Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Overview
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, (née
NEE
NEE is a political protest group whose goal was to provide an alternative for voters who are unhappy with all political parties at hand in Belgium, where voting is compulsory.The NEE party was founded in 2005 in Antwerp...

 Roberts; born 13 October 1925) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 from 1979 to 1990. During her time as prime minister, Thatcher's strict conservative policies, hard line against trade unions, and tough rhetoric in opposition to the Soviet Union earned her the nickname, the "Iron Lady
Iron Lady
Iron Lady is a nickname that has frequently been used to describe female heads of government around the world. The term describes a "strong willed" woman...

".

Originally a barrister, Thatcher became Member of Parliament (MP)
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 for Finchley
Finchley (UK Parliament constituency)
Finchley was a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election; its best-known MP was Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990...

 in the 1959 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1959
This United Kingdom general election was held on 8 October 1959. It marked a third successive victory for the ruling Conservative Party, led by Harold Macmillan...

.
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Quotations

My job is to stop Britain going red.

Statement (3 November 1977)

I can't bear Britain in decline. I just can't.

Interviewed by Michael Cockerell for BBC TV's Campaign '79 (27 April, 1979).
Encyclopedia
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, (née
NEE
NEE is a political protest group whose goal was to provide an alternative for voters who are unhappy with all political parties at hand in Belgium, where voting is compulsory.The NEE party was founded in 2005 in Antwerp...

 Roberts; born 13 October 1925) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 from 1979 to 1990. During her time as prime minister, Thatcher's strict conservative policies, hard line against trade unions, and tough rhetoric in opposition to the Soviet Union earned her the nickname, the "Iron Lady
Iron Lady
Iron Lady is a nickname that has frequently been used to describe female heads of government around the world. The term describes a "strong willed" woman...

".

Originally a barrister, Thatcher became Member of Parliament (MP)
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 for Finchley
Finchley (UK Parliament constituency)
Finchley was a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election; its best-known MP was Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990...

 in the 1959 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1959
This United Kingdom general election was held on 8 October 1959. It marked a third successive victory for the ruling Conservative Party, led by Harold Macmillan...

. During her time in Parliament, she heavily criticised the high-tax policies of the Labour Government. Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

 appointed Thatcher Secretary of State for Education and Science
Secretary of State for Education and Skills
The Secretary of State for Education is the chief minister of the Department for Education in the United Kingdom government. The position was re-established on 12 May 2010, held by Michael Gove....

 in his 1970 government. In 1975 Thatcher became Leader of the Conservative Party (and Leader of the Opposition), the first woman to head a major political party in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. After leading her party to victory in the 1979 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1979
The United Kingdom general election of 1979 was held on 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan with a parliamentary majority of 43 seats...

 she became the UK's first (and thus far, only) female Prime Minister.

After entering , Thatcher was determined to reverse what she perceived as a precipitous national decline. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation, particularly of the financial sector, flexible labour markets, the sale or closure of state-owned companies
Government-owned corporation
A government-owned corporation, state-owned company, state-owned entity, state enterprise, publicly owned corporation, government business enterprise, or parastatal is a legal entity created by a government to undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government...

, and the withdrawal of subsidies to others. Thatcher's popularity waned amid recession and high unemployment, until economic recovery and the 1982 Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 brought a resurgence of support resulting in her re-election in 1983.

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987, but her Community Charge
Community Charge
The Community Charge, popularly known as the "poll tax", was a system of taxation introduced in replacement of the rates to part fund local government in Scotland from 1989, and England and Wales from 1990. It provided for a single flat-rate per-capita tax on every adult, at a rate set by the...

 was widely unpopular and her views on the European Community
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990 after Michael Heseltine
Michael Heseltine
Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine, CH, PC is a British businessman, Conservative politician and patron of the Tory Reform Group. He was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001 and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major...

's challenge to her leadership of the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK) leadership election, 1990
The 1990 Conservative Party leadership election in the United Kingdom took place in November 1990 following the decision of former Defence and Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine to stand against the incumbent Conservative leader and Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.Thatcher failed to win...

. Thatcher holds a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven
Kesteven
The Parts of Kesteven are a traditional subdivision of Lincolnshire, England. This subdivision had long had a separate county administration , along with the other two parts, Lindsey and Holland.-Etymology:...

 in the County of Lincolnshire, which entitles her to sit in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

.

Early life and education


Margaret Thatcher was born Margaret Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire, on 13 October 1925. Her father was Alfred Roberts
Alfred Roberts
Alfred Roberts was an English grocer, lay preacher, alderman and Mayor of Grantham. He was the father of Margaret Thatcher, the future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom....

, originally from Northamptonshire, and her mother was Beatrice Ethel (née Stephenson) from Lincolnshire. She spent her childhood in Grantham
Grantham
Grantham is a market town within the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It bestrides the East Coast Main Line railway , the historic A1 main north-south road, and the River Witham. Grantham is located approximately south of the city of Lincoln, and approximately east of Nottingham...

, where her father owned two grocery shops. She and her older sister Muriel were raised in the flat above the larger of the two, located near the railway line. Her father was active in local politics and religion, serving as an alderman
Alderman
An alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council...

 and a Methodist local preacher
Methodist local preacher
A Methodist local preacher is a lay person who has been accredited by a Methodist church to lead worship on a regular basis. Local preachers play an important role in the Methodist Church of Great Britain and other churches historically linked to it, and have also been important in English social...

, and brought up his daughter as a strict Methodist. He came from a Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 family but stood – as was then customary in local government – as an Independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

. He was Mayor of Grantham in 1945–46 and lost his position as alderman in 1952 after the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 won its first majority on Grantham Council in 1950.

Roberts attended Huntingtower Road Primary School and won a scholarship to Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School
Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School
Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School is a grammar school for girls in Grantham, Lincolnshire, established in 1910.-Admissions:It has over 1000 pupils ranging from ages 11–18, with its own sixth form based on site in the Harrowby House building...

. Her school reports showed hard work and continual improvement; her extracurricular activities included the piano, field hockey, poetry recitals, swimming and walking. She was head girl in 1942–43. In her upper sixth year
Sixth form
In the education systems of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of Commonwealth West Indian countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Jamaica and Malta, the sixth form is the final two years of secondary education, where students, usually sixteen to eighteen years of age,...

 she applied for a scholarship to study chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford
Somerville College, Oxford
Somerville College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, and was one of the first women's colleges to be founded there...

 but was initially rejected, and only offered a place after another candidate withdrew. She arrived at Oxford in 1943 and graduated in 1947 with Second Class Honours
British undergraduate degree classification
The British undergraduate degree classification system is a grading scheme for undergraduate degrees in the United Kingdom...

 in the four-year Chemistry Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 degree; in her final year she specialised in X-ray crystallography
X-ray crystallography
X-ray crystallography is a method of determining the arrangement of atoms within a crystal, in which a beam of X-rays strikes a crystal and causes the beam of light to spread into many specific directions. From the angles and intensities of these diffracted beams, a crystallographer can produce a...

 under the supervision of Dorothy Hodgkin.

Roberts became President of the Oxford University Conservative Association
Oxford University Conservative Association
The Oxford University Conservative Association, or OUCA is a student political organisation founded in 1924 whose members are drawn from the University of Oxford...

 in 1946. She was influenced at university by political works such as Friedrich von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom
The Road to Serfdom
The Road to Serfdom is a book written by the Austrian-born economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek between 1940–1943, in which he "warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning," and in which he argues...

(1944), which condemned economic intervention by government as a precursor to an authoritarian state.

After graduating, Roberts moved to Colchester
Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

 in Essex to work as a research chemist for BX Plastics
BX Plastics
BX Plastics was a former Plastics engineering and production company. The company was acquired by Xylonite in the 1980s. The company had a plant in Manningtree. They held several patents on plastic products and manufacturing processes in the 1960s....

. She joined the local Conservative Association and attended the party conference at Llandudno
Llandudno
Llandudno is a seaside resort and town in Conwy County Borough, Wales. In the 2001 UK census it had a population of 20,090 including that of Penrhyn Bay and Penrhynside, which are within the Llandudno Community...

 in 1948, as a representative of the University Graduate Conservative Association. One of her Oxford friends was also a friend of the Chair of the Dartford
Dartford
Dartford is the principal town in the borough of Dartford. It is situated in the northwest corner of Kent, England, east south-east of central London....

 Conservative Association in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, who were looking for candidates. Officials of the association were so impressed by her that they asked her to apply, even though she was not on the Conservative party's approved list: she was selected in January 1951 and added to the approved list post ante. At a dinner following her formal adoption as Conservative candidate for Dartford in February 1951 she met Denis Thatcher
Denis Thatcher
Major Sir Denis Thatcher, 1st Baronet, MBE, TD was a British businessman, and the husband of the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. He was born in Lewisham, London, the elder child of a New Zealand-born British businessman, Thomas Herbert Thatcher, and his wife Kathleen, née Bird...

, a successful and wealthy divorced businessman, who drove her to her Essex train. In preparation for the election Roberts moved to Dartford, where she supported herself by working as a research chemist for J. Lyons and Co.
J. Lyons and Co.
J. Lyons & Co. was a market-dominant British restaurant-chain, food-manufacturing, and hotel conglomerate founded in 1887 as a spin-off from the Salmon & Gluckstein tobacco company....

 in Hammersmith, part of a team developing emulsifiers for ice cream
Ice cream
Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners...

.

