Margaret Thatcher
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady.

I was and am a great follower of Margaret Thatcher and respected her greatly and believed her policies ultimately were the best course of action for Britain. Many seem to disagree with me on that, and for the most part, they are allowed this opinion – but it is unfortunate that their hatred is often founded in fallacy and blind fanaticism.

There are three types of people who disliked Thatcher – the intellectuals who have studied her and have come to the conclusion that her policies did not work; the people who lost jobs under her and the general masses who hate her purely through ignorance of what she really did for Britain.

I may disagree with the former, but at least they have made an effort to learn. I also sympathize with the workers who lost their livelihoods but, as I will mention later, it was not her fault. It is the latter group which irks me.

Britain is a shadow of its former glory. From one of the greatest nations of the world, it has collapsed into a lazy, uncultured welfare state – where votes are more valuable than hard work. There was a time in this nation’s history that was worse, however.

1970s Britain was characterized by squalor. Due to the actions and incompetence of Labour (and Conservative) leaders, the once great nation had collapsed into a cesspool of rapid inflation and economic stagnation. Unions held more power than the actual government, and were much more ruthless with it. Society had stagnated and was on the verge of collapse as all industries refused to work, their unions using intimidation and manipulation to force their members into striking.

Thatcher was the lady who brought this all to an end. Through iron will and steely determination, she stood her ground and did not allow the unions to destroy the country she called home. In the process, she destroyed the power of the unions and reformed Britain to free market capitalism.

Many have credited her with the collapse of the coal mining industry in Britain, but can she really be blamed for this? If a dog is hit by a car, and a vet puts it down – is the vet to blame for the dogs death? The loss of jobs and the collapse of industries under Thatcher was not her fault, and there was nothing she could have done about it! If anyone’s fault, it is that of weak leadership and domineering unions.

The collapse was bound to happen. The Iron Lady was just tough enough to cope with it. Thatcher was not afraid to be hated, and that is what made her a great leader. In a democracy, what holds us back are leaders who are too afraid to make the right, but unpopular, decisions. Thatcher knew what Britain needed and knew she would be hated for fixing her country – but she did it anyway.

She did not care about popularity, she did not care about wealth, or even power – she cared about letting Britain become great again. She wanted to rid her nation of the plague of Socialism and bring it back to the golden age of hard work, innovation and incentive.

Now the world is rife with what she destroyed. South Africa is being crushed by the will of Unions. Populists run our politics and unpopular policies are ignored, even if they are what we need. Even Britain has fallen back into the trap of socialism. Welfare nets a higher income than genuine work, the economy is overly regulated and the populace has become lazy and uncultured. They risk falling back into the 70s, where a super power fell to its knees.

Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, was what Britain needed. She fixed that nation and brought it back into prosperity. She led Britain through not only the Falkland War but the Cold War, keeping the USSR at bay and aiding in the fall of Communism. And what is she rewarded with? Disdain, hatred, mockery. The ignorant hate her purely for the reason that others hate her. They do not know her, and will not try to know her. But, she did not care. She had a job to do, and she did it.

Now, in an age such as ours – one rotten with socialism, union posturing and statism – we need her more than ever. Britain does not know how lucky they were to have her. They disrespect her, they mock her – but they would not be where they are today without her. She fixed a nation, and she did not expect praise. She fixed a nation because it needed to be fixed.

Nicholas Woode-Smith is co-founder of the Rational Standard and its Technical and Marketing Director. He is a student at the University of Cape Town, with majors in Politics, Philosophy and Economic History. He is the youngest council member of the Institute of Race Relations in history and the Regional Director of Southern Africa for African Students For Liberty. He also writes science fiction – prominently, the Warpmancer and Cape Zero series.