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Showing posts with label Margaret Thatcher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Margaret Thatcher. Show all posts

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Margaret Thatcher on 'The Moral Foundations of Society'

Margaret Thatcher was born in 1925 and went on to earn a degree in chemistry from Somerville College, Oxford, as well as a master of arts degree from the University of Oxford. For some years she worked as a research chemist and then as a barrister, specializing in tax law. Elected to the House of Commons in 1953, she later held several ministerial appointments. She was elected leader of the Conservative Party and thus leader of the Opposition in 1975.

She became Britain’s first female prime minister in 1979 and served her nation in this historic role until her resignation in 1990. In 1992, she was elevated to the House of Lords to become Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. The first volume of her memoirs, The Downing Street Years, was published in 1993 by HarperCollins. 

In November 1994, Lady natcher delivered the concluding lecture in Hillsdale Center for Constructive Alternatives seminar, “God and Man: Perspectives on Christianity in the 20th Century” before an audience of 2,500 students, faculty, and guests. In an edited version of that lecture, she examines how the Judeo-Christian tradition has provided the moral foundations of America and other nations in the West and contrasts their experience with that of the former Soviet Union.

The Moral Foundations of the American Founding

History has taught us that freedom cannot long survive unless it is based on moral foundations. The American founding bears ample witness to this fact. America has become the most powerful nation in history, yet she uses her power not for territorial expansion but to perpetuate freedom and justice throughout the world.

For over two centuries, Americans have held fast to their belief in freedom for all men—a belief that springs from their spiritual heritage. John Adams, second president of the United States, wrote in 1789, “Our Constitution was designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” That was an astonishing thing to say, but it was true.

What kind of people built America and thus prompted Adams to make such a statement? Sadly, too many people, especially young people, have a hard time answering that question. They know little of their own history (This is also true in Great Britain.) But America’s is a very distinguished history, nonetheless, and it has important lessons to teach us regarding the necessity of moral foundations.

John Winthrop, who led the Great Migration to America in the early 17th century and who helped found the Massachusetts Bay Colony, declared, “We shall be as a City upon a Hill.” On the voyage to the New World, he told the members of his company that they must rise to their responsibilities and learn to live as God intended men should live: in charity, love, and cooperation with one another. Most of the early founders affirmed the colonists were infused with the same spirit, and they tried to live in accord with a Biblical ethic. They felt they weren’t able to do so in Great Britain or elsewhere in Europe. Some of them were Protestant, and some were Catholic; it didn’t matter. What mattered was that they did not feel they had the liberty to worship freely and, therefore, to live freely, at home. With enormous courage, the first American colonists set out on a perilous journey to an unknown land—without government subsidies and not in order to amass fortunes but to fulfill their faith.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Claire Berlinski on 'Why Margaret Thatcher Matters'

As conservatives begin to take America back from the Marxists who are deliberately destroying her, Claire Berlinski has written an important book about Margaret Thatcher: There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters.

Margaret Thatcher achieved for Great Britain what must be achieved in the United States. The "iron lady's" belief in the redeeming moral value of freedom, which she believed should apply to economic life, as it should to every other aspect of human life," the power of her principled conviction, the boldness of her agenda, and her fierce defiance in the face of opposition, are qualities that America needs in its Congressional leadership and in the next President. In the words of Margaret Thatcher, "failure is not an alternative."

Berlinski earned a doctorate in international relations from Oxford and has lived and worked in Britain, Thailand, Laos, and France; she now lives in Istanbul.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

John O'Sullivan on Margaret Thatcher: A Legacy of Freedom

John O'Sullivan, executive editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has served as a senior editor at the London Times and the Daily Telegraph and as a special advisor to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He has also been editor-in-chief of the United Press International, editor of The National Interest and National Review, and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. His most recent book is The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at Hillsdale College on May 9, 2008, at the dedication of the third statue on the College's Liberty Walk and the first statue of Margaret Thatcher to be erected in the United States.

IT is a great pleasure to be back at Hillsdale. It is some 32 years since I first visited the College for a meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society. Those few days were an important education in American politics for me. The conference was attended by many people who had just returned from the Republican Convention at which President Ford had narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan. They were full of enthusiasm for Reagan and full of conviction that one day he would become president. Their enthusiasm—and their passion too for sound doctrine—swept me along. I think I became a firm Reaganite at that conference here in Hillsdale. And I have never had cause to regret my conversion.

I was already “a Thatcherite of the first hour,” to use Gaullist terminology. Indeed, along with Ralph Harris, Arthur Seldon, Keith Joseph, and such distinguished alumni of that Hillsdale meeting as Madsen Pirie and Stuart Butler, who went on to found the Adam Smith Institute in London in the late 1970s—well, we all have a good claim to have been Thatcherites even before Lady Thatcher. Most of the intellectual groundwork for what became Thatcherism was done in places like the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Adam Smith Institute, the Center for Policy Studies, the Mont Pelerin Society—and Hillsdale College.

But I have to add some words from Lady herself when someone made the same claim in her presence: “The cock may crow, but it's the hen that lays the eggs.” We couldn’t have implemented those ideas of freedom without her courage, leadership, stamina, and commitment to those same ideas. So it is fitting that Hillsdale College should be erecting a statue to Lady Thatcher—you were allied with her in the same cause of freedom long before she became a personal friend of the college.

I congratulate the sculptor, Bruce Wolfe, on his magnificent achievement. Not only is it a superb likeness of Lady Thatcher at the apogee of her political authority, but it also captures the extraordinary energy that she always projected—even when, as here, seated in a comfortable armchair. I will be especially nervous delivering these remarks today, feeling that Herself is seated just behind me and likely to catch me out in some error.

It is, finally, a great pleasure to be here under the gavel, so to speak, of your President Larry Arnn. I first met Larry at the dinner table in London of the late Peter Utley, a great conservative journalist, who was another Thatcherite of the first hour. While I was learning Reaganism in Hillsdale, Larry was learning Thatcherism in London, in both cases from the best possible teachers. In the end, of course, Reaganism and Thatcherism are the same Anglo-American conservative philosophy of ordered liberty applied in somewhat different national circumstances.

That is why Thatcher and Reagan were such a natural and successful partnership. They did not always look like a natural partnership, however. One acute and well-placed observer, Sir Percy Cradock, who served as Lady Thatcher’s foreign policy advisor in Downing Street, pointed to some very sharp differences between them in the following contrast: “the bossy intrusive Englishwoman, lecturing and hectoring, hyperactive, obsessively concerned with detail” and “the lazy, sunny Irish ex-actor, his mind operating mainly in the instinctive mode, happy to delegate and over-delegate, hazy about most of his briefs, but with certain stubbornly held principles, a natural warmth, and an extraordinary ability to communicate with his constituents.”

That sounds like criticism. And recent Reagan scholarship suggests that the president was somewhat less lazy and delegation-happy than he liked people to think. But in fact, Sir Percy was an admirer of the partnership as well as one of its close advisors. As he went on to say, these different personalities complemented each other very well. They were not oil and water, but oil and vinegar—no prizes for guessing who was which—and not entirely by accident. Both were determined to make the partnership work. Both shared the same essential philosophy. And both were prepared to back each other up in public even when they differed in private—almost all of the time, at any rate.

Winning the Cold War

Now I shall not devote this speech entirely to the Cold War partnership of Thatcher and Reagan. You know most of that story from the American end. Besides, its essence can be summed up in Lady Thatcher’s own tribute to the President: “Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot.” But she added a little coda too: “Not without a little help from his friends.”

That summarizes the truth very crisply. Reagan’s friends in this cause included Pope John Paul II, Lech Walesa, Helmut Kohl, Vaclav Havel, Italy’s Francesco Cossiga, arguably Mikhail Gorbachev (who has ever since referred to “my friend Ron”), and the peoples of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. All those friends were important and all played crucial roles in restoring freedom to the “captive nations.” But Margaret Thatcher was the most consistent, the most outspoken, the most determined, and the most reliable friend to Reagan and the United States in this final climactic struggle with totalitarian communism.

She matched Reagan’s military build-up with a strengthening of Britain’s defense forces.

She was the strongest voice in Western Europe protesting against the Soviet-ordered imposition of martial law against Solidarity in Poland.

She fought a war to evict the Argentineans from the Falklands—a war that not only showed the fighting spirit of the British forces but also compelled the Soviets to accept that the West would fight to defend itself.

She supplied Blowpipe missiles to the Afghan resistance that gave Reagan the incentive and justification to insist that American intelligence agencies should supply them with the more effective Stinger missiles.

