Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher - The Legacy.

I vividly remember early one afternoon in 1990 jumping onto a tube train to be confronted, to my horror, with a newspaper headline announcing that Margaret Thatcher had stepped down.

I was stunned. I knew she was a headstrong and often difficult and divisive figure but surely everyone knew that she more than anyone had put Britain back on it's feet.

I was only 11 years old when Mrs T came to power but it was obvious to me that she was what the country needed. I remember the power cuts and the strikes and the overwhelming sense that country was slowly sliding towards oblivion and that she was the figure who those who understood what needed to be done, united around.

The day she went induced a feeling like a bereavement - which today's news brings flooding back.

In 1990 I felt as though the country had taken a foolish wrong turn. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, I know for sure we did.

Despite the fact that she had, inevitably after 10 years as PM, lost touch, become egotistical and started to believe her own propaganda, Margaret Thatcher had much more to give. A shock would perhaps have done it. Got her back on the rails and renewed her energy and focus. There was no need for an unseating, particularly foolish when there was no strong alternative leader in waiting..

But it wasn't to be and perhaps that's partly why we seem to be re-playing the same arguments and scenarios today as we were back in the 1980s. Stuck in a strange political groundhog day, today we hear todays' politicians reciting very similar arguments to those of that time. Labour are blamed for their disastrous stewardship of the economy and the Conservatives are blamed for reigning back spending and restructuring the state.

Margaret Thatcher's legacy is extraordinarily impressive - the most significant politician by far of my lifetime.

I just wish she had been given the time and support to finish the job she started and been able to embed a truly sustainable economic and social model in Britain that combined sound, sustainable finances with social responsibility.

Instead we find ourselves looking for a leader of her stature - and can't seem to see one.


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