Monday, April 8, 2013


Mrs. Thatcher has finally found her match, death.

The former British Prime Minister has been compared to many, but not to Elisabeth I with whom she shared many characteristics: opinionated, uncompromising, courageous and yes, flirtatious if convenient.  She also had a lot in common with Winston Churchill who was equally gifted and at the same time flawed. We prefer to remember Normandy and to forego Gallipoli.

In Great Britain Mrs.Thatcher was a reformer, second to none. She imposed a model which defeated the trade unions (the miners were her nemesis) and opened the doors for financiers worldwide who transformed London into a sterling financial hub.  In the aftermath the excesses of  "Cool Britannia" followed.
She had little sympathy for the continent and felt that the UK's interests were better served through the "special relationship" with the United States.

Her downfall as a result of some "coup" in her cabinet was awesome. The men couldn't take her mettle any longer. We know what followed under John Major's tenure, the erosion of the Conservative base and the rise of the Tony Blair's illusion.

Mrs.Thatcher was always impressive but was seldom liked. Most of her ideas were bold.  Some were petty.
Her greatest achievement might well have been the overall remake of the United Kingdom which became almost overnight a modern society driven by creativity and economic priorities. True, those also made room for speculative interests and corruption, which she failed to rein in. A new class made an entry in Britain, destabilizing existing social strata which became unforgiving. Margaret Thatcher was not a democrat at heart and she never pretended to be one, as Tony Blair would make us believe later on. She was conscious of her humble beginnings but choose not to let them stand in the way of her (and others') ambitions. She was a paradoxical egalitarian, who saw nothing wrong in switching from the middle class to the highbrow. She was the ultimate non fatalist.

The European meetings which she loathed so much have become what she foresaw.
 She has no political heirs and the drab looks like having a comeback with a vengeance. Her shortcomings, mostly in the social realm, should not stand in the way of appreciation for a great leader who through individual willpower alone became a transformational force and inspiration. Suddenly most leaders are starting to look even smaller than what they are.

Mrs.Thatcher remains invicta but for the final act from which there is no escape.

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