Early political career


In the February 1950
United Kingdom general election, 1950
The 1950 United Kingdom general election was the first general election ever after a full term of a Labour government. Despite polling over one and a half million votes more than the Conservatives, the election, held on 23 February 1950 resulted in Labour receiving a slim majority of just five...

 and October 1951 general elections
United Kingdom general election, 1951
The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held eighteen months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats...

 she campaigned for the safe Labour seat of Dartford
Dartford (UK Parliament constituency)
-Elections in the 2000s:-Elections in the 1990s:-Notes and references:...

, where she attracted media attention as the youngest and the only female candidate. She lost both times to Norman Dodds
Norman Dodds
Norman Noel Dodds was a British Labour Co-operative politician.He was Member of Parliament for Dartford from 1945 to 1955, and then for Erith and Crayford from 1955 until his death in 1965, aged 61....

, but reduced the Labour majority by 6,000, and then a further 1,000. During the campaigns, she was supported by her parents and by Denis Thatcher, whom she married in December 1951. Denis funded his wife's studies for the bar
Bar association
A bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both...

; she qualified as a barrister in 1953 and specialised in taxation. That same year her twins, Carol
Carol Thatcher
Carol Thatcher is a British journalist, author and media personality. She is the daughter of Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, a former British Prime Minister, and Sir Denis Thatcher, Bt....

 and Mark
Mark Thatcher
Sir Mark Thatcher, 2nd Baronet is the son of Sir Denis Thatcher and Baroness Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister, and twin brother of Carol Thatcher...

, were born.

Member of Parliament (1959–1970)


Thatcher began looking for a safe Conservative seat in the mid-1950s. She was narrowly rejected as the candidate for Orpington
Orpington by-election, 1955
The Orpington by-election, 1955 was a parliamentary by-election held on 20 January 1955 for the British House of Commons constituency of Orpington in Kent, England. It followed the death of the incumbent Conservative Member of Parliament Sir Waldron Smithers...

 in 1955, but was selected for Finchley in April 1958. She won the seat after a hard campaign in the 1959 election and was elected as a Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP). Her maiden speech
Maiden speech
A maiden speech is the first speech given by a newly elected or appointed member of a legislature or parliament.Traditions surrounding maiden speeches vary from country to country...

 was in support of her private member's bill
Private Member's Bill
A member of parliament’s legislative motion, called a private member's bill or a member's bill in some parliaments, is a proposed law introduced by a member of a legislature. In most countries with a parliamentary system, most bills are proposed by the government, not by individual members of the...

 (Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960
Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960
The Public Bodies Act 1960 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which allowed members of the public and press to attend meetings of certain public bodies. The Act is notable for having been initiated as a private member's bill drawn up by Margaret Thatcher, and also for being...

), requiring local authorities to hold their council meetings in public. In 1961 she went against the Conservative Party's official position by voting for the restoration of birching
Birching
Birching is a corporal punishment with a birch rod, typically applied to the recipient's bare buttocks, although occasionally to the back and/or shoulders.-Implement:...

.

In October 1961, Thatcher was promoted to the front bench as Parliamentary Undersecretary at the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Pensions
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Pensions was a junior Ministerial office at Parliamentary Secretary rank in the United Kingdom Government, supporting the Minister for Pensions. It was established in 1916 and filled intermittently until 1932...

 in Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

's administration. After the loss of the 1964 election
United Kingdom general election, 1964
The United Kingdom general election of 1964 was held on 15 October 1964, more than five years after the preceding election, and thirteen years after the Conservative Party had retaken power...

 she became Conservative spokeswoman on Housing and Land, in which position she advocated her party's policy of allowing tenants to buy their council house
Council house
A council house, otherwise known as a local authority house, is a form of public or social housing. The term is used primarily in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Council houses were built and operated by local councils to supply uncrowded, well-built homes on secure tenancies at...

s. She moved to the Shadow Treasury
HM Treasury
HM Treasury, in full Her Majesty's Treasury, informally The Treasury, is the United Kingdom government department responsible for developing and executing the British government's public finance policy and economic policy...

 team in 1966, and as Treasury spokeswoman opposed Labour's mandatory price and income controls, arguing that they would produce contrary effects to those intended and distort the economy.

At the Conservative Party Conference of 1966 she criticised the high-tax policies of the Labour Government as being steps "not only towards Socialism, but towards Communism". She argued that lower taxes served as an incentive to hard work. Thatcher was one of the few Conservative MPs to support Leo Abse
Leo Abse
Leopold Abse was a Welsh lawyer, politician and gay rights campaigner. He was a Welsh Labour Member of Parliament for nearly 30 years, and was noted for promoting private member's bills to decriminalise male homosexual relations and liberalise the divorce laws...

's Bill to decriminalise male homosexuality and voted in favour of David Steel
David Steel
David Martin Scott Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood, KT, KBE, PC is a British Liberal Democrat politician who served as the Leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 until its merger with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats...

's Bill to legalise abortion, as well as a ban on hare coursing
Hare coursing
Hare coursing is the pursuit of hares with greyhounds and other sighthounds, which chase the hare by sight and not by scent. It is a competitive sport, in which dogs are tested on their ability to run, overtake and turn a hare, rather than a form of hunting aiming at the capture of game. It has a...

. She supported the retention of capital punishment and voted against the relaxation of divorce laws.

In 1967, she was selected by the United States Embassy in London to take part in the International Visitor Leadership Program
International Visitor Leadership Program
The International Visitor Leadership Program is a professional exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State Office of International Visitors in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The purpose of the program is to help build mutual understanding between citizens of the U.S....

 (then called the Foreign Leader Program), a professional exchange programme that gave her the opportunity to spend about six weeks visiting various US cities, political figures, and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

. Thatcher joined the Shadow Cabinet later that year as Shadow Fuel spokesman. Shortly before the 1970 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1970
The United Kingdom general election of 1970 was held on 18 June 1970, and resulted in a surprise victory for the Conservative Party under leader Edward Heath, who defeated the Labour Party under Harold Wilson. The election also saw the Liberal Party and its new leader Jeremy Thorpe lose half their...

, she was promoted to Shadow Transport, and then to Education.

Education Secretary (1970–1974)


The Conservative party under Edward Heath won the 1970 general election, and Thatcher was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science
Secretary of State for Education and Skills
The Secretary of State for Education is the chief minister of the Department for Education in the United Kingdom government. The position was re-established on 12 May 2010, held by Michael Gove....

. In her first months in office she attracted public attention as a result of the administration's attempts to cut spending. She gave priority to academic needs in schools, and imposed public expenditure cuts on the state education system, resulting in the abolition of free milk for schoolchildren aged seven to eleven. She held that few children would suffer if schools were charged for milk, but she agreed to provide younger children with a third of a pint daily, for nutritional purposes. Her decision provoked a storm of protest from the Labour party and the press, and led to the moniker "Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher". Thatcher wrote in her autobiography: "I learned a valuable lesson [from the experience]. I had incurred the maximum of political odium for the minimum of political benefit."

Thatcher's term of office was marked by proposals for more local education authorities to close grammar schools and to adopt comprehensive secondary education
Comprehensive school
A comprehensive school is a state school that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude. This is in contrast to the selective school system, where admission is restricted on the basis of a selection criteria. The term is commonly used in relation to the United...

. Although she was committed to a tiered secondary modern–grammar school system of education, and determined to preserve grammar schools, during her tenure as Education Secretary she turned down only 326 of 3,612 proposals for schools to become comprehensives; the proportion of pupils attending comprehensives rose from 32% to 62%.

Leader of the Opposition (1975–1979)


The Heath government continued to experience difficulties with oil embargoes
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

 and union demands for wage increases in 1973, and was defeated in the February 1974 general election
United Kingdom general election, February 1974
The United Kingdom's general election of February 1974 was held on the 28th of that month. It was the first of two United Kingdom general elections held that year, and the first election since the Second World War not to produce an overall majority in the House of Commons for the winning party,...

. The Conservative result in the general election of October 1974
United Kingdom general election, October 1974
The United Kingdom general election of October 1974 took place on 10 October 1974 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. It was the second general election of that year and resulted in the Labour Party led by Harold Wilson, winning by a tiny majority of 3 seats.The election of...

 was even worse, and Thatcher mounted a challenge for the leadership of the party. Promising a fresh start, her main support came from the Conservative 1922 Committee
1922 Committee
In British politics, the 1922 Committee is a committee of Conservative Members of Parliament. Voting membership is limited to backbench MPs although frontbench Conservative MPs have an open invitation to attend meetings. While the party was in opposition, frontbench MPs other than the party leader...

. She defeated Heath
Conservative Party (UK) leadership election, 1975
Edward Heath, leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom had called and unexpectedly lost the February 1974 general election...

 on the first ballot and he resigned the leadership. In the second ballot she defeated Heath's preferred successor, William Whitelaw, and became party leader on 11 February 1975; she appointed Whitelaw as her deputy. Heath remained disenchanted with Thatcher to the end of his life for what he, and many of his supporters, perceived as her disloyalty in standing against him.

Thatcher began regularly to attend lunches at the Institute of Economic Affairs
Institute of Economic Affairs
The Institute of Economic Affairs , founded in 1955, styles itself the UK's pre-eminent free-market think-tank. Its mission is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social...

 (IEA), a think tank founded by the poultry magnate Antony Fisher
Antony Fisher
Sir Antony Fisher was one of the most influential background players in the global rise of libertarian think-tanks during the second half of the twentieth century, founding the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Through Atlas, he helped establish up to 150...

, a disciple of Friedrich von Hayek; she had been visiting the IEA and reading its publications since the early 1960s. There she was influenced by the ideas of Ralph Harris
Ralph Harris, Baron Harris of High Cross
Ralph Harris, Baron Harris of High Cross was a British economist. He was head of the Institute of Economic Affairs from 1957 to 1988...

 and Arthur Seldon
Arthur Seldon
Dr Arthur Seldon CBE was joint founder president, with Ralph Harris, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, where he directed academic affairs for 30 years....

