Talk:Margaret Thatcher

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Thatcher won elections as Prime Minister from 1979-1990, however, prior to her politcal career she performed in adult movies under the name of "Margaret Snatcher".' Next to Winston Churchill many consider Thatcher to be the most important British political leader of the twentieth century.


Goodness! Doesn't anyone do any checking?

--TK 19:39, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

You just did! Thanks. Crackertalk 19:57, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

TK - I am confused as to why you have reverted my expansion of this article - whilst a firm supporter of most of Mrs Thatcher's reforms I do not feel an entry that does not mention the controversy caused in parts of the UK or the manner of her departure can be considered encyclopedic, since so much current British policy and policy in other countries with Thatcherite governments is still inspired by the reactions to the more unpopular policies of her final term of office? Tracy C Copeland 07:57, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Agreed; there was nothing there I'd class as 'editorial.' I've restored your material. Tsumetai 08:00, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
  • Material was reverted back, and edited again. You seem at odds with the Sysop, Aschlafly, and his instructions to me. --TK 20:31, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Contents

"Alcoholism"

Just to clarify - I have mentioned her alcoholism whilst in office not out of prurience, but because it has a direct bearing on public perceptions of her in her final term. Her drink problem whilst in office is a matter of public record and I've cited reputable news sources as such. The citation to the left-wing "Class War" party is included not because I support them in any way but to illustrate the unusually high degree of polarisation she caused - no other Conservative leader, including Bush in the US, appears to have generated such hatred, as opposed to dislike and disagreement, from left wingers.Tracy C Copeland 08:26, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

  • I received this response from the Sysop, Andrew: "So edit them, please. That's what wiki software is for. If you encounter a locked page, which I doubt for Margaret Thatcher, then the talk page is the appropriate place for your comments. Claims of alcoholism appear like gossip to me, by the way, which would be against our rules"--Aschlafly 20:14, 15 March 2007 (EDT)


I have not reverted TK's deletion of my edit on her alleged alcoholism but I disagree that it's gossip. Whether or not it was true, the fact that reputable news sources were claiming that she was an alcoholic (examples at [1], [2]) had a direct bearing on her sudden drop in support in her third term and the Conservative Party's removing her as leader, which in turn had major consequences for conservative politics worldwide. I feel that an article on Thatcher that does not mention her forced removal from office is like an article on Nixon or Clinton that failed to mention impeachment.
I am confused at TK's allegation that I "cited Wikipedia as a source" in this article - my edit contained three citations, one to the BBC, one to the Guardian newspaper and one to a left wing site, intended to illustrate the type of left-wing opposition to Thatcher and clearly marked as such. I also would like to point out to TK that I am not a 'disgruntled Scottish liberal' as he implies in his edit summaries - while I grew up in Norfolk, about as far from Scotland as it is possible to be in the UK, I now live and work in the US, and have never been 'a liberal' in the US sense of the word. In the British, libertarian sense of the word, then yes, I am a liberal but so I would guess are 90% of contributors here.Tracy C Copeland 06:51, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
  • Tracy, although I might have mistook you for a Scottish liberal, I wasn't confusing your edits with those, in many places, by others...citing Wikipedia. Sorry if my posting of Andrew Schlafly's note about Wikipedia was taken as aimed at you. It certainly was not. I am however researching several sources to vet the alcoholism deal. Scotsman.com isn't actually what one would consider mainstream media, such as the London Times, is it? If you will email me, I can give you my IM and perhaps you could enlighten me more on this....sound fair? Please understand that a drink or five isn't exactly noteworthy where it concerns politicians, anywhere in the world, and I believe Sir Winston and President Roosevelt might have out-drank Lady Thatcher 3 to 1. and encyclopedia's the world over haven't deemed it germain to include in their pieces on them, other than a side-note. I cannot find anything concrete, from a reputable source that claims the main reason she was ousted was drinking. Thanks, my name is Terry, btw.......... --TK 07:13, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

