American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"The Iron Lady" (2011)


PM Margaret Thatcher Discusses Taxation with Cabinet Ministers


Foreign Secretary Pym: The point is, Prime Minister, I don't think we can sell the idea of a tax that asks everyone to pay the same.

PM Thatcher:  Our policies may be unpopular, but they are the right policies.

Cabinet Minister #1: Prime Minister, I just don't think we can ask the poorest of the poor to pay the same amount of tax as a multi-millionaire.

PM Thatcher:  There you go again. Why not?

Cabinet Minister #1: Because --

Cabinet Minister #2: Because people on the whole think that the tax is manifestly unfair.

PM Thatcher: Nonsense. Arrant nonsense. This is a simple proposition: If you live in this country, you must pay for the privilege. Something. Anything. If you pay nothing, you care nothing. What do you care where you throw your rubbish? Your council estate is a mess, your town, graffiti, what do you care? It's not your problem. Somebody else's problem. It's -- It's the government's problem.

Your problem, some of you, is that you haven't got the courage for this fight. No, you haven't had to fight hard for anything. It's all been given to you, and you feel guilty about it.

Well, may I say, on behalf of those who have had to fight their way up and who don't feel guilty about it, we resent those slackers who take, take, take -- and contribute nothing to the community.

And I see the same thing, the same cowardice in our fight within the European Union -- cowardice for the sovereignty of...Britain, the integrity of the pound. Some of you want to make concessions. Some of you want to make concessions. I hear, some of you agree with the latest French proposals. Well, why don't you get on a boat to Calais. Hmm? Why don't you put on a beret and pay 85% of your income to the French government!

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.