Monday, April 08, 2013

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher has died at 87.   She was a remarkable person.  How do you say anything about her that has not been said.   She was able to get into a "boys club" and lead it.   She lasted as PM for eleven years but then she got bounced.

But as with any person of her stature she was not without controversy.   As I noted in an earlier post an attempt at a movie of her life was horrible.  It glossed over her huge accomplishments and highlighted her health challenges of her last few years.   Donna Brazile (she the former Gore campaign manager) twitted (that is the kind of commentary that Brazile often provides on twitter) "Okay, what did the #ironlady do to advance Great Britain and the world? Did she leave lasting footprints for women in politics?"   The WSJ Political Diary told the story of a young girl that encountered Lady Thatcher a few years ago at a performance of the ballet.   Thatcher asked the young lady "What would you like to be when you grow up?"   To which the youngster replied "I'd like to be a Prime Minister, just like you." 

In my opinion, one of Thatcher's greatest contributions was her strident opposition to joining the EU in a common currency.    Thatcher understood that the currency regime that the Eurocrats wanted to establish was unworkable.   She refused to cede much to the EU and as a result Britain is stronger for it.  She took a lot of heat for her position but in the end her judgment proved correct.

Charles Krauthammer commented that she had the tendency to anger people from all sides of the British political spectrum - from the "communist labor bosses to the upperclass twits in her own party." Condoleezza Rice commented in a recent speech I attended that "headlines and history are rarely the same."   I suspect that Lady Thatcher will go down as a very important figure in British and world history.

She was adept at quips 5 of my favorites are - with some annotations - 
1) Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.   
(That fits for nations too)
2) I love argument, I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that's not their job.
(The essential role of a good politician is to listen when debating)3) It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.
(A great reading of the Smith and classical economists)
4) The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."        (A truth which many politicians have never discovered)
5) "There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families." (It does not take a village.)

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