More than 2,000 mourners filled St. Paul’s Cathedral and church bells tolled as crowds and troops lined London’s streets for the final journey of Margaret Thatcher, with Britons still divided over the legacy of their only female prime minister.
The “ideological legacy” of Margaret Thatcher, according to the Economist, rivals “that of Marx, Mao, Gandhi or Reagan.” She made “Britain great again,” the Daily Telegraph asserts. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the historian Andrew Roberts hails Thatcher for her loyalty to the U.S. and Israel, and claims that “Thatcherism will always remain, and the world is better for it.”
I admired Margaret Thatcher the way I admired, feared (and loved) my mother. I didn’t share Thatcher’s politics but stood in awe when, through sheer conviction and resolve, she did what needed to be done. Both women were working-class but managed to go toe-to-toe with privilege. Both were charismatic and domineering, controversial and unafraid. Prime Minister Thatcher had a majority in Parliament to accomplish her agenda. My mother had me.
Margaret Thatcher was hated -- widely and passionately -- when she was U.K. prime minister, a fact that has gone largely unsaid in the encomiums that followed her death. Her polarizing nature needs to be remembered, because it defines what set her apart as a leader.
“The Iron Lady,” the new biopic starring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, was controversial before audiences even saw it, largely because of its portrayal of the aging former prime minister’s dementia.