Hi Tracy. I've looked at your two quotes above and neither of them uses the word "alcoholism", so - at least from the two sources you quote above - that would appear to be (shall we say) an over interpretation on your part. Additionally I'm not sure that I'd regard either "The Scotsman" or "The Guardian" as particularly neutral sources as far as Mrs thatcher is concerned anyway. Finally, in the light of her many accomplishments such as winning the miner's strike, winning the Falklands war, reducing the power of the trades unions, giving people the right to own their own council houses etc etc, an attempt to give significant space to an unfounded allegation that she was an alcoholic simply looks like an attempt to damage her reputation. --British_cons (talk) 16:06, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

She certainly isn't an alcoholic by clinical standards, but the memoirs of her colleagues do consistently paint a picture of her as a heavy drinker. In contrast to Winston Churchill it never got to the stage where it caused her to become incapable of performing her public functions, so I don't think it merits inclusion in a short encyclopaedia entry. It might be worth noting in a detailed account of her decline and fall as a symptom of her increasing political isolation.--Jalapeno 02:54, 15 May 2007 (EDT)

Wikipedia Citations/Sourcing

Since the Conservapedia is billed as an alternative to Wikipedia, which is deemed by the Founders as culturally, religiously and politically biased, why in God's name are editors using information from that source to substantiate their information/edits here?

Many of us start from the premise Wikipedia is a suspect source. Please find alternative source information, otherwise there isn't really a point to this "alternative" is there? I am seeing editing here that uses citations from the same author's work at Wikipedia, or quoting material not properly sourced on Wikipedia. That simply isn't an acceptable practice, and is intellectually dishonest.

--TK 19:29, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

  • You're right. Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable source or authority. Please edit the offending pages and alert the contributors. The mistakes could have been innocent, of course.--Aschlafly 19:32, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

AustinM

Is there some reason that you failed to explain your wholesale removal of material here? When editing, removing, one is expected to leave notes. --TK 11:11, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

I agree - he has also deleted the entire entry for John Major, which I have reverted. Tracy C Copeland 12:27, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
suspected vandalism and spoof articles. I did search for references to alcoholism for thatcher and could not find any which were not from scurrilous left wing journals. As a matter of course I rv all edits by the user. I will ban if such behaviour continues. --AustinM 13:35, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
AustinM - I've provided 2 citations from major & reputable UK newspapers (The Scotsman and The Guardian) as examples. As I posted above when originally adding this paragraph it does not allege that Thatcher was an alcoholic but that mainstream UK news media were saying she was which had a direct bearing on the Conservative Party's decision to remove her from office. In light of your remarks about my 'vandalism', I see that you have replaced my lengthy entry on John Major - one of the longest serving Conservative Prime Ministers of the 20th century - with the single line "He achieved very little". Tracy C Copeland 15:01, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
  • Tracy, read above and edit in the caption where you are responded to, please? :p The Scotsman is judged NOT to be mainstream media, and the Sysadmin, has ruled it it gossip.---- AUSTIN: Please provide a reason for your removal of the paragraphs, pertient to Thatcher, that you removed, as requested, or I will revert it back. You are a Sysop...please do try to communicate!

I plan to leave this article well alone as I have no intention of starting a Wikipedia style reversion war. Austin, I have replied to you three times, on your talk page, my talk page and talk:John Major. I also wonder how The Scotsman - the largest circulation non-tabloid newspaper in the country - can possibly be 'non mainstream'? Terry as per your request above (sorry I have only just noticed), I can be contacted via email, the address on here should be valid, however in light of the fact that every single change I have made to date appears to be being reverted I think it's unlikely I will be staying here! Tracy C Copeland 19:20, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

  • Tracy, I shall look for the email. Takes some getting used to, this place, and I at least, am interested in learning about this Thatcher information. I too have had the experience you mention, these syops here just will not communicate at all, nor explain what they do. Austin removed several paragraphs I added about Thatcher, not even leaving a note as to why. That is really poor judgement, and I have written to (ASchlafly) Andrew Schlafly about such matters, and I suggest you do. Rob is the only sysop who at least bothered to post. --TK 19:36, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
My apologies everyone my conncetion has been down so I have not been able to respond. I was removing edits by Tracy as I repeatedly tried to find mainstream confirmation of her edits and couldn't. My understanding of Thatchers removal was that it was due to her losing control of her cabinet and being percieved as being out of touch. Alcoholism did not feature. Although her husband liked a drink it has to be said. Please carry on editing and I will be more careful next time. TK you can find a apology from me on your talk pages. regards --AustinM 11:21, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
  • Austin, all's well that ends well, I say! Thanks for being so dedicated and chasing her down! Send me an email from here, and I will shoot you my IM handle on AIM, as we both seem to be around the late, early, whatever hours, and maybe keeping in touch, we can work better to foil those trolls. Same for you, Conservative & Cracker. --TK 15:56, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Is this a joke?

