Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter

Margaret Thatcher died but what is her legacy?

Alex Riches

Why we Brits care so much about our past Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher died but what is her legacy?

'The lady is not for turning'... Margaret Thatcher died at age 87 from a stroke    Photo: Stephen Harpney (Flickr)

MARGARET Thatcher was the first female Prime Minster, very innovative and also infamous for being decisive in her career. It’s very rare to find all three of these qualities in a person but Margaret Thatcher was that exception.

It’s probably a good idea to let you know that not all Brits were fond of her. Her policies made as many enemies as they did win her supporters. She privatised many state-run enterprises like the rail network, British Gas and BT. She also went about making spending cuts to child education, something that earned her the nickname of ‘Margaret Thatcher, the milk snatcher’. But it was the nickname of ‘the Iron Lady’, given to her by a Russian newspaper after she commented on the repressive policies of the Soviet Union, that stayed with her for the rest of her life.

Brief CV
After studying natural sciences at Oxford she went on to work for the local Conservative party in Colchester. It was here that she began to pursue her career in politics, slowly working her way up to the top of the Conservative party and challenging Ted Heath for leadership in 1975. She won, and in doing so became the first (and last) female Prime Minister in the UK.

In the public’s eye
She was, above all, that rare thing, a conviction politician who was prepared to stand by those convictions for good or ill’ – Nick Robinson BBC Political Reporter (Obituary).

This decisiveness led to many new and revolutionary ideas such as allowing home-owners to buy their council houses and ordinary people buying shares in major companies. She was also in power when the UK went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982.

The end of the ‘Iron Lady’
In the long run her party turned on her and her different ideas. She was not re-elected after her third term as Prime Minster, and handed over her leadership to John Major in 1992 after more than 30 years in politics. She retired for public speaking in 2001 after a series of small strokes. She also suffered from dementia in later years.

Lord Bell said: ‘It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning.’

Back to more UK Culture