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"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. The lady's not for turning."
— Margaret Thatcher
"She has the mouth of Marilyn Monroe and the eyes of Stalin."British Prime Minister (and the only woman to hold that position - so far, at least) for 11 years, Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (1925-2013) is the most divisive figure in recent British political history. Think Ronald Reagan, but British, female, and not particularly cuddly, and you have a fuzzy concept of her. When she entered Number 10 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 The Falklands War, Thatcher probably wouldn't have been re-elected. She ordered the liberation of The Falkland Islands 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 Flame Bait. 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 Clement Attlee, regardless of whether you consider that impact positive or negative. When she died, the media and especially the internet were awash with both heartfelt tributes and much rejoicing. Thatcher's nickname of "the Iron Lady" originated from the Soviet military newspaper Red Star, bestowed on her for an anti-communist speech in 1976 and 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. She was the daughter of a grocer, which she mentioned from time to time. She was notorious for claiming she was a follower of 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, 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 dear friend of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet before he died. She also criticized the ANC and sent SAS commandos to train the Red Khmers in Cambodia. Despite much of the country despising her, she is the only PM commonly referred to by the media as "Mrs Thatcher" rather than just by her surname. On 8th April 2013 her death was announced; the cause of death was stroke. She was 87 years old. She was mourned by some as a saviour of the nation, but spontaneous street parties broke out in poor regions of several cities across the country. As reported by the Independent, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead shot up the charts following her death. Her death was greeted with sorrow and public mourning in the Tory heartlands and in the South, whilst the reaction of Wales, the North, Scotland, and parts of Northern Ireland ranged from mixed to jubilant. Street parties were held in Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow, Brixton, and Belfast, as well as smaller former industrial towns throughout Britain, whilst condolence books were opened and church services were held in her native Grantham and the Home Counties. Indeed, when the suggestion of a state funeral was mooted *, there were some very unkind suggestions for a manner of burial (including not waiting for her to die). The student union of King's College, Cambridge voted to set aside funds for a party to celebrate her death (though they reversed the decision after a hostile reaction). For a sourced list of reasons people are not fond of her, see here. (If there's a list of arguments for, that would also be nice). The subject of Margaret Thatcher In Fiction is large enough to get a page to itself.
—François Mitterand, then-President of France
Margaret Thatcher is the Trope Namer for:
Thatcher personifies the tropes of: