Margaret Thatcher, her life and legacy

Baroness Margaret Hilda Thatcher was born the daughter of a Grantham grocer in 1925. Never has a politician so split the country like Mrs Thatcher and as such it will be rather a challenge to give a neural account of her life and career but then Thatcher always preferred people who had wrong opinions than those that didn’t argue at all.

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.” October 1980, Conservative Party conference

Baroness Thatcher is no doubt one of the foremost world figures of the 20th Century and obviously one of the great British Prime Ministers of at least the last 100 years regardless of whether you liked her or not. What is my basis for saying that? Well most people enter politics to help people or change things and there are few who have changed things more than Mrs T.

“No woman, in my time, will be prime minister or foreign secretary—not the top jobs, anyway, I wouldn’t want to be prime minister. You have to give yourself 100 percent to the job.” – Thatcher in 1969

Sir Winston Churchill always has it wrapped up in the race for the best Prime Minister ever but it is often said that Thatcher is the greatest peace-time PM. She has considerable competition from my own hero Liberal David Lloyd-George who was instrumental in the early years of the 20th Century of pushing through reforms including Social Insurance and leading the country through WW1. Labour PM Clement Atlee is another who famously oversaw the creation of the welfare state and institutions such as the NHS.

“I don’t mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say.”

Mrs Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister and first global leader in an era when in Britain and around the world, women were treated almost as second class citizens. Women still could not do simple things like arrange mortgages and she was berated and often despised for being a lowly provincial woman from people in her own Conservative Party who for some reason found it harder to come to terms with her than the opposing Labour Party members did.

Britain isn’t not prepared to stand down. We have ceased to be a nation in retreat.

When she became leader of the Conservative Party in the Mid-1970’s she had supplanted the old style of gentleman Prime Ministers. It was widely though that Britain was in a total terminal decline both internally and internationally. Broke financially, broken industrially and economically on a scale perhaps surpassing Russia after the Soviet Union. It was a spiral that no-one had been able to stem and indeed it was pretty well accepted by politicians of all sides that the country was pretty much history.

Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. Margaret Thatcher

She was never a gifted orator as so many British politicians and Prime Ministers are. She couldn’t inspire like Churchill and smooth talk like Blair but she had determination and a strong character. She pretty much forced her opinion on her government and the country. This could be seen in the satirical sketch show Spitting Imagewhen she took her Cabinet to a restaurant and decared to the waiter that she was going to have beef to eat and the waiter asked about the vegetables. Referring to her Cabinet ministers, she instructed that they will have the same as her.

The Falklands War not only saved Thatchers career but some would say inspired the final confrontation with Communism.

The Falklands War not only saved Thatchers career but some would say inspired the final confrontation with Communism.

Her first years in office gave little away of how she was going to transform the country. The real turning point was in 1982 when Argentina invaded and occupied The Fallkland Islands. Against all the odds she decided to prepare Military Task Force to sail 8,000 miles round the world, engage in WW2 style ship to ship combat and amphibious landing. It was something even the United States military stated was impossible. Achieving a complete and quick victory though at the cost of many lives she was able to win re-election on a wave of popular support.

Thatcher and Reagan

Leaders of the Free World

The Iron Lady had showed her mettle and quickly became close friends and partners with President Ronald Reagan in the USA. Together they formed an alliance which was finally to see off the Soviet Union, the Iron curtain and Communism, at least Russian style communism.

Margaret Thatcher

Thatcher opened negotiations with Soviet President Gorbachev and famously declared that he is a man we can do business with

Her no-nonsense style won Reagan’s admiration as did her lack of fear of speaking her mind to him and telling him how to do his job. There is famous anecdote of Thatcher calling Reagan whist he was having a meeting with his government heads and as she shouted down the phone telling him off, he put the phone handset in the air so everyone could hear and declared “Isn’t she wonderful”.

Her economic policies were similar to Reagan too but perhaps even more far-reaching. Thatcherism as it came to be known came to stand for denationalisation of state industries (privatisation)and economic liberalisation Only Defence was off-limits meaning the U.K. started on the path of total free market economics with industries in nations such as Germany and the USA that were protected, being open to foreign ownership and government closure.