"Also Thatcher supported the United States actions against the Communists lead by President Ronald Reagan. "

Ronald Reagan did not lead the Communists! Myk 19:45, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

AGAINST Crackertalk 19:46, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
  • You guys need to go back, and see all the material Austin removed, with no explanation....**rolls eyes**--TK 20:05, 16 March 2007 (EDT)


Yes, now that I've had a look at it, one does wonder why all of that was removed. Without, as you say, any explanation. Bit strange. Can we have an explanation? --British_cons (talk) 20:16, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

  • Doesn't seem as if we are important enough to be responded to, eh? Most of these people are running about like chickens with their heads cut off, without any proper procedures for communication. --Terry 23:10, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
Finally. Not like Wikipedia at all. --Crackertalk 23:14, 16 March 2007 (EDT)


So can the stuff be re-inserted? (I'm a bit new at this) The vast majority of the stuff was very good. If there are individual points we disagree with we can discuss them here. --British_cons (talk) 04:10, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

  • Well, I was waiting to hear from Austin...but seems to be hiding under his desk... ;-) --TK 10:58, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
It looks open for editing to me. --Crackertalk 11:00, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
Remember: Citing truth that isn't "conservative enough" = vandalism. Doubleplus goodthink! --Crackertalk 11:02, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
  • ROFL! I'll revert it back after my breakfast, or you can, Cracker.  ;-) Maybe that will smoke sysop Austin out. :p --TK 11:06, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Stifled the British coal and newspaper industries?

I thought this was Conservapedia nbot socialapedia and to claim that her fight against the unions stifled the coal and newspaper industries is nothing more than socialist propaganda. You only have to look at Rupert murdoch tom also realise it was untrue propaganda as, of course, her fight against the unions is what re-invigorated Britain, SqueakBox 20:26, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

I don't think that anyone - right or left - would deny that she stifled the coal industry and the newspaper unions - these are probably the two most significant achievements of her time in office, even more than privatization! The only thing left and right would differ on on whether it was justified. Tracy C Copeland 13:50, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Well, unions in general were a lot less powerful when she left office, and the Coal and Newspaper ones were weakened more than most. So I'd say that "stifled" was relatively moderate language. Words like "crushed" or, perhaps even better, "emasculated" spring eagerly to ones lips. --British_cons (talk) 15:04, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

  • Squeakbox, what was said is, she fought the unions, not the coal and newspaper industry. We had a few vandals who were re-writing the page to better suit their liking, not the facts. As Time magazine said of her "Champion of free minds and markets, she helped topple the welfare state and make the world safer for capitalism." And I say here! bloody here! --TK 15:52, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Dumezil22

Please do NOT make surreptitious tense changes, that are misleading and inaccurate. Among the changes that bothered me the most:

1: You removed "corrupt" from the line about the coal and newspaper unions, and corrupt, indeed, they were.

2: You changed a paragraph to make it appear Thatcher was defeated for another term as PM. She was not. She withdrew from consideration, because on the first vote her opponet came within only a few votes of defeating her, and after she and her advisors decided she would not win on the 2nd ballot. To state she was defeated is inaccurate and misleading. A party willing to allow her to withdraw, rather than suffer humiliation at being voted out, holds someone in very high regard. --TK 18:24, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

  • This is an American Conservapedia. Her maiden name was Roberts, and thus it is included before her married name. In America. Where this is hosted, that is what we do. If you are unsure, please stop editing, or ask, here, for advice. It is overboard to even suggest she is arguably the best PM in history, great as I believe her to be, and many her accomplishments. Remember Americans have a different style of writing than in the UK, and the rules here state that is the writing and spelling style. I must say you are snide in saying you are "tidying up" and then making major changes, rather than discuss them before like you have been invited to do. --TK 07:46, 18 March 2007 (EDT)


