Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Thatcher Wonder Years

Margaret Thatcher in death as much as life creates controversy. When you’re made of iron you just can’t help it. Influential people – living or dead -  evoke a wide range of strong emotions in people and Mrs T is no exception.

 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!
I believe I became a home owner because of the PM in situ, Mrs T positively encouraged it. She wanted  people on even the lowest rung of the social ladder, as long as they were gainfully employed, to become home owners.

 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.

Mrs Thatcher was a force of nature with a unique synergy that found her poring over documents late into the night and rising early to face her day in Parliament.  Her enemies accused her of being ruthless. When does not a woman not have to be to get ahead of the game?

 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!
Mrs Thatcher never considered herself a feminist but she was feminine. She never wore trousers and was careful with her appearance always appearing the well groomed professional rarely without a good handbag and delicate jewellery. She was thoughtful and kind to her staff. At Christmas she would choose and (sometimes wrap) fine china pieces for each of them. Her only failure in my eyes, was that she did not recruit other female members to her political circle, but am confident that she inspired many a woman to politics. Mrs T would have made an awesome mentor!

 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.

 The Wonder Years of The Thatcher era were remarkable.  I hope her political model will be studied by future generations.  News reports suggest that there’s a lot of hate over Mrs T’s legacy and that’s coming from the loathsome, political grandees and the far left. It wouldn’t have bothered the lady of iron (and steel) a jot. This is one lady who won’t be turning….even in her grave.








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