She created a nation of small-time share owners and attracted support from a new wave of voters who traditionally would have voted for Labour. She created the right to buy scheme which gave the lower class tenants the right to purchase their state owned homes.

The Miners Strike

Almost like a civil war,the country was torn in two between the Miners and the Tory goverment.

However, Thatcher was nothing of not controversial. She was determined to destroy the Unions which led to the country being near paralysed by national coal strikes, steel strikes and strikes in many other areas. Her government decided the Britain could and should not compete in heavy industry with the growing Asian economies and so traditional industries such as ship building were wound down leading to large parts of the country having no viable employment and ruined communities which lingered for decades and in some cases have never recovered. Some would say that she ruined Britain, others would say she created the modern service economy that allowed the City of London to be the financial centre for the world. Perhaps both are true.

If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.

Her robust foreign attitude to Argentina and the Soviet Union was matched by her support for Israel and the refusal to apply economic sanctions to South Africa. Her defence of the Falkands led her to firmly believe that the British government would make no concessions to the IRA. One of her annual party conferences was targeted by the IRA with consequences though bad enough, were almost disastrous when a bomb exploded under a bed in the room below Thatcher who survived unscathed.

The Grand Hotel

The IRA bombing of The Grand Hotel in Brighton nearly destroyed the entire British government.

If anything, this understandably hardened her attitude and she even deployed the SAS to take out terrorist squads with great effect even if shoot to kill policies were controversal and so led to the loosening of television regulation and changes in television franchise licenses. It wasn’t the first time she brought in the SAS, she also deployed them to great effect in the Iranian Embassy hostage situation in London.

Thatcher simply changed every aspect of Britain and once again set it apart from her European neighbours. Despite this she fought for Europe and for European influence in the world. She wanted it to be competitive and it is largely down to her that the European Union is at all relative today when it is considered how protective the other nations were. Where she drew the line was when Europe wanted to interfere with national institutions.

In her later years as PM, things began to go downhill for Thatcher. Constant arguments with what is now the European Union, the disaster of the Poll Tax and the simple fact that she had alienated much of her political party after 11 years in power led to her being deposed by her own Conservative Party.

Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides. Mrs Thatcher

Her legacy lives on in the UK and world at large. Successive governments though often losing the harsher elements of Thatcherism continued many of her policies with the only later PM who followed her and comes close in comparison, Tony Blair, admitting that he admired her and learnt from her.

Countries around the world have copied her economic no-nonsense policies and she almost single-handedly restored the international reputation of Britain even if internally it took perhaps the 2012 Olympic Games before the people became once again proud of their country.

Margaret Thatcher suffered from ill-health for over 10 years and had already arranged with the government and Queen to have a Ceremonial funeral with military features as she did not wish to have a State Funeral.

News of her death has once again split Britain. Leaders of the three main parties have led tributes to her though in many British cities there has been celebrations that the Milk Snatcher is no longer with us.

My main view that I would like to add to this article is that we miss having a strong and principled leader of any ideology. Once she got something into her head, she stuck with it. No matter how unpopular with the media she would stick to her guns even with hugely unpopular policies such as not compromising when a succession of political prisoners went on hunger strike. She wouldn’t be swayed and was of the opinion if they want to martyr themselves, let them. By comparison there don’t seem to be any democratic leaders anywhere with backbone like that. Modern Presidents and Prime Ministers get panicked at the first sign of a bad headline. That is why she was often portrayed as a battle-axe, a Britannia and Bodiecea figure.

Mrs Thatcher as Britannia

Thatcher as the mythical goddess Britannia

International tributes to Baroness Thatcher were led by President Obama “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. She stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. She helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. As an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the cold war and extend freedom’s promise.”

In Moscow, the former president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, saluted Thatcher as “a great politician” who would “go down in our memory and in history”, while in Jerusalem the prime minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, said he was in mourning and described her as “a truly a great leader, a woman of principle, of determination, of conviction, of strength; a woman of greatness. She was a staunch friend of Israel and the Jewish people. She inspired a generation of political leaders. I send my most sincere condolences to her family and to the government and people of Great Britain.”

