Love her or loathe her, Maggie was probably the right person for her time.

Margaret-Thatcher__2530139bMargaret Thatcher is dead at the age of 87.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

It reminds me of when I lived in England in 1980-81. I recall my wife of the day and I having a discussion about her and her philosophy, style of politics, etc.

“If there was an election while we lived here, whom would you vote for?” she asked. You see, as Commonwealth citizens we would have been entitled to vote in a UK election since we were resident there. As it was, there was no election, so I didn’t have to make a decision.

But, as I told her at the time, I would have probably wanted to see Mrs. Thatcher returned to office. I based that feeling ‘not’ on the fact that Mrs. T. was a likeable and charming figure. I found her to be neither of those things.

Indeed I found Maggie cold, arrogant, unfeeling, snobbish (in full-bore denial about her lower middle-class provenance as the daughter of a Lincolnshire grocer), imperious, steadfastly refusing to be seen as ever being wrong, and especially ruthless.

Unfortunately with those traits she was, in my esteem, arguably the most effective and successful prime minister after Churchill in the postwar years. In fact, she was much more successful and effective than postwar Churchill.

And Britain was a mess when we arrived there. Strike-ridden and in a state of economic calamity. Maggie didn’t end all of the mess but it’s fair to say that by the end of her tenure the country was pretty buoyant and no longer resembled the shambles it had been.

That she was tough and ruthless goes without saying. Her firm resolve with the miners union was unprecedented by earlier PMs of both Tory and Labour mien. And they hated her for it, but she sincerely believed it had to be done.

She suffered a lot of international opprobrium over her ruthless and militaristic stance on the Falklands matter and she was prepared to go to war with Argentina and did so and was successful in wresting those rocks in the south Atlantic from an invasion force. And it’s probably not unfair to suggest British national pride soared in a manner unseen since the Battle of Britain. Under Maggie, the UK still ‘had it’, people believed.

At one point she nearly paid the ultimate price for being as hard-nosed as she could be. A huge bomb was detonated at the Grand Hotel in the seaside resort town of Brighton on Oct. 12, 1984. The Tory faithful were meeting for a conference there and an IRA bomb was detonated that killed five members gathered for the conference. Mrs. Thatcher just barely escaped.

The IRA hated her (well, they hated everyone who wasn’t one of them) because she was equally ruthless in dealing with their brand of terrorism and assuredly their presence was always there when we lived there and it was during our year that hunger-striker and IRA Provo Bobby Sands starved himself to death.

But, Mrs. T. refused to waver on literally anything she faced.

And, it is probably fair to say that she accomplished that by being a not ‘nice’ person.

She will likely be mourned. Not for her charm, but certainly for her resolve and accomplishment.

May she rest in peace and would be advised to not refer to God as being too ‘wet’.

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6 responses to “Love her or loathe her, Maggie was probably the right person for her time.

  1. Mrs. T. certainly left her mark and her legacy will never be forgotten. She really believed that Britain was a great nation, and she did what she thought was best, no matter what anyone else thought of her. She was strong and powerful, not charming or agreeable. Britain needed her strength; it still does. It will be a long time until we see someone with the kind of balls Maggie had. I didn’t agree with a lot of her decisions, but there are so many things I admired about her.

    Nice bit of writing, Ian. Keep it up.

  2. Yes, she had balls; I was in agreement with going to war with Argentina but would have been happier had she had the balls to do the right things on the home front.
    Look at today’s economic disasters and look back to the Big Bang in the City of London…Thatcher’s child.
    But that’s her political legacy.
    Who could not feel for the elderly lady whose bereavement was new every day thanks to dementia.

  3. I just found out on Dumdad’s blog. How totally out of touch do I have to be to not have heard this?

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