We were saddened this morning to learn of the death of Lady Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 until she stepped down in November of 1990.
Lady Thatcher is being properly hailed as “the greatest politician of her generation” and the most significant prime minister since Winston Churchill.
Americans remember her as President Ronald Reagan’s soul mate who teamed with him to oppose the Soviet Union. She sided with Reagan when he deployed U.S. missiles to thwart Soviet ambitions.
Reagan later wrote in National Review:
All over Europe the peace marchers demonstrated to prevent Western missiles from being installed for their defense, but they were silent about the Soviet missiles targeted against them! Again, in the face of these demonstrations, Margaret never wavered.
As the Washington Post notes, “her last turn in the global spotlight” came in 2004 when she attended Ronald Reagan’s funeral at the National Cathedral.
Catherine Meyer, wife of a former British Ambassador to Washington, recalls my favorite Thatcher-related story:
Indeed, her peremptory manner with her own colleagues attracted the attention of Britain’s inspired satirical TV puppetry show, Spitting Image. In one sketch Thatcher and her Cabinet are seated in a restaurant. She orders raw steak. “And what about the vegetables?” the waiter inquires. “Oh, they’ll have the same as me,” Thatcher replies.
No doubt the press will treat the story as if the point is that Thatcher was the first female Prime Minister rather than that she was simply one of Britain’s greatest PMs. We’re so interested in identity politics—something that interested Lady Thatcher not at all—that we are inclined to miss out on her identity: a great political figure, somebody who believed in England and, by extension, the West.
I don’t want to name names, but how puny the successors of Reagan and Thatcher seem by comparison. .
Lady Thatcher’s obituary in the Telegraph notes that her “unyielding will” led to “a transformation in Britain’s economy.”
Janet Daly wonders if the passing of Lady Thatcher is the end of conviction politics.
Mark Steyn hails her as an anti-declinist.