Iron to Rust

Margaret-Thatcher-funeral

Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, and only female Prime Minister of Great Britain, dies of a stroke. Though her death caused grief among many people, some remembered her with less affection due to her uncompromising conservative politics.

Born in 1925 in Grantham, England, she was a the daughter of grocers. Before becoming a politician, she was a research chemist after earning a degree at Somerville College, Oxford. At the very early age of twenty-five she ran unsuccessfully for parliament, but that still kicked off her political career. She gained a conservative seat in the House of Commons in 1959. In 1970, she moved on to the political big leagues as she was named Secretary of State for education and science in the Conservative government of Edward Heath and five years later she became leader of the conservative party. In 1976 she made a speech in which she very harshly criticised communism. In a reaction to this speech a Soviet journalism dubbed her “The Iron Lady“, a nickname by which she became very widely known.

In 1979 her endeavour to become Prime Minister payedoff. Three years after her victory, she won back the Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas) from Argentina by sending British troops to the Islands. In 1984, a Miner’s strike took place, which Thatcher’s government fought with firm and partly violent police resistance as well as the weakening of the British trade union movement. This was one of the most controversial actions of her career. Conservatives considered it a major political victory, whereas the miners and those on their side considered it to be class warfare.

In her first term, she also reduced or eliminated many government subsidies to business, a move that led to a sharp rise in unemployment. By 1986, unemployment had reached 3 million.

In 1983, Margaret Thatcher was reelected. A mere year later, she escaped a bombing by the IRA (Irish Republican Army, a revolutionary military organisation) that hit her hotel in Brighton in which the annual Conservative Party conference was taking place.

In 1989, Thatcher introduced the poll tax, a charge levied on community residents rather than property. The unpopular tax led to rioting in the streets. This caused her unpopularity to increase.

The Iron Lady had been greatly criticised by Labour Party supporters, also by pop culture. She became an inspiration and subject of many protest songs in the 1980s.

In 1990 she was forced to resign due to leadership struggle within the Conservative Party. And two years later, the Queen granted her the title Baroness.

In 2002, she retired from public life due to multiple small strokes. In 2008, her daughter confirmed that Thatcher is suffering dementia and on April 8, of this year, she died after suffering a stroke.

She received a ceremonial funeral including full military honours, with a church service at St Paul’s Cathedral on 17 April 2013.

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