Ghana’s former president John Agyekum Kufuor said: “Thatcher was warlike, and uncompromising in her ways. I know that in her country some people admired her for that, but to many of us that wasn’t impressive. Her position on the ANC wasn’t acceptable. She proved to be too conservative. She didn’t seem to appreciate the rapidly changing world. She believed that there are only a few creators in this world, entrepreneurs and investors, and that you protect them – they are the people who will increase the wealth of the nation and create jobs for people. That is a philosophy I also subscribe to.”

In China, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the populist state-run tabloid Global Times, wrote: “People’s most striking memory is of her being tough. As a successful woman in politics, she was revered. As a politician, her experience and policies stirred feelings.The ‘Iron Lady’ era is over. Today is the era of co-operation.”

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, hailed Thatcher as “a true landmark in 20th-century history” and said it was “a sad day for Europe as a whole. Margaret Thatcher led the UK government at a key moment in history,” he said. “Her unerring commitment to freedom, democracy and the rule of law, as well as her firm determination to reform, constitute a most valuable legacy for European leaders who, akin to the 80s when it was her turn to be in power, have to face very complex challenges which require greatly ambitious stances and political courage.”

Margaret Thatcher 1925 -2013

Margaret Thatcher 1925 -2013


About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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60 Responses to Margaret Thatcher, her life and legacy

  1. kiwiskan says:

    A very timely and interesting article about a very strong woman.


  2. Chris says:

    She was a good egg, our Margaret. Quite canny too. Brought herself up by her bootstraps. It’s a shame what this latest generation of so called conservatives have devolved into. I think she would find their silly prattle just that, silly prattle!


    • I doubt there will ever be anyone like her in British politics again whether for good or bad. I think she would be more impressed by how far to the right the Labour party has swung rather than her successors in the Conservatives.


  3. Greg Ward says:

    Great article with good balance and insight. At a pivotal moment in the 20th century, the world had leaders that rose to the occasion in Thatcher, Reagan, Gorbachev and Pope John Paul II, all commanding and inspiring figures of strength. One can only hope a new generation of true leaders can arise to meet the 21st century challenges with the same resolve.


    • They were a strong bunch of leaders with great conviction and personal strength of will. The world was in a tough situation and they rose to the challenge even there were so big mistakes along the way with their national politics.


  4. Wyon says:

    I dont agree with most of the article or the comments! Thatcher destroyed the welfare state, sold off huge state assets – such as the railways which have been a mess ever since, and council houses – so homelessness is now on the rise. She also started an unnecessary war with Argentina (by being gung ho rather than diplomatic) prolongued and exacerbated the conflict in Northern Ireland, unnecessarily caused the irreversable closure of many coal mines (now regretted) and championed an attitude of no ‘U’ turns when surely flexibility in leadership is far more important than stiffly adhering to one policy (no matter how faulted). I think she got support because of her rudimentary posturing but thinking people found her intolerable for what she actually did. Sorry to speak ill of the dead but she was actually appallingly bad news for almost everyone except the very rich.


    • I knew when I wrote it that it would be a little controversial and it would have been a lot easier writing biased article. I don’t condone or condemn her, I just tried to be unbiased 🙂

      Whilst there is a lot to be said for politicians to be receptive to new ideas and challenges, to a degree all 21st century politicians have as was said of Norman Lamont I believe “intellectually drifted like the tide” and get too easily panicked.

      Thank-you for your comments though and good train of thought.


    • I have to say I agree with you very much Wyon, while understanding what Stephen was doing. In many ways would say your comments were also unbiased and quite truthful. But I do understand what Stephen says, that he was given an account about her life.


  5. Pingback: Margaret Thatcher, her life and legacy | lmrh5

  6. Thanks so much for your post. It was refreshing to read a more well-balanced article on Thatcher. It was disheartening to see the trending topics on twitter that rejoiced over her death. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin or Mao, yes. But is rejoicing over the death of someone whom you disagree with fair? Fair enough, like Wyon stated above, not all of her policies were successful and she is not well-liked by everyone. But a leader can’t possibly be well-liked by everyone; if they are then I think that says something negative as well. She was democratically elected and democratically booted out. I really liked your phrase: “Well most people enter politics to help people or change things and there are few who have changed things more than Mrs T”. I think historically, it’s rarer to find a leader that has never-ending approval.


    • Thanks for your comment. I thought it would be all too easy to write an opinionated piece and I wrote it before the news websites and newspapers were full of their reports too.

