Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away yesterday, the first female prime minister of Britain having led the country from 1979 to 1990.
She would be remembered for her tough stance against the striking coal miners, forcing them to return to work after nearly a full year of strike action and also for her strong advocacy of free market policies which consequently led to greater income inequality between the rich and the poor.
She was fiercely anti-communist and found common cause with former United States President Ronald Reagan who once described her as the “best man in England.” Not to be outdone, Thatcher referred to Reagan as ‘the second most important man in my life.”
Mrs. Thatcher would also be remembered for the decision she took to send British troops and warships in 1982 to fight for the disputed Falkland Islands with Argentina.
She, along with Reagan, could be considered as the two main architects in the anti-communist crusade which eventually led to the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Berlin Wall that resulted shortly afterwards. Because of her toughness, she was described as “the Iron Lady of Britain.”
Looking back, both ‘Thatcherism’ in England and ‘Reaganomics’ in the United States have failed to address the burning issue of unemployment and skewed income distribution in these two countries.
If anything, there are today much higher levels of unemployment, cuts in social spending and greater income inequality not only in those two countries but in Russia which is ranked among the highest in terms of unequal income distribution.