, and she became the face of the ideological movement opposing the welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

 Keynesian economics they believed was weakening Britain. The institute's pamphlets proposed less government, lower taxes, and more freedom for business and consumers.

Thatcher began to work on her voice and screen image. The critic Clive James
Clive James
Clive James, AM is an Australian author, critic, broadcaster, poet and memoirist, best known for his autobiographical series Unreliable Memoirs, for his chat shows and documentaries on British television and for his prolific journalism...

, writing in The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

in 1977, compared her voice of 1973 to a cat sliding down a blackboard, but acknowledged her intelligence and mental agility.

On 19 January 1976 Thatcher made a speech in Kensington Town Hall in which she made a scathing attack on the Soviet Union:
In response, the Soviet Defence Ministry newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda
Krasnaya Zvezda
Krasnaya Zvezda is an official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defence. It was founded on January 1, 1924. Today its official designation is "Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defence."...

(Red Star) gave her the nickname "Iron Lady
Iron Lady
Iron Lady is a nickname that has frequently been used to describe female heads of government around the world. The term describes a "strong willed" woman...

". She took delight in the name, and it soon became associated with her image.

Despite an economic recovery in the late 1970s, the Labour government faced public unease about the direction of the country and a damaging series of strikes during the winter of 1978–79, popularly dubbed the "Winter of Discontent
Winter of Discontent
The "Winter of Discontent" is an expression, popularised by the British media, referring to the winter of 1978–79 in the United Kingdom, during which there were widespread strikes by local authority trade unions demanding larger pay rises for their members, because the Labour government of...

". The Conservatives attacked the Labour government's unemployment record, using advertising with the slogan Labour Isn't Working. A general election
United Kingdom general election, 1979
The United Kingdom general election of 1979 was held on 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan with a parliamentary majority of 43 seats...

 was called after James Callaghan
James Callaghan
Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, KG, PC , was a British Labour politician, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980...

's government lost a motion of no confidence
1979 vote of no confidence against the government of James Callaghan
The 1979 vote of no confidence in the government of James Callaghan was a vote of no confidence in the British Labour Government of James Callaghan which occurred on 28 March 1979. The vote was brought by opposition leader Margaret Thatcher and was lost by the Labour Government by one vote ,...

 in early 1979. The Conservatives won a 44-seat majority in the House of Commons, and Margaret Thatcher became the UK's first female Prime Minister.

Prime Minister (1979–1990)



Thatcher became Prime Minister on 4 May 1979. Arriving at 10 Downing Street, she said, in a paraphrase of the "Prayer of Saint Francis
Prayer of Saint Francis
The Prayer of Saint Francis is a Christian prayer. It is attributed to the 13th-century saint Francis of Assisi, although the prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in France in French, in a small spiritual magazine called La Clochette as an...

":

Domestic affairs


Thatcher was Prime Minister at a time of great racial tension in Britain. Her standing in the polls rose by 11 percent after she said in a TV interview during campaigning for the 1979 election: "The moment a minority threatens to become a big one, people get frightened. The British character has done so much for democracy, for law, that if there is any fear that it might be swamped, people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in". The Conservatives attracted voters from the National Front, whose support almost collapsed. The Economist noted "The Tory tide swamped the smaller parties, specifically the National Front, which suffered a clear decline". In confidential official documents she objected to the number of Asian immigrants in July 1979, in the context of limiting the number of Vietnamese boat people allowed to settle in the UK. Her stance on these issues was perceived as part of a rising racist public discourse, which professor Martin Barker called "new racism".

As Prime Minister, Thatcher met weekly with Queen Elizabeth II to discuss government business, and their relationship came under close scrutiny. In July 1986 the Sunday Times reported claims attributed to the Queen's advisers of a "rift" between Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

 and Downing Street
Downing Street
Downing Street in London, England has for over two hundred years housed the official residences of two of the most senior British cabinet ministers: the First Lord of the Treasury, an office now synonymous with that of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the Second Lord of the Treasury, an...

 "over a wide range of domestic and international issues". The Palace issued an official denial, heading off speculation about a possible constitutional crisis. After Thatcher's retirement a senior Palace source again dismissed as "nonsense" the "stereotyped idea" that she had not got along with the Queen, or that they had fallen out over Thatcherite policies. Thatcher later wrote "... I always found the Queen's attitude towards the work of the Government absolutely correct ... .stories of clashes between 'two powerful women' were just too good not to make up."

Economy and taxation


Thatcher's economic policy was influenced by monetarist
Monetarism
Monetarism is a tendency in economic thought that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. It is the view within monetary economics that variation in the money supply has major influences on national output in the short run and the price level over...

 thinking and economists such as Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

 and Friedrich von Hayek. Together with Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

 Geoffrey Howe
Geoffrey Howe
Richard Edward Geoffrey Howe, Baron Howe of Aberavon, CH, QC, PC is a former British Conservative politician. He was Margaret Thatcher's longest-serving Cabinet minister, successively holding the posts of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary, and finally Leader of the House of Commons...

, she lowered direct taxes on income and increased indirect taxes. She increased interest rates to slow the growth of the money supply and thereby lower inflation, introduced cash limits on public spending, and reduced expenditures on social services such as education and housing. Her cuts in higher education spending resulted in her being the first Oxford-educated post-war Prime Minister not to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Oxford, after a 738 to 319 vote of the governing assembly and a student petition. Her new centrally-funded City Technology College
City Technology College
In England, a City Technology College is a state-funded all-ability secondary school that charges no fees but is independent of local authority control, being overseen directly by the Department for Education....

s did not enjoy much success, and the Funding Agency for Schools was set up to control expenditure by opening and closing schools; the Social Market Foundation
Social Market Foundation
The Social Market Foundation is a British public policy think-tank based in Westminster, London. It was set up by supporters of David Owen after the Social Democratic Party was disbanded in the late 1980s. It aims to promote and produce policies supporting the “social market”...

, a right-wing think tank, described it as having "an extraordinary range of dictatorial powers".
GDP and public spending
by functional classification
% change in real terms
1979/80 to 1989/90
GDP +23.3
Total government spending +12.9
Law and order +53.3
Employment and training +33.3
Health +31.8
Social security +31.8
Transport −5.8
Trade and industry −38.2
Housing −67.0
Defence −3.3


Some Heathite Conservatives in the Cabinet
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

, the so-called "wets", expressed doubt over Thatcher's policies. The 1981 riots in England
1981 England riots
In 1981, the United Kingdom suffered serious riots across many major cities in England. They were perceived as race riots between communities, in all cases the main motives for the riots were related to racial tension and inner-city deprivation. The riots were caused by a distrust of the police...

 resulted in the British media discussing the need for a policy U-turn. At the 1980 Conservative Party conference, Thatcher addressed the issue directly, with a speech written by the playwright Ronald Millar
Ronald Millar
Sir Ronald Graeme Millar was an English actor, writer and dramatist.Ronald Millar joined the Royal Navy in 1940 after having studied at King's College, Cambridge, England, for a year. He established himself as a playwright after the second world war, and between 1948 and 1954 lived in Hollywood,...

 that included the lines: "You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning!"

Thatcher's job approval rating fell to 23% by December 1980, lower than recorded for any previous Prime Minister. As the recession of the early 1980s deepened she increased taxes, despite concerns expressed in a statement signed by 364 leading economists issued towards the end of March 1981.

By 1982 the UK began to experience signs of economic recovery; inflation was down to 8.6% from a high of 18%, but unemployment was over 3 million for the first time since the 1930s. By 1983 overall economic growth was stronger and inflation and mortgage rates were at their lowest levels since 1970, although manufacturing output had dropped by 30% since 1978 and unemployment remained high, peaking at 3.3 million in 1984.

By 1987, unemployment was falling, the economy was stable and strong, and inflation was low. Opinion polls showed a comfortable Conservative lead, and local council election results had also been successful, prompting Thatcher to call a general election for 11 June that year, despite the deadline for an election still being 12 months away. The election saw Thatcher re-elected for a third successive term.

Throughout the 1980s revenue from the 90% tax on North Sea oil
North Sea oil
North Sea oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons, comprising liquid oil and natural gas, produced from oil reservoirs beneath the North Sea.In the oil industry, the term "North Sea" often includes areas such as the Norwegian Sea and the area known as "West of Shetland", "the Atlantic Frontier" or "the...

 extraction was used as a short-term funding source to balance the economy and pay the costs of reform.

Thatcher reformed local government taxes by replacing domestic rates
Rates (tax)
Rates are a type of property tax system in the United Kingdom, and in places with systems deriving from the British one, the proceeds of which are used to fund local government...

—a tax based on the nominal rental value of a home—with the Community Charge
Community Charge
The Community Charge, popularly known as the "poll tax", was a system of taxation introduced in replacement of the rates to part fund local government in Scotland from 1989, and England and Wales from 1990. It provided for a single flat-rate per-capita tax on every adult, at a rate set by the...

 (or poll tax) in which the same amount was charged to each adult resident. The new tax was introduced in Scotland in 1989 and in England and Wales the following year, and proved to be among the most unpopular policies of her premiership. Public disquiet culminated in a 70,000-strong demonstration in London on 31 March 1990; the demonstration around Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

 deteriorated into the Poll Tax Riots
Poll Tax Riots
The UK Poll Tax Riots were a series of mass disturbances, or riots, in British towns and cities during protests against the Community Charge , introduced by the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher...

, leaving 113 people injured and 340 under arrest. The Community Charge was abolished by her successor, John Major.

