Britain’s ‘Iron Lady’ prime minister dies
Margaret Thatcher, the ﬁrst female prime minister of the UK, has died aged 87. Her vision and determination has left an indelible mark in Britain and beyond – for better or for worse.
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS HISTORY
Shaping the nation: Margaret Thatcher at her desk in Downing Street, 1987 © Getty Images ance on powerful trade unions. Thatcher was elected on a promise of radical change; and she kept her word. From her ﬁrst term in power, she dedicated herself to privatising government industries and cutting taxes. When she met with ﬁerce opposition and poor economic results, many called for a change of track. But in a now iconic speech, Thatcher refused to ﬂinch: ‘The lady’s not for turning,’ she declared. After leading Britain to victory in a war for control of the Falkland Islands, Thatcher was re-elected with an enormous majority. She redoubled her efforts to transform Britain’s economy, shutting down coal mines in deﬁance of the mighty mining unions. For a full year, striking miners and the police faced off in what many saw as a battle for the control of the nation; Thatcher stood ﬁrm, and in 1985 the strike was broken. Thatcher led Britain for ﬁve more years before ﬁnally succumbing to internal by all Britain’s subsequent leaders – even those on the left. Q But what about the rest of the world? A For a start, Thatcher’s foreign policy shaped global events: she strengthened British ties to America, was inﬂuential in the dismantling of the Soviet Union and outspokenly opposed the EU. She is an inspiration to right-wing rulers worldwide; but
o her supporters, she was a heroic visionary who single-handedly rescued Britain from moral and economic decay. To her opponents, she was a callous individualist who devastated proud industries and left communities in tatters. But all agree that Margaret Thatcher, who yesterday died of a stroke, was one of the greatest and most