I'm sorry you regard my edits as inappropriate and "snide". Personally, I'm surprised you find them so unacceptable, and your wholesale revert seems unnecessary to me. I don't want to get into a revert war, however. On your specific points:
1. The British Conservative critique of the unions is not that they were corrupt, but that they were Neanderthal and socialist (I can only recall one instance of union corruption). I'm not sure what your source is here.
2. I stated that Lady T was never defeated in a general election, and I did not state that she was defeated in the leadership election. I'm surprised that you apparently seem to object to my statement that she was removed from office by her MPs. I would respectfully suggest that you haven't correctly understood the dynamics of the 1990 leadership election or the circumstances of her withdrawal. "If you are unsure, please ask, here, for advice...." ;-)
3. I'm happy for people to remove Britishisms from my edits. However, to label a Brit with a distinctively American form of name that she has never used in her life seems incorrect. After all, if Conservapedia was South American, she wouldn't be described as "Margaret Roberts de Thatcher". --Dumezil22 14:05, 18 March 2007 (GMT)


  • 1, Corrupt is corrupt, no? The Times says they were corrupt.
  • 2, She was NEVER removed!! Try to get it! She declined to stand for a second vote, when her advisors and she realized she wouldn't have the votes! THAT MEANS SHE WAS NOT REMOVED, But DECLINED TO STAND FOR A VOTE! It is the difference between being sacked, or allowed to resign!
Being there at the time, it was absolutely clear that although she chose to not stand for re-election as leader in the second poll (and so was not defeated), she was definitely forced out of office against her will. Her initial reaction after the first poll was to carry on - it took a few days for the reality of her position to sink in. By not standing, candidates more to her liking than arch-enemy Heseltine were able to throw their hats into the ring, allowing senior minister John Major to take over. I would advocate using the phrase "forced from office" rather than "defeated" or "allowed to resign" as a more accurate reflection of what actually happened. Ferret 08:47, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
  • 3, It means not a wit where someone is from. Here the rules are, use American spelling and customs. Start your own UK Conservapedia, and enforce your customs there. --TK 10:34, 18 March 2007 (EDT)


TK, if you'd like to make your knowledge of the 1990 leadership election even more extensive and formidable, I recommend A Conservative Coup by Alan Watkins, which also has other information about Lady T. It's by a liberal journalist, but it's quite interesting. I understand that the original title was A Conservative Who Was Allowed to Resign by a Party that Held Her in Very High Regard.
Well, I've done the maths, and I think my labour here is finished. I won't add any more colour to this article, and I'll leave TK to the defence of Lady T's honour. I'm going to log off now and enjoy having a fag. --Dumezil22 14:46, 18 March 2007 (GMT)
  • Pity you couldn't be bothered to follow the source links. It is 10 Downings own website where it explains about her not standing for the second vote. I think users of this wiki will be more inclined to believe that source, wot? And as the book title you recommend says exactly what I have been saying, I guess there isn't a need to look at it, eh? Since she did what she did, it is technically what it is. It would be intellectually dishonest to say they forced her out, since she didn't allow that to happen. Introducing comments that I deleted, because I thought better of making them, letting them remain, only makes you a very small, petty creature. If you think it embarasses me, you are right. If you received some satisfaction from it, I shall pray for you. --TK 11:03, 18 March 2007 (EDT)
You're right, I shouldn't have quoted your deleted comments. While I thought they were unfair, I've removed them now, and I apologise. As to the rest, I enjoy political history, and the events of November 1990 would be interesting to discuss further. They (and their aftermath and consequences) may at some point deserve their own section of this article, when it grows and develops. Let's leave it for the moment, though.
Maybe a more constructive line of enquiry would be to ask what amendments to the intro you would support making? I still think it's not in a satisfactory state at the moment. One suggestion would be to split it into separate sub-paragraphs. Also, I'm now going to add a skeleton section on Lady T's pre-1979 career, which isn't covered at present. --Dumezil22 17:16, 18 March 2007 (GMT)
  • I've asked a few people about this, specificically your question, so give me a day or two. Thanks for addding the section pre-79 info! Good show! --TK 01:37, 19 March 2007 (EDT)


I tried to add some useful additions to the pre-1979 section explaining the background to the Brighton bomb but it was removed due to 'lack of citation'. I'm new here - how do you add citations? User:Commandment9

