path to power
[English special topic]
Table of Contents
Making it to the Shadow Cabinet
Rising to the Top I: Party Leader
Rising to the Top II: Prime Minister
Mrs. Thatcher and the IRA
Miners‘ Strike 1984-5
Cold War: Mrs. Thatcher and the Soviet Union
The purpose of the present treatise is to review important aspects of the economic, social and political history of one of the most important nations of Europe, Britain, in the second half of the Twentieth Century. Having been a victor of the Second World War, policies pursued immediately afterwards had led to the Empire beeing gradually lost, and with it economic strength, due to factors rooted in social relations and psychological aspects rather unique to Britons. Equally unique, however, was the way the nation recovered from 1980 onwards, to once more, assume its place at the top (or near it) of the European league. There is widespread agreement that without the involvement in this strenuous process of Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990, a person of clear ideas and almost ruthless determination, this would most probably have been impossible to achieve, and although it can impossibly be depicted, or far from exhaustively, in the context of such a limited exercise as the present one, it will be attempted to shed light on to the most important events of that era, and how the return to sound economical and political standing was achieved, in more or less anecdotal form. My personal interest stems from the fact that for many years I have now listened to my parents‘ tales who thirty years ago had spent five years in Mrs. Thatcher’s England, still calling them «the happiest time in their lives». So I just had to know more about it.
On 8th April 2013 Margaret Thatcher, who had been British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, died in London. She had suffered a stroke, not her first one. Also, for about the last ten years of her life, she had been struggling with increasing dementia and other age-related illnesses. Which however, had not prevented her from still making the odd appearance in public, occasionally being described as «witty and entertaining» as ever.
She had, whilst alive, turned down the idea of receiving a state funeral wishing not to imply that her stature as a national leader was comparable to that of the wartime PM Winston Churchill. Still, to the outside world the so-called «ceremonial» funeral services that were held in her honour, seemed all but indistuinguishable from a full-blown «state» occasion as had been granted to the great Churchill, almost 50 years earlier. Margaret Thatcher’s funeral went ahead on 17th March 2013, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Central London, amid strict police security, and was attended by the Queen – again, discounting Churchill, the first Prime Minister in modern British history to be awarded such privilege. Also present at the ceremony were more than 2,000 invited guests, amongst them leading national and international politicians, present and past.
Tight security on the day had seemed imperative as protests and demonstrations along the route which the horse-drawn gun carriage carrying her coffin from Whitehall, the seat of Government, along the streets of London had to be expected from reactions to her death received in the run-up. Fortunately, on the day, people lining the streets were mostly peaceful, with faithful supporters by far outnumbering and drowning out scattered protesters.
Margaret Thatcher having been for almost all her adult life a politician with an extremely strong profile, there were, and are to this very day, even 23 years...
Bibliography: Moore, Charles, Margaret Thatcher. The Authorized Biography. Volume One: Not for Turning, Allen Lane,
Shephard, Gillian, The Real Iron Lady. Working with Margaret Thatcher, Biteback Publishing, 2013
The Daily Mirror (On-line ed.), Margaret Thatcher dead: The vile outpouring of hate shows there is no
Wikipedia, Brighton hotel bombing, 20th May 2013
Wikipedia, 1981 Irish hunger strike, 20th May 2013
Wikipedia, UK miners‘ strike (1984-1985), 20th May 2013
Recollections of a contemportary witness, 1953-91
Recollections of a contemporary witness, 1982-7
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