that efforts were not coordinated and opportunities were lost.

If Margaret Thatcher - the greatest British leader since Churchill - were still running our country Cameron would be out on his ear.

Correction. He'd never have been given a job.

I used to argue that the Conservative Party should have been renamed the Thatcherite Party. That would have kept out the likes of Cameron and Osborn. They are not Thatcherites

I never heard of Bruce Anderson before but hes an idiot.

If Maggie was leader she would address the real problems with this country and not pc/imaginary ones.

There's no way Cambo can be compared to The Lady in any way. I'm still hopeful that Cambo can buck up his ideas and shed the 'marginally butcher than Jerry Hayes' image. No more debacles regarding policy presentation and 'picking one's fight's more carefully' will do fine. Plus shedding a few of the 'ok yah' advisors would benefit Cambo in the long run- he needs more 'working class' Conservative advisors -that much is certain.

The problems faced by Thatcher were serious after another disastrous Labour government imploded.

She had to propse a policy that required fighting a long and bloody battle with the unions that affected real people and caused real hardship for people in this country. It was ugly and it was scary at times but she knew it had to be done and it could have ruined her career at any time. It was a defining moment in our recent history and she is rightly applaudded by most and still hated by some for that time.

Compare this with Iraq and our continued support that utter travesty. Which Cammeron still supports, its simply immoral and cannot be defended.

Quite right Unions/Iraq, but what do you think of 1930s foreign policy?

Short answer. I'd still be an active financial and political supporter.

Some absurd judgments on Bismarck by Simon Denis.

Bismarck did not 'hate' Britain and had numerous British friends and admirers not the least being Disraeli.

He was a conservative Prussian patriot first and foremost and therefore it is hardly surprising that he reacted with hostility to the meddlings of the 'English' (actually Coburg/Guelph) Empress, just as he had, years before, to her equally meddlesome mother-in-law.

Bismarck would never have permitted Germany to go to war with Britain. He knew that the result would be disaster for Germany, and he was proved right.

In todays climate of PC and reaching for the central ground poor old Maggie wouldn't stand a chance.
Thatcherism come about as a result of the times, we were all ready for change and indeed recognised the need for change. Maggie articulated the aspirations of all.
Today's society doesn't know what it wants, apart from rights without the responsibilities, and the continuance of a nanny state, as otherwise how do you explain 3 straight election wins for NuLab?.

You simply can't compare the two of them. Mrs T was/is a conservative,Cameron's just a career politician.

Oh dear, we're back to the world of "What if?" The fact is that Bismarck brought the German nation to birth in blood and iron and a bloody, iron hearted monster it naturally turned out to be. Set beside his cynical, bellicose, bloodthirsty career, what do any suppositions about his possible conduct matter? As to the nationality of the poor Empress Frederick, she was of German extraction but British upbringing and nationality. The important thing was not her "blood" (that word again!) but her culture, which was civil and liberal - in other words, western or Anglo-French. I should like to know in what way either she or the excellent Kaiser Fritz could possibly be described as "meddling" in German affairs. He was the heir to the throne and she, "th'imperial jointress to [his] warlike state". If anyone was "meddling" it was surely the uppity, bombastic Bismarck, who seemed to consider Germany his property or at least his exclusive hobby. As for using that flashy charlatan Disraeli as a reference - you must be DESPERATE Traditional Tory.

This blew the blinkers off Chamberlain's eyes and he blundered in with his guarantees. The French were essentially following suit, out of loyalty to Britain.

Your vituperative comments about Chamberlain reveal your obvious desire to rewrite history.

Britain was a Locarno Power it guaranteed the borders in the West - there were no guarantees on Germany's Eastern Border - France provided those alone after Weygand had been sent with a French Military Mission to Warsaw during the Polish-Russian War of 1920.

Czechoslovakia had a Treaty with France - The so-called Little Entente - it also had one with the USSR. The USSR traety could not be activated until France first came to Czechoslovakia's aid....


Monday, Jan. 07, 1924
Franco-Czech Treaty

A Treaty of Alliance between the Republics of France and Czecho-Slovakia has been approved by Premier Poincare and Foreign Minister Benes. After the Treaty has been approved by President Mazaryk of Czecho-Slovakia, the Treaty will be formally announced.

