I am in no way qualified to talk about Margaret Thatcher’s policies and their effect on this country, having been born 3 years after her exit from office, and having never studied them in detail. I am all too aware (just from looking at my Twitter and Facebook feeds) that they divide opinion hugely.
However I think it appropriate today to pay tribute to an undoubtedly impressive woman. She obtained the highest post in the country, held it for the longest time, changed Britain’s political landscape, and she did all of this without ever compromising her dignity as a woman.The calibre of those paying tribute to Thatcher in the past few hours shows just how influential she was: Obama, Medvedev, the Queen and countless British politicians (of the Right and Left) have commented on her death, describing (I think most poignantly) how she proved to women in politics and in Britain that “there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered” (Obama). Whatever your politics I think this message is probably the most important to take away from Thatcher’s legacy. She proved that a woman was capable of holding any position, and could inspire a generation, a country and the world with her strength and conviction.
I would also like to say that those rejoicing, cheering, or celebrating Thatcher’s death are essentially celebrating an old woman dying from a stroke. I find this really quite horrific and disrespectful. No matter what your opinion of a person I cannot imagine celebrating a death. It is a sad moment for many people and should be treated with due respect and tact. There is a time and a place to discuss the policies of a past PM, but that is not on the day of their death, 20 years after they exited politics.
Until I have studied and formed my own opinions on Thatcher’s policies, I will remember her as a pioneer for women in politics, our first (and hopefully not only) female PM, and a strong and determined woman.
RIP Margaret Thatcher, 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013.