There Will Never Be Another Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher, the longest serving prime minister in the history of Great Britain, died yesterday after a long illness at the age of 87. Regarded by many as restoring Britain’s reputation in the world and its economy, Lady Thatcher did not take fools lightly – especially the country’s Labour Party, equivalent to the American left wing.
In many ways, she was the twin sister to Ronald Reagan and his conservative politics during a time of turmoil and recession. In her 11 years as prime minister, she managed to bring a country on the verge of socialism back from the brink. Entering office at a time of over 11 percent unemployment, she left with a strong economy and little more than a five percent unemployment rate.
Getting to that point made her many enemies, but the “Iron Lady” would have none of that with her sparkling and tangy personality. Many notables interviewed following the news of her death commented she would have been the ultimate opponent last November to liberal Barack Obama.
Thatcher’s Special Adviser and Speechwriter
She and Reagan came at a time of deep divide in both countries and together they restored their countrymen’s faith in government.
As John O’Sullivan, Thatcher’s special adviser and speechwriter put it, “She is the woman who managed to restore Britain’s reputation much in the same way that [Ronald] Reagan restored America’s,” he said.
“She was his partner in the victory over the Cold War, but domestically she reversed failures spanning about 30 years and turned Britain into a significant country globally and economically,” he said.
The special relationship Thatcher had with Reagan, as well as George H.W. Bush afterwards, was strategic in ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Something that could never have been achieved for another few decades had these two iron-fisted politicians not joined ranks.
At the time Thatcher came to power (1979) and Reagan shortly after in 1981, there was a serious threat for the Cold War to get hot. People rebelling against Soviet occupation of their countries in Georgia (part of the Soviet Empire) and Lithuania were being killed in the streets.
Stage for Change
The stage for change was set with the two leaders in power who were avowed haters of communism. That relationship and the rise to power of a younger, more moderate Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, put their plan to end the conflict in motion.
It turned out not to be total war and destruction that changed the world, but diplomacy and common sense for both sides.
Yet Margaret Thatcher was not so leadership-minded in her earlier days before her rise to power. She did not see herself and shattering the “glass ceiling” for women in politics.
As O’Sullivan commented, “The year before she was elected, she had led the House of Commons and fought Labor’s resistance against the budget.” She supported the candidacy of fellow right-winger Sir Keith Joseph, who went on to serve in her Cabinet in 1979.
Thatcher’s Feisty Personality
Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, remembered how much Thatcher’s feisty personality Reagan found enjoyable. He would actually put her on the speaker phone in the Oval Office so aides could hear her speak.
“He just got a kick out her aura, steadiness, and resolve,” Brinkley said. “He was close to others, but nothing like Margaret Thatcher.”
Critics can say what they will about Lady Margaret Thatcher, but no one can doubt she was a true leader.
How many of those kinds of “leaders” exist in today’s world?