Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away. The Baroness, who died today at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, was the longest serving PM of the 20th century having served from 1975 to 1990, was a leader of the Conservative Party, and was Great Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister.
A woman of humble beginnings, Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter who became a chemist and then an attorney before entering politics. Though she was a staunch conservative who often criticised the high-tax policies of the Labour Government as being steps “not only towards Socialism, but towards Communism,” she was known as someone unafraid to buck Conservative Party views; she was one of the few Conservatives to support a bill to decriminalise male homosexuality and she was in favour of of legalised abortions.
Thatcher was known as the “Iron Lady,” a relished nickname that was an apt description of her particular style of leadership. She was viewed as a controversial transformer; she fought against labour unions and for privatisation of both corporate and public service industries. Her views closely aligned with those of U.S. President Ronald Reagan and they developed a partnership as Mrs. Thatcher stood up to the so-called ‘Evil Empire’ of the Soviet Union.
Some of her ideological views on the economy were seen as controversial as the nation suffered high unemployment and periods of social unrest. Her relationship with other nations in the European community suffered when Thatcher made it clear that she didn’t want England to join the rest of Europe in switching their currency to the Euro. Eventually, Thatcher was ousted from power by her own party but, to this day, she leaves a powerful legacy. Only time will tell if the more conservative ideals she held proved to be right — for the time and for the long-term — for the people of her nation.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “We’ve lost a great leader and a great Briton.” It is expected that Mrs. Thatcher will likely have a full ceremonial funeral.