Obituary (08/04/2013) – Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, passed away (age 87). She was the first and since then the only woman to lead government and the longest-serving head of cabinet since Winston Churchill, two outstanding achievements in themselves. But she truly changed her country, for the better or the worse remains open to question.
Fitted with a “iron” will she became known as The Iron Lady who preferred bulldozing over compromising. She embraced, in the midst of the economic crisis of the 70’s, the neo-liberal experiment which was first put into practice by the Chicago Boys in Chile (back then under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet). The essence of this ideology was once famously summarized by Ronald Reagan, another champion of neo-liberalism, as: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem!” (video). What followed was deregulation of many parts of the economy (namely of banking) and a comprehensive program of privatization of national assets on a scale, not seen anywhere else (railways, telecommunications, utilities, oil etc.). Opposition was fierce. Outbreaks of discontent (for example the miners’ strike of 1984–1985) were put down violently by police. Her legacy are the questionable long-term consequences of her economical agenda (excessive bank deregulation, for instance, is often identified as a main cause for the financial crises that began in 2008) and the way Thatcher chose to implement it.
We bid farewell to one of the most influential figures of the second half of the 20th century, a strong character that divided rather than united, a person that was highly controversial throughout her long political career.
The state funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) will take place Wednesday April 17 at St.Pauls Cathedral, London.