|Mrs Thatcher works late into the evening in her Downing Street flat in 1983
This is the kick off of a series that I plan on incorporating into my blog called “The Week That Was” where every weekend, I feature an interesting/success story, a person, special insights and highlights from the blogs that I am subscribed to that published articles that inspired/empowered me, outstanding tweets/re-tweets from those I follow, and other tit bits of interest that took place earlier during the week.
It feels rather special that at the launch of this series, that I am remembering in my own special way today, a woman who among other things, was an Icon, a former great leader – perhaps one whom most will aspire to replicate, while on the other hand one whose mark many may never reach. I speak of none other than Baroness Margaret Thatcher who as we are all aware, died this past week at the age of 87 years on April 8th 2013
Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on 13th October 1925 in Grantham Lincolnshire, the daughter of a grocer. She went to Oxford University and then became a research chemist. In 1951, she married Denis Thatcher, a wealthy businessman with whom, she had 3 children. In 1954, she retrained to become a barrister.
I remember as a youth growing up and hearing about the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher. In my mind I thought it to be fierce, a mean thing that persons would label her by that name – yet in reality, it became her trademark, mainly for her personal and political toughness. Later on I discovered however that it was the Soviets who had nicknamed her the ‘Iron Lady.’
While she was a champion of freedom for workers, nations and the world at large, she remained proud of her modest background. She made nations stand tall and became involved in politics from a young age, giving her first political speech at 20 years of age. Fearless in the face of annihilation, she didn’t waste money and neither did she waste time.
Her political career
She became a Conservative member of parliament for
Finchley in North London in 1959, serving as its MP until 1992. Her first parliamentary post was junior minister for pensions in Harold Macmillan’s government. From 1964 to 1970, when Labour were in power, she served in a number of positions in Edward Heath’s shadow cabinet. Heath became prime minister in 1970 and Thatcher was appointed secretary for education.
From the New York Times: “Margaret Thatcher was the first woman to become Prime Minister of Britain and the first to lead a major Western power in modern times. Hard-driving and hard-headed, she led her Conservative party to three straight election wins and held office for 11 years – May 1979 to November 1990 – longer than any other British politician in the 20th century.”
“The strong economic medicine she administered to a country sickened by inflation, budget deficits, and industrial unrest brought her wide swings in popularity, culminating with revolt among her own cabinet ministers in her final year and her shout of “No! No! No!” in the House of Commons to any further integration with Europe.
Lady Thatcher with Ronald Reagan, Brian Mulroney and the Canadian Prime Minister
On leadership and power
She once said, “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Shortly after the Conservatives were defeated in the year 1974, Margaret Thatcher challenged Heath for leadership of the party and, to the surprise of many, won.She was an advocate of privatising state-owned industries and utilities, reforming trade unions, lowering taxes and reducing social expenditure across the board. Thatcher’s policies succeeded in reducing inflation, but unemployment dramatically increased during her years in power.
Her mindset, her attitude on winning and right to free speech
“I’m not a consensus politician. I’m a conviction politician.” “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” “..we are entitled to speak for it is the people of my generation who will bear the brunt of the change from the trials of the past into calmer channels.” ~ Margaret Thatcher
Victory in the Falklands War in 1982 and a divided opposition helped Thatcher win a landslide victory in the 1983 general election. In 1984, she narrowly escaped death when the IRA planted a bomb at the Conservative party conference in Brighton.In foreign affairs, Thatcher cultivated a close political and personal relationship with US president Ronald Reagan, based on a common mistrust of communism, combined with free-market economic ideology.
Her infallible proof of character
She said what she meant and meant what she said, leaving behing her today a legacy and an infallible proof of character – doing what was right even when it costs. She lead by her own example and once said, “Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become your character. And watch your character for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become.” ~ Margaret Thatcher
The end of an era for an Icon
“I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. This is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.” ~ Margaret Thatcher
In 1992, Thatcher left the House of Commons. She was appointed a peeress in the House of Lords with the title of Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven and continued giving speeches and lectures across the world. She also founded the Thatcher Foundation, which aimed to advance the cause of political and economic freedom, particularly in the newly liberated countries of central and eastern Europe. In 1995 she became a member of the Order of the Garter, the highest order of knighthood in England.
After a series of minor strokes, Baroness Thatcher retired from public speaking in 2002.
On her passing on Monday April 8th 2013, David Cameron, the Prime Minister said, “We’ve lost a great Prime Minister, a great Leader, a great Briton. She didn’t just lead our country, and I believe she’ll go down as the greatest British peacetime Prime Minister.”
From Empowerment Moments Blog, may her soul rest in peace and may God give those who survived and now mourn her loss, the grace, strength and courage through this their time of bereavement.
Labels: Famous people, Leadership, Margaret Thatcher, Quotes, Success Stories, Successful living