Meanwhile, the Treaty was reported to be divided into four main parts: 1) France pledges to stand by the execution of the Treaties of St. Germain, Trianon and Neuilly. Czecho-Slovakia pledges aid in the execution of the Treaty of Versailles; 2) Mutual pledges of support in case of aggression; 3) Agreement by both nations to abide by the Covenant of the League of Nations; 4) Articles concerning an economic accord.

As no details were available, nothing definite could be said either for or against the pact. The advantages for France if she has succeeded in connecting the Czecho-Slovak metallurgical industry, in which she owns half the capital, with the French iron and steel industry, plus the Ruhr coal, are that it completes France's control of the industry on the continent and places France in a stronger position than ever.

From the Czecho-Slovak point of view the first three sections can be of no practical use, except as formal concessions to buy French support to oppose the return of the Habsburgs to Hungary and to formulate a commercial entente.


Finally, a new alliance was signed in 1939. The so-called Kasprzycki-Gamelin Convention signed May 19, 1939 in Paris (named after the Polish Minister of War Affairs General Tadeusz Kasprzycki and the commander of the French Army Maurice Gamelin) obliged both countries to provide military help to each other in case of a war with Nazi Germany. In May Gamelin promised a "bold relief offensive" within three weeks of German's attack.[1] Later staff talks and consultation between both armies' commands were also included in the treaty. Finally, it was enhanced with a political convention, signed in Paris on September 4, 1939.

Despite all the obligations of the treaties, the alliance was never fulfilled by France, which provided only token help to Poland during the Polish Defensive War of 1939, in the form of the Saar Offensive. This is often considered an example of Western betrayal. However, the political part of it was a basis of recreation of the Polish Army in France in 1939.

As one of the parts of the original text stated that the contracting powers will not sign a separate peace treaty until the end of the war, the alliance was broken by France, who following her defeat in 1940, signed a peace treaty with Nazi Germany.

VON NEURATH: At that time Germany could not help feeling she was encircled by her highly armed neighbors. Russia and France had concluded a mutual assistance pact which could only be called a military alliance. It was immediately followed by a similar treaty between Russia and Czechoslovakia. According to her own statements, Russia had increased the peacetime strength of her army by more than half. How strong it actually was could not be ascertained. In France, under the leadership of Petain, efforts were being made to strengthen the Army considerably. Already in 1934 Czechoslovakia had introduced 2-year military service. On 1 March 1935 France issued a new defense law, which also increased the period of military service. This whole development, which had come about in a few months, could only be considered as an immediate threat. Germany could no longer be a defenseless and inactive spectator. In view of these facts the decision which Hitler then made to reintroduce compulsory military service and gradually to build up an army of 36 divisions was not an act which seriously threatened the neighboring countries bound together by alliances.


DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Then comes Document 92, in Document Book 3, the call to the Army made by the President of the Czechoslovakian Republic on 28 December 1934.

In Document Book 3, Number 96 is the French Government declaration of 15 March 1935.

In Document Book 3, Number 79 is a report of the Czech Minister in Paris, Osusky, of 15 June 1934.

Document 101 is the Franco-Russian Mutual Assistance Pact of 2 May 1935.

VON NEURATH: On 16 January 1936, the French Foreign Minister, M. Laval, announced that after his return from Geneva he would present the Russian-French Pact to the French Chamber for ratification.

On 7 March 1936, by way of answer to the ratification of this treaty, the German troops marched into the demilitarized Rhineland zone.

Bismarck's invocation of 'Blood and Iron' may now seem unfortunate, but he was moved as a patriot by the feeble conduct of the Frankfurt parliamentarians who believed that the future of Germany could be built upon windbaggery and good intentions.

Perhaps it could have been, had not Germany's neighbour been France.

From the 1860s onwards Britain spent a fortune on a vast chain of fortresses, on modernising the navy and army, and on setting up a new volunteer force.

Perhaps Mr Denis would care to remind us which bellicose European empire gave rise to those precautions?

'I never heard of Bruce Anderson but hes an idiot'-John Irvine. Says it all really.

PreWW1 Britain posed no threat to a land power like Germany but the reverse was not so. It was a long time ago when I read history so I forget who the 1960s German historian was who
unearthed the documentary evidence of Germany's expansionist plans.