She prevented—it was almost her last political act of importance—she prevented the European Union from accepting the legitimacy of the Soviet incorporation of the Baltic countries inside its multi-national Gulag.

Above all, she rallied the Europeans to ensure the installation of U.S. missiles in Western Europe to match the Soviet planting of SS-20s in the Soviet satellites.

Let me give one example of the many times she acted to stiffen the spines of Western European governments either weakened by the leftward drift of their social democratic parties or frightened by the massive anti-installation rallies of the so-called “peace movement.” West Germany’s Helmut Schmidt—another friend of America’s and a strong anti-communist—was losing the battle to keep his left-leaning SDP from opposing the installation of U.S. missiles. He asked Thatcher if she would take some of the missiles that West Germany had originally accepted in addition to those taken by Britain. She agreed to do so. Both Schmidt and the installation policy were able to survive for another day. In the end, such strong leadership ensured that the missiles were installed across Western Europe in 1984—Germany fully included after Helmut Kohl replaced Schmidt.

This was a decisive defeat for the Soviet Union in the Cold War. They lost their long-cherished hope of being able to employ nuclear blackmail against NATO and to split the Atlantic alliance. They walked out of the Geneva arms control negotiations in protest. But they had to walk back in a little later, and later still in the Geneva, Reykjavik, and Washington summits, they had to swallow disarmament treaties that essentially demolished their military threat to Western Europe. The collapse of communism occurred only a few years later.

Today we forget how quickly the Reagan-Thatcher partnership vanquished communism. Thatcher took office in May 1979 and Reagan in January 1981. They had won power precisely because the voters of the West were worried about the breakdown of their societies and the remorseless advance of the Soviets and their allies—in Southeast Asia, in southern Africa, in Afghanistan, in Central America. Yet by 1982-83 they had stabilized their own societies and begun the military and economic challenge to the Soviets in earnest. In 1982, a senior Politburo official wrote in his diary that the Soviets faced an ideological and economic offensive that they had no idea how to counter. If things continued as they were going, he wrote, there would be what he called “a Polish Russia” in ten years—i.e., the same implosion of communism inside the Soviet Union that had occurred inside Poland.

Neither Thatcher nor Reagan realized that the Soviet system would collapse as quickly as it did. What they did realize, however, was that it was a dying system.

As the Prime Minister was being driven to the London airport on her way to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov’s funeral, Robin Butler, the most senior civil servant in attendance, noticed that she was wearing high-heeled court shoes. Would she be attending the funeral, he asked, in those shoes? Yes? In that case he insisted on diverting the car to a shoe shop where she could buy a pair of fleecy fur-lined boots—the only footwear suitable to a Politburo funeral that would involve standing for hours in a sub-freezing Red Square.

Having bought the boots, Thatcher complained to Butler about their exorbitant price all the way to Moscow.

The next day was as Butler had predicted. Thatcher had to stand for hours in the cold. After the burial, she paid a brief courtesy call to drink a glass of champagne and to shake hands with Andropov’s successor, Konstantin Chernenko, at the Kremlin wake. She then returned to her limousine for the drive back to Moscow airport. No sooner had she settled onto the limo’s cushions than she apologized generously to Butler.

“Robin, I should never have made such a fuss about the price of those boots,” she said. “When I saw Chernenko in the receiving line, I realized at once that they were a sensible investment.”

It was a dying system—but it might have taken forever to die of its own accord. Its death was an assisted suicide. Without Reagan and Thatcher standing by the bedside, quietly turning off the feeding tubes, the Soviet empire might have survived another few decades, with huge costs in ruined and oppressed lives and needless arms spending. That it ended within a decade of their elections—and that it ended, unlike most empires, peacefully and without vast bloodshed—is due in large part to Lady Thatcher’s combination of strategic firmness and diplomatic flexibility.

Restoring the Vigorous Virtues

Owen Harries, the distinguished Australian editor of the National Interest magazine, once remarked to me that Thatcher would probably be regarded by history as more important than Reagan when it came to economic reform. That seems a shrewd judgment to me. And I would hazard the following reasons for it.

First, the recovery of the British economy in the 1980s was more impressive than America’s revival because it started from a lower economic point and occurred in a more left-wing country. Jimmy Carter might have been moderately efficient at ruining an economy, but he was no match for 50 years of socialism and Labour government.

