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Britain's Iron Lady, Former Prime Minister Thatcher, Dies (NPR trashes the Iron Lady)
NPR ^ | April 08, 2013 | Jackie Northam

Posted on 04/08/2013 5:50:12 PM PDT by Drango

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher . She was 87. Despite many accomplishments during her 11 years in office, she was a divisive figure, and there is still much bitterness surrounding the woman who was dubbed the Iron Lady.

Thatcher's long journey to becoming one of Britain's most influential leaders began in humble surroundings. She was born on Oct. 13, 1925, in the small English town of Grantham. Her mother was a dressmaker, her father a grocer and a local politician.

Thatcher often credited her father with introducing her to politics. She said he instilled in her the importance of being an independent thinker and of being able to stand on her own two feet — values that she expected from all Britons once she gained power.

Simon Hoggart, a political sketchwriter for The Guardian newspaper, said there were early indications of this during her tenure as secretary of education when she wanted to do away with the 1/3 pint of free milk schoolchildren had been receiving since World War II.

"Thatcher decided it was a waste of money and a waste of time, because by the time she became minister of education, people had enough milk," he said, "and she stopped it. And she was known as 'Mrs. Thatcher, milk snatcher.' "

'Not A Consensus Politician'

Thatcher honed her reputation as a right-wing politician after she became Conservative Party leader in the mid-1970s. At that time, the Labour Party was in power, there was high inflation and unemployment, and a series of crippling strikes came to a head during the winter of 1978 and '79. Hoggart says that era was dubbed "the winter of discontent."

"The railway unions went on strike — the railroads are important for commuters in this country — hospital workers were on strike, even people who dispose of dead bodies were on strike," he said. "The sense that we were, the nation was, unraveling in front of our eyes was quite powerful."

During the 1979 election campaign, Thatcher repeatedly drove home the message that it didn't have to be like this, that Britain could do much better. She won the national election hands down. On May 4, 1979, she accepted the keys to 10 Downing St.

Thatcher and her Cabinet started to push through tough economic measures that they thought would reverse Britain's downward spiral. There was a wave of privatizations, affecting virtually every part of society — health, education, business. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1981. She died Monday, at the age of 87.

But there were also tax increases, and unemployment was rampant. Thatcher successfully took on the miners and other powerful unions. There were resounding calls for her resignation.

Lord David Owen, the leader of the Social Democratic Party at the time, said Thatcher's policies created an overwhelming anxiety in Britain.

"A lot of people felt threatened by Margaret Thatcher. A lot of people felt that their whole way of life was challenged," he said. "And they hated her."

But, Owen said, Thatcher was determined to drive through her policies, no matter how unpopular.

"She had clear ideas, and she fought for them. She was not a consensus politician; she didn't mind having divisions and driving issues through," he said. "I suspect that she believed she had to be tough as nails. ... She liked to give the image that she was totally resolute."

The Falklands And The Cold War

Owen says that determination — and stubbornness also — worked to Thatcher's advantage, especially after Argentina invaded the British-ruled Falkland Islands in 1982. Thatcher sent in the military.

Lord Geoffrey Howe, her treasurer and then-foreign minister, said the war was a stressful time for Thatcher.

"I used to go in every Sunday evening and chat with her about how it was going," he said. "And she really did need emotional, personal support, because people were being killed, ships were being sunk, negotiations were going on which didn't seem to get anywhere. And it was her personal tenacity that held her through that very tough time."

Howe said Britain's victory in that war renewed the country's spirit. It also helped bring Thatcher another term in office. Still, Thatcher continued to press ahead with more economic reforms. At the same time, she played an increasingly important role in world politics as the Cold War was winding down. Howe said Thatcher was vehemently anti-Communist, but she developed a strong attachment to then-Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

"The chemistry between Thatcher and Gorbachev at their first meeting was quite remarkable," he said. "And when she said at the end of four hours, 'This is a man with whom I can do business,' it was an historic moment."

'The Prime Minister ... We Needed'

Thatcher took her impressions of Gorbachev to U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The three cemented their close relationship as communism fell. But back home, the economy began a downturn. Thatcher had pushed through an extremely unpopular community tax, which sparked violent riots. Complaints and concerns to Thatcher fell on deaf ears. The Guardian's Hoggart says her Cabinet tired of her dominant, authoritarian style, and there was a sense that she had simply gone too far.

"I think she grew slightly crazed, slightly berserk," he said. "She came to believe that she had been proved right so often that she could do no wrong, and she made a series of terrible tactical and strategical errors. Her old unpopularity returned in spades, and she was forced out by her own party."

