It is in the passing away of Baroness Thatcher that we are able to recall both the positives and negatives of her political career, both in parliament and as a direct influence on decisions made by leaders the world over. No one, not even those vehemently against her policies, can deny the strength of character of the first and to date only woman who has reached the very top of British Politics – that is to say both leader of her party and the position of Prime Minister.
It’s already been said a number of times across the media how much her policies changed not only the UK, but also the world at large. A force to be reckoned with, Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister is one of the few who will go down in world history. It’s slightly abhorrent to me then that so many people under 35 don’t even know who she is. What does that say of those people? Or does it say more of those responsible for teaching them? I wonder how many teachers are so disaffected by politics today as to not have a clue about the influence on today’s world that Margaret Thatcher had.
Possibly one of the most forceful politicians in recent times, including those presently in government in spite of the great task laid before them, she had the force of character to follow through with her decisions and ideas regardless. In my personal view you sometimes have to stick to your guns, even if you end up making the wrong choice – at least you are accountable to that decision. Present and past governments the world over would do well to learn that lesson. That said, true power comes from also knowing when to step back, a lesson the Iron Lady learnt a little too late having abolished free milk in schools. My own father wasn’t affected by the change, and neither was I, having been schooled either side of the event and not through it, but there are plenty of people who would have seen their milk taken from them, and their parents would have been opinionated in one way or another about the change. Her principles were simply that if something could be funded elsewhere, then it should be, and that government should not be responsible for individuals and their actions. To some extent, I agree with that mentality, though there are times when a hard-line approach is a little harsh.
What am I trying to get across? We’ve spent the last day both celebrating the life and death, as well as praising and vilifying a woman who, fundamentally, was doing the best she knew she could for the country whilst raising a family. We should see her as the mother the nation desperately needed at the time.