I hardly think my reactions to Chamberlain "vituperative". To say he was a blinkered, pompous, old woman is the orthodox summary of his career. What really shocks me in TomTom's latest outburst is not that he goes on wallowing in futile details, but that he seems actually to have lapsed into defending Nazi Germany. He's fond of quoting, so let me - literally - take a leaf out of his book:

"...the decision which Hitler then made to reintroduce compulsory military service and gradually to build up an army of 36 divisions was not an act which seriously threatened...neighbouring countries".

Does TomTom really believe that Nazi rearmament did not seriously threaten neighbouring countries? Is he happy to think of those divisions in Nazi control? He seems to me to be dangerously Munichois; fond of Chamberlain, suspicious of Churchill, happier to defend Hitler than to allow for deals with Stalin. Ghastly as the two were, surely Churchill's profound historic judgement was right, that Hitler was the worse. Communism, for all that it murders millions, does not subject them to animal experimentation; it is still, at some obscure level, a kind of humanism, no matter how perverted. Therefore, yes, with vile Stalin against the viler Hitler any day. Finally, no ammount of quibbling as to exactly defined legal duties will let Britain off the same hooks as France and since Britain broke away from France and the business of defending Versailles in the twenties, the fundamental responsibility for a bad situation must lie at her door.

Trad Tory, meanwhile, gives away his frightful admiration for Bismarckian violence when he refers to the Frankfurt delegates' "windbaggery and good intentions". Why have good intentions when you can maim and murder a good few Danes or Austrians or French, eh?

Well said, Bill. The historian you are thinking of is Fritz Fischer and he's never been effectively contradicted. Yes, he brought in a lot of socialist rubbish about quite why Germany was expansionist, but the diplomatic facts have been established.

PreWW1 Britain posed no threat to a land power like Germany but the reverse was not so

Not on our own of course, but our naval blockade was the final nail in their coffin in 1918.

For every militaristic member of the Pan-German League in 1914 there were many more decent Germans who believed that they were caught in a Franco-Russian trap.

And there were many Frenchmen who wanted nothing better than a war of revenge. It's easy to forget that the aggression was not all one-sided.

Thanks for that Simon. It was Fischer and your knowledge has sent a wave of nostalgia down my spine for good old schooldays as I cam remember the actual lesson in which our teacher cited him.

In 1979, she was not only the right leader. She was the only leader, just like Churchill in 1940.
She wasn't the only possible leader in the late 1970's - there were others, things would have gone differently but people like John Biffen, Geoffrey Howe, John Nott, Willie Whitelaw, Norman Tebbit, Keith Joseph etc... all had the charisma and intellect to be leader and to have achieved something, maybe more maybe less - no one knows really what difference it would have made because it didn't happen that way.

As for Winston Churchill in 1945, it is hard to think who else it might have been - another Conservative could have done it but might well have had to do it without Labour support and it is hard to imagine the Conservatives backing Clement Attlee or Nye Bevan for PM in a situation in which there was a Conservative majority in the House of Commons.

Why have good intentions when you can maim and murder a good few Danes or Austrians or French, eh?

And don't you suppose that the Danes Austrians and French set out likewise to maim and murder(sic)as many Prussians as they could?

The difference is that that they ended up losing...

The reason we did not, 'Blizkreig back on the Meuse' was simple, we did not have anything to blitzkreig back with. The two main light bombers, the Battle and the Blenheim, were totally inadequate for the task. German light ack ack was ferocious and all attempts to destroy bridges and hit at tank columns were quickly and murderously rebuffed. The tragedy was not that we withdrew, the tragedy was, we did not withdraw earlier, when Calais was still in French hands. If the British had been able to use Calais then even more men and equipment could have been withdrawn.

But those powers were not pursuing novel, expansionist or aggressive policies and Bismarck's Prussia was.

I wonder if we should stop this now. I agree with you about Grammar schools and current politics. Shall we let Bismarck and Napoleon continue their slumbers?

The tragedy, david, was that Britain was so poorly armed.

We haven't discussed Napoleon, have we?

Oh dear.

Simon may be right in that we should drop it. GB undoubtedly made diplomatic and military errors before both world wars although I would argue the bigger ones were made in the inter war years. A bit like the the mistakes made post fall of the Berlin Wall and continuing today?

The equal tragedy Simon, was that French equipment,strategy, Generalship and most of all resolve which had been good in 1918 was woefully deficient in 1940. The six week war in May/June 1940 was one of the most remarkable defeats in military history.

We'd have direction at least. I'm still not sure of what Camerons vision for the country is, altough i doubt he is either.

I also thing, contrary to a lot of the stuff i read on here - that thatcher rectified the economic part of the nation, now Cameron should do the same to the social side, is rubbish. Afterall, she said 'Economics are the method; the object is to change the soul'
The most pressing issue is applying Private Sector reforms to the Public sector, most importantly public sector unionisation, which is stuck somewhere in the 1930s, and correcting the two tier pension system etc.

While i do think she would have theoretically been a great asset to the War on Terror and against fundamentalist Islam, a lot of Labours Counter Terror legislation would not have been able to pass given a tory government, particularly a Thatcher one, so we have that to thank for Labour being in power. Hopefully Brown can push ahead with the ID card scheme, another Tory idea unfortunately stolen from us!

I wonder if we should stop this now. I agree with you about Grammar schools and current politics

Yes. It's been an interesting discussion.

Actually I generally consider myself a Francophile and would have been firmly behind France after 1871.

I'm prepared to agree to anything which shares out the wider and the narrower responsibilities for the defeat fairly. We should recall with great sadness that it was an allied defeat and the consequence of many mistakes made from 1919 on. I am of course not taking up the ludicrous position that France is somehow free of blame. Some of the more knockabout points I have made are, I hope, taken as such.

That said, as a point of information, the military story of the defeat was essentially one of one man's mistake. The man? Gamelin. The mistake? Over extending allied lines all the way to Breda in southern Holland. Part two of the error was to consign the best allied troops to central Belgium - where French and British divisions gave good accounts of themselves in tank battles - and leave the hinge of the operation on the Meuse in the hands of weak, old troops with little air cover. It was at this hinge that the Germans made their breakthrough and stranded the allies in Belgium. Famously there was no masse de manoeuvre south of the Meuse to help cut off the tortoise's head, as Churchill pictured it.

Incidentally, Maginot worked. It was not taken before the surrender and looked likely to go on fighting had Petain not scuttled.

"...the decision which Hitler then made to reintroduce compulsory military service and gradually to build up an army of 36 divisions was not an act which seriously threatened...neighbouring countries".

Yes, it was testimony under cross-examination at Nuremberg of Von Neurath from the German Foreign Ministry.

I personally do not believe Germany had ever intended war with Britain, in Hitler's case it was Ribbentrop's bungling. I do however believe France has been a disaster for Britain from that time when Asquith and Earl Grey signed secret treaties with France and failed to inform the Cabinet.

The trivial instance of Blair and a dossier pales into insignificance


Between 1899 and 1903 Delcassé transformed the Franco-Russian alliance into an active instrument of policy by broadening its scope to include defense of the European balance of power. He achieved understanding with Italy, based on settlement of differences in Africa. This culminated in 1902 in mutual guarantees of neutrality. Three agreements of April 8, 1904, settled British and French colonial differences and became the foundation of the Entente Cordiale between Britain and France. Meanwhile, Delcassé also encouraged cooperation between Russia and Britain, which led in 1907 to the formation of the Triple Entente. Italian, British, and Spanish agreements guaranteed France a free hand in Morocco, but Delcassé was forced to resign in 1905 during the first Moroccan crisis, when the Cabinet refused to support his policy.

As minister of marine from March 1911 to January 1913, Delcassé reorganized and strengthened the French navy and engaged in joint naval planning with Britain. As ambassador to Russia between March 1913 and January 1914, he improved the joint military planning of France and Russia

It was French attempts to isolate Germany that created the First World War, and France could always rely on the somewhat dopey island race off their coast to put themselves at the disposal of France

In 1911, British Prime Minister Asquith became uncomfortable about continued meetings between British and French military staffs, and he wrote Grey on September 5: "Conversations such as that between [French] General Joffre and [British] Colonel Fairholme seem to me rather dangerous; especially the part which refers to possible British assistance. The French ought not to be encouraged, in present circumstances, to make their plans on any assumptions of this kind."