Second, Thatcher had harder opposition to overcome. Her labor market deregulation had to run the gauntlet not only of Labour MPs, but also of timid Tories.

Third, even after passing into law, her labor and economic policies had to survive major non-parliamentary challenges from the labor unions, notably the 1984-85 miners strike. This was a hard-fought battle, but it was also a victory for Thatcher as important in domestic politics as the Falklands War was in foreign policy. It removed the last lingering, nervous fear of both the voters and the markets that labor unions could render Britain ungovernable and the elected government impotent. And it weakened the extreme left everywhere, including in the Labour Party, by demonstrating that its trump cards amounted to a busted flush. Though Labour took some years to realize the fact, Thatcher’s victory entrenched her economic and labor reforms as the new consensus of British politics.

Once that happened, as Harries pointed out, the British economy began its long boom, combining economic growth with price stability. Loss-making industries were closed down or reduced in size. Manufacturing industries shed labor, often while increasing output, as they restructured to meet foreign competition. New companies or entrepreneurs from academic and non-industrial backgrounds established new industries in the financial services, information, and high-tech sectors. Privatization transformed inefficient state-owned industries into dynamic private sector enterprises. New financial instruments allowed entrepreneurs to take over sluggish low-earning companies and put their assets to more profitable uses.

In general, Thatcher’s British economy, like Reagan’s revived U.S. economy, was characterized by change, profitability, growth, the better allocation of resources (including labor), and the emergence of new industries—indeed of an entirely new economy—based on the information revolution.

Allied with these reforms was the spread of capital ownership. Thatcher had drawn the battle lines with Labour in a 1987 election speech: “Labour believes in turning workers against owners; we believe in turning workers into owners.” Two-thirds of Britain’s state-owned industries were sold to the private sector, resulting in more efficient industries and wider capital ownership. Between 1979 and 1989, the proportion of the British public owning shares rose from seven percent to fully one-quarter. And more than a million people bought their own homes from often reluctant local authorities.

There was a social side to this economic liberalization too. And this was more significant in Britain than in the U.S., which has long had a strong enterprise culture under governments of both parties. Here is Thatcher’s Finance Minister, Nigel Lawson, pointing out some of the signs of a growing enterprise culture in Britain:

For many years there was an average increase of 500 new firms per week—after deducting closures. There was a rise from little more than one million to over three million in the number of self-employed. The UK venture capitalist industry, which scarcely existed when we first took office, had by 1985 become twice as large as its counterparts in the rest of the European Community taken together.

I would underpin this with an example from my own life. When I graduated in 1964, there was not a single member of my graduating class who intended to start his own business. They all wanted to become trainee managers at large corporations such as Imperial Chemical Industries and Metal Box. Twenty years later, at the height of the Thatcher revolution, half the science graduates of Cambridge intended to start a software company and half of the graduates of the Royal College of Arts became famous fashion designers within weeks of putting out their shingles.

All these changes were a revival of what Shirley Robin Letwin, the distinguished Anglo-American political theorist, called the “vigorous virtues” in her important study of Thatcherism. These are such qualities as self-reliance, diligence, thrift, trustworthiness, and initiative that enable someone who exhibits them to live and work independently in society. Though they are not the only virtues—compassion might be called one of the “softer virtues”—they are essential to the success of a free economy and a civil society, both of which rely on dispersed initiative and self-reliant citizens.

That transformation did not stop at the Atlantic’s edge. Thatcher (and Reagan) also changed the world economy by virtue of the demonstration effects of Reaganism and Thatcherism. They had provided the world with successful models of free and deregulated economies.

These demonstration effects were similar but not identical. Tax cuts were America’s principal intellectual export; privatization was Britain’s.

Of the two, privatization was the more important globally, since the Third World and post-communist economies were encumbered with a vast number of inefficient state industries. Privatization expertise became one of the City of London’s most profitable services over the next two decades. Even the Soviets and Western European communists were forced to change course by the widespread adoption of privatization internationally—and also by the equally widespread acceptance of the market logic behind it.

In the Politburo archives I found this unwitting tribute to Lady Thatcher in a 1986 conversation between Gorbachev and Alexander Natta, the General Secretary of the Italian Communist party:

Natta: At the same time we, the communists, having either overestimated or underestimated the functions of the “welfare state,” kept defending situations which, as it became clear only now, we should not have defended. As a result, a bureaucratic apparatus, which serves itself, has swelled. It is interesting that a certain similarity with your situation, which you call stagnation, can be seen here.