  • Commandment9, after you add whatever it is you want to, copy and paste the URL to wherever it is you sourced your contribution from, say, you read it in the NY Times, you would copy and paste the URL right after your addition, and put brackets [ like this ] around it, and the software will automatically format the link, and number it. Citations are added to back-up what is posted, as opposed to opinion, which has no place in an encyclopedia, generally. See the "Help" link to the left of this page, to learn about how to edit and do all kinds of things. --~ TerryK MyTalk 09:26, 4 April 2007 (EDT)


Terry thanks for explaining that. I can't do anything on this page as it's now protected but I'll try to remember about citations in future. To whoever removed my paragraph on the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike, I was only trying to put the later references to the Brighton Bomb into context as the bomb was a response by the IRA to what they saw as Margaret Thatcher letting the hunger strikers die. It was of course simply an early example of her not giving in to blackmail.

  • If you copy the citation here, I can paste it back into the document. No problem. Glad to have you here, btw, welcome! --~ TerryK MyTalk 18:58, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Editing

How come I was allowed to make changes and then, after putting in a lot of time and work and trying to save the changes, was told the page was locked? This does not make for happy editors. For anyone who is interested, here is my amended version, which I think is clearer in some areas. I hope that a suysop might use this.

Margaret Thatcher as Leader of the Opposition in 1975.

Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher, later Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven (born October 13, 1925), became the leader of the Conservative Party in The United Kingdom in February 1975. She was opposed to socialism and out-of-control union power which had brought down the previous Conservative government in 1974. She ran on these issues which resulted in her being chosen as Prime Minister in May 1979 with the Conservatives sweeping into power.

Lady Thatcher sold many of the nationalized industries back to private investors and made tax cuts. Thatcher stood up against the powerful Labour Party unions, thus encouraging the British coal and newspaper industries by breaking the power of the unions who had a stranglehold over these industries. Due to her strong standards and her leadership style, she became known as the "Iron Lady," a term originally coined as an insult by the communist Soviet Union, but one she adopted with glee. Another famous statement of hers is that "the lady is not for turning" Thatcher was always a strong supporter of the the United States, and was a good friend of President Ronald Reagan, uniting with him in actions against the Communists.

She led Britain to victory against Argentina in a 1982 war over ownership of the Falkland Islands, and though the United States was allied with both countries, and did initially try to broker a negotiated settlement. When that failed, the U.S. supported Britain and not Argentina with vital intelligence information. There is still debate as to the extent to which the war was contrived, as victory in a conflict would have suited both the Argentine Junta and the then unpopular Thatcher. The conflict led to a strong friendship with the Chilean military, Pinochet.

Thatcher won three elections between 1979 and decision not to stand for a second party vote in 1990, when it became apparent she wouldn't have the needed votes. Margaret Thatcher was the longest serving Prime Minister in more than 150 years, and alongside Winston Churchill, many consider her to be one of the two most important British political leaders of the twentieth century.

Her regime was controversial however. Social mobility decreased, whilst eduction and the National Health Service suffered a number of cuts. Unemployment rose to unprecedented levels, exceeding one in ten, and the method of counting was regularly altered to lower the published figures. Many of her actions in the north of England seemed petulant, infamously the sudden closure of much of the mining industry, whilst refusing to interfere with the consequences.

She fundamentally moved the British economy from an industrialist model, to a financial, speculative economy. This shift also served to undermine trade union power with fewer people in stable long term employment and instead in the service industry.

Time Magazine wrote of Lady Thatcher: "She was the catalyst who set in motion a series of interconnected events that gave a revolutionary twist to the century's last two decades and helped mankind end the millennium on a note of hope and confidence. The triumph of capitalism, the almost universal acceptance of the market as indispensable to prosperity, the collapse of Soviet imperialism, the downsizing of the state on nearly every continent and in almost every country in the world — Margaret Thatcher played a part in all those transformations, and it is not easy to see how any would have occurred without her. Champion of free minds and markets, she helped topple the welfare state and make the world safer for capitalism" [3]

Career prior to 1979

The predominant influence in Lady Thatcher's early life was her father, Alfred Roberts. Roberts, the owner of Alf's Mini Mart, was a grocer by occupation who was active in local politics. Years later, Lady Thatcher continued to acknowledge his formative influence on her (for example, in the second volume of her memoirs, The Path to Power).