      I was 5 when Thatcher came to power and coming from a very poor Industrial part of England, was affected by her as much as many others but wouldn’t celebrate the death of anyone, especially as my own mother has just died.

      I agree, I think that unpopularity is a side effect of a politician doing their job well, regardless of whether you like them or not. The other aspect is the longevity that she was in power which at over 11 years is probably one of the longest democratically elected leaders.

      So she implemented her far reaching policies and alienated people during her long time in power. It seems natural that many people will hate her and many will love her.

      Too many politicians are too hung up on popularity and not doing what they think is actually right. No-one can say she had that problem despite winning 3 general elections.

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the post.


    • Ink Progress says:

      I think the overwhelming indignation on people delighting over Thatcher’s death was completely misplaced. I won’t express it all here because I wrote a long blog post about it here:

      But I also fail to see how someone changing the system in some way is an adequate response to questions on their merits as a politician. There is nothing valuable in having conviction in itself or changing things in itself. Without likening the two leaders as individuals but merely to replicate the same logic, you could just as easily say ‘Well at least Stalin had conviction, you know Pol Pot really changed things in Cambodia.’ Surely THAT is not the point.


  7. Vile woman, had so much potential to further womens status in society but didnt, she created a greedy and selfish society of me me me. Also no word on Pinochet? Anyone who supports dictators while they carry out mass human rights abuses and murders is not worthy of such praise, either here or in the media in general.
    I would rather be living in a more equal society than the mess she created.


    • It is true, she didn’t do much to advance the cause of women in society of in politics and she did do a lot to create the selfish me first society and its general over-commercialisation.

      Still there have been at least 5 governments since her and no–one of either party has reset the boundaries as they used to be. Blair could have done but blatantly failed in areas such as rail re-nationalisation. Each party has given in to business interests such as Sunday Trading, increased advertising slots on tv and those terrible loan companies.

      I do agree about Pinochet but every government since Thatcher has also been friends with a number of awful Islamic regimes and have done whatever they can to ingratiate themselves with China and Russia all in the name of business whilst forgetting human rights abuses and extra judicial killings.

      Having said that, I too would much prefer to live in a more equal society, where I wasn’t unemployed and where buying a tiny place to live anywhere in London will cost at least £200K.


  8. I thought this was an interesting post which I linked back to (not that it seems to be on here) when I wrote a different piece about her last night. She made a huge impact on British society, implementing some irreversible changes. Whether one agrees with her policies or not, as a prime minister she had some exceptional achievements. I’m not sure one can say the same of any who followed.


    • I agree entirely. Major just drifted from one disaster to the other. Blair had every opportunity and in terms of ability to change things he, had his chances but with one or two exceptions but with one or two exceptions didn’t fulfil his potential for change. Brown was about as effective as Major, few seem happy with Cameron or Miliband and it just seems for the next 5 or 7 years we will meander along without a rudder.

      I have my preferences but rather than meandering I would be happy if someone from either party took charge by the scruff of the neck.


  9. Peter says:

    Excellent balanced review. Having worked in the NHS during the thatcher years I saw the effects that had on the ethos of the organisations. For the first time cost was put above care and the health service would never be the same again (you can argue whether this was a good thing or not). Although I disagreed with many of her policies, I admired her for what she achieved. It wasn’t just she was a woman but a woman whose father was a grocer. You only have read the political diaries of the time to see that the traditional Tory governing elite never liked her and in the end they got her out – her fault she wasn’t one of them!


    • Many thanks Peter. I do agree. I am against the commercialisation of the NHS and the free-market policies which both parties have introduced rather than reversed.

      When you see how almost the entire cabinet and shadow cabinet went to private education and university, there are no more Margaret Thatchers or on the other side John Prescott’s.

      I think you’re right, she was disliked because she wasn’t a traditional Tory much in the way many were uncomfortable with Blair for not being in the mould of traditional Labour.


  10. Don’t even get me started… She was a major Eurosceptic and a racist, if you research a little deeper. Nothing “great” about this woman.


  11. wilsoi00 says:

    Thanks for the unbiased piece on Thatcher. If you love or hate her and there are plenty of people in both camps, it’s hard not to see that she was the last PM who had the balls so stand for what she believed in and not just do whatever could grab a hand full more votes from some minority group. Some of her policies were horrific but at the end of the day this country is worse for the loss of strong leaders like her who would have prevented the fall into the socialist anarchy we have today.


