So the world knows that Baroness Thatcher passed away today, and the world has responded accordingly. Media, heads of state, and commentators have shared retrospectives, op-eds, and their favorite quirky Thatcher stories (Milk Snatcher turned soft serve co-creator? It can’t be!).
But here are two of my favorites:
1. An extended conversation on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, where I currently intern. The discussion was such a smash for our host that he held it over for the whole hour. We laughed, we cried, we found out the Iron Lady was a flirt! Either way, our experts agreed she changed the world. Choice quote?
What you have to remember is that when she entered politics and when she started to climb that greasy pole, there wasn’t a single woman judge. There wasn’t a single woman ambassador. There wasn’t a single woman in any leadership position in the civil service. There were no women newsreaders. There were no women bankers, no women brain surgeons. There were no women airline pilots, no women air traffic controllers, nothing. And you couldn’t get a mortgage if you were – you couldn’t buy a car on your own.
You couldn’t buy a house. You couldn’t have your own bank account if you were married. Margaret Thatcher, because of who she was and what she did as a woman leader, singlehandedly changed perceptions about what women could do and what they could achieve.
2. Margaret Thatcher’s Death greeted with street parties in Brixton and Glasgow. I was sad to not be in Scotland today, as a few hundred Glaswegians gathered to mark the occasion. I couldn’t have a discussion about Scottish politics and independence without someone talking about Thatcherism, the tartan tax, and the coal miners during my time in the UK. Here’s this testimonial in The Guardian that phrases things succinctly, mirroring a lot of what I heard about Thatcher:
Builder Phil Lewis, 47, a veteran of the 1990 poll tax riots, said he had turned out to recall the political struggles the Thatcher years had embroiled him in. “She ripped the arsehole out of this country and we are still suffering the consequences.”
Milk snatcher, bum-destroyer, union-buster — you can’t deny she made an impact. Will David Cameron get the same reaction 50 years down the line? Who knows? But he probably won’t get blamed for ripping the arsehole out of the place on the same day he’s praised for bringing it into modernity. Only Maggie can manage that. I raise my cup of tea to her this evening in astonishment at her fame and infamy. Cheers.