The force of nature, that was Lady Margaret Thatcher, died yesterday, aged 87 , whilst staying at The Ritz hotel. She was the first female Prime Minister in the UK and in the West, after winning three general elections. She spent 11 years at Downing Street, which makes her the UK’s longest running leader (in modern times). Her opinions and policies may not have been to everyone’s taste, but whether or not one agreed with her, she certainly proved that women are just as capable of running the country as men. Her career is an inspiration to many women, and her dedication to this country is without question.In her lifetime she proved that women can be just as strong, intelligent and as professional as any man. She wasn’t called ‘The Iron Lady’ for nothing! It was written in the ‘I Newspaper’ that she,
“Championed freedom for the countries in the Soviet Union and fought and won an unlikely war in the Falkland Islands in 1982.”
Tony Blair commented,
“Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of the country but of the world. Margaret was such a leader. Her global impact was vast.”
President Obama’s reaction was very complimentary, he said:
“The world has lost one of the greatest champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend.”
However, not all comments about Thatcher’s death have been as well meaning. Thatcher was in her life a controversial figure and in her death it seems that the public’s reaction is still divided. Both MP George Galloway (@georgegalloway) and Ken Livingstone (@ken4london) have made their personal feelings about Lady Thatcher very clear.
Galloway tweeted, ‘Tramp the dirt down‘, which referenced a song by Elvis Costello, in which he sings: “When England was the whore of the world / Margaret was her madam”. It continues: “‘Cos when they finally put you in the ground / They’ll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down.” In a further message on Twitter, Galloway continued: “Thatcher described Nelson Mandela as a “terrorist”. I was there. I saw her lips move. May she burn in the hellfires.” Adding later, ‘She was a witch‘.
Livingstone more conservatively criticized her by saying:
“She created today’s housing crisis, she produced the banking crisis, she created the benefits crisis“, continuing with, “Every real problem we have today is the legacy of the fact that she was fundamentally wrong“.
On the BBC website, writer Dominic Sandbrook , sums up these mixed feelings about Thatcher;
“For my generation, whether you loved or loathed her, she was always there, a fact of life. But she was not merely the dominant political personality of her generation – she was a transcendent cultural figure who inspired more songs, books, plays and films than any other British leader since Oliver Cromwell.”
Her controversial reign as Prime Minister was the topic of a Guardian/ICM poll. The voters were asked ‘Was Thatcher’s rule good or bad for Britain?’ They asked this yesterday on the afternoon of the day she died. 965 adults aged 18 or over were questioned:
50% Said her rule was good
34% Said bad
11% Said it was neither good or bad
5% Didn’t know.
Her image was unique and was very formal. She always presented herself with a tailored look, this has enabled her to appear professional at all times, and will have aided her credibility in the political world. She will always be known for the blazer jacket and pearl necklace and earrings combo. The pearls add a touch of femininity to the overall masculine style. Occasionally, she would accessorize with some kind of ornate brooch on her left lapel and/or hat to differentiate her look from day-to-day, to special occasion. Her hair was always expertly blow dried into her iconic style and remained that fiery red right up until the end. Although it was slightly lighter and longer in the later years.
Meryl Streep played the character of Margaret Thatcher in the 2011 film ‘The Iron Lady’ , which is a semi-biographical film about Thatcher’s life. Streep won an Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actress in this film.
Whatever the public’s opinion, Thatcher has family and friends who are grieving for her, and my thoughts are with them at this hard time.
Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013