    • I’m glad you liked it. I agree, she is the last PM who didn’t base her policies over minority pressure groups.

      I can imagine if she were here today things like the Heathrow airport expansion would be sorted as a priority. One way or the other there would be a plan rather than just wasting another 10 years.


  12. Wyon says:

    I still think there is a major confusioin here. It seems that people find the fact that someone is a single minded leader who isnt de-railed by unpopularity more important than the actual policies they are advocating. It is akin to judging a pudding by its packaging without actually looking to see what the ingredients were. She was an arrogant, uncompromising, selfish, destructive, prejudiced and uncompassionate person who pressed forwards policies that were primarily only of benefit to herself and those in her elite group. The fact that she did this so single mindedlty is hardly the point or a virtue. Your peice isnt unbiased (only those in favour of her are arguing that) but short sighted in its perspective and missing the central issues. Moreover in the face of such unethical politics it is more important to call a spade a spade than to pitch for impariality. Impartiality isnt a virtue if it is so clearly wrong. You asked ardently for feedback – so I hope you will be big enough not to be offended and to publish this anyway.


    • As someone who wrote that she achieved what she wanted (apart from privatising the health service), I’d like to reply.

      It is, objectively, reasonable to say that someone achieved their aims while at the same time disagreeing with their policies.

      The analogy of pudding and packaging is appropriate, but I would argue that you could judge Thatcher on the substance of the pudding and these days there is no substance. Just packaging.

      To use negative personal language when judging a national and world leader, doesn’t help in analysis at all. Quite frankly I don’t think her policies, or rather most of them, were of any benefit to anyone with the exception of the poll tax for rich people in large houses, and the Falkland Islanders. Nor could you describe her as a member of an elite group, much as she may have wanted to be.

      I did think Stephen’s piece was relatively unbiased with the exception of commenting on the disastrous ruination of British industry. There is nothing wrong with writing an impersonal account. Mine wasn’t (on my own blog).

      Those of us who have written about her, have had different experiences, and we all write in different ways. History is made of many perspectives, including impartiality and spades.


      • Wyon says:

        I dont disagree with any of this. Of course it is important to allow the many perspectives (even if I continue to think those who celebrate her are just, well, wrong). The elite group she was in was those who own more than £1m (a great deal at the time). My point just remains around her style of leadership not being something worth praising or that exonerates her. Hitler of course was single minded in furthering only the people he identified with – not deterred by his unpopularity (in the world), not thrown off course, not prepared to make concessions, U turns etc etc.


    • I am not offended in anyway. I knew it would be controversial and I have no problems at all with anyone 100% condemning her policies. I did though only write the piece as a guide to life and legacy and not to say whether her policies were good or bad only that she was the most substantial political figure in my life-time. I seem to have have had both positive and negative feedback so from my point of view I do think I was neutral.

      There is no doubt that her policies took the heart of many communities, I am originally from Newcastle with a Dad who as a shipbuilder and family in mining villages in the Pennines so I know much of the downsides to her policies.

      It would be a major job to cover the impact of her policies in all the various areas and almost as hard to differentiate the decline in the 70’s to her policies in the early and mid 80’s.

      I do appreciate your comments and much prefer to have disagreements with people than for people not have an opinion either way. Thanks again for your comments!


  13. Very interesting article. I already agreed with a couple of comments, however, I fear some are only warming up! I find Thatcher an interesting case study for psychologists I must say. A few things stand out – her vendetta against ‘education’ and its representatives, which seems to have been about revenge, her very British and odd appeal as schoolboy ‘matron’ which she enjoyed, even once playfully making Christopher Hitchins bend over so she could spank him! And her famous speech in Edinburgh when she talked about “us” the English and “you” the Scots, setting the wheels of independence in motion. Scotland also remembers her for using them (us) as guinea pigs with a poll tax trial run a year earlier than in the rest of GB.
    I would never celebrate her death, but found her an unpleasant person. I do not, however, think it was her job at all to ‘do something for women’ and find that a limp attack. I mean in that respect she led by example, ans many other women with her drive would have done similar.
    What she did regarding pit closures was sadistic and pleasurable for her, and was ideological, not economic. She forced a parasitical culture on Britain, and as my French friends say, the one good thing about her was that she got rid of the barbaric Argentine junta through the Falklands – engineered for her re election of course. Her friendship with Pinochet was odious, considering his landmark that stains Santiago is the football stadium, built with the thousands of dead bodies of those that opposed him in the foundations – a known fact at the time. Thatcher was not suitable for a democratic society. For a developing country needing a dictator perhaps, but not a mature society. I thought the Chinese quote in your post was remarkable: now is the era of cooperation, not conflict.