At the end of November 1990, a tearful Thatcher handed back the keys to Downing Street. Thatcher may have been forced out, but she maintained an influence on the Conservative Party. Howe said she also left a mark on the Labour Party.

"So Thatcher didn't just transform her party, she transformed both parties," he said.

Owen thinks history will treat Thatcher well. He said she was a great prime minister — but at a price.

"I think she was the prime minister for the hour — that decade — that we needed," he said. "And she's left a permanent legacy, but she left a good deal of unhappiness and misery and broken lives."

The Guardian's Hoggart says Thatcher was never widely loved — or even liked. But, he said, you had to admire her.

"I'd have to, in a grudging way, say that what she achieved was extraordinary and formidable," he said. "And I don't think anyone else could have done it."

In the last few years of her life, Thatcher became increasingly frail after suffering a series of strokes. She was also devastated by personal loss — that of her husband, Denis, and her friend President Reagan. But she had already become a historic figure in Britain: the woman who tried to change the country — on her own terms.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: filth; npr; rememberingthatcher; thatcher; thatcherobit
1 posted on 04/08/2013 5:50:12 PM PDT by Drango
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To: Drango
i would expect nothing less...
2 posted on 04/08/2013 5:53:45 PM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Drango

I had a “discussion” last night with a liberal friend who refused to accept the fact that NPR is liberal. He did, however, agree that MSNBC was liberal but maintained that it was trying to be more center by firing Keith Olbermann and moving Ed Schultz to weekends only. Yes, liberals really are that clueless.

3 posted on 04/08/2013 5:55:06 PM PDT by South40 (I Love The "New & Improved" Free Republic!)
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To: South40

A liberal friend??? I got rid of those long ago.

4 posted on 04/08/2013 6:03:10 PM PDT by Viennacon
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To: Drango

>(NPR trashes the Iron Lady)<

NPR is the trash that exists as a result of our taxes.

It is the greatest example of taxation without representation.

5 posted on 04/08/2013 6:07:46 PM PDT by 353FMG ( I do not indicate whether I am serious or sarcastic -- I respect FReepers too much.)
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To: Viennacon

Yeah, he is one of the few who, like others, hasn’t disowned me because I am a conservative.

6 posted on 04/08/2013 6:12:05 PM PDT by South40 (I Love The "New & Improved" Free Republic!)
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To: Drango

These people can’t help themselves. They have to trash Thatcher, because she was a conservative. She wasn’t one of them. The government should not be funding NPR.

7 posted on 04/08/2013 6:22:20 PM PDT by popdonnelly (The right to self-defense is older than the Constitution.)
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To: popdonnelly

“...much bitterness” from those who had to find real jobs in the UK...

8 posted on 04/08/2013 6:29:46 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (NRA Life Member)
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To: Drango


9 posted on 04/08/2013 6:30:58 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge (Texas is a state of mind - Steinbeck)
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To: Drango

Bothers me to no end that NPR is funded with our tax dollars....

... God Bless Lady Thacher....

10 posted on 04/08/2013 6:55:20 PM PDT by Squantos ( Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet ...)
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To: Drango
Not surprisingly, NPR goes to a fellow traveler in The Guardian for an "unbiased" view of a great British patriot. They can't quite bring themselves to stating that in their view the wrong side won the Cold War, but they're thinking it.
11 posted on 04/08/2013 6:59:54 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Drango

So NPR goes and asks all the people who caused all the misery what Thatcher’s legacy will be. That’s like asking the coach of a football team whose teams never won more than two games a year to remark on a coach who won the Super Bowl a number of times.

12 posted on 04/08/2013 7:25:29 PM PDT by driftless2
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To: Drango
Being surprised that NPR would trash Margaret Thatcher is like being surprised that the sun set in the west today.

C-SPAN ran some old interviews this evening of Mrs. Thatcher. In one of them she was talking about when Gorbachev and his wife were guests at the Prime Minister's country house, Checkers. Brian Lamb asked about Raisa's reputation as a hardline Communist ideologue. Baroness Thatcher was reluctant to accept that--she said Mrs. Gorbachev's grandfather had been killed for being a "kulak" so she knew about the evil side of Communism.

That made me think--that may be where Obama got his idea of constantly attacking "millionaires and billionaires"--from Stalin's campaign against "kulaks."

13 posted on 04/08/2013 10:29:37 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: Drango
Despite many accomplishments during her 11his 5 years in office thus far, she washe is a divisive figure, and there is still much bitterness surrounding the man...woman who was dubbed the Iron Lady.

Said by NPR about Barack Hussein Obama never.

14 posted on 04/10/2013 11:52:06 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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