Gorbachev: “Parkinson’s law” works everywhere. . . .

Natta: Any bureaucratization encourages the apparatus to protect its own interests and to forget about the citizens’ interests. I suppose that is exactly why the Right’s demands of re-privatisation are falling on a fertile ground in Western public opinion.

Once the command economies of the Soviet Bloc collapsed in 1989, revealing the extraordinary bankruptcy of state planning, it was the Thatcher model that the new democracies mainly sought to emulate.

Lady Thatcher became a hero to these new societies. But when she visited them, her message was political as much as economic: It was that they should treat the rule of law as being vital to both democracy and market freedom. Her message was one of ordered liberty.

That is a battle she believes has yet to be won—and in some cases even fought—by the conservative side.

Reviving Ordered Liberty

When Lady Thatcher revived the British economy, she was reviving profound social virtues that the British had once exemplified to the world—the Thatcherite “vigorous virtues” described above. In 1979, they seemed utterly destroyed by 50 years of statism and socialism. In fact, they had merely been driven underground by government over-regulation and intervention.

As James C. Bennett has observed, it took only a few years of Lady Thatcher’s application of free market solutions for these virtues to become vigorous again. Once that happened, it took only a few more years for those revived virtues to transform Britain from the sick man of Europe into the world’s fourth largest economy.

Deep social patterns can rarely be extirpated altogether. Cultural transformations of nations and societies imposed by governments nearly always fail in the long run. The old ways only look dead; in reality, they are merely dormant. They are the resources of our civilization and they can be revived to meet new challenges.

If Lady Thatcher demonstrated that truth in matters economic, she believes today that the resources of the Anglo-American political tradition of ordered liberty are not exhausted either. She believes that the virtues of that tradition—dispersed authority, open debate, popular sovereignty, spontaneous social evolution—are not dead, merely dormant. Indeed, they are flourishing in those new democracies, such as Estonia and Poland, where they have been introduced since 1989 (and where economic success is far more obvious than in countries that have clung to more centralized models). They are flourishing too in the English-speaking world outside Britain—notably in the U.S., Australia, and a reforming India. And they offer the best hope for Third World countries emerging from poverty and backwardness into a world of globalized opportunities.

Ironically, however, these virtues are threatened in Britain by growing statist regulation under New Labour; by the nation’s absorption into a European political structure built upon a very different tradition of constructivist rationalism; and by the failure of many conservatives to see the dangers in a European and global governance that lacks democratic accountability and threatens liberal freedoms.

Lady Thatcher could well afford to ignore these threats and spend her declining years in pleasant social activities. She has earned her rest. And sometimes her friends manage to compel her to enjoy herself. Yet she doesn’t really enjoy enjoying herself. And until her doctors finally put their collective foot down, she devoted much of her retirement to writing books, such as Statecraft, that apply the lessons of ordered liberty to the new circumstances of a globalized world.

Her new message is a kind of international Thatcherism. She believes ordered liberty to be a better system than constructivist rationalism for nations as well as for individuals. She believes in international cooperation between sovereign nation-states rather than global governance by transnational institutions. In particular, while urging a warm relationship with continental Europe, she proposes that Britain should regain and exercise its sovereign independence in a wider commonwealth of English-speaking peoples.

These are controversial views. But they may also be prophetic. The British people adapted with surprising speed and success to the restoration of their economic liberties in the 1980s. Today they are plainly uncomfortable in the bureaucratic structures of a Europe constructed upon an alien political tradition. Freed from these stifling political constraints, they might flourish independently yet again.

Of course, Lady Thatcher does not expect this will happen in her lifetime. But she didn’t believe she would live to see the end of the Soviet empire either. And the lesson of her whole life is: If you don’t try, you won’t succeed; but if you do try, you cannot imagine how successful you might be.

A bringer of hope and a messenger of freedom, Margaret Thatcher would be at home at Hillsdale College as much as her statue will undoubtedly be.

Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Was Margaret Thatcher Right to Fear a United Germany?

