The Thatcher Wonder Years
Mrs Thatcher was the Prime Minister of my girl and young womanhood - the wonder years of 15 to 27. Though I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, she played a part in those important formative years that I can now reflect upon….in wonder.
Mrs Thatcher never suffered fools gladly which included the grandees in her cabinet, trade unions and, even to her discredit, some sections of the electorate. She was the Boadicea of politics and she broke the unions and privatised anything that smacked of an old boys network!
I’m a woman in that ilk too but much less vociferous and forthright as she. If only I’d taken a leaf out of her book and applied some of this non-sufferance to my own life where I was surrounded by a mish-mash of “ne’er do wells” who thought they could push me around.
She had a healthy appetite for a fight and was fiercely determined. Her famous line: “you turn if you want to….that lady’s not for turning”….will go down in history and it’s a motto that every woman should adopt.
|Frankly my dear...I don't give a damn!|
he was passionate and patriotic. In 1982 when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic war was declared. The islands were successfully defended despite significant loss of life that Mrs Thatcher is reported to have shed private tears over.
It was surely this resilience that helped her survive an IRA bomb attack at the Conservative party’s annual conference in 1984. She emerged from the rubble and debris with barely a hair out of place and she vowed that the “enemies of democracy would be defeated”. Her words were prophectic as the Peace Process for Northern Ireland was put into place and succeeded long after she left office.
In her private life, Mrs Thatcher was fortunate in meeting and marrying a solid man who was content to play second fiddle to her ambitions. Her husband Denis, she described as “the golden thread running through her life” and indeed a supportive partner is worth their weight in gold! Would that I were as lucky as Mrs T!!
|Crocodile teeth not tears!|
Her critics saw her as losing touch and her major catastrophe was the ill thought out Poll Tax which lead to rioting on the streets of London. It was later abolished but Mrs Thatcher was demonised and ousted from the party. The humble grocer’s daughter’s position in a government, made of up of crusty, old school men, became untenable and they plotted against her. Had she appointed more women to her cabinet I wonder if she would have survived?
In 1991, she was replaced by the fifty shades of insipid grey - John Major – who lasted only one term and had an affair with the only female in the cabinet. A very poor show and the Conservatives, who had won thrice with Mrs Thatcher at the helm, now conceded defeat to the opposition.
My politics are neither left or right. In my view, Mrs Thatcher was an upwardly mobile, free market enterprising and independent thinking kind of gal….and so am I. Her strength of character is something I’ll remember and I’d like to think that a little bit of her has rubbed off on me.