Monday, April 7, 2014

Nicknames of Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher is one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century. She was the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979 up until 1990. Her policies, which became known as Thatcherism, earned her respect, but also, criticisms. One way of insulting or praising her was giving her names.


One of Thatcher’s first nicknames was “the Grocer’s Daughter” which points to her beginnings. She was born on October 13, 1925 in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Her parents were Beatrice Ethel and Alfred Roberts, who owned a grocery. The young Margaret Thatcher helped his father in managing their grocery. She managed to enter to the prestigious Oxford University, graduated and became a chemist. She then later became a barrister with the help of his husband, Denis Thatcher. She ran for parliament in 1950 and 1951 but lost. In 1959, when she ran for the seat of Finchley, she won. While she was gaining attention, she was called by many of his companions as the Grocer’s Daughter, pertaining to her background.

Thatcher, after winning, began to rise in the ranks of the Conservative Party leadership. All the way, she received large amount of criticism embodied in next nickname “Thatcher, the Milk Snatcher.” By 1970, she became the Secretary of Education and Science under the government of Edward Heath. Heath’s government began to curb government spending, including education.

Thatcher was placed in charge of the cuts in education. She concentrated the budget in academics and instituted cuts on the meals given in schools. Under pressure from the Treasury, she was forced to abolish the free milk program to children, from aged 7 to 11, that began during Prime Minister Clement Atlee after World War II. Many mothers and in the press were enraged by the budget cut and abolishing of free milk in schools. The furious media men wrote in their tabloids and labeled her “Thatcher, The Milk Snatcher.”

Even with a bad public image because of the “Thatcher, the Milk Snatcher”, she became the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979. One of the promotions she used was a nickname, which was supposed to be an insult given by the Soviets - “The Iron Lady.” She received the Iron Lady nickname in 1976 due to a speech she made. She stated that the Soviet Union was bent towards world domination. A Soviet writer, Yuri Gavrilov, for the newspaper the Red Star, labeled Margaret Thatcher as the Iron Lady. It was tended to be an insult to her. However, Thatcher saw it as a compliment and the used it to promote herself and won the 1979 elections.

After becoming Prime Minister, she began to dismantle the welfare state of Britain and gave her country a role in the international stage with her personality. She earned many names that embody her domineering and demanding personality. At home, some members of the parliament gave her names. A critic of Thatcher from the Liberal party, Clement Freud, called her “Attila the Hen.” Another politician, Denis Healey, named her “The Great She Elephant. He stated that she has an impenetrably thick hide, liable to mount charges in all direction, and always thinking in her trot. In the international stage, Thatcher also received many callings. Francois Mitterrand of France called her a woman with “the eyes of Caligula and the lips of Marilyn Monroe.” Chancellor Helmuth Kohl of Germany pointed her as a woman who gave her headaches.

Her domineering and bossy attitude, however, led to her downfall by the late 1980’s. By 1990, her style of leadership brought her many enemies within her party. In the same year, she was challenge for the leadership of the party thus being Prime Minister. On the 1st ballot, she won but not enough majority vote to avoid a run-off. After consultation with her cabinet, it seemed that it was difficult to win. Margaret Thatcher resigned, passing the job to John Major.

Over her political life, she was always a contentious figure. Her ways and ideals earned her names that would portrait her political life. As well as how her people view her as their leader.

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1 comment:

  1. Clement Freud was a Liberal politician not Labour as stated above.

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