Foreign affairs


Thatcher took office in the penultimate decade of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 and became closely aligned with the policies of United States President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, based on their mutual distrust of Communism, although she strongly opposed Reagan's October 1983 invasion of Grenada
Invasion of Grenada
The Invasion of Grenada, codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, was a 1983 United States-led invasion of Grenada, a Caribbean island nation with a population of about 100,000 located north of Venezuela. Triggered by a military coup which had ousted a four-year revolutionary government, the invasion...

. During her first year as Prime Minister she supported NATO's decision to deploy US nuclear cruise and Pershing missiles in Western Europe, and permitted the US to station more than 160 cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common
RAF Greenham Common
RAF Station Greenham Common is a former military airfield in Berkshire, England. The airfield is located approximately south-southwest of Thatcham; about west of London....

, starting on 14 November 1983 and triggering mass protests by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

. She bought the Trident
UK Trident programme
The UK Trident programme is the United Kingdom's Trident missile-based nuclear weapons programme. Under the programme, the Royal Navy operates 58 nuclear-armed Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and around 200 nuclear warheads on 4 Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines from...

 nuclear missile submarine system from the US to replace Polaris, tripling the UK's nuclear forces at an eventual cost of more than £12 billion (at 1996–97 prices). Thatcher's preference for defence ties with the US was demonstrated in the Westland affair
Westland affair
The Westland affair was a political scandal for the British Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher in 1986. The argument was a result of differences of opinion within the government as to the future of the United Kingdom helicopter industry. The struggling Westland company, Britain's last...

 of January 1986, when she acted with colleagues to allow the struggling helicopter manufacturer Westland
Westland Helicopters
Westland Helicopters was a British aerospace company. Originally Westland Aircraft, the company focused on helicopters after the Second World War. It merged with several other British firms in 1961...

 to refuse a takeover offer from the Italian firm Agusta
Agusta
Agusta is an Italian helicopter manufacturer. It is based in Samarate, Northern Italy. It is a subsidiary of Finmeccanica. The company was founded by Count Giovanni Agusta in 1923, who flew his first airplane in 1907...

 in favour of the management's preferred option, a link with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. The UK Defence Secretary, Michael Heseltine
Michael Heseltine
Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine, CH, PC is a British businessman, Conservative politician and patron of the Tory Reform Group. He was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001 and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major...

, who had supported the Agusta deal, resigned in protest.

On 2 April 1982 the ruling military junta in Argentina ordered the invasion of the British Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

 and South Georgia, triggering the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

. The subsequent crisis was "a defining moment of her [Thatcher's] premiership". At the suggestion of Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

 and Robert Armstrong
Robert Armstrong, Baron Armstrong of Ilminster
Robert Temple Armstrong, Baron Armstrong of Ilminster GCB, CVO , son of the musician Sir Thomas Armstrong, is a British life peer and former civil servant.-Life:...

, she set up and chaired a small War Cabinet (formally called ODSA, Overseas and Defence committee, South Atlantic) to take charge of the conduct of the war, which by 5–6 April had authorised and dispatched a naval task force to retake the islands. Argentina surrendered on 14 June and the operation was hailed a success, notwithstanding the deaths of 255 British servicemen and 3 Falkland Islanders. Argentinian deaths totalled 649, half of them after the nuclear-powered submarine torpedoed and sank the cruiser ARA General Belgrano
ARA General Belgrano
The ARA General Belgrano was an Argentine Navy light cruiser in service from 1951 until 1982. Formerly the , she saw action in the Pacific theater of World War II before being sold to Argentina. After almost 31 years of service, she was sunk during the Falklands War by the Royal Navy submarine ...

 on 2 May. Thatcher was criticised for the neglect of the Falklands' defence that led to the war, and notably by Tam Dalyell
Tam Dalyell
Sir Thomas Dalyell Loch, 11th Baronet , known as Tam Dalyell, is a British Labour Party politician, who was a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005, first for West Lothian and then for Linlithgow.-Early life:...

 in parliament for the decision to sink the Belgrano, but overall she was considered a highly talented and committed war leader. The "Falklands factor", an economic recovery beginning early in 1982, and a bitterly divided Labour opposition contributed to Thatcher's second election victory in 1983
United Kingdom general election, 1983
The 1983 United Kingdom general election was held on 9 June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher the most decisive election victory since that of Labour in 1945...

.

Although saying that she was against apartheid, Thatcher stood against the sanctions imposed on South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 by the Commonwealth
Commonwealth
Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic."More recently it has been used for fraternal associations of some sovereign nations...

 and the EC. Perhaps this was because of her husband's and other UK business connections with the country, or because she saw South Africa as "just another battlefield in the global struggle between Western freedom and Soviet communism." She attempted to preserve trade with South Africa while persuading the regime there to abandon apartheid. This included "[c]asting herself as President Botha's candid friend", and inviting him to visit the UK in June 1984, in spite of the "inevitable demonstrations" against.

The Thatcher government supported the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
The Khmer Rouge literally translated as Red Cambodians was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen and Khieu Samphan...

 keeping their seat in the UN after they were ousted from power in Cambodia by the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. Although denying it at the time they also sent the SAS
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 to train the Khmer Rouge alliance to fight against the Vietnamese-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea
People's Republic of Kampuchea
The People's Republic of Kampuchea , , was founded in Cambodia by the Salvation Front, a group of Cambodian leftists dissatisfied with the Khmer Rouge, after the overthrow of Democratic Kampuchea, Pol Pot's government...

 government.

Thatcher's antipathy towards European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

 became more pronounced during her premiership, particularly after her third election victory in 1987. During a 1988 speech in Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 she outlined her opposition to proposals from the European Community (EC), forerunner of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, for a federal structure and increased centralisation of decision making. She had supported British membership of the EC, despite believing that the role of the organisation should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition, and feared that the EC's approach was at odds with her views on smaller government and deregulation; in 1988, she remarked, "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels". Thatcher was firmly opposed to the UK's membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, a precursor to European monetary union, believing that it would constrain the British economy, despite the urging of her Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson
Nigel Lawson
Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, PC , is a British Conservative politician and journalist. He was a Member of Parliament representing the constituency of Blaby from 1974–92, and served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government of Margaret Thatcher from June 1983 to October 1989...

 and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe, but she was persuaded by John Major to join in October 1990, at what proved to be too high a rate.

In April 1986, Thatcher permitted US F-111s to use Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 bases for the bombing of Libya in retaliation for the alleged Libyan bombing of a Berlin discothèque
1986 Berlin discotheque bombing
The 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing was a terrorist attack on the La Belle discothèque in West Berlin, Germany, an entertainment venue that was commonly frequented by United States soldiers...

, citing the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter sets out the UN Security Council's powers to maintain peace. It allows the Council to "determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" and to take military and nonmilitary action to "restore international peace...

. Polls suggested that less than one in three British citizens approved of Thatcher's decision. She was in the US on a state visit when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 invaded neighbouring Kuwait in August 1990. During her talks with US President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, who had succeeded Reagan in 1989, she recommended intervention, and put pressure on Bush to deploy troops in the Middle East to drive the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. Bush was somewhat apprehensive about the plan, prompting Thatcher to remark to him during a telephone conversation that "This was no time to go wobbly!" Thatcher's government provided military forces to the international coalition in the build-up to the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, but she had resigned by the time hostilities began on 17 January 1991.

Thatcher was one of the first Western leaders to respond warmly to reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

. Following Reagan–Gorbachev summit meetings and reforms enacted by Gorbachev in the USSR, she declared in November 1988 that "We're not in a Cold War now", but rather in a "new relationship much wider than the Cold War ever was". She went on a state visit to the Soviet Union in 1984, and met with Gorbachev and Nikolai Ryzhkov
Nikolai Ryzhkov
Nikolai Ivanovich Ryzhkov was a Soviet official who became a Russian politician following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He served as the last Chairman of the Council of Ministers or Premier of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991...

, the Chairman
Premier of the Soviet Union
The office of Premier of the Soviet Union was synonymous with head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics . Twelve individuals have been premier...

 of the Council of Ministers. Thatcher was initially opposed to German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

, telling Gorbachev that it "would lead to a change to postwar borders, and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security". She expressed concern that a united Germany would align itself more closely with the Soviet Union and move away from NATO. In contrast she was an advocate of Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

n and Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

n independence. In a 1991 interview for Croatian Radiotelevision
Croatian Radiotelevision
Croatian Radiotelevision is a Croatian public broadcasting company. It operates several radio and television channels, over a domestic transmitter network as well as satellite...

, Thatcher commented on the Yugoslav Wars
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

; she was critical of Western governments for not recognising the breakaway republics of Croatia and Slovenia as independent states and supplying them with arms after the Serbian-led Yugoslav Army
Yugoslav People's Army
The Yugoslav People's Army , also referred to as the Yugoslav National Army , was the military of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.-Origins:The origins of the JNA can...

 attacked.

Industrial relations


Thatcher was committed to reducing the power of the trade unions, whose leadership she accused of undermining parliamentary democracy and economic performance through strike action. Several unions launched strikes in response to legislation introduced to curb their power, but resistance eventually collapsed. Only 39% of union members voted for Labour in the 1983 general election. According to the BBC, Thatcher "managed to destroy the power of the trade unions for almost a generation".

The miners' strike
UK miners' strike (1984–1985)
The UK miners' strike was a major industrial action affecting the British coal industry. It was a defining moment in British industrial relations, and its defeat significantly weakened the British trades union movement...

 was the biggest confrontation between the unions and the Thatcher government. In March 1984 the National Coal Board
National Coal Board
The National Coal Board was the statutory corporation created to run the nationalised coal mining industry in the United Kingdom. Set up under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946, it took over the mines on "vesting day", 1 January 1947...

