Tuesday, April 9, 2013

'Iron Lady' Thatcher Transformed Her Country

Margaret Thatcher
(Photo: British Prime Minister's Office)

By Robert Mooney
Junior Reporter

RICHMOND, North Yorkshire, U.K. -- During her long career, Margaret Thatcher went from working in her father’s grocery store to holding down the highest position in British politics.
Her passion from politics started early and took off after she joined the Conservative Association at Oxford University, where she studied chemistry, and wound up as its president.
Elected to the Parliament in 1959 as one of the few female MPs, Thatcher rose in party ranks until her promotion to secretary of state for education and science in the wake of the 1970 Conservative victory. Within a decade, she led the party.
In her time as Tory leader, Thatcher often criticized the Soviet Union, where a newspaper eventually dubbed her the “Iron Lady,” a name she embraced.
When her party won an election in 1979, Thatcher became the country’s first woman prime minister, a position she used to champion free enterprise, close union-dominated mines and clear the way for an economic revival.
Her “iron” really showed, though, when Thatcher led a successful war against Argentina to restore British control over the Falkland Islands off the South American coast. Advised by some to give in, she refused to bend.
In sticking by her core conservatism, Thatcher faced strong disapproval from many. Her call for a poll tax aroused fierce opposition, but she pushed it through anyway.
In the end, even her cabinet loyalists resigned, feeling she would not listen to them, eventually launching a challenger to her leadership that sent her into retirement in 1990 after more than a decade as the prime minister.
In her time in power, Thatcher played a part in changing the country for the better.
Having been taught by her father at an early age to stick to her own beliefs, that’s what she did, whether people liked it or not.
Unveiling a statue of herself in the Houses of Parliament in 2007, Thatcher reportedly said, “I might have preferred Iron but bronze will do.”
To us and many people, she really was The Iron Lady.
She died of a stroke on April 8 in London.

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