|Margaret Thatcher RIP, 1925 - 2013|
|Thatcher Funeral, April 17, 2013|
St. Paul's, London
|Snipers at St Paul's, April 17, 2013|
To really appreciate Thatcher one must understand something of the turbulent time that preceded her administration. The Britain of the 1970's was paralyzed by strikes and Labor unrest. London streets were piled high with reeking garbage due to labor action. In December of 1970 I recall reading about one clever Londoner who gift wrapped their garbage and left it in the backseat of his automobile with the car doors unlocked, sure in the knowledge that it would be stolen. One could not complain too loudly because the print unions exercised control over the press as well.
|Adieu Thatcher (Photo courtesy: Marc Lelslie)|
On the international front the British Empire had been in full retreat since 1945. The year she came to power, 1979, marked the withdrawal of the Royal Navy from Malta -- a critical garrison of the British empire from 1800 to its independence in 1964. Britain was no longer great.
On the domestic front, Thatcher fought a war against the scourge of socialism that had occupied the driver's seat of British politics since 1945. She famously declared, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” Home ownership soared during her administration and jobs were created. Her free market approach helped London restore its leadership as a global financial capital.
Thatcher was viscerally determined to not jettison the British Pound in favour of the Euro. Recent events in Greece and Cyprus have proven the wisdom of her decision.
|British Sacrifice from the 1982 Falkands War|
St. Paul's Cathedral, London
It was the Soviet press that first called her the "Iron Lady" and she relished the label. The "Iron Lady" helped Britain to become great once more.
Thatcher was a friend to Ronald Reagan and to America. The United States, caught between two allies, remained neutral during the Falklands conflict, but Ronald Reagan made sure that US Intelligence services provided the most up to date satellite photography of the South Atlantic battle zone.
|St. Paul's, London|
Faithful readers of this blog know of my love for oysters (see earlier posts Cats, Oysters and Dr. Johnson 1/23/13, Oysters and Civilization 2/4/13). Could there be an oyster connection to Maggie Thatcher? You betcha! The name "Margaret" is derived from the Greek word "margarites" which means "pearl". Thatcher was indeed a rare pearl among women!
|Angel, St. Paul's, London|
From one friend I learned that her "drink of choice" was Bells whisky -- a very unpretentious choice. She nixed the idea of an RAF flyover at her funeral celebration as an unnecessary burden on the British taxpayer. She was the parsimonious to the core. Perhaps this explains why free-spending President Obama chose to snub Thatcher by not attending today's ceremonies...?
Another American friend of mine spent a few days on a cruise with Thatcher after her retirement from political life. She inquired of Thatcher what she thought her ultimate legacy would be. Thatcher replied, "It only requires a gentle hand upon the rudder to eventually turn a big ship around in the ocean".
Thatcher did have her hand of the British rudder and, perhaps, it turns out that "This lady really was for turning after all"!
Special thanks to David Ansell.