 (NCB) proposed to close 20 of the 174 state-owned mines and cut 20,000 jobs out of 187,000. Two-thirds of the country's miners, led by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) under Arthur Scargill
Arthur Scargill
Arthur Scargill is a British politician who was President of the National Union of Mineworkers from 1982 to 2002, leading the union through the 1984–85 miners' strike, a key event in British labour and political history...

, downed tools in protest. Thatcher refused to meet the union's demands and compared the miners' dispute to the Falklands conflict two years earlier, declaring in a speech in 1984: "We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty." After a year out on strike, in March 1985, the NUM leadership conceded without a deal. The cost to the economy was estimated to be at least £1.5 billion, and the strike was blamed for much of the pound's fall against the US dollar. The government closed 25 unprofitable coal mines in 1985, and by 1992 a total of 97 had been closed; those that remained were privatised in 1994. The eventual closure of 150 coal mines, not all of which were losing money, resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and devastated entire communities. Miners had helped bring down the Heath government, and Thatcher was determined to succeed where he had failed. Her strategy of preparing fuel stocks, appointing a union-busting NCB leader in Ian MacGregor
Ian MacGregor
Sir Ian Kinloch MacGregor, KBE was a Scottish-American metallurgist and industrialist, most famous in the UK for his controversial tenure at British Steel and his conduct during the 1984-1985 miner's strike while managing the National Coal Board.-Early life:Born in Kinlochleven, Scotland, his...

, and ensuring police were adequately trained and equipped with riot gear, contributed to her victory.

The number of stoppages across the UK peaked at 4583 in 1979, when more than 29 million working days were lost. In 1984, the year of the miners' strike, there were 1221, resulting in the loss of more than 27 million working days. Stoppages then fell steadily throughout the rest of Thatcher's premiership; in 1990 there were 630 and fewer than 2 million working days lost, and they continued to fall thereafter. Trade union membership also fell, from 13.5 million in 1979 to less than 10 million by the time Thatcher left office in 1990.

Privatisation


The policy of privatisation has been called "a crucial ingredient of Thatcherism". After the 1983 election the sale of state utilities accelerated; more than £29 billion was raised from the sale of nationalised industries, and another £18 billion from the sale of council houses.

The process of privatisation, especially the preparation of nationalised industries for privatisation, was associated with marked improvements in performance, particularly in terms of labour productivity. A number of the privatised industries including gas, water, and electricity, were natural monopolies
Natural monopoly
A monopoly describes a situation where all sales in a market are undertaken by a single firm. A natural monopoly by contrast is a condition on the cost-technology of an industry whereby it is most efficient for production to be concentrated in a single form...

 for which privatisation involved little increase in competition. The privatised industries that demonstrated improvement often did so while still under state ownership. British Steel
British Steel
British Steel was a major British steel producer. It originated as a nationalised industry, the British Steel Corporation , formed in 1967. This was converted to a public limited company, British Steel PLC, and privatised in 1988. It was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index...

, for instance, made great gains in profitability while still a nationalised industry under the government-appointed chairmanship of Ian MacGregor, who faced down trade-union opposition to close plants and reduce the workforce by half. Regulation was also significantly expanded to compensate for the loss of direct government control, with the foundation of regulatory bodies like Ofgas
Office of Gas and Electricity Markets
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets , supporting the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority , is the government regulator for the electricity and downstream natural gas markets in Great Britain...

, Oftel
Oftel
Oftel has been superseded as the British telecommunications regulator by Ofcom .----The Office of Telecommunications was a department in the United Kingdom government, under civil service control, charged with promoting competition and maintaining the interests of consumers in the UK...

 and the National Rivers Authority
National Rivers Authority
The National Rivers Authority was one of the forerunners of the Environment Agency of England and Wales, existing between 1989 and 1996. Before 1989 the regulation of the aquatic environment had largely been carried out by the ten Regional Water Authorities...

. There was no clear pattern to the degree of competition, regulation, and performance among the privatised industries; in most cases privatisation benefitted consumers in terms of lower prices and improved efficiency, but the results overall were "mixed".

Thatcher always resisted rail privatisation, and was said to have told Transport Secretary Nicholas Ridley
Nicholas Ridley, Baron Ridley of Liddesdale
Nicholas Ridley, Baron Ridley of Liddesdale, PC was a British Conservative Party politician and government minister.-Personal life:...

 "Railway privatisation will be the Waterloo of this government. Please never mention the railways to me again." Shortly before her resignation, she accepted the arguments for privatising British Rail
British Rail
British Railways , which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the operator of most of the rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the "Big Four" British railway companies and lasted until the gradual privatisation of British Rail, in stages...

, which her successor John Major implemented in 1994. The Economist later considered the move to have been "a disaster".

The privatisation of public assets was combined with financial deregulation in an attempt to fuel economic growth. Geoffrey Howe abolished Britain's exchange controls in 1979, allowing more capital to be invested in foreign markets, and the Big Bang
Big Bang (financial markets)
The phrase Big Bang, used in reference to the sudden deregulation of financial markets, was coined to describe measures, including abolition of fixed commission charges and of the distinction between stockjobbers and stockbrokers on the London Stock Exchange and change from open-outcry to...

 of 1986 removed many restrictions on the London Stock Exchange
London Stock Exchange
The London Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in the City of London within the United Kingdom. , the Exchange had a market capitalisation of US$3.7495 trillion, making it the fourth-largest stock exchange in the world by this measurement...

. The Thatcher government encouraged growth in the finance and service sectors to compensate for Britain's ailing manufacturing industry. Political economist Susan Strange
Susan Strange
Susan Strange was a British academic who was influential in the field of International Political Economy. Her most important publications include Casino Capitalism, Mad Money, States and Markets and The Retreat of the State : The Diffusion of Power in the World Economy.For a quarter of a century,...

 called this new financial growth model "casino capitalism", reflecting her view that speculation and financial trading were becoming more important to the economy than industry.

Northern Ireland


In 1981, Provisional Irish Republican Army
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

 (PIRA) and Irish National Liberation Army
Irish National Liberation Army
The Irish National Liberation Army or INLA is an Irish republican socialist paramilitary group that was formed on 8 December 1974. Its goal is to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and create a socialist united Ireland....

 (INLA) prisoners in Northern Ireland's Maze Prison
Maze (HM Prison)
Her Majesty's Prison Maze was a prison in Northern Ireland that was used to house paramilitary prisoners during the Troubles from mid-1971 to mid-2000....

 began a hunger strike
1981 Irish hunger strike
The 1981 Irish hunger strike was the culmination of a five-year protest during The Troubles by Irish republican prisoners in Northern Ireland. The protest began as the blanket protest in 1976, when the British government withdrew Special Category Status for convicted paramilitary prisoners...

 in an effort to regain the status of political prisoners that had been removed five years earlier under the preceding Labour government. Bobby Sands
Bobby Sands
Robert Gerard "Bobby" Sands was an Irish volunteer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and member of the United Kingdom Parliament who died on hunger strike while imprisoned in HM Prison Maze....

 began the strike, saying that he would fast until death unless prison inmates won concessions over their living conditions. Thatcher refused to countenance a return to political status for the prisoners, declaring "Crime is crime is crime; it is not political", but nevertheless the UK government privately contacted republican leaders in a bid to bring the hunger strikes to an end. After the deaths of Sands and nine others some rights were restored to paramilitary prisoners, but not official recognition of their political status. Violence in Northern Ireland escalated significantly during the hunger strikes; in 1982 Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 politician Danny Morrison described Thatcher as "the biggest bastard we have ever known".

Thatcher narrowly escaped injury in a PIRA assassination attempt
Brighton hotel bombing
The Brighton hotel bombing happened on 12 October 1984 at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, England. The bomb was planted by Provisional Irish Republican Army member Patrick Magee, with the intention of assassinating Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet who were staying at the hotel for the...

 at a Brighton hotel early in the morning on 12 October 1984. Five people were killed, including the wife of Cabinet Minister John Wakeham
John Wakeham
John Wakeham, Baron Wakeham, PC, DL is a businessman and British Conservative Party politician and the current Chancellor of Brunel University.He was a director of Enron from 1994 until its bankruptcy in 2001....

. Thatcher was staying at the hotel to attend the Conservative Party Conference, which she insisted should open as scheduled the following day. She delivered her speech as planned, a move that was widely supported across the political spectrum and enhanced her popularity with the public.

On 6 November 1981 Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach
Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

 Garret FitzGerald
Garret FitzGerald
Garret FitzGerald was an Irish politician who was twice Taoiseach of Ireland, serving in office from July 1981 to February 1982 and again from December 1982 to March 1987. FitzGerald was elected to Seanad Éireann in 1965 and was subsequently elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD in 1969. He...

 had established the Anglo-Irish Inter-Governmental Council, a forum for meetings between the two governments. On 15 November 1985, Thatcher and FitzGerald signed the Hillsborough Anglo-Irish Agreement
Anglo-Irish Agreement
The Anglo-Irish Agreement was an agreement between the United Kingdom and Ireland which aimed to help bring an end to the Troubles in Northern Ireland...

, the first time a British government had given the Republic of Ireland an advisory role in the governance of Northern Ireland. In protest the Ulster Says No
Ulster Says No
Ulster Says No was the name of a slogan, campaign and mass protest against foreign interference by the Republic of Ireland in the internal affairs of the United Kingdom, specifically that of Northern Ireland...

 movement attracted 100,000 to a rally in Belfast, Ian Gow
Ian Gow
Ian Reginald Edward Gow TD was a British Conservative politician and solicitor. While serving as Member of Parliament for Eastbourne, he was assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army who exploded a bomb under his car outside his home in East Sussex.-Life:Ian Gow was born at 3 Upper...

 resigned as Minister of State
Minister of State
Minister of State is a title borne by politicians or officials in certain countries governed under a parliamentary system. In some countries a "minister of state" is a junior minister, who is assigned to assist a specific cabinet minister...

 in the HM Treasury
HM Treasury
HM Treasury, in full Her Majesty's Treasury, informally The Treasury, is the United Kingdom government department responsible for developing and executing the British government's public finance policy and economic policy...

