On Monday, at age 87, Margaret Thatcher passed away after suffering a stroke. The world has lost a great leader. She was the last of the ‘great triumvirate’, which included her, Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, who were determined to wipe out Communism. Her unwavering defense of freedom and the individual made her a legendary first female prime minister of Britain in 1979.
Thatcher stood for removing government regulations from businesses so they had a chance to grow, and for ‘privatization,’ that is, selling government-owned monopolies back to the people. She was an ardent supporter of the family, and of individual liberty.
“There is no such thing as society,” she once said. “There are individual men and women, and there are families.”
Thatcher led the charge of the Conservatives in Britain, becoming a strong leader and promoter of the principles of freedom. She viewed low taxes as an incentive to hard work, and thought that free industry was the key to economic success – beliefs that did, in fact, prove to be very successful.
“Thatcherism”, as it was nicknamed, turned out to be beneficial to Britain and the rest of Europe as well. State-owned businesses such as car companies, oil and gas companies, telephone companies, airlines, and even government housing were sold to the public in her privatization plans. A majority of those companies turned profits afterwards, and the living standards in Britain rose dramatically.
Thatcher’s term as Prime Minister coincided with President Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the US, and they had a close relationship. They were strong allies who believed in the same core principles, and worked together to resolve the Cold War and to change the world. Reaganomics was to America as Thatcherism was to England – they both were a radical departure from the former administrations’ economic plans, and they both proved to work in the end.
“Ronnie and Margaret were political soulmates, committed to freedom and resolved to end communism,” said Nancy Reagan on Monday. “As prime minister, Margaret had the clear vision and strong determination to stand up for her beliefs at a time when so many were afraid to ‘rock the boat.’ As a result, she helped to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of millions of people.”
She was known as the “Iron Lady,” a term invented by the Soviet media, but she loved her nickname. She also was known to laugh at the jokes about her beating the men of her Cabinet with her handbag.
One of Thatcher’s most memorable quotes was when she arrived at 10 Downing Street as the new prime minister in 1979. “I would just like to remember some words of St. Francis of Assisi which I think are really just particularly apt at the moment. ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”