Monday morning brought the sad news that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died at the age of 87 years old. She suffered from a series of strokes in her later years.
Hers was a full and memorable life. Many have written about her and she has been the subject of books and movies. It is said that she was either loved or hated. I loved her. As a conservative woman, she was a never ceasing inspiration. As a political junkie, she was one to look to on how to maneuver in the world of politics.
She was the Iron Lady.
She was on a mission to save her country with conservative principles and admit it or not, her country is in her debt.
She was from the start an outsider, not just a woman in a nation whose leadership was dominated by men, but the daughter of a grocer. She made her way to the top by sheer energy and talent, studying at Oxford and then rising to the top of Britain’s Conservative party by 1975, when she was 50. She said a couple of years before that that “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minster in my lifetime.” She proved herself wrong.She was prime minister from 1979 to 1990, and at first she alienated almost everybody. As she cut spending and entitlements, employment rose above three million, and by 1981 her approval rating sank to 25%. Her response: “To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catch phrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to . . . the lady’s not for turning.”
Prime Minister Thatcher did, in fact, save Great Britain through economic policy.
The Iron Lady reversed decades of statist policies that had turned Britain into the sick man of Europe. And in the process, Thatcherism provided inspiration for the burgeoning free-market revolution in America, as well. She privatized. She cut taxes. She busted unions. As economist Scott Sumner has noted, “Britain had lagged other European economies for decades, growing far more slowly than most economies on the continent. Thatcher’s reforms were among the most comprehensive in the world.”Here's a chart showing the results. Great Britain is shown with the blue line, France with the red:
One of my favorite Thatcher quotes, though I have many, is: "I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph." Me, too. Happy warrior. She was a happy warrior.
It has been said that Thatcher was more than worthy of a Noble Peace Prize, unlike our own current President, I might add: