[[caption-width-right:350: ''"The mouth of MarilynMonroe and the eyes of [[JosefStalin Stalin]]."'' [[note]]'''François Mitterand''', then-President of France.[[/note]] ]]

->''"To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. [[IronLady The lady's not for turning]]."''
-->-- '''Margaret Thatcher'''

British Prime Minister (and the only woman to hold that position - so far, at least) for 11 years, '''Margaret Hilda Thatcher''', [[KnightFever Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS]] (October 13, 1925 -- April 8, 2013) is the most divisive figure in recent British political history. Think UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan, [[TransAtlanticEquivalent but British]], [[DistaffCounterpart female]], and [[IceQueen not particularly cuddly]], and you have a fuzzy concept of her.

When she entered Number 10 in 1979, it was with a mandate to reverse the UK's economic decline. She did this by reducing government spending, encouraging entrepreneurs, moving towards a more free market and selling off a lot of government-owned industries and enterprises, although all these measures pale in comparison to the biggest change of all: the central bank's very conservative monetary policy, which raised interest rates to extremely high levels. This single measure is the most responsible for both the low inflation and the large unemployment of the 1980s.

On the other hand, her economic policies came under fire - and not just from her opponents. Her policies had the initial effect of exacerbating the early 1980s recession. Unemployment rose to its highest level since the Great Depression. Three hundred and sixty-four leading economists released a statement in 1981, criticising her handling of the economy. Even when the economy began to recover, unemployment still hovered around the three million mark and the British heavy industrial sector took a major hit, with manufacturing output declining by 30% since 1978. If it was not for the outbreak of TheFalklandsWar, Thatcher probably wouldn't have been re-elected.

She ordered the liberation of UsefulNotes/TheFalklandIslands from Argentina, weakened the power of British trade unions, survived an assassination attempt by the IRA (she'd left the room shortly before the bomb went off), forced the EU to give the UK a rebate due to the vast amounts of subsidies other nations got, and was an ardent opponent of communism and the Soviet Union. Her 11 year term was the longest in over 150 years, but towards the end, her popularity began to plummet. Many people will still refuse to vote Tory based on her policies and the results of which are debated as FlameBait.

What can be said is her time as Prime Minister resulted in a significant disembowelment of the trade union movement. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on what your views on unions are. Similarly, Britain's heavy industry sector was sidelined, and the UK became a net importer of goods for the first time in modern history. Again, whether you think this is good or not depends on whether you think the UK should have a manufacturing economy or a service economy. As you can imagine, she's ''very'' divisive. The only thing everybody can agree is that she had the most impact on Britain of any PM since ClementAttlee, regardless of whether you consider that impact positive or negative. Paradoxically, Thatcher had the lowest average approval rating of any Prime Minister and yet still managed to win two [[LandslideElection landslide election victories]] in 1983 and 1987. Truth is, for most of her premiership, Thatcher was only popular with hardcore Tories - it was the Conservative Party as a whole that was actually popular, not its polarizing leader.

Her downfall came in November 1990 after Michael Heseltine (one of her former ministers) challenged her for the party leadership. Although Thatcher could have stayed on to win the leadership election, it revealed that she was losing support in her own party. Discontent in the Conservative Party had been brewing for several reasons. The economy had gone back into recession, high inflation had returned, Labour had a massive poll lead and many Europhile Tories disagreed with her views on the EU; others were growing to dislike her centralised style of government. And then there was the Community Charge. Previously, local government was funded by the rates, a tax based on how much home properties were worth. While there were some genuine concerns over the effectiveness of this policy, Thatcher's solution was spectacularly mismanaged. The new Community Charge, widely known as a poll tax, was a flat tax where all adult citizens had to pay the same amount. The policy was widely unpopular (only 12% of the population supported it, and by this time her approval rating was 20%) and in 1990, there were protests and even riots all across England. Not long after he entered office, her successor JohnMajor replaced the poll tax with the modern Council Tax, which looked suspiciously similar to the previous rates system.

Thatcher's nickname of "the IronLady" originated from the Soviet military newspaper ''Red Star'', bestowed on her for an anti-communist speech in 1976 and [[AppropriatedAppellation not intended as a compliment]]. Whatever you think of her, no one can deny that she was a strong leader, able to steer a cabinet of men for 11 years. She was not only the first and only female Prime Minister, but the first and only female leader of the Conservative Party, a body not particularly noted as a bastion of female empowerment. Thus it is ironic that she is ''always'' the cited comparison for any other female leader in any other country, regardless of how tenuous the comparison. There were elected female leaders before her (such as India's Indira Gandhi and Israel's Golda Meir), but Thatcher was Europe's first, which is part of the reason why she's more well-known than those before her.

She was the daughter of a grocer, which she mentioned from time to time. She was notorious for claiming she was a follower of [[UsefulNotes/PoliticalIdeologies classically liberal]] economist Frederich von Hayek. However, unlike Hayek, she opposed the legalization of illicit drugs and denationalization of the money supply. She had also trained as a research chemist, and before embarking on a career in politics and the law, [[HeAlsoDid she also was part of a team that invented emulsifiers for soft-serve ice cream]].

Some have criticized her for beginning a trend of concentrating power in the office of Prime Minister, strengthening the "elective dictatorship" innate to British politics. She was a [[NotEvilJustMisunderstood dear friend]] of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet until he died. She also criticized the ANC (the anti-apartheid party of which Nelson Mandela was a member), opposed sanctions on South Africa when ''every other Commonwealth country supported them'', and sent SAS commandos to train the Red Khmers in Cambodia. Thatcher was pretty much willing to excuse any injustice if the country doing it was on their side of the Cold War, really. Her support for the anti-gay policy Section 28 has also been a red mark on her historical reputation, now that same-sex marriage is legal in the UK and most knowledgeable people are against homophobia. One surprisingly good thing about her, though, is that she was one of the first major world political leaders to say that global warming was very, very likely caused by humans (and, of course, towards the end of her life she regretted saying this).

On 8th April 2013 her death was announced; the cause of death was stroke. She was 87 years old. People's reactions reflects how she was viewed. Her death was met with mourning and condolesences were sent in by the government, her supporters and those living in the Tory heartlands, and her funeral pulled in a large and surprisingly respectful crowd. Meanwhile, [[AndThereWasMuchRejoicing spontaneous street parties broke out in several cities]] and towns across the country, particularly parts of Scotland, northern England and Wales which had been hit hard by industrial decline in the 1980s, while [[http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead-could-reach-number-one-following-margaret-thatchers-death-8566042.html as reported by]] [[BritishNewspapers the Independent]], ''[[Film/TheWizardOfOz Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead]]'' [[BlackComedy shot up the charts.]]

Indeed, when the suggestion of a state funeral was mooted [[note]]What she actually got was officially described as not a ''state'' funeral, but a ceremonial funeral with full military honours. However, given that it cost an estimated ten million pounds and involved a 2-mile procession, part of it on a horse-drawn gun carriage escorted by members of all the armed forces, culminating in a funeral service attended by UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen and numerous dignified guests at ''St Paul's Cathedral'', the distinction is pretty much moot[[/note]], there were some ''very'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmmomV-ax-s unkind suggestions]] for a manner of burial (including [[BuriedAlive not waiting for her to die]]). The student union of King's College, [[{{Oxbridge}} Cambridge]] had previously voted to set aside funds for a party to celebrate her death (though they reversed the decision after a [[DudeNotFunny hostile reaction]]). For a sourced list of reasons people are not fond of her, [[http://whydopeoplehatethatcher.com/all see here]]. (If there's a list of arguments ''for'', that would also be nice).

The subject of MargaretThatcherInFiction is large enough to get a page to itself.
!!MargaretThatcher is the TropeNamer for:
* IronLady (Technically, an AppropriatedAppellation from the Soviet press, but...)

!!Thatcher personifies the tropes of:

* ArchEnemy: Lets just say she had many and was one to many groups.....
* AGodAmI: Even her supporters agree that the Iron Lady was a bit too power-hungry towards the end of her reign.
* BadAss: Say what you want about her but she's undeniably one of these on the level of UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill. A particular example was when visiting the SAS "killing house" where live ammo is used and participating as a hostage in a training session along with two of her aides, she didn't flinch and Snarked at one of her aides who fell over when the SAS team performed a DynamicEntry.
* BadassBoast:
--> '''Tito''': Women shouldn't meddle in politics!
--> '''Thatcher''': Mr. Tito, I don't meddle in politics, I ''[[IAmTheTrope am]]'' politics.
** "What Britain needs is an IronLady."
** The quote at the top of the page.
* CatchPhrase: The Iron Lady basically became her epithet. On the part of her opponents it was "Maggie Maggie Maggie, Out Out Out!"
* DeadpanSnarker: Overwhelmingly so. Here are some of her best quips:
** "Being powerful is like being a lady: if you have to say you are, you're probably not."
** "Never mind, it's wet outside, I expect he wanted to come in. You can't blame him really, it's always nicer where the Tories are." - On an hysterical protester being forcibly evicted from a Tory rally
** "He would rather the poor be poorer as long as the rich were less rich. What a policy!"
** "Socialist governments traditionally do make a [[DramaticIrony financial mess]]. They always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them."
** "I might have preferred iron, but bronze will do. It won't rust. And, this time I hope, the head will stay on." - On a statue of her unveiled in the Members' Lobby of the House of Commons.
** When Germany won the football world championship in 1990, she allegedly remarked "They might have beaten us at our national sport, but we managed to beat them at their national sport ''twice'' in the 20th century."
* CrazyPrepared: The steps she took to outlast the unions when they moved against her were extensive. From stocking up on coal to marshalling the full resources of Britain's security services, it paid off for her.
* {{Determinator}}: Despite huge unpopularity, strikes and UsefulNotes/TheTroubles she successfully implemented most of her policy objectives, survived a major assassination attempt and fought off multiple challenges from the Labour party.
* {{Feminism}}: Not a fan. Thatcher took the view that if ''she'' could become Prime Minister without help then any woman could, making several comments along the lines of "maybe if feminists started working instead of talking, they might find themselves with more influence." The fact that Britain's first female PM did almost nothing in the field of gender equality is a source of contention to this day.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: How her detractors perceived her.
** Incidentally, the allegedly somewhat Centrist Queen apparently disagreed with many of Thatcher's policies, or the extremity of them at least. The media sometimes portrayed the Queen as actually ''hating'' Thatcher (''SpittingImage'', for instance, went so far as to joke that the Queen supported the (anti-monarchist) Socialist party, purely because Thatcher didn't like them). In reality their relationship was...complicated, with Thatcher idolising the Queen (which the Queen, it is said, initially found somewhat sycophantic and patronising) and the Queen gradually respecting Thatcher for, if nothing else, having a strong will and managing to serve as long as she did.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Her supporters would justify the damage caused by some of her policies with this.
* InsultBackfire: 'Iron Lady' was supposed to be an insult but it became her favorite nickname.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: Famously stated in an interview that she felt sure there would ''not'' be a female Prime Minister in her lifetime.
* ItsPersonal: With the Irish Republican Army and other Irish Nationalist groups. When one of her closest friends and collegue Airey Neave was assassinated by a car bomb in the House Of Commons parking lot, it influenced her hardline policies on UsefulNotes/TheTroubles when she came to power
* JerkassWithAHeartOfGold: Came with the SugarAndIcePersonality
* KickTheDog: Extremely fond of this, especially during the miner strikes.
* OneOfUs: Bizarrely enough. Mrs Thatcher was a huge fan of ''YesMinister'', and has written an (admittedly excellent) piece of [[http://www.yes-minister.com/thatcherscript.htm ''Yes Minister'' Fan Fic.]]
** And [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ6TgaPJcR0 in a speech]], she described the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Democrats Liberal Democrats' "Bird of Liberty"]] as "[[MontyPython an ex-parrot]]". The closing line is even "And now for SomethingCompletelyDifferent..."
* PowerHair: Short and permed.
* MagnificentBitch
* ManipulativeBitch: She's seen as this by many of her opponents.
* NoSenseOfHumour / PopCulturalOsmosisFailure: Is supposed to have asked an adviser: "This Creator/MontyPython - is he one of us?" (Full story [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2011/nov/18/simon-hoggart-week-thatcher here]].) Subverted according to Mikhail Gorbachev. When he joked that the Politiburo hadn't tasked him with recruiting her when they met at a conference she chuckled.
* RoyalWe: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5Gxruh-pLI "We have become a grandmother."]]
* SugarAndIcePersonality: Cold definitely but not entirely.
* TheStoic: See above about her trip to the SAS killing house where live ammo is used and her reaction to the Brighton Hotel bombing where she was nearly killed.
* TakeThat: It is custom for Oxford University to grant honorary doctorates to [=PMs=] who earned their degrees there. However, in 1985 Oxford actually voted ''not'' to give her an honorary doctorate in protest to her cuts for higher education.
* WithUSOrAgainstUs: If Thatcher's social policies harmed or negatively affected a certain section of the population, she didn't care because "they were not our people" (Full story [[http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/major-has-every-right-to-shop-lady-thatcher-1112948.html]].)
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Margaret Thatcher led the Tory party to three consecutive election landslide victories, all but destroyed the labour movement and the Labour Party, and dragged British politics permanently to the right. But once she became an electoral liability, the Tories themselves were the ones who defenestrated her.
** Inverted in 1989. When the Berlin Wall was opened and Germany was on its way to being reunified, Thatcher personally called Soviet leader Gorbachev and begged him to keep the border closed. Her fear was that a unified Germany would drift more to the Soviet Union, even though the East Germans had had enough of communist rule. [[note]] She was also opposed to a unified Germany as she was afraid that then-Chancellor HelmutKohl was power hungry and that letting him have East Germany back would be the beginning of a new period of German imperialism similar to how the country behaved under Nazi rule; she even carried a map of Germany just before the outbreak of World War II to support her opposition to the German reunification. Naturally, this view was seen as hysterical by just about everyone around her, including Kohl, United States president UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush (who did all he could to undermine Thatcher's influence on the reunification) and most of her own party. This also played a significant role in her downfall and may also help explain why the Tories so quickly and happily threw her to the curb in favor of JohnMajor.[[/note]]