Margaret Thatcher passed away peacefully on Monday, April 8, 2013, at age 87. Baroness Thatcher was Great Britain’s first and only female prime minister. She will be honor with a full ceremonial funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Prime Minister David Cameron called the Baroness “a great prime minister, a great leader, a great Briton” and added, “As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country, and I believe she’ll go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister.
“Her legacy will be the fact she served her country so well, she saved our country and that she showed immense courage in doing so and people will be learning about what she did and her achievements in decades, probably centuries to come.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair called Mrs. Thatcher a “towering political figure” who had great influence over Britain and the world. “Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country but of the world. Margaret was such a leader. Her global impact was vast.” He added, “As a person she was kind and generous spirited and was always immensely supportive to me as Prime Minister although we came from opposite sides of politics.
“Even if you disagreed with her as I did on certain issues and occasionally strongly, you could not disrespect her character or her contribution to Britain’s national life. She will be sadly missed.”
Mrs. Thatcher was “loved andloathed in equal measure,” she led the Tories to three election victories as she “crushed the unions” and brought “vast swathes of British industry” into private hands.
Mrs. Thatcher was particularly angry when she heard her beloved Britain referred to as the “sick old man of Europe.” She was determined that her nation would not die, and she rejuvenated Britain by dismantling “Britain’s cradle-to-grave welfare state, selling off scores of massive state-owned industries, crushing the power of organized labor and cutting government spending with the purpose of liberating the nation from what she called a `culture of dependency.’”
In 1976 a Russian journalist called Mrs. Thatcher the “Iron Lady” because of her strong opposition to Soviet communism in which she stood shoulder to shoulder with President Ronald Reagan. The name stuck and became the title of the 2011 biopic in which Meryl Streep played the Iron Lady and won an Oscar for the role. Her toughness was especially apparent when she sent a taskforce to the Falklands on April 2, 1982, after Argentina invaded the islands.
The Iron Lady not only brought back “Victorian values that made Britain great,” but she also “modernized British politics, deploying ad agencies and large sums of money to advance her party’s standing.” She was “credited with converting a spent Conservative Party from an old boys club into an electoral powerhouse identified with middle-class strivers, investors and entrepreneurs. No one denied her political genius.” In fact, “future Prime Minister Tony Blair eventually copied her methods to remake the rival Labor Party.”
President Ronald Reagan described some of the change that Mrs. Thatcher made in Great Britain and then said, “Margaret Thatcher changed all that. She demonstrated two great qualities. The first was that she had thought seriously about how to revive the British economy and entered office with a clear set of policies to do so. She brought down inflation by controlling the money supply, and she began removing the controls, subsidies, and regulations that kept business lazy. Her second great quality was the true grit of a true Brit (or perhaps I should say, of a true-blue Brit). We both realized that our policies wouldn’t solve such deep-rooted problems overnight. The first effects, in the world recession of 1981-82, were painful. I remember meeting her in Washington at a time when people in both our countries were calling for a change of course. She never wavered. And she was proved right by events. Britain today is enjoying an unprecedented economic recovery – one as long as our own. British businesses, woken from the long sleep of socialism, are our feisty competitors in world markets. And, finally, Margaret Thatcher has begun to dismantle the undergirding of socialism itself by privatizing large nationalized industries like steel and airlines. Just as I would claim modestly that our tax cuts of 1981 have stimulated a wave of tax cutting around the world, so Margaret Thatcher’s privatization program has been imitated as far afield as Turkey and New Zealand. We could do with a little more of it in the United States.”
Ed Feulner, former president of The Heritage Foundation, stated: “Great Britain and the world have lost a great leader. The Heritage Foundation, like all of America, has lost a faithful ally. And, speaking personally, my wife and I have lost a dear friend.
“Lady Thatcher now takes her place in history alongside Sir Winston Churchill, the Duke of Wellington and all the other great British heroes who defeated enemies of their island nation. An intrepid warrior for freedom and human dignity, Prime Minister Thatcher stood with her `noble friend,’ President Ronald Reagan, to confront the Soviet empire when it was at its peak. Her courage and steadfastness earned the respect of her fiercest foes. It was, after all, the Russians who dubbed her the Iron Lady.”
Like her political soul mate President Ronald Reagan, Lady Thatcher came to power at a time when her nation needed real leadership and bold ideas. The Heritage Foundation produced the following video about Lady Thatcher entitled, “The Real Legacy of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Iron Lady.”
Prime Minister Thatcher is credited with the following quotes. I believe these quotes, along with many others, show her conservative and common sense principles. I agree that our nation has lost a great friend and Britain and the world have lost a great leader.
“My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.”