I’ve just recently been alerted to the news that Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 – 1990, has died.
Now, from what I have heard and read about her time in power, I believe her to have left a truly terrible legacy for Britain, in terms of what she did to the country’s industry and the damage its very social fabric, as well as her dubious international record (the sinking of the Belgrano and her support of Apartheid spring to mind). Others – many others – will disagree, and likewise, I’m sure, a lot of people will agree. Thatcher, even now, proves to be a controversial figure.
However, I don’t see myself either mourning or celebrating her death. Despite my opinions on her political record, I think it would be utterly wrong to celebrate the death of another human being. While now might be the time to have a political debate on the legacy she has left, I personally feel inclined to look back how exceptional a Prime Minister she was – for better or for worse. Firstly, she was the UK’s first – and, to date, only – female Prime Minister. Her 11 years in power have been the longest uninterrupted premiership since Robert Jenkinson left office in 1827. Even considering Prime Ministers who were in power more than once, she is still has the 7th longest time in office of every Prime Minister in British history, as well as the longest tenure in the 20th century.
The Iron Lady may be gone, but she has earned herself a very secure place in the history of our country.