Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Iron Lady

Not For Turning

The tributes are flowing for Margaret Thatcher.  British Prime Minister, David Cameron said that she would be remembered as Britain's greatest peace time Prime Minister.  Maybe.  Possibly the greatest of the twentieth century.  The Daily Mail cites the former Prime Minister, John Major:
Former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major described Baroness Thatcher as a 'true force of nature' and a 'political phenomenon'.  He said: 'In government, the UK was turned around under - and in large measure because of - her leadership.  'Her reforms of the economy, trades union law, and her recovery of the Falkland Islands elevated her above normal politics, and may not have been achieved under any other leader.  'Her outstanding characteristics will always be remembered by those who worked closely with her: courage and determination in politics, and humanity and generosity of spirit in private.'
Thatcher was an Establishment outsider, which meant that she owned few favours, had made few compromises on her way to the top.
  She was unencumbered and free to do what she wanted in reforming Great Britain.  Secondly, she had a solid heart-felt commitment to conservative ideology.  She really did believe in small government, in lower taxes, in private property and private enterprise.  She also passionately opposed Communism. 

We always enjoyed the way she was hated by "feminists"--those who arrogantly thought they understood and represented what women actually think and achieve.  We well remember overhearing a conversation between two of the "sisters" in a university bookshop celebrating the ascension of a woman to the highest political office in the UK.  How exciting.  A new age was dawning.  But then the conversation turned darker.  How could this woman be in favour of nuclear weapons?  Inexplicable.  That's not what women believed.  She was being traitorous to her sex--and so forth.  It was an amusing conservation upon which to eavesdrop.  Thatcher shattered feminist stereotypes: it was uproarious to watch the sisterhood progressively come to view her as a traitor.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, they say.  Britain was pretty much on its knees economically.  The Conservative party was so wedded to Fabian socialism that it was powerless to deal with the problems. Not Thatcher.  She, being outside the Establishment, had views and convictions that meant she would chart a different, better course.  Moreover, the strength of her convictions and personality meant that she was not for turning.  Remarkable in many ways. 

There have been none in the Conservative party to fill her shoes and walk in them.   In that sense she was truly a phenomenon.


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