    • Many thanks for your comments as always. Even in the last few days I have seen numerous references to Thatcher being a sex symbo, I can’t even imagine that!

      I agree that it wasn’t up to her to progress the cause of women. She led by example as indeed did Barbara Castle for Labour a few years earlier. Thatcher didn’t do her job on behalf of women but instead did it for herself/party/country as any man would. I did see an interesing piece on the news about she dressed in a much more feminine way that modern day female politicians and I have to say I agree.

      Yes I have often thought that Thatcher was very similar to one of the more successful military type dictators from the 80’s.

      It will be interesting if China will remember their quote with regards to its neighbours and their territorial waters!


  14. Margaret Thatcher was a contemptible politician who drove a wedge deep into British society, she destroyed the engineering heritage and the manufacturing economy that was based on hard work and sweat and replaced it with a service sector economy based on lies and greed. By dismantling British society and privatising key services that should never be run for profit she established the Tory political dogma based on self interest and avarice that is still with us even today.
    Next week, at the same time as hundreds of thousands of UK citizens are feeling the pinch of austerity, the Conservatives have the nerve to spend tax-payers money on a self indulgent Tory funeral.


    • Contemptible is relative. However apart from that, I agree with you (this is getting to be a boring habit).

      The wedge was always there though…

      You forgot to say she changed the voting patterns for life by flogging off cheap council housing. Her total intention, to me, was to change votes. And it worked – hence she was successful. But she wouldn’t have been, had people not been greedy. Shall we go down the road of cheap air fares? Damage to the environment? Self first?

      Everyone takes what they can. She milked it (!!) for that and well. Are you feeling the pinch of austerity? Back from your hol in Madrid? Playing golf?

      If Thatcher decimated British industry (yes) – what has anyone else done to repair the damage?

      The Conservatives (I’ve obviously lost something yet again as I thought it was a coalition government) are commemorating the first British woman prime minister (probably the only one for years to come given todays’ sexist society) and the fact that she defended the Falklands.

      @ Stephen, sorry, as A didn’t write this one on my blog I’m replying on here.


      • Sorry to largely agree with you again 🙂 Yes her policies were designed to create a groundswell of support in much the same way as Labour could be accused of doing so my increasing immigration of poorer families into the country. They both did what they wanted with no real long term consideration given to the country beyond the next election or two.

        I was too young to directly buy into most policies though I must say I totally resisted the carpet bagging in the 90’s of people opening building society accounts just to have them converted into banks for a free few hundred pounds.

        Again you are right that no-one has done anything to reverse any of her policies and in fact in many areas both parties have gone on to do more far reaching reforms. Tony Blair in particularly had the power and popular mandate as well as the cash in the bank to reverse many policies but he chose not to do so.

        Other countries have ploughed their cash into reversing unpopular or unsuccessful policies. Many such as Russia continue to support industries much less economically and socially important than our own coal, steel and shipbuilding. If the political will was there, even now Labour could re-open the coal mines or steel mills. Some tin mines in Cornwall are re-opening after decades of closure with private finance so coal mines could be re-opened by the state if the will was there.

        If Thatcher ruined the country then we have been let down my successive governments by not reversing the policies.

        Where are the parties now campaigning to remove the market from the NHS, build more council housing, tighten up financial regulations, re-nationalising trains and removing the free-market for local buses? Tightening up the advertising standards and ad time on television, removing sunday trading, gambling laws, etc etc etc. Who is advocating buying back national assets such as water, electric? Which government was it the allowed Cadburys to be bought by a foreign organisation with a loan from a state owned, debt ridden bank?

