Margaret Thatcher Dead at 87

Margaret Thatcher Dead at 87

Former British Prime Minister and centerpiece of the film “Iron Lady”, has passed away at the age of 87.  Her demise is the result of a stroke.  She had suffered several previous strokes and had been experiencing dementia for some time.

Baroness Thatcher, as she was known after she was no longer Prime Minister, served Britain from 1979 until 1990, when she was voted out by her own party.

Six years before she became the first woman to hold the highest office in England, told the press, “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.”

Thatcher maintained a firm relationship with Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, and became an intermediary between the two world leaders.  But she did not favor the rejoining of east and west Germany.  “East Germany has been under Nazism or Communism since 1930. You are not going to go overnight to democratic structures and a freer market economy,” Thatcher insisted in a key interview, arguing that peace, security and stability “can only be achieved through our existing alliances negotiating with others internationally.”

West German leader Helmut Kohl was furious about the interview, seeing Thatcher as a “protector of Gobachev,” according to notes made that day by his close aide Horst Teltschik.

The two Germanies reunited by the end of that year

When Argentina laid claim to the Falkland Islands, Britain waged a short but fierce war, recapturing South Georgia Island.  She told reporters; “Just rejoice at the news and congratulate our forces.”

An ultra-conservative, she eliminated many government subsidies to business causing mass unemployment and rioting.  Unemployment reached as high as 3 million in 1986.

She was forced to resign in 1990 during an internal leadership struggle after she introduced a poll tax levied on community residents rather than property.

The unpopular tax led to rioting in the streets.

Thatcher will remain a controversial figure.  For three terms as Prime Minister, Britains had a love-hate relationship with her.  Labeled the “Iron Lady” by the Soviet Union because she declared that they were bent on “world dominance”, she fit the mold.  She was un-yielding in her beliefs, and defiant towards the male dominated parliament.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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