, and all fifteen Unionist MPs resigned their parliamentary seats; only one was not returned in the subsequent by-elections on 23 January 1986.

Resignation


Thatcher was challenged for the leadership of the Conservative Party by virtually unknown backbench MP Sir Anthony Meyer
Anthony Meyer
Sir Anthony John Charles Meyer, 3rd Baronet was a British soldier, diplomat, and Conservative and later Liberal Democrat politician, best known for standing against Margaret Thatcher for the party leadership in 1989...

 in the 1989 leadership election
Conservative Party (UK) leadership election, 1989
The 1989 Conservative Party leadership election took place on 5 December 1989. The incumbent Margaret Thatcher was opposed by the little known 69-year-old backbencher MP Sir Anthony Meyer, Bt.-Background:...

. Of the 374 Conservative MPs eligible to vote 314 voted for Thatcher and 33 for Meyer. Her supporters in the party viewed the result as a success, and rejected suggestions that there was discontent within the party.

During her premiership Thatcher had the second-lowest average approval rating, at 40 percent, of any post-war Prime Minister. Polls consistently showed that she was less popular than her party. A self-described conviction politician, Thatcher always insisted that she did not care about her poll ratings, pointing instead to her unbeaten election record.

Opinion polls in September 1990 reported that Labour had established a 14% lead over the Conservatives, and by November the Conservatives had been trailing Labour for 18 months. These ratings, together with Thatcher's combative personality and willingness to override colleagues' opinions, contributed to discontent within the Conservative party.

On 1 November 1990 Geoffrey Howe, the last remaining member of Thatcher's original 1979 cabinet, resigned from his position as Deputy Prime Minister over her refusal to agree to a timetable for Britain to join the European single currency. In his resignation speech on 13 November, Howe commented on Thatcher's European stance: "It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find the moment that the first balls are bowled that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain." His resignation was fatal to Thatcher's premiership.

The next day, Michael Heseltine
Michael Heseltine
Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine, CH, PC is a British businessman, Conservative politician and patron of the Tory Reform Group. He was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001 and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major...

 mounted a challenge for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Opinion polls had indicated that he would give the Conservatives a national lead over Labour. Although Thatcher won the first ballot, Heseltine attracted sufficient support (152 votes) to force a second ballot. Thatcher initially stated that she intended to "fight on and fight to win" the second ballot, but consultation with her Cabinet persuaded her to withdraw. After seeing the Queen, calling other world leaders, and making one final Commons speech, she left Downing Street in tears. She regarded her ousting as a betrayal.

Thatcher was replaced as Prime Minister and party leader by her Chancellor John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

, who oversaw an upturn in Conservative support in the 17 months leading up to the 1992 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1992
The United Kingdom general election of 1992 was held on 9 April 1992, and was the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party. This election result was one of the biggest surprises in 20th Century politics, as polling leading up to the day of the election showed Labour under leader Neil...

 and led the Conservatives to their fourth successive victory on 9 April 1992. Thatcher favoured Major over Heseltine in the leadership contest, but her support for him weakened in later years.

Later years


Thatcher returned to the backbenches as MP for Finchley for two years after leaving the premiership. She retired from the House at the 1992 election, aged 66, saying that leaving the Commons would allow her more freedom to speak her mind.

Post-Commons


After leaving the House of Commons, Thatcher became the first former Prime Minister to set up a foundation; it closed down in 2005 because of financial difficulties. She wrote two volumes of memoirs, The Downing Street Years (1993) and The Path to Power (1995).

In July 1992, Thatcher was hired by the tobacco company Philip Morris as a "geopolitical consultant" for $250,000 per year and an annual contribution of $250,000 to her foundation. She also earned $50,000 for each speech she delivered.

In August 1992, Thatcher called for NATO to stop the Serbian assault on Goražde
Goražde
Goražde , is a city and municipality in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Drina river. It is located between Foča, Sokolac and Višegrad, and is administratively part of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the center of the Bosnian Podrinje Canton.-Location:Goražde is situated on the...

 and Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

 to end ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 during the Bosnian War
Bosnian War
The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The war involved several sides...

. She compared the situation in Bosnia to "the worst excesses of the Nazis", and warned that there could be a "holocaust". She made a series of speeches in the Lords criticising the Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

, describing it as "a treaty too far" and stated "I could never have signed this treaty". She cited A. V. Dicey
A. V. Dicey
- References :...

 when stating that as all three main parties were in favour of revisiting the treaty, the people should have their say.

Thatcher was honorary Chancellor
Chancellor (education)
A chancellor or vice-chancellor is the chief executive of a university. Other titles are sometimes used, such as president or rector....

 of the College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary
The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

 in Virginia (1993–2000) and also of the University of Buckingham
University of Buckingham
The University of Buckingham is an independent, non-sectarian, research and teaching university located in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England, on the banks of the River Great Ouse. It was originally founded as Buckingham University College in the 1970s and received its Royal Charter from the...

 (1992–1999), the UK's first private university, which she had opened in 1975.

After Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

's election as Labour Party leader
Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 1994
A leadership election was held on 21 July 1994 for the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, after the sudden death of incumbent leader John Smith. The 1994 election would ultimately decide not only Labour's new leader, but also the next Prime Minister...

 in 1994, Thatcher praised Blair in an interview as "probably the most formidable Labour leader since Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell CBE was a British Labour politician, who held Cabinet office in Clement Attlee's governments, and was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1955, until his death in 1963.-Early life:He was born in Kensington, London, the third and youngest...

. I see a lot of socialism behind their front bench, but not in Mr Blair. I think he genuinely has moved."

In 1998, Thatcher called for the release of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

 when Spain had him arrested
Augusto Pinochet's arrest and trial
General Augusto Pinochet was indicted for human rights violations committed in his native Chile by Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzón on 10 October 1998. He was arrested in London six days later and finally released by the British government in March 2000...

 and sought to try him for human rights violations, citing the help he gave Britain during the Falklands War. In 1999, she visited him while he was under house arrest near London. Pinochet was released in March 2000 on medical grounds by the Home Secretary Jack Straw
Jack Straw
Jack Straw , British politician.Jack Straw may also refer to:* Jack Straw , English* "Jack Straw" , 1971 song by the Grateful Dead* Jack Straw by W...

, without facing trial.

In the 2001 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2001
The United Kingdom general election, 2001 was held on Thursday 7 June 2001 to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media, as the Labour Party was re-elected with another landslide result and only suffered a net loss of 6 seats...

 Thatcher supported the Conservative general election campaign, but did not endorse Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith
George Iain Duncan Smith is a British Conservative politician. He is currently the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and was previously leader of the Conservative Party from September 2001 to October 2003...

 as she had done for John Major and William Hague. In the Conservative leadership election
Conservative Party (UK) leadership election, 2001
The 2001 Conservative leadership election was held after the United Kingdom Conservative Party failed to make inroads into the Labour government's lead in the 2001 general election. Party leader William Hague resigned, and a leadership contest was called under new rules Hague had introduced...

 shortly after, she supported Smith over Kenneth Clarke.

In March 2002, Thatcher's book Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World
Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World
Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World is a book on politics and international relations written by Margaret Thatcher in 2003 and was published by Harper Perennial.-Synopsis:...

, dedicated to Ronald Reagan, was released. In it, she claimed there would be no peace in the Middle East until Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 was toppled, that Israel must trade land for peace, and that the European Union (EU) was "fundamentally unreformable", "a classic utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme whose inevitable destiny is failure". She argued that Britain should renegotiate its terms of membership or else leave the EU and join the North American Free Trade Area. The book was serialised in The Times on 18 March; on 23 March she announced that on the advice of her doctors she would cancel all planned speaking engagements and accept no more.

Since 2003


Sir Denis Thatcher
Denis Thatcher
Major Sir Denis Thatcher, 1st Baronet, MBE, TD was a British businessman, and the husband of the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. He was born in Lewisham, London, the elder child of a New Zealand-born British businessman, Thomas Herbert Thatcher, and his wife Kathleen, née Bird...

 died on 26 June 2003 and was cremated on 3 July. She had paid tribute to him in The Downing Street Years, writing "Being Prime Minister is a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be: you cannot lead from the crowd. But with Denis there I was never alone. What a man. What a husband. What a friend".

On 11 June 2004, Thatcher attended the state funeral service for Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

. She delivered her eulogy
Eulogy
A eulogy is a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially one recently deceased or retired. Eulogies may be given as part of funeral services. However, some denominations either discourage or do not permit eulogies at services to maintain respect for traditions...

 via videotape; in view of her health, the message had been pre-recorded several months earlier. Thatcher then flew to California with the Reagan entourage, and attended the memorial service and interment ceremony for the president at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Designed by Hugh Stubbins and Associates, the library is located in Simi Valley, California, about northwest of...

.


Thatcher celebrated her 80th birthday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hyde Park, London, on 13 October 2005, at which the guests included the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

, Princess Alexandra
Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy
Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy is the youngest granddaughter of King George V of the United Kingdom and Mary of Teck. She is the widow of Sir Angus Ogilvy...

 and Tony Blair. Geoffrey Howe, by then Lord Howe of Aberavon, was also present, and said of his former leader: "Her real triumph was to have transformed not just one party but two, so that when Labour did eventually return, the great bulk of Thatcherism
Thatcherism
Thatcherism describes the conviction politics, economic and social policy, and political style of the British Conservative politician Margaret Thatcher, who was leader of her party from 1975 to 1990...

 was accepted as irreversible."

In 2006, Thatcher attended the official Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 memorial service to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States. She was a guest of Vice President Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

, and met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

 during her visit.

In February 2007, Thatcher became the first living UK Prime Minister to be honoured with a statue in the Houses of Parliament. The bronze statue stands opposite that of her political hero, Sir Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, and was unveiled on 21 February 2007 with Thatcher in attendance; she made a rare and brief speech in the members' lobby of the House of Commons, responding: "I might have preferred iron – but bronze will do ... It won't rust." The statue shows her addressing the House of Commons, with her right arm outstretched.

Thatcher returned to 10 Downing Street in late November 2009 for the unveiling of an official portrait by the artist Richard Stone
Richard Stone (painter)
Richard Stone is a British painter, specializing in portraits. In 1973, at the age of 22, he became the youngest commissioned royal portrait painter in almost 200 years. He has completed commissioned portraits of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and is completing...

, an unusual honour for a living ex-Prime Minister. Stone had previously painted portraits of the Queen and the Queen Mother.

Thatcher suffered several small strokes in 2002 and was advised by her doctors not to engage in any more public speaking. After collapsing at a House of Lords dinner, she was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital
St Thomas' Hospital
St Thomas' Hospital is a large NHS hospital in London, England. It is administratively a part of Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. It has provided health care freely or under charitable auspices since the 12th century and was originally located in Southwark.St Thomas' Hospital is accessible...

 in central London on 7 March 2008 for tests. Her daughter Carol has recounted ongoing memory loss.

She is a public supporter of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism
Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism
The Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism , which was signed on 3 June 2008, was a declaration signed by prominent European politicians, former political prisoners and historians, including past signatories of Charter 77 such as Václav Havel, which called for condemnation of and...

 and the resulting Prague Process, and sent a public letter of support to its preceding conference.

At the Conservative Party conference in 2010, the new Prime Minister David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

 announced that he would invite Thatcher back to 10 Downing Street on her 85th birthday for a party to be attended by past and present ministers. She pulled out of the celebration because of flu. She was invited to the Royal Wedding on 29 April 2011 but did not attend, reportedly due to ill health.

On American Independence Day
Independence Day (United States)
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain...

 2011 (4 July) Lady Thatcher was to attend a ceremony for the unveiling of a 10-foot statue to former American President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Ronald Reagan, outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London but was unable to attend due to frail health. On 31 July 2011 it was announced that the former prime minister's office in the House of Lords had been closed down.

Also in July 2011, Thatcher was named the most competent British Prime Minister of the past 30 years in an Ipsos MORI poll.

In September 2011, Thatcher attended the 50th birthday party of the Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox
Liam Fox
Liam Fox MP is a British Conservative politician, Member of Parliament for North Somerset, and former Secretary of State for Defence....

, at his apartment in Admiralty House; Dr Fox commented "it was great having two Prime Ministers at my 50th birthday party this evening".

Legacy



Thatcher remains identified with her remarks to the reporter Douglas Keay, for Woman's Own
Woman's Own
Woman's Own is a British lifestyle magazine aimed at women.Woman's Own was first published in 1932. It is one of the UK's most famous women's magazines and is published by IPC Media....

magazine in September 1987:
To her supporters, Margaret Thatcher remains a figure who revitalised Britain's economy, impacted the trade unions, and re-established the nation as a world power. She oversaw an increase from 7% to 25% of adults owning shares, and more than a million families bought their council houses, giving an increase from 55% to 67% in owner-occupiers. Total personal wealth rose by 80%.
Victory in the Falklands conflict and her strong alliance with the United States are also remembered as some of her greatest achievements.

Thatcher's premiership was also marked by high unemployment and social unrest, and many critics fault her economic policies for the unemployment level; many of the areas affected by high unemployment as a result of her monetarist
Monetarism
Monetarism is a tendency in economic thought that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. It is the view within monetary economics that variation in the money supply has major influences on national output in the short run and the price level over...

 economic policieshave still not fully recovered and are also blighted by social problems including drug abuse and family breakdown. Speaking in Scotland in April 2009, before the 30th anniversary of her election as Prime Minister, Thatcher insisted she had no regrets, and was right to introduce the poll tax and to remove subsidies from "outdated industries, whose markets were in terminal decline" which had created "the culture of dependency, which had done such damage to Britain".

Thatcher often referred after the war to the "Falklands Spirit"; Hastings and Jenkins (1983) suggested that this reflected her preference for the streamlined decision-making of her War Cabinet over the painstaking deal-making of peace-time cabinet government
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

.

Critics have regretted Thatcher's influence in the abandonment of full employment
Full employment
In macroeconomics, full employment is a condition of the national economy, where all or nearly all persons willing and able to work at the prevailing wages and working conditions are able to do so....

, poverty reduction and a consensual civility as bedrock policy objectives. Many recent biographers have been critical of aspects of the Thatcher years and Michael White
Michael White (journalist)
Michael White is an associate editor and former political editor of The Guardian.-Early life:White was raised in Wadebridge, Cornwall...

, writing in New Statesman
New Statesman
New Statesman is a British centre-left political and cultural magazine published weekly in London. Founded in 1913, and connected with leading members of the Fabian Society, the magazine reached a circulation peak in the late 1960s....

in February 2009, challenged the view that her reforms had brought a net benefit. Despite being Britain's first woman Prime Minister, some critics contend Thatcher did "little to advance the political cause of women", either within her party or the government, and some British feminists regarded her as "an enemy".

The term "Thatcherism
Thatcherism
Thatcherism describes the conviction politics, economic and social policy, and political style of the British Conservative politician Margaret Thatcher, who was leader of her party from 1975 to 1990...

" came to refer to her policies as well as aspects of her ethical outlook and personal style, including moral absolutism
Moral absolutism
Moral absolutism is an ethical view that certain actions are absolutely right or wrong, regardless of other contexts such as their consequences or the intentions behind them. Thus stealing, for instance, might be considered to be always immoral, even if done to promote some other good , and even if...

, nationalism
British nationalism
Far right politics in the United Kingdom have existed since at least the 1930s, with the formation of fascist and anti-semitic movements. It went on to acquire more explicitly racial connotations, being dominated in the 1960s and 1970s by self-proclaimed white nationalist organisations that oppose...

, interest in the individual, and an uncompromising approach to achieving political goals.. Influenced at the outset by Keith Joseph
Keith Joseph
Keith St John Joseph, Baron Joseph, Bt, CH, PC , was a British barrister and politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served in the Cabinet under three Prime Ministers , and is widely regarded to have been the "power behind the throne" in the creation of what came to be known as...

, Thatcherism remains a potent byword in British political parlance, with both Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 and Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

 defining policies in post-Thatcherite terms, and David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

 saying after a dinner with Thatcher in February 2009: "You have got to do the right thing even if it is painful. Don't trim or track all over the place. Set your course and take the difficult decisions because that is what needs to be done ... I think that influence, that character she had, that conviction she had, I think that will be very important."

In 2011, Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 leader Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband
Edward Samuel Miliband is a British Labour Party politician, currently the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition...

 praised some of Thatcher's key policies, stating: "Some of what happened in the 1980s was right. It was right to let people buy their council houses. It was right to cut tax rates of 60, 70, 80 per cent. And it was right to change the rules on the closed shop, on strikes before ballots. These changes were right, and we were wrong to oppose it at the time."

Thatcher's tenure of 11 years and 209 days as Prime Minister was the longest since Lord Salisbury
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC , styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865 and Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, was a British Conservative statesman and thrice Prime Minister, serving for a total of over 13 years...

 (13 years and 252 days in three spells starting in 1885), and the longest continuous period in office since Lord Liverpool
Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool KG PC was a British politician and the longest-serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since the Union with Ireland in 1801. He was 42 years old when he became premier in 1812 which made him younger than all of his successors to date...

 (14 years and 305 days starting in 1812).

Honours


Thatcher became a Privy Councillor (PC) upon becoming Secretary of State for Education and Science in 1970. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 (OM) (an order within the personal gift of the Queen) within two weeks of leaving office. Denis Thatcher was made a Baronet
Baronet
A baronet or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess , is the holder of a hereditary baronetcy awarded by the British Crown...

 at the same time. She became a peer in the House of Lords in 1992 with a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven
Kesteven
The Parts of Kesteven are a traditional subdivision of Lincolnshire, England. This subdivision had long had a separate county administration , along with the other two parts, Lindsey and Holland.-Etymology:...

 in the County of Lincolnshire. She was appointed a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, the UK's highest order of chivalry
Chivalry
Chivalry is a term related to the medieval institution of knighthood which has an aristocratic military origin of individual training and service to others. Chivalry was also the term used to refer to a group of mounted men-at-arms as well as to martial valour...

, in 1995.

She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1983, and was the first woman entitled to full membership rights as an honorary member of the Carlton Club
Carlton Club
The Carlton Club is a gentlemen's club in London which describes itself as the "oldest, most elite, and most important of all Conservative clubs." Membership of the club is by nomination and election only.-History:...

 on becoming leader of the Conservative Party in 1975.

In the Falklands, Margaret Thatcher Day has been marked every 10 January since 1992, commemorating her visit in 1983. Thatcher Drive in Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

 is named for her, as is Thatcher Peninsula
Thatcher Peninsula
Thatcher Peninsula is a mountainous cove in north-central South Georgia terminating to the north in Mai Point, rising between Cumberland West Bay to the west, and Cumberland East Bay and Moraine Fjord to the east; bounded to the southwest and south by Lyell Glacier and Hamberg Glacier...

 in South Georgia, where the task force troops first set foot on the Falklands.