On September 8, Grey replied, defending secret support for the French: "It would create consternation if we forbade our military experts to converse with the French. No doubt these conversations and our speeches have given an expectation of support. I do not see how that can be helped."

In Britain, there was growing suspicion that Grey was scheming to involve Britain in a continental war. F. W. Hirst, editor of The Economist, denounced the idea of "asking millions of his innocent countrymen to give up their lives for a continental squabble about which they know nothing and care less."

Winston Churchill, who had become First Lord of the Admiralty, was among the few members of Parliament aware of Grey’s secret dealings, and he defended them: "we were morally committed to France…No bargain had been entered into. All arrangements were specifically preluded with a declaration that neither party was committed to anything further than consultation together if danger threatened…[if in 1912] the Foreign Secretary had, in cold blood, proposed a formal alliance with France and Russia…the Cabinet of the day would never have agreed to it. I doubt if four Ministers would have agreed to it. But if the Cabinet had been united upon it, the House of Commons would not have accepted their guidance. Therefore the Foreign Minister would have had to resign. The policy which he had advocated would have stood condemned and perhaps violently repudiated; and upon that repudiation would have come an absolute veto upon all those informal preparations and non-committal discussions on which the defense power of the Triple Entente was erected." In other words, Churchill believed that if Grey had operated openly, Britain might not have been able to get into the war!

The alliance had the potential to draw Britain into a war with which France became involved yet didn’t have the value of deterring aggression by other nations – in particular Germany – because it was secret. Churchill acknowledged as much: "An open alliance, if it could have been peacefully brought about at an earlier date, would have exercised a deterring effect upon the German mind, or at the least would have altered their military calculations."

Later, one of the ministers, the Earl of Loreburn – who had served from 1905 to 1912 – complained: "We were brought into the war because Mr. Asquith and Sir Edward Grey and their confidents, by steps some of which are known while others may be unknown, had placed us in such a position toward France, and therefore also toward Russia, that they found they could not refuse to take up arms on her behalf when it came to the issue, though till the end they denied it to Parliament, and probably even to themselves…We went to war unprepared in a Russian quarrel because we were tied to France in the dark…In effect [Grey’s secret dealings] left the peace of Great Britain at the mercy of the Russian Court."

Although Grey operated in a parliamentary system, he had arrogated to himself supreme power over Britain’s foreign policy. He wrote, "I did not regard anything except my own letters and official papers as deciding policy."

Niall Ferguson pointed out that by 1912, there was a greater risk of war with Germany than with France or Russia, and therefore it would have made more sense to seek some kind of accommodation with Germany. Instead, Ferguson explained, "in his determination to preserve the Entente with France, Grey was willing to make military commitments which made war with Germany more rather than less likely, sooner rather than later. By a completely circular process of reasoning, he wished to commit Britain to a possible war with Germany – because otherwise there might be war with Germany. Appeasement of France and Russia had once made sense; but Grey prolonged the life of the policy well after its rationale had faded."


The simple fact is that British foreign policy has been disastrous in letting France mould the mainland to its wishes.

Blair has continued this tradition with the St Malo Agreement, offering to double Britain's net contributions to the EU Budget, and his compliance with Sarkozy's perspective on constitutional treaties in the EU.

There is no hope of Britain ever recovering its sovereignty so long as the political class continue to accommodate French policy demands and to sacrifice British national interest to French national interest.

Its all the fault of the despairing Foreign Secretary who hauled the Permanent Secretary of the FCO over the coals, after another unsuccessful summit, with the admonition, "You are all useless, why can't you be more like the Quai D'Orsay?"

And ever since the FCO has done nothing that wasn't strictly in the interests of France.

If it weren’t for Bismark, Prussia, Napoleon, etc, this could have been an interesting thread. Editor, can I suggest that your comments policy includes temporary bans for those who go quite deliberately, endlessly and inanely OT?

Mr Montgomerie - you've made a mistake in the title of this thread. It should actually be: "What if Disraeli/Chamberlain/Churchill led the Tory party today?" Can you amend? Many thanks.

