Remembering what Margaret Thatcher did for the UK

Former member of Parliament John Browne speaks out


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 8, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, talk about tragic timing, news today that Maggie Thatcher is dead, as the Europe she loved and the U.S. she admired remain marred in this political gridlock.

The former British prime minister being remembered today as a woman whose backbone and warnings of a growing nanny state seem kind of out of step with, I don't know, today.


MARGARET THATCHER, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What the honorable member is saying is that he will rather the poor were poorer, provided the rich were less rich. That way, you will never create the wealth for better social status...


THATCHER: And what a policy. Yes, you would rather have the poor poorer, provided the richer were less rich. That is the Liberal policy.


CAVUTO: Former U.K. Parliament member John Browne knew her well, joins me now.

And a weird juxtaposition today. Right? You think of everything that is going on right now and, John, I dare say, it's sort of like the flip of then.


I was listening to your conversation with the last contributor, and I think that things will go on in the present downhill way unless two things -- either of two things occur. One is we get leadership like we had under Margaret Thatcher and President Reagan, with people who believed in fundamental principles, particularly the principle of freedom, where they didn't just talk like most other politicians, they actually walked the walk and delivered.

And the other alternative is when the bond markets refuse to buy your debt, as happened in Europe, and forced these governments and politicians to actually act. And the same thing will happen in Europe and the United States if we still continue on the present downward path.

CAVUTO: But, John, if you think about it, that's what she was warning about, right, about this growing state, and in the face of that and not in the best environment, she led these very, very big cuts. Some would call them austerity on steroids today at a least ideal time.

But she -- I think her line was, when is a good time to cut? You tell me. But she bore with that and stuck with that and dealt with for a while single-digit poll numbers doing that with a staff abandoning her, her key aides questioning her. She stuck by it. We see too many European leaders today who are backing away from the tough medicine any time they can.

BROWNE: Absolutely, Neil. You hit on the head.

I mean, she and, like her, President Reagan, they had one thing, they had courage, enormous courage. They had conviction on their courage to follow it through. And that meant self-sacrifice. And of course, in the end, her lieutenants in her own party stabbed her to death in a sea of blood knee- deep, because they couldn't take the heat. They didn't have the courage that she had.

And she said it like it was, did it, delivered, and people in the end began to respect her enormously. And she achieved things which seemed to be impossible. I mean, Britain in 1979 was giggling its way into the ocean. She lifted it up, lifted stocks up and together with President Reagan gave us the great strategic piece that we enjoy today. I mean, it was a fantastic achievement.

CAVUTO: But, John, you were talking about...


BROWNE: And two people of like mind.

CAVUTO: I'm sorry, my friend, but you talked about sacrifice and conveying that image that you mean what you say, and you say what you mean. But out of Europe today, austerity to them is more about hiking taxes than it is about any real cutting, and I'm wondering if we're getting the wrong impression of austerity. There's not a lot of cutting going on. There is a lot of taxing going on.

BROWNE: Well, yes, but taxing is a sort of backhanded cut.

And you have got two things going on in Europe. You have got the general Europeans who want to be more like the Anglo-Americans and just inflate and produce more printed money. And then you have got the Germans, who want -- the medicine is austerity.

And it's a question of who wins within Europe. I personally believe that Germany will win in the end and Europe will go through a great period of very painful austerity, but will come out better and stronger in the long run. And believe it or not, I would be short the yen and long the euro, which sounds extraordinary today.


BROWNE: Because I think that's going to be the answer. And the thing is that, if you don't go that route, you have to have leaders and leaders are rare.

And here we have President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who were leaders, who were convinced, who had the courage to overcome this and to inspire people. If you don't get that, ordinary politicians will never take these acts until they're forced to by the bond market.


CAVUTO: All right.

BROWNE: It's the bond market when they can't sell their debt anymore that forces them in the end, just as it's forced countries -- Portugal today cut back on its social security and its benefits.


CAVUTO: Well, we will see -- we will see if they follow up on that.

But, John Browne, always good chatting with you, my friend.

BROWNE: Thank you very much.

CAVUTO: I know you're not really British. You're from Brooklyn. But it works every time we have you on.


CAVUTO: John, I'm only joking, of course.

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