Lady Thatcher attended Somerville College, Oxford, where she read chemistry and became chairman of the university Conservative association. After graduating, she worked for a time as a research chemist before qualifying as a barrister and practicing as a tax lawyer, an indication of her interest in financial matters. In this time period, it was uncommon in Britain for a female from an ordinary middle-class background to go to a top-class university and then to pursue a career in the male-dominated and somewhat elitist world of the Bar.

Lady Thatcher married Denis Thatcher, a successful businessman whom she met at a Conservative Party meeting. They had 2 children, twins Mark and Carol.

Under the troubled Conservative premiership of Edward Heath (1970-1974), Thatcher served as Secretary of State for Education during which time her most noted achievement was the withdrawal of a daily milk ration to primary age schoolchildren earning her the nickname Milk-Snatcher. After the Conservatives were defeated in the elections of February and October 1974, Thatcher challenged the more liberal Heath for the leadership of the party. When she went into Heath's office to tell him her decision, he did not even bother to look up. "You'll lose," he said. "Good day to you." [4]

Though at the time she was a relatively untested figure (and many in the party were wary of choosing a woman leader), she defeated both Heath and other male rivals in the contest in February 1975. Heath subsequently became a prominent personal and political adversary of Thatcher, drawing accusations of bitterness.

In the 1970s, Lady Thatcher's strongly conservative, pro-capitalist stance resonated with a new mood among the British electorate, many of whom had become dissatisfied with the post-World War II liberal consensus (the "post-war consensus", sometimes also called "Butskellism"). Thatcher and the Conservatives offered a clear alternative vision for an increasingly aspirational society. The Conservative politician Sir Keith Joseph was the primary intellectual force behind these theories that later became known as Thatcherism. They were strongly influenced by the pro-market intellectuals Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman.

Prime Ministership

Lady Thatcher's chief goals in power were to reverse Britain's economic decline and to reduce the range of the state as well as standing taller on the international stage. She found a soul-mate in Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980 but whom she had met in 1975. Thatcher started by increasing interest rates to drive down inflation which hit the manufacturing sector and caused unemployment to rise sharply and there was a deep recession in the early 1980s blamed on her Government's economic policy. This led to her famous quote: 'the lady is not for turning', and she refused a policy u-turn and, despite an open letter from 364 economists, taxes were increased in the middle of a recession. Although unemployment did not reach 3 million till 1982, a year earlier British cities burned as thousands took to the streets to demonstrate their frustration. Inflation was going down though, allowing interest rates to fall, but as the economy started to recover Argentina invaded the Falklands, the first (and unprovoked) invasion of sovereign British territory by a foreign government since the Second World War. This invasion was preceded by her withdrawal of military defense from the islands.

Thatcher immediately declared her resolve to recapture the islands in line with the wishes of their inhabitants, and dispatched a naval task force to that end. With help from President Pinochet of Chile and, more covertly, Ronald Reagan, the British forces swiftly recaptured the islands. The resulting wave of patriotic enthusiasm as well as her right to buy policy for council homes, and a uselessly divided opposition, meant she got a landslide victory in the June 1983 general election.

The big theme of Lady Thatcher's second term was reducing the power of the trade unions with a series of measures that a number of unions reacted to with industrial action. In particular the National Union of Mineworkers led by Arthur Scargill. The Tories had prepared for the strike by building up coal reserves and the deploying well paid police units fitted out with new riot gear brought in after the disturbances of 1981 who taunted the strikers by waving fivers at them. The miners responded with bricks and very ugly scenes developed on picket lines that split the country. Scargill's failure to hold a ballot for the strike undermined public support and the striker's chant of 'vote with your feet' calling miners to join the strike was turned on them as more and more returned to work over the year of the strike.

In the middle of the strike, on October 12 1984, the IRA detonated a bomb during the Conservative Party conference in Brighton. Thatcher escaped injury, but five people died in the attack and Margaret Tebbit was left paralyzed. The conference went on as normal. Thatcher's political and economic philosophy emphasized free markets and since gaining power she had experimented in selling off nationalized industries starting with the National Freight company, most of the large utilities followed. Thatcher supported Reagan's policies of deterrence against the Soviets and US forces stationed nuclear cruise missiles at British bases, arousing mass protests by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. She supported the US bombing raid on Libya from bases in Britain in 1986 and, by refusing to side with a European consortium, in backing a the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation of the USA over a British company Westland. Michael Heseltine resigned in protest at her style of leadership over this. In 1984 she visited China and signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration with Deng Xiaoping that agreed the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. Also that year at the Fontainebleau summit Thatcher argued that the UK paid far more to the EEC than it received in spending and negotiated a budget rebate using the argument that ‘We want our money back’. In 1985, the University of Oxford voted to refuse her an honorary degree in protest against her cuts in funding for education.

In 1987, Lady Thatcher became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to win three consecutive general elections since Lord Liverpool (1812-1827). In the late 1980's Thatcher began to be concerned by environmental policy and in 1988 she made a major speech accepting the problems of global warming, ozone depletion and acid rain. More memorably, at Bruges, she made a speech in which she outlined her opposition to proposals from the European Communities for a federal structure and increasing centralization of decision-making believing that the role of the EC should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition. She was specifically against Economic and Monetary Union, through which a single currency would replace national currencies, and for which the EC was making preparations. In 1989 the economy high interest rates were imposed to stop an unsustainable boom. At the Madrid European summit, Nigel Lawson and Geoffrey Howe forced Thatcher to agree the circumstances in which she would join the Exchange Rate Mechanism, a preparation for monetary union. She took revenge on both by demoting Howe and listening more to her adviser Sir Alan Walters on economic matters. Lawson resigned that October and in November, a so-called ‘stalking horse candidate Sir Anthony Meyer challenged Thatcher for the leadership of the Conservative Party. In 1989 a new system of local government finance to replace the rates was introduced for Scotland in 1989 and for England and Wales in 1990. Called the 'Community Charge' but known as the Poll Tax was applied at the same amount to every individual resident with only limited discounts. Widespread opposition culminated in a huge demonstration in London on March 31 that turned into the largest outbreak of public disorder central London had seen in a century which was followed by millions of people refusing to pay the tax. This along with her government's handling of the economy, her perceived arrogance and a general feeling that she would never retire, made her politically vulnerable. Geoffrey Howe resigned on November 1 and condemned Thatcher's policy on the European Communities then openly invited 'others to consider their own response'. Michael Heseltine's response was a leadership challenge which resulted in a narrow failure, by two votes, for Thatcher to win automatic re-election. After consulting with cabinet colleagues she found a vast majority thought that she could not win on the second ballot. On November 22nd Thatcher announced that she would not be a candidate in the second ballot. She supported John Major as her successor, and retired from Parliament at the 1992 election.

After leaving the House of Commons, Thatcher was created Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven and entered the House of Lords, an entirely normal and expected honor for a British ex-Prime Minister. More controversially, Denis Thatcher was given a Baronetcy, which ensured that their son, Mark, would inherit the title of "Sir Mark".

Leaving power reportedly depressed Lady Thatcher, and aside from writing her memoirs, her role as 'backseat driver' in the Major administration was not well received. She publicly endorsed William Hague against Kenneth Clarke for the Conservative leadership in 1997. She made many speaking engagements around the world, including very vocal support of former dictator General Augusto Pinochet that the new Labour administration extradited to Spain on charges of torturing political opponents. In March 2002 she suffered a mild stroke, and she was told by her doctors to make no more public speeches on health grounds, nevertheless she insisted on attending the funeral of her old friend and political soul-mate, Ronald Reagan, in 2004 against her Doctor's orders. Baroness Thatcher is still seen at Tory party gatherings and has endorsed party leaders such as William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith.

[5][6][7]

Quick Facts

Born: 13 October 1925 in Grantham, Lincolnshire

First entered Parliament: 8 October 1959

Became leader of the Conservative Party in February 1975

Elected as Prime Minister in May 1979

Age she became PM: 53 years, 204 days

Maiden Speech: 5 February 1960 during the second reading of her Private Member's Bill

Total time as PM: 11 years, 209 days

Nickname: "The Iron Lady"

Education: Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School and Somerville College, Oxford

Before Thatcher became an MP, she worked as a research chemist for British Xylonite and then Lyons & Company, where she helped develop methods for preserving ice cream.