Thatcher has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the highest civilian honour awarded by the US; the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom; and the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award
Ronald Reagan Freedom Award
The Ronald Reagan Freedom Award is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the private Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. The award is given to "those who have made monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom worldwide."...

. She is a patron of the Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

, which established the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in 2005. Speaking of Heritage president Ed Feulner, at the first Clare Booth Luce lecture in September 1993, Thatcher said: "You didn't just advise President Reagan on what he should do; you told him how he could do it. And as a practising politician I can testify that that is the only advice worth having." Other awards include Dame Grand Cross of the Croatian Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir
Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir
The Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir , or more fully the Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir with sash and Morning Star , is an order of the Republic of Croatia. It ranks fourth in the Croatian order of precedence after the Grand Order of King Petar Krešimir IV...

.

A statue of her likeness sits on the Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, United States, is a co-educational liberal arts college known for being the first American college to prohibit in its charter all discrimination based on race, religion, or sex; its refusal of government funding; and its monthly publication, Imprimis...

 campus in Hillsdale, MI, in honour of her role as a speaker there in March 1995 and her continued support of the college and its emphasis on the Western tradition. It remains the first and only statue of the former Prime Minister within the United States

Upon Thatcher's eventual death, it is rumoured that she will be honoured with a state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

 at St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is a Church of England cathedral and seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. St Paul's sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the mother...

. If so, she will be the first Prime Minister to be honoured this way since Sir Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 in 1965.

Media depictions


Depictions of Margaret Thatcher
Cultural depictions of Margaret Thatcher
This page is a list of depictions of Margaret Thatcher onstage, in film and in other forms of fiction.-Film:*The Iron Lady - Meryl Streep*Back in Business - Caroline Bernstein...

 have featured in a number of television programmes, documentaries, films and plays; she was played by Patricia Hodge
Patricia Hodge
Patricia Ann Hodge is an English actor.-Early life:The daughter of the Royal Hotel owner/manager Eric and his wife Marion , Hodge attended Wintringham Girls' Grammar School on Weelsby Avenue in Grimsby and then St...

 in Ian Curteis
Ian Curteis
Ian Bayley Curteis is a British television dramatist and former television director.In a career as a television dramatist from the late 1960s onwards, Curteis wrote for many of the series of the day, including The Onedin Line and Crown Court. In 1979, two television plays by Curteis were...

's long unproduced The Falklands Play
The Falklands Play
The Falklands Play is a dramatic account of the political events leading up to, and including, the 1982 Falklands War. The play was written by Ian Curteis, an experienced writer who had started his television career in drama, but had increasingly come to specialise in dramatic reconstructions of...

(2002) and Lindsay Duncan
Lindsay Duncan
Lindsay Vere Duncan, CBE is a Scottish stage, television and film actress. On stage she won two Olivier Awards and a Tony Award for her performance in Les Liaisons dangereuses and Private Lives , and she starred in several plays by Harold Pinter. Her most famous roles on television include:...

 in Margaret
Margaret (2009 film)
Margaret is a 2009 television film produced by Great Meadow Productions for the BBC. It is a fictionalisation of the life of Margaret Thatcher and her fall from the premiership in the 1990 leadership election. It was first broadcast on 26 February 2009 on BBC Two...

(2009). She was portrayed by Andrea Riseborough
Andrea Riseborough
-Early life:Riseborough grew up in Whitley Bay. In reference to The Long Walk To Finchley, she has described her parents as "working-class Thatcherites"....

 in the TV film The Long Walk to Finchley
The Long Walk to Finchley
Margaret Thatcher - The Long Walk to Finchley, subtitled in the initial credits How Maggie Might Have Done It, is a 2008 BBC Four television drama based on the early political career of the young Margaret Thatcher , from her attempts to gain a seat in Dartford in 1949 via invasion to her first...

. Thatcher will be played by Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television and film.Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with...

 in the 2011 film The Iron Lady
The Iron Lady (film)
The Iron Lady is an upcoming biographical film about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, portrayed by Meryl Streep. Thatcher's husband, Denis Thatcher, will be portrayed by Jim Broadbent, and Thatcher's longest-serving cabinet member and eventual deputy, Geoffrey Howe, will be...

.

Thatcher was lampooned by satirist John Wells
John Wells (satirist)
John Wells was an English actor, writer and satirist, educated at Eastbourne College and St Edmund Hall, Oxford...

 in several media. Wells collaborated with Richard Ingrams
Richard Ingrams
Richard Ingrams is an English journalist, a co-founder and second editor of the British satirical magazine Private Eye, and now editor of The Oldie magazine.-Career:...

 on the spoof "Dear Bill
Dear Bill
The "Dear Bill" letters were a regular feature in the British satirical magazine Private Eye, purporting to be the private correspondence of Denis Thatcher, husband of the then-Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher...

" letters which ran as a column in Private Eye
Private Eye
Private Eye is a fortnightly British satirical and current affairs magazine, edited by Ian Hislop.Since its first publication in 1961, Private Eye has been a prominent critic and lampooner of public figures and entities that it deemed guilty of any of the sins of incompetence, inefficiency,...

magazine, were published in book form, and were then adapted into a West End stage revue as Anyone for Denis?, starring Wells as Denis Thatcher. The stage show was followed by a 1982 TV special directed by Dick Clement
Dick Clement
Dick Clement, OBE is an English writer.Born in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England, Clement was educated at Bishop's Stortford College and is best known for his writing partnership with Ian La Frenais. Generally, Clement and La Frenais write comedies, or dramas with a comic tone...

. In 1979, Wells was commissioned by comedy producer Martin Lewis to write and perform on a comedy record album titled Iron Lady: The Coming Of The Leader on which Thatcher was portrayed by comedienne and noted Thatcher impersonator Janet Brown. The album consisted of skits and songs satirising Thatcher's rise to power.

In Spitting Image, Thatcher was portrayed as a bullying tyrant, wearing trousers, and ridiculing her own ministers.

Protest songs


Thatcher was the subject or the inspiration for a number of protest song
Protest song
A protest song is a song which is associated with a movement for social change and hence part of the broader category of topical songs . It may be folk, classical, or commercial in genre...

s including The Specials
The Specials
The Specials are an English 2 Tone ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry, England. Their music combines a "danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk's energy and attitude", and had a "more focused and informed political and social stance" than other ska groups...

' "Ghost Town
Ghost Town
"Ghost Town" is the title of a 1981 song by the British ska band, The Specials. The song spent three weeks at number one and ten weeks in the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart. Addressing themes of urban decay, deindustrialisation, unemployment and violence in inner cities, the song is remembered for...

", (1981), The Jam
The Jam
The Jam were an English punk rock/New Wave/mod revival band active during the late 1970s and early 1980s. They were formed in Woking, Surrey. While they shared the "angry young men" outlook and fast tempos of their punk rock contemporaries, The Jam wore smartly tailored suits rather than ripped...

's "Town Called Malice
Town Called Malice
"Town Called Malice" is a song recorded by The Jam from the album The Gift. It reached number one in the UK singles chart.-Song profile:It was a double A-side single release featuring "Precious" as the flip side...

" (Number One in February 1982) and Morrissey
Morrissey
Steven Patrick Morrissey , known as Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career,...

's "Margaret on the Guillotine
Viva Hate
Viva Hate is Morrissey's debut solo album, released on 14 March 1988 by HMV Records. The album was considered a very strong foray into Morrissey's solo career, as he utilised his traditional lyrical style and retained the basic sound that The Smiths had developed by the time they broke up. It...

". Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

's "Shipbuilding" protested against the Falklands war. Songwriter Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg
Stephen William Bragg , better known as Billy Bragg, is an English alternative rock musician and left-wing activist. His music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, and his lyrics mostly deal with political or romantic themes...

 released Workers Playtime in 1988. In 1982 Crass
Crass
Crass are an English punk rock band that was formed in 1977, which promoted anarchism as a political ideology, way of living, and as a resistance movement. Crass popularised the seminal anarcho-punk movement of the punk subculture, and advocated direct action, animal rights, and environmentalism...

 released the single "Sheep Farming In The Falklands" and in 1983 "How Does It Feel To Be The Mother Of 1000 Dead?". Paul Weller
Paul Weller
Paul Weller is an English singer-songwriter. Starting with the band The Jam , Weller then went on to branch out musically to a more soulful style with The Style Council...

 was a founding member of Red Wedge
Red Wedge
Red Wedge was a collective of musicians who attempted to engage young people with politics in general, and the policies of the Labour Party in particular, during the period leading up to the 1987 general election, in the hope of ousting the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.Fronted by...

 collective, which unsuccessfully sought to oust Thatcher with the help of music. In 1987, they organised a comedy tour with British comedians Lenny Henry
Lenny Henry
Lenworth George "Lenny" Henry, is a British actor, writer, comedian and occasional television presenter.- Early life :...

, Ben Elton
Ben Elton
Benjamin Charles "Ben" Elton is an English comedian, author, playwright and director. He was a leading figure in the British alternative comedy movement of the 1980s, as a writer on such cult series as The Young Ones and Blackadder, as well as also a successful stand-up comedian on stage and TV....

, Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane, OBE is a Scottish actor, comedian and author. He is known both for his role as Dr...

, Harry Enfield
Harry Enfield
Henry Richard "Harry" Enfield is a BAFTA-winning English comedian, actor, writer and director.-Early life:...

 and others.BBC "Rocking against Thatcher" 4 May 2004

Further reading



Biographies

Political analysis

Books by Thatcher

Ministerial autobiographies

External links



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