Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He has served five years in Britain’s House of Commons, fourteen years in the House of Lords, and two in Her Majesty’s prisons, which spawned three volumes of highly acclaimedPrison Diaries. All of his novels and short story collections---including Kane and Abel, Sons of Fortune, and False Impression---have been international bestsellers. Archer is married with two children and lives in London and Cambridge.
Question: What will be the legacy of Margaret Thatcher?
Jeffrey Archer: That could take an hour on its own, but certainly she has many achievements. One of the greatest was that she certainly made being an entrepreneur, being a businessman, being an achiever, not something you look down on.
Some people did, the snubs at the top and those who where envious at the bottom, frowned on this. She made that acceptable.
She also had individual achievements, like the Falklands, and like the selling of council houses, and like the stability of finance, and like the alluring of taxes; one could go on and on.
The other legacy will be, of course, that she was the first women Prime Minister of Great Britain and obviously the first women is stayed at more catholic than any other normal Prime Minister. She will get down in history as one of the great Prime ministers.
Question: How did Thatcher shape relations with the U.S.?
Jeffrey Archer: I believe her relationship with President Ronald Reagan was very close. In fact, I witnessed it on two occasions. There was no doubt she held him in high regard. I could see very clearly that he held her in a high regard. That makes for mutual goodwill for both countries.
The British have always had a soft spot for the Americans. And I like to believe it is true the other way around.
Those two where clearly keen to keep that relationship strong. One of the loveliest things, one saw anecdotally from the sidelines, was that what a gentleman Ronald Reagan was. Of course she was the Prime minister of our country and a very tough Prime Minister, but Reagan some how managed to treat her like a lady at all times, and show what a complete gentleman he was, and it added to the friendship/relationship, in my judgment.
Question: How has the British public’s views of Thatcher developed over time?
Jeffrey Archer: Well, very different ten years ago, fifteen years ago, twenty years ago.
When she resigned the nation was divided between those who were worshippers and followers and supporters, and those who felt she was the most awful woman. But as each year goes by, and she grows older and older, the affection is going very strong indeed, and I would say she is a great national treasure now; and that grows almost with everyday.
Recorded on: March 15, 2008.