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Margaret Thatcher was like marmite – either you loved her or you didn’t.

Posted in Life & Love

Thatcher MarmiteOn Wednesday, one of the most famous women of the last century will be buried.

How to mark her passing, and whether we even needed to, sparked a lively debate between camparigirl and me. We were both living in the UK for part of Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister (1979 – 1990); so witnessed, first-hand the devisiveness of her economic decisions. And were financially impacted by the ‘poll tax’ that eventually stopped her reign. But we also benefitted from the boom that followed in the late eighties/early nineties. And by the example set by a woman who refused to take no for an answer. Who was never confined to the kitchen or the backbenches by her gender.

We were both surprised by the vitriol directed at her 23 years later. Not so much by those miners or colliery workers who lost their livelihoods and bore the brunt of the recession that followed (we got that), but people who weren’t even around during her years. ¬†People who apparently blame her for all the current ills of England. Who want to take to the streets in riot gear. Or turn their backs on her funeral cortege.

camparigirl is kinder than me – she can understand the legacy of anger, and forgives the outrage. I say “”you voted her in three times England, it’s twenty four years later … fix it or move on.”

Margaret Thatcher clearly divides opinion; but we agreed on one thing. Dancing on her grave is just unseemly. And ignoring her passing would be remiss. ¬†She changed the world we lived in – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. She is the only woman to hold the office of Prime Minister in the UK. She faced down bullies. She had some questionable friends. She married well, to a decent man who was proud of his wife. And they stayed together until Denis died. She loved her children. Even the one that was a mercenary. She won wars. She made mistakes. She held her ground. She was the “Iron Lady”. You either loved her or you hated her.

We thought this image said it all.

(To read more – here’s what the Guardian – a paper we both love – had to say. Image copyrighted to the Guardian. Learn more about Marmite here)

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14 Comments

  1. silvia
    silvia

    Talking about coincidences, I recently saw in DVD the Iron Lady with Meryl Streep and I also took a look at a long interview with English director Phyllida Lloyd and all the actors involved in the movie.
    The screenplay was written by another English woman Abi Morgan and they both agreed on the fact that they didn’t want to release a political judgement on the politician, it might have been difficult to feel entitled to do so.
    It was more interesting for them to investigate the woman behind the decisionmaker and I liked it a lot. Needless to say that Streep is as usual super human.
    To make a long story short, I like how you treated such a complex character and appreciated the fact that you linked your words to the Guardian, wich is a smart strategic choice.
    Talking about being smart you girls are doing a terrific job.

    May 5, 2013
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    • Grazie Cara – and thank to you for being such a regular contributor as well.

      May 7, 2013
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  2. I agree with so much of what you have posted.
    The odd thing is that when you ask any of those who were ‘celebrating’ her death (many of whom hadn’t even been born when she was in power) why they loathed her so much, they come out with a selection of half-baked, ill-informed mythology.
    For example – ‘she closed all the mines’, she certainly embarked on a very acrimonious battle against the undemocratic behaviour of the NUM, but the PM who closed far more mines, putting many more miners out of work, than she did was Harold Wilson. The much touted nickname of ‘Milk-Snatcher’ which implied she was doing poor young children harm, was a policy put in place by the Education minister who preceded her though she did impliment it. And in any case, milk for over 10 yr olds had been stopped some time previously. The milk used to sit outside schools for several hours come rain or shine and often was not very palatble so the kids didn’t want to drink it, and monies saved from this went some way to referb some of the worst school lavs in the country…
    Actually I can’t fathom why I am defending her, because back in the day I was a card carrying Lib (pre Lib-Dem)!
    Delighted to have found your blog – I intend to follow it.

    April 20, 2013
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    • Thanks Herschelian – I think we could all benefit from the clear sighted rear view mirror you have used.. Unfortunately we get hearsay and personal ego involved and walk away from the lessons empty handed.

      April 20, 2013
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  3. I loved her. She was a role model for any young lady growing up in the early 1980’s. I admired her courage, her demeanor, her loyalty to her allies, her foresight, and her defense of individual liberty. There will never be another trailblazer like her. My only regret is that I never wrote to her to tell her of her effect on my thinking. Thank you for writing about her.

    April 20, 2013
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    • You are welcome Southern Roots – and a great reminder to us all to take the time to let people know when we appreciate them!

      April 20, 2013
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  4. It’s interesting to be as an American to hear about Margaret Thatcher. People here mostly associate her with former President Reagan, and automatically assume they don’t like her due to Reagan’s conservative politics. I feel like the US is experiencing many of the ills that Lady Thatcher warned of, and so many of her speeches from the 80’s are pertinent to our current politics (especially her thoughts on taxes) whether or not we agree with her. It’s very eerie!

    April 18, 2013
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    • Thanks Henisha – I think the two were friends for good reason – both believe implicitly in their policies. And both were essentially old fashioned and conservate. It’s always hard with politicians to see the good that they did – in amongst the rest. I firmly believe that running a country is an undoable job. And am naturally suspicious of anyone who puts their hand up to do it. My country (South Africa) fought so hard for equality and freedom – yet here we are with a corrupt government and no end to that in sight. People are people and we never seem to learn from history!

      April 20, 2013
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  5. Very tactful post. Draw whatever meaning you may from the US delegation of George Schultz, et all. (PS: If you want to arrest Dick Cheney as a war criminal, you have my blessings. I understand Canada has an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Maybe that applies throughout the UK.)

    April 17, 2013
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    • Yeah – have to say they wouldn’t be a gang of guys I would like to hang out with… nasty.

      April 18, 2013
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  6. I respected Mrs T as a woman but hated her politics. I agree with the ‘no dancing on graves’ sentiment whatever my feelings. Does the vitriol also stem to a certain extent from the ‘thinking just about yourself’ culture that evolved during that time? For a long time, every time I got on a bus I thought of her quote.

    April 17, 2013
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    • Great thought – I agree and would add that it has to do with the lack of personal responsibility: we tend to vote blindly and then wonder why things have gone pear-shaped. We don’t move assertively to fix it – and moan afterwards: “someone should have done something”.

      April 17, 2013
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  7. I think it bandwagon-ism and not attractive. This is why we get mobs.

    April 17, 2013
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  8. Here here sofa girl. I am shocked at some behaviours not only of strangers who act as you say but also of highly rational friends of mine who have expressed such surprising vitriol on Facebook. One said that whilst she didn’t condone the celebrations after Bin Laden’s death, she did think we should all celebrate Maggie going. What is that about?

    April 17, 2013
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