British first female prime minister and the longest-serving one. Nicknamed ‘Iron Lady’. Deservedly?
Research chemist from education, brilliant strategist and politician from passion. Margaret Thatcher was certainly not a tea party. Elected as Member of Parliament in 1959, it took her 20 years to gain power and respect to win the general election and become the longest-serving prime minister of the 20th century.
Heaven only knows how Ms. Thatcher really was, as a political term has been coined to describe her style of governing-Thatcherism, referring to reducing government spending and tax cuts, hand in hand with emphasizing British nationalism. Maybe this nationalism served as a factor opening the doors for re-election, as 1982 fight for the Falkland Islands met with a common recognition.
She advocated for deregulation, which is a process of reducing state intervention of certain activities and introduced privatization of state-owned companies and diminished importance of trade unions. Ms. Thatcher aimed at reducing high unemployment and conducted numerous economic initiatives. Her efforts led to overcoming inflation, but didn’t work as well regarding high unemployment. Her highly conservative views on the European Community were very unpopular in her Cabinet and in 1990, a challenge to her leadership was formed. The Iron Lady resigned soon afterwards.
Privately, she remained in close and friendly relations with US president Ronald Reagan, with whom she shared similar suspicion towards Communism. After serving her time in the office, she engaged herself in academic activities, mainly delivering speeches and advising on political matters. Remaining a true icon, she became the subject of many songs, movies and satires. In 2011, Meryl Streep depicted her in The Iron Lady. A picture highly criticized, mainly by Ms. Thatcher family, as production presuming her as weak figure suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.