Documents published last week highlight the former prime minister's concern that the fall of the Berlin Wall could be a risk to Britain's national security. Was she right to be worried, asks historian Andrew Roberts

From The Telegraph
By Andrew Roberts
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

According to documents leaked from the Politburo, Margaret Thatcher believed that the fall of the Berlin Wall would lead to 'a change to postwar borders [which] could endanger [Britain's] security.' Photo: AFP/GETTY

"We do not want a united Germany," Margaret Thatcher told President Gorbachev at a lunch meeting in the Kremlin in September 1989, two months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. "This would lead to a change to postwar borders, and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the whole international situation and could endanger our security."

Among the 1,000 transcripts of Politburo and other high-level papers smuggled out of Russia by Pavel Stroilov, a researcher in the Gorbachev Foundation, and published for the first time last week – in what The Times described as a "bombshell" – was Thatcher's admission to Gorbachev that although she supported German reunification in public, in private and off-the-record she felt "deep concern" about the "big changes" afoot.

In fact, far from being a scoop, each of these points were contained on pages 792 and 793 of The Downing Street Years, Lady Thatcher's autobiography published in 1993. But what the smuggled Russian documents do is highlight the accuracy of Thatcher's own account of those heady days of two decades ago.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lady Thatcher Meets Pope Benedict XVI after Audience in St Peter's Square

(Francesco Sforza/AFP/Getty Images)

Lady Thatcher meets Pope Benedict XVI

From TimesOnline
By Richard Owen

A frail-looking Lady Thatcher, 83, today met Pope Benedict XVI at the end of his general audience on St Peter's Square.

The former Prime Minister, a Methodist by upbringing, was accompanied by Paul Johnson, the Catholic writer and historian, and Charles Moore, her biographer and the former editor of the Daily Telegraph, also a Catholic, who held an umbrella over Lady Thatcher's head to shield her from the sun.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Margaret Thatcher: A Great Lady "Not for Turning"

Thirty years ago today, the “sick man of Europe” was placed under the intensive care of a new Prime Minister. Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first and to date only female Prime Minister, arrived at Downing Street determined to undo the ravages of three decades of socialism.

Britain had not recovered from World War II, when successive socialist governments began to undermine the nation’s self-reliant social fabric, destroying the profit incentive in its manufacturing base, devaluing its currency, yielding ever-more power to corrupt unions, and returning the populace to a new feudalism, where few owned their own homes, many were increasingly dependent on government, and most had little hope for a better life.

Margaret Thatcher would object to the term “revolutionary” for the program she prescribed. She was, instead, determined to restore British freedom, wealth, and stature in world affairs. The results of her program, within a few short years, were nothing less than staggering.

With clarity of vision and steely, firm resolve, her government slashed top tax rates from 83% to 60% on earned income, and from 98% to 75%, and later, 40%. British venture capitalism, which was practically non-existent when she assumed office in 1979, was twice that of the entire European Economic Community within six years. The middle class grew from 33% of the population to 50%, home ownership expanded from 53% to 71%, stock ownership expanded from 7% to 23% of the population, and was 29% among union members. Inflation was reduced from 22% to 4%.

She broke the all powerful death-grip of the nation’s unions, with membership dropping from more than 50% of all workers to fewer than 20%. As a result, thousands of days lost in strikes plummeted, while the nation’s productivity soared.

During the sometimes painful transition from a stagnant, socialist economy to one of the world’s most vibrant economies, she stood up to an Argentine despot who challenged the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, gave moral support and inspiration to the Solidarity Workers Movement in Poland, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with her partner in freedom, Ronald Reagan, in bringing about the eventual collapse of the Soviet empire.

Like so many faint-hearted Republicans of our day who, lacking vision and principle, believe that by appeasing the left and offering a more moderate version of Obama socialism, they can build national support, Margaret Thatcher was under constant pressure from within her own party to moderate her message and her program. To such critics she famously said:
"To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning!"
In selecting Margaret Thatcher as one of the 100 most influential people of the twentieth century, the editors of Time Magazine wrote:
"She was the catalyst who set in motion a series of interconnected events that gave a revolutionary twist to the century's last two decades and helped mankind end the millennium on a note of hope and confidence. The triumph of capitalism, the almost universal acceptance of the market as indispensable to prosperity, the collapse of Soviet imperialism, the downsizing of the state on nearly every continent and in almost every country in the world — Margaret Thatcher played a part in all those transformations, and it is not easy to see how any would have occurred without her."

It seems extraordinary that at the very time the world has rejected socialism, and seen so clearly the dramatic results of Margaret Thatcher’s free-market restoration in Great Britain, America would elect an enemy to all that she stands for and start down that desolate, socialist road.

