On productiveness and the charitable instinct:“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well.” On the hostile press: “If my critics saw me walking over the Thames they would say it was because I couldn’t swim.”
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Thatcher’s basic take on a tight European federation was that it was
unnecessary, unworkable, and dangerous. The nation state, she insisted,
should remain at the heart of the international system, and a federated
Europe would threaten its sway.
Moreover, Thatcher had misgivings about the Continent as a source of moral inspiration. “During my lifetime,” she reminisced, “most of the problems the world has faced have come, in one form or another, from mainland Europe, and the solutions — from outside it.”
That insight alone is priceless, but it still pales compared with what she wrote more than a decade ago, when the euro was still a toddler, and the economies of Greece, Spain and Cyprus seemed as distant from calamity as they now are from salvation. “The European single currency,” wrote Thatcher in 2002, “is bound to fail — economically, politically, and indeed socially.”
Thatcher’s reasoning for this was not ideological. It was monetarist. There can be no such thing as a united currency without a united budget, she argued, at a time when it was impolite to suggest that the euro’s newlyweds would soon accuse each other of theft, deceit, laziness, imperialism and oppression.