Thursday, April 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Margaret Thatcher reshaped Britain

By
From page A6 | April 11, 2013 | Leave Comment

The issue: Prime minister left a substantial mark on her country

Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday at the age of 87, was the most influential British prime minister in U.S. politics since Winston Churchill.

Churchill was close to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thatcher to President Ronald Reagan, whom she affectionately called “Ronnie.” If anything, she was a more effective and forceful advocate of free enterprise than Reagan.

THE FIRST WOMAN to become British prime minister, Thatcher led the Conservative Party to three successive voting victories and governed from May 1979 to November 1990.

Thatcher was the daughter of a shopkeeper — a grocer, a fact that the class-conscious British press invariably mentions high up in her obituaries. In fact, she literally did live over the store.

She inherited the habits of hard work, tenacity and thrift — and an interest in politics. After graduation from the University of Oxford, no small feat for a shop girl, she entered Conservative Party politics. After nine years of trying, she won a seat in Parliament. She was willing to do the thankless, tedious tasks that other politicians avoided, and by 1970 was rewarded with a Cabinet post.

The ruling Labour Party was exhausted, her Tories had an unimpressive line of male candidates and England, in any case, seemed almost ungovernable. Thatcher at first had the advantage of being regularly underestimated by both friend and foe. But, in 1979, she led the Tories to victory and became prime minister, with the condescending consensus that her tenure would be a short one.

THATCHER INHERITED a nation that was on its way to Third World status because of an ossified and truculent trade-union movement, which dominated the opposition Labour Party. The country was subject to constant, crippling wildcat strikes — by hospital workers, railway workers, truck drivers, gravediggers, manufacturing workers — at state-owned enterprises that Labour had nationalized after World War II. Their products were notorious for unreliability and regular unavailability.

Thatcher was under enormous pressure to just give the workers what they wanted under the common delusion that somehow the means to pay for it would suddenly materialize.

She showed her mettle by crushing a yearlong strike by the powerful mineworkers’ union in 1984-85, a victory that did much to reshape the economic and social order of Britain.

That victory was more important but less spectacular than her 1982 victory in the Falklands Islands. She faced down U.S. Secretary of State Al Haig, who Reagan had dispatched to talk her out of a counter invasion. Her credo was to give the order and “let the military get on with it.” The invading Argentines were ousted in less than three months.

The Russian press christened her the “Iron Lady.” One of her most prescient foreign-policy formulations was that Mikhail Gorbachev, then the leader of the Soviet Union, was “a man we can do business with.”

THATCHER’S STEELY interest in U.S. politics continued after Reagan left office in early 1989. In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. In the following months, as the United Nations was organizing a U.S.-led coalition to free Kuwait — a move believed by many to be a disaster in the making — she told President George H.W. Bush, “This is not the time to go wobbly.”

Thatcher was forced out as prime minister in 1990, a combination of a political misjudgment on a tax issue and the feeling among her rivals that it was somebody else’s turn in 10 Downing St.

Thatcher left a substantial mark on British politics. She also rubbed off on U.S. politics and politicians. Let’s hope her good qualities, like courage and tenacity, survive her.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Benefit set for local bike legend

By Adrian Glass-Moore | From Page: A1

 
 
For the record

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A2

Three killed in attack on Ukrainian base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
California residents divided on drought solution

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A2

 
Scholar will discuss human trafficking in Friday talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Downtown post office set to reopen

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3

Run or walk to prevent child abuse in Yolo County

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Nominations sought for charity paint giveaway

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Learn more about Google Glass at talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Per Capita Davis: Now, for some good news

By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

Birch Lane hosts 50th anniversary party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Hannah Stein reads poetry at gallery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis Food Co-op to offer free bags on Earth Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Get in the picture with school board candidate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

KDVS hosts on-air fundraiser April 21-27

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Tickets on sale for Pence Garden Tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fundraiser planned for Allen’s campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Food Co-op board plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis Downtown hosts candidate forum

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4

 
Barbecue celebrates winter shelter program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Davis Soroptimists celebrate 60 years

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Sign of things to come

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A8

.

Forum

Fancy meeting you here …

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Have they really learned?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

A great community effort

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Public Health Heroes honored

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Don’t miss a Trokanski dance

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Frank Bruni: The oldest hatred, forever young

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

 
Expert: Free parking is a myth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Foster steps down as Lady Blue Devil basketball coach

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
River Cats’ streak reaches six wins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Landry evolves into UCD women’s lacrosse leader

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Huge inning propels Pleasant Grove past DHS

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Giants edge Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Youth roundup: Martinez, Chan come up big at gymnastics regional

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Kings drop season finale to Suns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Angels get past A’s in extras

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

Wineaux: Good deals off the beaten path

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A7

 
Rockabilly phenom to play at The Palms

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

HellaCappella showcases a cappella singing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
‘One’ singular sensation to open at DMTC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

25th annual state clay competition exhibit at The Artery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Tapan Munroe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 17, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6