We have lost our national treasure, Margaret Thatcher. There have only been two Prime Ministers that have had such a profound effect on the United Kingdom since The War. Churchill and Thatcher. Who would have ever known that the grocer’s daughter would reach such an exulted status in the Nations heart? She was as regal and stately as the Queen herself and we came close to having both a Prime Minister and Monarch in one. Unlike other Presidents/ Prime Ministers who inherit the good times and gain credit as a result (Regan/Clinton/Blair) in 1979 she inherited an over manned thoroughly worn out political and economic system that needed root and branch reform and who would have ever thought that this relatively diminutive woman would have more ‘balls’ than any man previously or since then?
The Falklands War was a classic example of her resolve. Parliament were full of sooth- sayers recommending appeasement and negotiation and with that classic bull dog fighting spirit she led us to victory with the few military resources we had at the time against all odds and miles away. Subsequent dictators should have taken note of this resolve as she set world standards for the elimination of despots such as Gaddafi, Milosevic and Saddam Hussein.
She could see the writing on the wall with the emergence of the European colossus and her steely will encapsulated in the one word she needed to know, ‘non’, gave us the vital rebate that we so needed and, subsequently, most un-usefully negotiated away by Mr Blair.
The miners were holding the UK to ransom, unlike her predecessors she was not going to be intimidated by Arthur Scargill and his cohorts and lured them into a trap that was their death knell. She modernised Britain and set it free. She taught people to look after themselves and be less dependent on the State (where they were able). She made people proud property owners by the sales of council houses and taught the world about de-nationalising State owned industries, generally, for the good of the Nation.
Since we are a great property owning nation, where our GNP is dependent on the sector, we can thank her for all the reforms on credit and abolition of exchange controls that enabled the property sector, across the whole of the UK, to thrive.
Her valiant attempts to keep down inflation would have been so much more effective in the internet world and following the explosion of supply that were the main factors associated with the abolition of the Soviet Union, the rise of the former Satellite States and China’s work shop.
Her tax reforms were novel and broke the back of the socialist driven tax levels by dramatically reducing the direct taxation rate and raised a fortune more for the Exchequer (the present socialist on-lookers take note. Read Arthur Laffer’s views on this).
She walked boldly where others feared to tread and put the ‘Great’ back into Britain. Her liaison with Regan bolstered his power and together with Gorbachev changed the world forever.
When my nephew took ill she responded to me within days and I was proud to invite her to my house for dinner a number of years ago. At a celebratory evening of my company Glentree International a few years ago where President Gorbachev was guest of honour she was invited to the glittering function but sadly was not able to attend.
Regardless of ones political persuasion we will all miss her terribly but at least she can now rest in peace with her beloved Denis.