In 1979 two amazing things happened. Britain got its first and only female Prime Minister to date. An event attracting global attention to our little, failing Kingdom. The other event was a bit lower key…
My mother gave birth to me.
Something I took for granted growing up was that women can do anything. Until I was eleven I only knew a female Prime Minister, a female monarch on the throne – there was nothing a woman couldn’t achieve in my eyes. Then at nineteen I joined the world of industry and commerce and the ‘glass ceiling’ became an all too familiar concept to me.
Margaret Thatcher was no feminist. She was leading the way for women’s liberation, although I wonder if she ever took time to stop and realise that for herself. She was too busy creating a free economy, denationalising our almost-bordering-on-communist state and fighting a battle with some organisation, be it the Trade Unions, the IRA or the European Union. She played her part in uniting too; without her, would the Berlin wall ever have fell? She changed the shape of politics, put the ‘Great’ back in Great Britain, stole the vote of the common man from the Labour party and whether you liked her or not, she gave everyone the opportunity to better themselves.
Apart from Jim’ll Fix It (the least said about that, the better) Margaret Thatcher was the only high profile person I wrote to as a child. When I was nine my mother managed to land herself with a parking ticket for parking in an incorrect space. She was so distraught and I was so outraged, I penned a letter to the PM asking her to retract the ticket on the grounds of the Traffic Warden’s incompetency (or however a nine year old would write that).
She never did reply. Her premiership was coming to an end then, so I forgive on the grounds of being far too busy and watching her own back. On reflection, however, what I realise now is the great impact Maggie and ‘Thatcherism’ had on my childhood and shaped the person I have become today through her ideology:
You get out what you put in, you strive to achieve and you NEVER GIVE UP.
So, Margaret Thatcher, I salute you. You were so many things; intelligent, driven, ambitious, fierce, moral, determined, focussed, successful, unswayable, female but most of all and always, to me, you were a true Lady.