        None of these policies are irreversible if the will is truly there as in revolutionary nations but when it comes down it, no party has bother. The present government will not take back Cadburys,,a future labour government is not going to reverse the closure of MG and transfer of ownership to a nominally communist and nominally unfriendly but a definitely huge rival in China.


    • It is hard not to agree that the seeds ot the current banking crisis in these last few years which have brought so much misery all have their foundations in the de-regulations of the 1980’s.


  15. eof737 says:

    Maggie, The Iron Lady, Mrs. Thatcher was one of a kind. She was a remarkable woman even though I didn’t care much for some of her political positions. She championed Britain at a time it needed the boost and tackled her opponents head on. She made sweeping immigration changes that still rattle many and her fearlessness was epic. May she Rest In Peace.


  16. wanderlust says:

    a woman i’ve admired from afar and for a long time! great article!!


  17. barangapa says:

    She was a strong leader and knew what she wanted and what was needed to get there. I admire her for her tenacity and strength in staying the course. Whether the course is right is debatable and most of the debates now are from hindsight where vision is usually 20/20. Isn’t it always when it is hindsight? But when one has to make a decision of national implications and even international, with no precedent to fall back on or refer to in those days, it’s a different story. I am not from the UK and in her passing, I find myself learning from the way she lived her life and especially how she led her country — whether rightly or wrongly will be debated for years more to come — but she was not afraid to lead. She did what she believed was right for her country and she stuck by her principles. She had backbone. May she rest in peace.


  18. Stephen: Wanted to thank you for dropping by my website. Also wanted to add, we (my husband and myself) loved Margaret Thatcher. We loved to hear her in session, she always got the attendants moved. She was a tough lady, and I don’t think there will be another like her.


  19. elfknitter says:

    A well written article and I agree, while she may have made mistakes, at least she ‘had backbone’ which we seem to be sadly missing today! Thanks. And thanks for dropping by my blog.


  20. wonkywizard says:

    Excellent piece of writing. She is as controversial or popular,both alive and dead. It is interesting to listen to the interviews between the Iron Lady and the Iron Man, Teng. She is fast to read China’s emerging market economy, and able to adjust fast in her dealing with China, which is not the same as Argentina then. Unfortunately, family lives have to sacrifice for politics. I suppose difficult to strike a good balance between public and private lives.


  21. Starfires says:

    Really excellent write-up and I think a lot more balanced than the polarized pieces we have been seeing in the media. They may appeal more to their adherents, but ultimately here we are dealing with history, it is more interesting to be fair and as unbiased as possible.

    She was a great leader and one who made both great advances and terrible mistakes. I personally don’t miss what was essentially an autocratic style. The winners and losers were too extremely posited and it had as much to do with their luck to be born where they were as their skill. Yet she did a lot of good in the world by engaging Russia and China into reforming and by being a partner for America, making them less isolated from the world’s problems. Perhaps only such a strong-willed person could inspire the respect to do this.

    In a nutshell I think she was a revolutionary of the market economy. The consumerism and freedom we take for granted now is thanks to the painful changes that took place in the ’80s. Still, she handled it far too brutally. The UK suffered a lot compared to other countries with gentler leaders who ‘managed’ the decline of Industrial life and the rise of the markets.

    Just going to the US, France, Germany or Japan can show how comparatively well-governed they have been and the quality of social services is generally a lot higher, the moral of government workers better and as people feel looked after, they look after their environment. We need leaders who can listen well, not just talk well. I hope current and future leaders can learn both from her successes, such as opening up the City and her mistakes, like forgetting the need for compassion and charity.


  22. nccmrm97 says:

    At the top of the post you have that she was born in 1925. On her pic at the bottom, you have 1935. Since I am American, and don’t follow politics (or news in general) much, I think this is the first I’ve learned of her death. Whatever the opinions of her, I thought this was an interesting article to read to learn a bit more about her.


  23. Emmy says:

    I learnt something need today 🙂 She’s a very inspiring woman. I’m sure they will make a movie based on her. Thank you for sharing that 🙂


  24. NOAEfame says:

    thank you for stopping by. You have a well written, and very thoughtful article. A job well done.


  25. Your post was timely and insightful and I enjoyed the quotes. As a member of ‘the Empire’ in the far East, and a baby boomer, I remember Mrs Thatcher well. For a woman to have served the nation in this way and at that time, she deserves our admiration and respect.


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