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Margaret Thatcher: 10 Surprising Facts About the Iron Lady
Posted By Patrick Kiger On April 8, 2013 @ 12:54 pm In Legacy | No Comments
Margaret Thatcher, who died on April 8 at age 87, served as British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, and she was the first woman to ever hold that office. Her gender, though, wasn’t what made her stand out.
Thatcher arguably was the toughest politician who ever occupied 10 Downing Street, so intractably hard-headed that she made another famously gruff Conservative Party leader, Winston Churchill, look almost like a softy by comparison.
But while Thatcher didn’t have to confront Nazi Germany, as Churchill had, she had to deal with another, more insidious threat to her country’s well-being: rampant inflation, a stagnant economy and crushing government deficits. Her solutions – which included slashing education spending, cutting income taxes and replacing them in part with a tax on consumption, privatizating utility companies and government-controlled industries and breaking the power of trade unions – were controversial, and she faced strident resistance from the Labor Party, as this clip of her final speech to Parliament in 1990 demonstrates.
But Thatcher could take a punch as well as she could throw one, and even her detractors acknowledged that she changed the course of British history, steering it away from socialism and back toward market-based private enterprise. And it was hard not to admire Thatcher’s resolve in defeating Argentina in the 1982 Falklands war and confronting the then-Soviet Union – and her willingness to support a reformist Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, who credits her with helping to end the Cold War. The UK’s Daily Mail newspaper provides this detailed account of her political career. Here’s a video biography from Great Britain’s ITN television.
Here are 10 intriguing facts about the Iron Lady:
Photo: Margaret Thatcher Foundation via Wikipedia
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