The Legacy of the Iron Lady

On April 8, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher passed away after succumbing to the strokes that had plagued her through her aging life and caused her to retire from politics in 2002. Baroness Thatcher was given a ceremonial funeral with military honors. She also received a guard of honor and a church service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, arrangements similar to those of Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales. Despite, the respect that she received in death, many British citizens celebrated Thatcher’s death as she was a figure as reviled as she was revered.

   Margaret Thatcher is known by many to be the longest-serving British Prime Minister and the only woman to ever hold the office, serving from 1979 to 1990. Thatcher was also the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. Despite Thatcher’s impressive political achievements, her legacy is (depending upon how one looks at it) either touted or tainted by her actions in office.

   Thatcher came into office looking to reverse Britain’s unemployment rates after a recession. During her term as Prime Minister, Thatcher’s popularity reached peaks and valleys but her unwavering stance during the Falklands War brought her re-election in 1983.

   Despite being the first female Prime Minister, Thatcher was criticized for doing little to help progress women’s rights in Britain and her stances on immigration were often taken for racism. Her ideas for reversing the down turning economy were to deregulate sectors, create flexible labor markets, privatize labor markets, and reduce trade unions.

   “Margaret Thatcher singlehandedly ruined Great Britain,” said an anonymous source.

   She was also known for creating the political style of Thatcherism, which was characterized by her moral convictions and personality, including nationalism and her promotion of the individual. Thatcher was nicknamed the “Iron Lady” by the Soviets for her uncompromising political stances and unwavering personality.

   Whether or not the people of Britain like Thatcher or her policies does not negate the fact that she held enormous power and influence over the queen’s country. What she did with all of that political power however, eithers shines the legacy of this Iron Lady or turns it to rust.