The two comics above illustrate the different views that there are of Margaret Thatcher’s memory. Even to the end of her life, political commentators differ on her and her views. I suspect that part of the reason is that theoretically a Margaret Thatcher was not supposed to happen!
Margaret Thatcher came along in an era in which women were just beginning to break the political glass ceiling. Yet, she still holds the record as being the longest serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century. Not only did she break the glass ceiling, she shattered it with great force. And she did this at the end of the 1970’s, a decade which saw great changes in the area of women’s rights in the First World.
Yet, she was unexpected. The expectation had been that the beneficiary of the British fights for women’s rights, a fight that had begun in earnest in the 19th century, would have been a woman who shared many of the liberal beliefs espoused by the “suffragette” movement that became the women’s rights movement.
But, here was a woman who had arrived at the halls of British power, yet was a strong conservative in the mold of the American president, Ronald Reagan. That was not supposed to happen. The “new woman” should have been the one in power, not a political conservative, so ran the angst among British liberals. And so, Thatcher ended up taking a lot of flak from both the people that theoretically should have supported her and the old establishment that only somewhat wanted her.
Yet, over her years she presided over a change in British politics and government that was even more profound than that change brought about by Ronald Reagan. While various of her changes have been undone or redone, depending on the changing whims of political power, yet her main core changes have remained in Britain. Thus, Britain has avoided the riots of Spain and Greece, even while they also are going through economic hard times.
So, here is to Maggie, to the Iron Lady. May the Lord consider you a sheep of his fold, and receive you to his everlasting presence. I did not agree with everything you did, but I do respect your tenacity and your willingness to stand for your principles.