One of the great political figures of our time passed away, this morning after suffering a stroke. Margaret Thatcher, dubbed “the Iron Lady” by the Soviet media for her personal and political toughness, was 87. Her spokesman, Lord Bell said, ”a further statement will be made later.”
Baroness Thatcher, Britain’s first and only woman prime minister, had become increasingly frail and was suffering ill health in recent years.
She was admitted to hospital shortly before Christmas where she underwent an operation to remove a growth from her bladder but was allowed to return home before new year.
For many of us, Thatcher’s absence on the world stage has been felt for many years.
The Heritage Foundation produced this video about Thatcher back in January, as a less flattering movie about her life was hitting the theaters.
Via Katie Pavlich, here video featuring one of Thatcher’s finest moments:
These brief exchanges took place during Margaret Thatcher’s last speech in the House of Commons on 22 November 1990: Margaret Thatcher on Socialism:
Via AoSHQ: Margaret Thatcher Arrives At Downing Street (1979):
Mrs Thatcher quotes St Francis of Assisi in her first speech as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Thatcher was the last of the dynamic trio who brought down the Iron Curtain, to die.
John O’Sullivan, author of The President, The Pope, and The Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World was interviewed by the Catholic Register in january of this year.
In Rome in December for the launch of the Italian version of his book, O’Sullivan, a former Downing Street adviser to Thatcher and currently executive editor of Radio Free Europe, explained how these three leaders accelerated the end of the Cold War, how Reagan was instrumental in bringing John Paul II and Thatcher together, and whether leaders of similar caliber exist in the world today.
You mention in your book that John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher had interesting aspects in common: They changed the course of history, yet they were three “middle managers” no one imagined could reach the top. How much did your research reveal the role of Providence in what they achieved?
I try to explain in the book the great difficulties of discussing the role of Providence in history, because, of course, Providence works through natural and human agencies. So, in a sense, probably the best way to do it is to describe what happened as best we know how and let the reader draw the inferences from extraordinary coincidences and so on.
In fact, I quote John Paul II at one point: that in the workings of Providence there are no coincidences. It did strike me as fascinating that these three people emerged at a time of great peril for Western civilization, Christianity and other things. All of them had a struggle to get there; they had to struggle to make an impact; almost immediately they entered their high positions, and all of them became the victims of attempted assassinations. Those assassinations came very close to success — with the Pope, the bullet passed just a short distance from his heart; the same was true of Reagan and maybe Thatcher — had she remained in the bathroom for another five or six minutes, she would have been killed.
Some critics of your book argue that the economic situation of the Soviet Union was such that the U.S.S.R. was always going to collapse and that these three leaders were inconsequential to that happening. Do you agree with any of this argument?
No, and history is on my side here. The economy of the Soviet Union had been about to collapse really since 1917. There had never been a successful period of economics, and that’s because the system itself had been incapable of producing the goods. It was incapable of motivating people and incapable of giving them a decent standard of living, of encouraging their human qualities and so on. So I think it was always doomed.
How had it, therefore, survived and, apparently, in some cases, prospered? Well, the West came to its assistance time and time again, and it was doing so in the ’70s. So, although the Soviet Union was always potentially on the verge of collapse, it needed something external, and that something was provided by these three leaders. In different ways, they undermined the Soviet Union, and, of course, in the case of Reagan, he straightforwardly set out to bankrupt them.
For example, he kept a careful watch on the price of gold because he knew that was a useful source for them. His military buildup was designed to say to them: “If you do what you want, you can’t match what we can do.” And they reached that conclusion themselves.
Gorbachev complains to the Politburo soon after he becomes a major figure that Singapore exports more in value every year than the entire Soviet Union. Everyone knew the system was being pushed to the breaking point by Reagan in that way, by the Pope spiritually, and by Mrs. Thatcher in a very interesting way: She demonstrated the recuperative powers of a free society and a free economy. She took over an economy in very desperate circumstances, and, in a sense, by offering it the benefits of liberty, and I think a sensible monetary policy, she saw the British economy get up off its deathbed. By the time she left office, it was the fourth-largest economy in the world.
So, all these ways undermined the system. To sum up: It was a system that had lots of internal weaknesses, but it required the application of strong external pressures to exploit those external weaknesses to bring it down and to bring it down peacefully rather than violently.
ABC News: Margaret Thatcher Through The Years:
A Look Back at the First Female British Prime Minister
Her body is still warm and the vultures are already attacking.
The Commentator: VIDEO: Hitchens on Thatcher:
Hitch’s words on meeting Lady Thatcher reminds us what a great sense of humour the Iron Lady had…
Heritage has lost one of her greatest friends, and the world has lost one of its greatest champions of freedom.
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) today released the following statement regarding the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher:
Today the world mourns the loss of an extraordinary leader, the great Margaret Thatcher.
Utterly fearless, she never once went wobbly. Rejecting the failures of socialism, she won the argument for liberty, and her name is synonymous with the policies that restored peace, prosperity, growth, and stability at a time when it seemed like the United Kingdom had none.
It was truly a Providential blessing that she served alongside President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II — together the three of them stood unshakable, defended humanity, and won the Cold War without firing a shot. Her magnificent intellect and unwavering work ethic helped her become Britain’s first and only female prime minister — an ascent that wasn’t a matter of breaking through the glass ceiling, but simply refusing to acknowledge its existence.
The world will forever be in her debt; Lady Thatcher was one of kind. Long live the memory of our dearly departed Iron Lady.