Margaret Thatcher dies: Politics blog

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Margaret Thatcher dies: Politics blog

The Press Association has filed an obituary from Chris Moncrieff, its former political editor. Here is how it starts.

98d/10/huty/8935/02Margaret Thatcher was the woman who, virtually single-handed and in the space of one tumultuous decade, transformed a nation.
In the view of her many admirers, she thrust a strike-infested half-pace Britain back among the front-runners in the commanding peaks of the industrial nations of the world.

Her detractors, many of them just as vociferous, saw her as the personification of an uncaring new political philosophy known by both sides as Thatcherism.

Tireless, fearless, unshakeable and always in command, she was Britain’s first woman Prime Minister – and the first leader to win three General Elections in a row.
Mrs Thatcher, who became Baroness Thatcher, resigned as Prime Minister in November 1990 after a year in which her fortunes plummeted.

It was a year in which she faced a series of damaging resignations from the Cabinet, her own political judgments were publicly denounced by her own colleagues, catastrophic by-election humiliations, internal party strife, and a sense in the country that people had had enough of her after 11 years in power.

But history will almost certainly proclaim her as one of the greatest British peacetime leaders.

Her supporters believe she put the drive back into the British people.

And as she transformed the nation – attempting to release the grip of the state on massive industries and public services alike – she strode the earth as one of the most influential, talked-about, listened-to and dominant statesmen of the Western world.

When Argentina invaded the Falklands, she despatched a task force to the South Atlantic which drove the enemy off the islands in an incomparable military operation 8,000 miles from home.

She successfully defied Arthur Scargill’s nationwide and year-long miners’ strike, which threatened to cripple Britain’s entire economic base.
Her triumphant achievement of power in May 1979 signalled the end of the era when trade union leaders trooped in and out of 10, Downing Street, haggling and bargaining with her Labour predecessors.

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