A Tribute to Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher, the first woman Prime Minister of Britain, passed away today in London following a stroke. She was 87. She was one of the most important British politicians as well as a gigantic figure in post-war British and world politics of the 20th century.
Born as Margaret Hilda Roberts in the small eastern England market town of Grantham, England on 13th October 1925, she was the second daughter of Alfred and Beatrice Roberts. Her father was owner of two grocery stores who later became mayor of Grantham.
She graduated from the Oxford University in 1947 topping in chemistry. She started her political career at Oxford from a young age and gave her first political speech at 20. However, she was barred from joining the all-male Oxford Union debating society and so joined Oxford’s conservative association and in 1946 became its first female president.
She contested for the parliament Polls in 1950 as the youngest person seeking a seat, but lost.
In 1951 Thatcher married Denis Thatcher, a wealthy and divorced businessman, who ran his family’s firm before becoming an executive in the oil industry. The couple was blessed with twins, Mark and Carol, in 1953 and later earned a law degree. She practiced advocacy until 1961specializing in patent law and then tax law.
In 1959 she was elected as the MP from Finchley. From 1964 to 1970 Thatcher held various portfolios in the opposition shadow cabinet.
Margaret Thatcher became prime minister on May 3, 1979 after winning the election and promulgated many reforms to bring economic stability of her country.
In the able leadership of Thatcher, UK fought a short, sharp war against Argentina over the Falklands Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean in 1982, responding with force when Buenos Aires laid claim to the islands. A British submarine sank Argentina’s only cruiser, the General Belgrano, in an encounter that left 358 Argentines dead. After 10 weeks and the loss of 255 British lives, Argentina surrendered.
In 1984 the great lady escaped terrorist bombing at her hotel at the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton.
During her reign, Thatcher emphasized moral absolutism, nationalism and the rights of the individual versus that of the state.
She was forced to resign in 1990 during an internal leadership struggle after she introduced a poll tax levied on community residents rather than property.
Thatcher was awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush in 1991.
Thatcher was epithet as ‘the Iron Lady’, after she harshly censured Soviet expansionism and questioned the long-standing Western policy of detente with the Soviet Union in 1976. But she wore the name proudly and later used it in her election campaign.
The former British PM retired from public life after a stroke in 2002 and suffered several strokes after that. She attended Ronald Reagan’s 2004 funeral.
In December 2012, she was hospitalized after a procedure to remove a growth in her bladder but succumbed to it.
David Cameron, the current prime minister of UK reportedly said: “It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We’ve lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton.”
TNI bids adieu to Margaret Thatcher, the legendary British politician and former Prime Minister.