I’m sure you’ve already heard the news of the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher today.
Let me say that the Iron Lady was one of a handful of figures who inspired me in my early political days, right alongside Ronald Reagan. She was a strong-willed woman who helped redefine the Conservative Party in Great Britain. Much like the Republican Party in the United States today, prior to Thatcher, far too many within the Conservative party had given up on the ideals of a constitutionally limited government, merely accepting the greatly expanded power their national government had adopted over the years. Rather than questioning some of the tasks and burdens that the government had undertaken (which is what any good citizen or government official ought to do), most politicians on the right simply sought to make their government more efficient. Although facing tremendous pressure and blowback, especially from the big government supporters from within the Conservative Party, Thatcher spent considerable effort and political capital to reduce their government, transitioning the British to a more free market based economy. In addition, she clearly illustrated the fact that principled women can lead just as well as their male counterparts.
Once Margaret Thatcher concluded her time as prime minister, she was still quite involved in the public sphere, serving as chancellor of the College of William & Mary from 1993 to 2000. I’m pleased to say that while a student at W&M, I had the good fortune, not only to learn about her in my class on European Politics, but also to briefly meet Baroness Thatcher and have my picture taken with her (though I regret to say I cannot locate the photo at this moment).
Although I have never written about Margaret Thatcher on this blog before, which is a bit of an oversight on my part, I feel it is appropriate to take a moment today and thank her for the great work that she accomplished on behalf of the British people, the larger conservative movement, and in the history of the world.
Thank you again, Margaret Thatcher. You were a wonderful and powerful woman who will be missed, but it is my hope that your legacy will live on forever.