If it weren’t for Bismark, Prussia, Napoleon, etc, this could have been an interesting thread. Editor,

I disagree...without knowing how we got to where we are it is impossible to see how unlikely it is that we will cease repeating history

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.

George Santayana

If it weren’t for Bismark, Prussia, Napoleon, etc, this could have been an interesting thread.

Any counterfactual historical discussion is likely to broaden out in this way, and it's been stimulating.

But possibly not for those whose knowledge of European political history doesn't extend to spelling Bismarck's name correctly.

Quoting 712 words verbatim from Lew Rockwell is neither clever nor interesting. Re "Bismark", grow-up.

Interesting we are talking about Bismark when the original subject was Margaret Thatcher. Anderson must be more or less right.

Maggie was responsible for taking us further in to Europe than Major.

She would not have promised tax cuts without specifying where the money would come from. (Remember the "housewife" insults?)

She closed more grammar schools than anyone and opened none.

Nearly all the contibuters over time at this site demanding from Caneron that we get out of Europe, promise massive tax cuts and build loads of grammar schools call themselves Thatcherite when she did the oposite. Anderson is right, if all these inadequate people were honest and had the guts to stand up to NewLab instead of making childish insults at Cameron the Tories would be even further ahead.

David Sergeant. Your personal attacks don't take your argument very far, but dealing with your comments about Mrs T, the following is to be noted.

The Single European Act was as damaging as Maastricht, for which she has since expressed regret.

She promised and delivered tax cuts. "Dave" is too scared to do either.

She didn't open any more grammar schools. She was wrong on this.

Unlike the Cameroons, we Thatcherites do not unquestioningly accept everything she said or did without criticism. In fact, scratch a Thatcherite and you will find a Powellite underneath.

As for standing up to New Labour, we'd love to. Sadly, "Dave" isn't giving us much of a chance to do this as he's trying to turn our party into Blue Labour.

You are however right in that we should be further ahead in the polls. Unfortunately, if "Dave" carries on as he is, more activists are going to defect to UKIP or stay at home. Tory victory in 2009? Forget it. We're heading for a hung parliament.

Award for the most wasted thread of the year must surely go to the above.

Cutting and pasting endless text is SO dull....

She closed more grammar schools than anyone and opened none

She did not close grammar schools. They were closed by LEAs while she was PM and while it is unfortunate that this happened the suggestion that Margaret Thatcher was in favour of closing grammar schools is a total falsehood.

Most Tories - myself included - felt very comfortable under Thatcher and looked forward to a time when the previous centre-left consensus could be further rolled back.

We do not feel comfortable under Cameron for reasons which have been reiterated thousands of times. If Cameron is really a Conservative Thatcherite why is he such a controversial figure, hailed by most of the left of the party and increasingly distrusted by the Thatcherite right?

if all these inadequate people were honest

That's right David. If all else fails...

You can't really take a person from one time and put them into another. Lady Thatcher was a great leader that took on the big issues of her day. Some issues she comprehensively succeeded on, while others went wrong. I think dragging us into the modern world by seeing off the excesses of far left Unionists and restrictive working practices was success number one. The other main success was working with the US to out-compete and face down Communist Russia. Ironically both those victories changed the country and indeed the world and in so doing changed politics. We now have to deal with the issues as we find them. If you consider many of the main problems that we face today they come back to how we engender a new sense of social responsibility. Whatever Govt is in power needs to address this and in that sense I think Cameron has identified the right issue to lead on. What we need though is to bring this to life in practical ways,


seeing off the excesses of far left Unionists

And which 'far-left Unionists' would those be?

Many of us found greater satisfaction when she 'saw off' Bobby Sands.

I fear Mrs T has expressed opposition to
grammar schools. Look at her memoirs. She refers to them as manpower selection or something and calls them socialist. The simple fact is she wasn't infallible. Nor was Enoch P. The moral of the story is that you do not need to be the uncritical admirer of either of them or indeed of anyone. True tories are people without a hero.

On this subject I tend to be reminded of an anecdote from the last General Election, when while knocking on two adjacent doors I was given two totally contradictory answers.

“I’ll never vote for you”, said one, “You’re Thatcher’s lot!” My slow explanation that Lady Thatcher was really not a candidate in this election was probably thankfully lost in the closing of the door. And so I moved on to the next doorstep.