Family: Margaret Thatcher is the younger of two daughters. She often gave her father as an example of an outstanding citizen. She married Sir Denis Thatcher, and has one son and one daughter.

Interests: Music, art, opera and reading.

[8][9]

Husband

Denis Thatcher, as the first male PM spouse in history, was always likely to be the center of media attention - and he didn't disappoint.

When she met him, Baroness Thatcher remarked that "it was clear to me at once that Denis was an exceptional man - he had a certain style and dash." Described as a man of integrity, humor and common sense, he had a strong business background and fought with the Royal Artillery during the war.

It was said that Denis was in 'the Thatcher party not the Tory party'. He once famously remarked, recalling the words of Mark Twain, that: "it's better to keep my mouth shut and be thought a fool rather than open it and remove all doubt."

When he died in 2003 his wife paid tribute to the man she loved by saying: "Being PM is a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be - you cannot lead from a crowd. But with Denis there I was never alone. What a man. What a husband. What a friend."

[10][11]

"Thatcherisms"

  • "The lady is not for turning"
  • "There is no such thing as society"
  • "I like Mr Gorbachev, we can do business together."
  • "I have made it quite clear that a unified Ireland was one solution that is out. A second solution was a confederation of two states. That is out. A third solution was joint authority. That is out-that is a derogation of sovereignty."
  • "I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left."
  • "If you lead a country like Britain, a strong country, a country which has taken a lead in world affairs in good times and in bad, a country that is always reliable, then you have to have a touch of iron about you."
  • "I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near."
  • "What Britain needs is an iron lady."
  • "Unless we change our ways and our direction, our greatness as a nation will soon be a footnote in the history books, a distant memory of an offshore island, lost in the mists of time like Camelot, remembered kindly for its noble past."
  • "I just owe almost everything to my father [and] it's passionately interesting for me that the things that I learned in a small town, in a very modest home, are just the things that I believe have won the election."
  • "Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend." [12]
  • "It will be years before a woman either leads the Conservative Party or becomes Prime Minister. I don't see it happening in my time" (in 1970)[13]

External Links


SIGNED - an unhappy DrCameron 04:46, 4 May 2007 (EDT)


Name

Could somebody please correct Mrs Thatcher's name at the beginning of this article (as it can't be edited)? Her correct name is "Margaret Hilda Thatcher", not "Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher". British women don't normally use their maiden names before their married surnames. -- Emmeline

I have made this point before. The official justification for the form of name is that it corresponds with American practice. As I have argued, however, this logic would imply that (for example) Mao Zedong should become "Zedong Mao", and that a South American Conservapedia should turn Margaret Thatcher into "Margaret Roberts de Thatcher", which seems very strange to me. Dumezil22 20:14, 11 May 2007 (BST)


Alf's Mini Mart

The reference to Alf's Mini Mart is an obscure joke based on a British soap opera. Dumezil22 20:10, 11 May 2007 (BST)

Thanks a lot for pointing this out. We've had some problems with people inserting British television jokes as facts and rely on people like you to point this out. DanH 15:18, 11 May 2007 (EDT)

Terminology

I note the comments that US conventions are to be used, but hope this is taken in the right spirit: Where an honour is bestowed on a person in the UK, it is usual to refer to their actions using the title that was appropriate at the time as opposed to their title later on in life. So references to actions during Thatcher's prime ministership should really call her "Mrs" as opposed to "Lady". Ferret 08:53, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

Education

"Social mobility decreased, whilst eduction and the National Health Service...". The writer appears to have spelt education incorrectly. (BRFD 21:28, 30 December 2007 (EST))

And you cannot be bothered to simply correct it because...? Karajou 21:42, 30 December 2007 (EST)
Because it says at the top of this very page that editing of the article is locked (BRFD 22:14, 30 December 2007 (EST))
Unlocked. Karajou 22:26, 30 December 2007 (EST)
Thank you. (BRFD 22:35, 30 December 2007 (EST))
Yep, I guess that was a good reason! :-) Philip J. Rayment 09:14, 31 December 2007 (EST)
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