Could it be that America’s only socialized sector, its public educational system, has so dumbed-down America that we are unaware of the most obvious lessons of very recent history?

In these dark days in which old lessons must be relearned, the memory of Margaret Thatcher and her great partner on the world stage, Ronald Reagan, gives hope to conservatives that a great, freedom fighter like Margaret Thatcher might also arise here and restore all that is being destroyed.

In the words with which she eulogized her friend, Ronald Reagan, let us give thanks for Margaret Thatcher, and "a life that achieved so much for all of God's children."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Thatcher Finds a Permanent Home at No 10: First Look at the £100,000 Portrait Brown Ordered as a Lasting Tribute

From The Mail on Sunday
By Simon Walters

A portrait of Margaret Thatcher, commissioned by Gordon Brown as his personal tribute to her achievements, is to be unveiled in Downing Street next month.

The stunning work by Richard Stone, one of the world’s leading portrait artists, is revealed for the first time today by The Mail on Sunday.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thatcher's Historic Trip To Poland

We know now of the extraordinary, coordinated efforts that were underway in the 1980's, among Pope John Paul II, President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, to free the enslaved peoples of Europe. Their efforts to foster a "new human relationship" in Polish society among church leaders, workers, farmers and intellectuals, received an enormous boost twenty years ago this month during a visit to Poland by Prime Minister Thatcher.

At a state banquet, Thatcher lashed out at General Wojciech Jaruzelski, stating that Poland's depressed economy would improve only after freedom and liberty were restored. She also insisted upon visiting the birthplace of the Solidarity Movement, the Gdansk Shipyard and the union's leaders. In an emotionally charged visit, Thatcher told 5,000 workers, "Nothing can stop you!" And indeed, nothing did.

The following June, Poland held the first free elections ever seen in the Communist bloc. Solidarity, with the help of two smaller parties, swept to power, and six months after that the Berlin Wall came crumbling down.

The following video recounts Thatcher's historic visit to Solidarity and the Polish shipyard workers:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lady Thatcher To Be Honored With State Funeral

he following story concerns a matter we hope is a long, long way off.
But what an extraordinary acknowledgment of Lady Thatcher's monumental contributions, when a Labour government must acquiesce to the wishes of the Crown and public opinion and grant an honor only accorded to the likes of Nelson, Wellington, Gladstone and Churchill.

From The Daily Mail
By Katie Nicholl and Simon Walters

Margaret Thatcher is to be given the ultimate accolade of a State funeral when she reaches the end of her days – the first British Prime Minister since Winston Churchill to be afforded such an honour.

But the possibility of a formal procession could be jeopardised by fears that there are insufficient troops available to line the route because the Armed Forces are so overstretched in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Although Lady Thatcher is currently in good health – she was with the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday – The Mail on Sunday has learned that plans are under way for her funeral, when the time eventually comes, to take place at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Lady Thatcher

Highest honour: Lady Thatcher, pictured at this year's Wimbledon, will have a State funeral

The Queen and Gordon Brown are both in discussions with Lady Thatcher’s private office concerning the arrangements. This does not reflect any concern over Lady Thatcher’s health, but simply the prudent long-term planning necessary for any event involving the Queen.

It has not yet been decided whether the 82-year-old former Conservative leader will lie in state in Westminster Hall. To date the only Prime Minister in the 20th and 21st centuries to be given this honour was Churchill.

There were four non-Royal State funerals in the 19th century – Nelson, Wellington, Palmerston and Gladstone.

 St Paul's
Opulent: St Paul's Cathedral, chosen by Lady Thatcher as funeral venue

St Paul’s was chosen at Lady Thatcher’s request. The Queen is expected to be among the many world leaders, Royals and other dignitaries who would be in attendance.

Overall arrangements for the funeral are being led by Sir Malcolm Ross, the Queen’s former Master of the Royal Household, who has managed every Royal funeral since 1997, including those of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.

A source said: ‘Sir Malcolm has been brought in because he has an excellent track record and is considered the best man for the job.’

Sir Malcolm is renowned for his discretion and kept the plans for the Queen Mother’s funeral in his briefcase for 17 years. It is hoped that those for Lady Thatcher will also not be needed for many years.

His plans have also been discussed with Lady Thatcher’s daughter Carol and son Mark in conjunction with Mark Worthington, her senior adviser.