“The only way I’ll ever vote for you is if you bring Maggie back!”, declared the next man forcefully.

Hard as we try to categorise and catalogue the electorate (not a wasted effort, I might say, applying labels is a very human means of understanding the world), we’re all individuals in politics at least as much as in everything else. It proves the truism that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, though doesn’t it? (Does a truism require proof? – perhaps I’ve fallen down on the semantics there).

More to the point, I think Lady Thatcher was probably absolutely right for her time in ‘79 (being 3 years old at that point, I had other things on my mind!). However, you can’t effect revolutionary (if needed) change like that without becoming a highly divisive figure, as the anecdote above illustrates. At a time when we need to broaden our support, to build a wider coalition to tackle some very different challenges, we need a different approach for different times. Anderson’s analysis is interesting as far as it goes – I don’t think we have to butt heads with today’s “Thatcherites”, we're all on the same team, but I think we do all need to question whether it’s a relevant label any more anyway. Certainly in my recent experience, it’s more divisive than helpful.

Im afraid far too much that Cameron has done goes right against the grain. Most of us could never support the idea of positive discrimination enshrined in the 'A List'

The idea that millions of working-class Britons would vote Conservative only if a handful of 'ethnic' and homosexual millionaires become Tory candidates is, in any case, utterly risible.

Thatcher was opposed to Political Correctness and so are we.

Cameron 'embraces' it, to use the appropriate Newspeak term.

I treat Bruce Anderson's rantings with the same distain I normally feel everytime David Cameron opens his 6th form gob.

I treat Bruce Anderson's rantings with the same distain I normally feel everytime David Cameron opens his 6th form gob.

And with eloquently expressed opinions like that, Jarod, I really can't understand why the Independent haven't already offered you your own column. They must have higher standards, I guess.

I don't agree with every word that Anderson writes, but as far as I'm aware he's never sunk to the level of "6th form gob." For what it's worth, I seem to remember being able to put a more cogent argument than that when I was in the sixth form...

I don't know whether you've ever met Anderson, but he has an extremely loud and unpleasant 'gob', which lurches into action every time anybody disagrees with him.

I could tell you a very amusing story about 'The Brute' but will keep it to myself for the time being.

The man has a habit of latching onto whoever is leader for the time being of the Tory Party, praising them to the heavens as long as he thinks there's something in it for him, and then dropping them like a sack of over-ripe bananas when they get the big E.

Ghastly fellow.

After a very long run Margaret Thatcher finally lost her way. The Poll Tax was the fiasco that brought her down but for which the whole party has to take responsibility.

Major was lucky to win an election when he was still seen as a fresh face and standing on the soap box stunt in the hustings was the making of his re-election, especially when he got violently spattered by an egg in the face by a protester. People saw him as a humble character after the vainglorious Thatcher.

But Major became basically a prime minister with absolutely no legacy. I mean he did nothing that sticks in the mind. They say Black Wednesday wounded him fatally, but I think the point was he was rather like Bush senior, their administrations just seemed to become completely jaded and listless and were running on empty until they lost office to fresh and vibrant liberal democrats.

It's been rather like that with Cameron and Blair but the difference is that Blair is going anyway and there is going to be plenty of time for Cameron's "fresh face" to wear off.

Maggie had substance. So, whether we like it or not not, have Blair and Brown. Major had none and theire's little sign that Cameron has either.

But Major became basically a prime minister with absolutely no legacy.

He turned Polytechnics and CFEs into Universities and paved the way for tuition fees.......that is a legacy that will impoverish generations of people who once had sandwich courses and now much do full-time courses

As it happens I think Lady T a wonderful influence as far as defence and the economy were concerned but she neglected the egalitarian cancer at the heart of education. She also completely failed to head off the rise of so called "anti-racism", that Marxist conspiracy theory that holds all whites guilty of bigotry until proven innocent.

An excellent point from Simon Denis. This spread of Marxist Political Correctness was permitted to spread unchecked. I think Thatcher didn't understand it and thought it would be no more than a passsing phase.

We need to fight back against this anti-freedom evil - NOW!

Does anybody, even the most dyed-in-the-wool Cameroon, imagine that Cameron is the right man for that task.

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