Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thatcher: First Female Prime Minister of UK - Part 1

Margaret Thatcher was a chemist
It is over a year after the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Even after her premiership and passing, she continued to polarized opinions about her policies. But what happened during the Premiership of Thatcher? What happened that made people to be divided over her period?

Margaret Thatcher (October 13, 1925 – April 8, 2013) was the British Prime Minister from 1979 up to 1990. She sought to dismantle the welfare culture of Great Britain. She never stopped at anything, neither from foreign nor domestic, to achieve the revival of the glory of Great Britain. Her policies were for some were admirable and for others, loathed. In the end, some of her policy would bring her downfall. Her whole administration is one of the most talked about in British history.

Margaret Roberts was from Grantham, Lincolnshire and born on October 13, 1925. Her parents were Beatrice Ethel and Alfred Roberts, who owned a grocery and a strong Conservative Party supporter. She helped her father running the store, which she proudly said that it was a great training for running a country. She was able to enter Oxford University and studied chemistry. In 1950 and 1951, she ran as the Conservative Party candidate for the parliamentary seat of Dartford. She lost in both elections. However, politically defeated, there was still a good news for the young Margaret in the 1951. She married Dennis Thatcher who helped her to become a lawyer. Margaret Roberts became Margaret Thatcher. In 1953, her twins, Carol and Mark, were born.

In 1955, she ran once again for the candidacy of the Conservative Party for the seat of Orpington. Once again, a failure. Then in 1959, she won the parliamentary seat of Finchley as a Conservative. After that, she continued to rise in the ladder of leadership of her party.

In 1970, she became a cabinet member. Under Prime Minister Edward Heath, she served as the Secretary of Education and Science. While secretary, she was mercilessly called “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher” by the media. It was due to the government’s abolition of the free milk program for 7 to 11 years old children in schools.

After 1974, when the Heath government ended, she remained a player in her party. In 1976, she was famously dubbed as the “Iron Lady” by the Soviets. She took it as a compliment and became her most remembered nickname.

Even with the bad publicity of Thatcher the Milk Snatcher, remarkably, in 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and even, the whole western hemisphere. As she took her office, she faced a daunting task of repairing a troubled nation. Problems include an economy under the immense pressure from labor unions that showed their strength on the infamous Winter of Discontent. A staggering inflation, reaching 19%, was also challenged her government. Moreover, budget deficit was rising due to the large cost of Britain’s welfare system. All of these were challenges that she faced by taking the role of Prime Minister. 

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