In a separate proposal, the Queen has also given her permission for Lady Thatcher to lie in the Chapel of St Mary’s Undercroft immediately beneath Westminster Hall on the night before her funeral. Family friends and VIPs would be able to visit the chapel to pay their last respects.

Informed sources last night confirmed that the Queen and Gordon Brown had given their blessing to the preparation of funeral arrangements for Lady Thatcher in recognition both of her achievements and for being Britain’s first woman Prime Minister.

She led the country from 1979 to 1990, winning three Elections and the Falklands War, and was credited with reversing the nation’s post-Second World War decline.

Despite her age, Lady Thatcher is in good health, although she has suffered a series of mini-strokes which resulted in short-term memory loss. Earlier this year she appeared frail when she was photographed with the Queen aboard the QE2 for Her Majesty’s final visit to the liner.

But a close friend said last night: ‘Lady T has been on fine form lately. She was with the Queen at a Buckingham Palace garden party on Tuesday, had lunch with a friend on Wednesday and is greatly looking forward to going on holiday in the French Alps with friends soon.’

A senior official involved in the funeral plans told The Mail on Sunday: ‘What’s in place at the moment is a contingency plan for a State funeral.

‘It is yet to be decided whether Lady Thatcher will lie in state. They won’t decide on the finer details until the actual time. There might be a new Prime Minister in place which could change things.

‘Ultimately it’s a call for the Government as to whether Lady Thatcher will lie in state.

One of the implications for a State funeral is that the Government meets the costs.

‘Another aspect is that there would usually be a long procession from Westminster Hall to St Paul’s Cathedral which involves the Armed Forces lining the route and marching through the streets of London.

State funeral

Flashback: Sir Winston Churchill's 1965 State funeral

‘There is an enormous pressure on our already stretched Forces and how many servicemen and women will be available is a serious consideration. It won’t be the case of bringing troops back home, but they are a long way from deciding on the finer details.

‘Whatever happens, the process will involve the Queen and the Ministry of Defence. It’s quite normal for a State funeral to be planned in advance. These things deserve forethought and planning; they can’t be conjured up over night.

‘Obviously everyone involved wants things to be as smooth as possible.’

State funerals are generally reserved for monarchs, but may, by order of the reigning monarch, be granted to other national heroes, such as Lord Nelson.

By tradition a State funeral for someone who is not a Royal is attended by the Monarch.

In addition, there is a lying in state and a military procession. But they are not all the same.

Hundreds of thousands of people filed past Churchill’s coffin during a three-day lying in state in Westminster Hall in 1965. By contrast, the public was not admitted during Gladstone’s lying in state in 1898.

Although the Queen Mother was Queen, she chose a Royal Ceremonial funeral.

However, her lying in state took place over three days and vast numbers queued to pay their respects.

Princess Diana also had a Royal Ceremonial funeral, a break with protocol since she was neither a consort to the Monarch nor heir to the throne. In other respects, it had all the trappings of a State funeral.

The funerals of other post-war Prime Ministers were considerably more modest than the plans being made for Lady Thatcher. No tickets were required to attend the Salisbury Cathedral funeral of her predecessor as Tory leader, Sir Edward Heath.

There was a simple ceremony on the Scilly Isles for Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Former Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was buried in a quiet Sussex churchyard after a private service near his family home.

Lady Thatcher’s private office was unavailable for comment, and when contacted by The Mail on Sunday Sir Malcolm Ross declined to comment.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lady Thatcher Would Win Election Today

Victory in the Falklands conflict and the end of the Cold War
ranked among Mrs Thatcher's greatest achievements.

A new Telegraph YouGov poll provides clear evidence that the British people are ready to throw off Labour Party socialism and its obeisance to EU totalitarians and return to the free market growth and opportunity unleashed by Margaret Thatcher.

When asked "who is or was Britain's greatest post-war prime minister," Lady Thatcher far exceeds every other leader of government, including the post-war premiership of Winston Churchill (1951-1955). Mrs. Thatcher was ranked first by 75% of all Conservative voters, 27% of Liberal Democrats, and even 11% of Labour voters ranked Thatcher ahead of Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, and other Labour Prime Ministers. The poll also indicates that if voters could choose from an array of Tory and Labour politicians "at the peak of their powers to be Prime Minister today," Mrs. Thatcher would be easily elected.

The Telegraph's story about the poll is here.