The Thatcher Years

On 8th April 2013 Margaret Thatcher passed away and immediately a country was divided – some chose to celebrate her achievements and praise all that she achieved, whilst others condemned her time in power and chose to berate her.

I was shocked and quite appalled by some of the bile and hatred that was written on twitter – so much so I took myself away from it initially.  I then chose to speak to people that had a balanced view as I was a child / teen when she was in power so although her policies affected me in some way, I didn’t have the life experience to really understand.

What I know about Margaret Thatcher and her policies comes from my parents, my grandparents, the news and my schooling.

My parents gained a lot from Margaret Thatchers time as Prime Minister.  Both my mother and Father owned their own businesses (separately as they were divorced) and benefited from a more affluent time.  They owned their own houses, sent us to Private School and took regular holiday’s abroad.

Margaret Thatcher was a strong leader who stood by her beliefs, unlike many politicians these days.  She was determined to repair this country’s finances and her policies made London one of the most successful financial centres in the world.

I was brought up to believe that we make our own path in life, you work hard and you can achieve and have all the nice things that go with it.  The country / government don’t owe you a living and her philosophy was much the same and was summed up in a magazine interview she gave in 1987.
“I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand ‘I have a problem, it is the government’s job to cope with it!’ or ‘I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!’; ‘I am homeless, the government must house me!’ and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society?
“There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families, and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.
“It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations.”
I still very much believe in that and have instilled a good work ethic in my own children – nothing should be handed to them on a plate as they just won’t appreciate it!
Margaret Thatcher did make mistakes – what human being doesn’t.  Running a country is like running a huge business and you are not going to please all of the people all of the time.  I remember the Poll Tax protests clearly and had many a debate at school on the benefits versus the issues with them and as for football – well, the football terraces at the time were notorious for violence and hooliganism, not the greatest advert for the beautiful game!
I lived close to Brighton in 1984 and remember the bomb blast on the Grand Hotel clearly.  I think this was when my interest in her really began and I studied her and her policies more closely when I did my Economics A-Level.
I firmly believe she changed this country for the better.  She was a strong believer in staying out of Europe, for which she has been proved correct and the Cold War is no more.  In fact this article from The Guardian tells of 20 ways she has changed our country for better and worse!
Tomorrow, I will remember Margaret Thatcher as an inspiration to women everywhere, a strong leader not ashamed of sticking to her views and dragging this country kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.  I just hope we, as a country, learn from her successes and her failures!

2 thoughts on “The Thatcher Years”

  1. Interesting post, tho as you know I am on the other side of the fence. I too have a strong work ethic and I instill it in my kids, but I do not distinguish between someone who works hard cleaning a toilet, and someone who works hard as a banker, yet the disparity in wage is enormous. I also don’t want a society where those with genuine inability to support themselves are left unhelped. I don’t feel owed anything, but gladly support my fellow human being in need, and hope that he will be equally happy to help me up if I fall! I just would like things a little fairer, and the wealth spread a little more equally! X

  2. I agree to a certain extent, bankers wages are inflated and their bonuses are unfair, however you earn what your job reflects.
    I started at the bottom – a cashier in a supermarket and I worked my bottom off (and failed a couple of times)to become a manager – it wasn’t easy and I deserved that pay rise.
    Likewise, hubby did the same and worked some terrible hours doing the jobs no-one wanted and slowly climbed the ladder.
    I changed career as the needs of my family changed and luckily the skills I had learned and all the training I had received stood me in good stead for a new job that was well paid for the area. Yes I was annoyed that people doing the same job but in London were better paid but sometimes that’s life!
    Hubby has a decent job now, and earns an OK wage but he works for it. He does long hours, deals with difficult and often unpleasant situations and so rightfully earns more than his staff.
    Hard work should equal a decent reward and those that cannot work (ie. those with disabilities that prevent it) should be supported, but those who choose not to work, should not be rewarded and expect the same quality of living that many aspire to.
    If you want a better wage – work for it – it doesn’t happen instantly, but the rewards when you get there will be worth it!


Leave a Comment