Biography of Margaret Thatcher. Politics Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher is one of the most charismatic, conspicuous and controversial figures in modern political history. She became the only woman in the post of Prime Minister of Great Britain and the first of the women in this position in a European state. Thatcher's premiership was the longest in her country in the past century, and the policy pursued by the government of the “Iron Lady” perpetuated her name in that name - “Thatcherism”.
Margaret Thatcher: a biography of his early years
Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on October 13, 1925 in the English city of Grantham (Lincolnshire). Her father owned two grocers. In addition, he served as a member of the Grantham Municipal Council and was pastor of the Methodist community. The strict upbringing given by the father affected the formation of the character of the future "iron lady" - first of all, they were encouraged such qualities as discipline and diligence.
In childhood and adolescence Margaret diversified. After graduating from elementary school in her hometown, she received a scholarship to study at the School for Girls of Kesteven and Graham. In addition, she was fond of playing the piano and poetry, and also engaged in sports walking, field hockey and swimming.
In 1943, she entered Oxford University, where she studied chemistry, and four years later received a bachelor's degree. During her studies, her interest in politics began to manifest itself: she became the chairman of the Conservative Party Association of her university.
After graduating, Margaret Roberts got a job in Essex, becoming a celluloid plastics chemist. At the same time, she joined the local Tory Party Association.
The beginning of a political career
In January 1951, Margaret’s friend at the university, obviously feeling serious political potential in her, recommended including her on the electoral list from conservatives in one of the districts of Kent. After the approval of her candidacy, Margaret Roberts moves to the city of Dartford. Here she met her businessman Denis Thatcher. In 1951, she married him.
By participating in the elections of 1950 and 1951, Margaret Thatcher (then Roberts) attracted the attention of the press as the only woman on the party list and as the youngest candidate, but she failed to enter the parliament — the Labor Party won. However, despite the loss, she gained invaluable experience.
In the same period, she finally leaves chemistry classes and, with the support of her husband, gets a second higher education - law. Becoming a barrister - a high-ranking lawyer with the right to conduct business, Thatcher continues to run for parliament, in parallel with the education of the twins Carol and Mark, who were born in 1953.
In April 1959, luck finally smiled on her: having become a candidate from Finchley County, she became a member of the House of Commons during a difficult election campaign. In parliament, she was assigned the post of Chairman of the Pension Committee and at the same time the head of the National Security Committee.
In 1967, after the election victory of the Labor Party, Margaret Thatcher entered the “shadow cabinet” formed by the conservatives, becoming the Minister of Housing. Three years later, when the power in Great Britain again passed to the Tories led by Edward Heath, she became Minister of Science and Education.
In 1975, the liberals won the conservative elections, but the popularity of Thatcher allowed her to remain in the ministerial chair. In the same year, Margaret Thatcher became the head of the Conservative Party.
Election of the Prime Minister
By early 1979, the economic situation in the UK was very difficult. Inflation has significantly increased, labor productivity has fallen, the quality of equipment produced in the country has decreased. The low standard of living has caused a wave of strikes that have paralyzed many industries. The government crisis was brewing.
Margaret Thatcher, who was the opposition leader at the time, passed a vote of no confidence in the government, which (by a margin of one vote) was supported by parliament. New elections were to be held on the third of May 1979.
The Manifesto of the Tory Party, written by Thatcher, in essence, embodied a plan to bring the country out of crisis. She proposed to reduce inflation by reducing the cost of the state apparatus (excluding the health sector). As an incentive for the development of entrepreneurship, it was supposed to lower the upper limit of taxes. The taxation of low-paid segments of the population was planned to be reduced.
As a result of the election, the Conservatives won a convincing majority of seats in parliament.And Margaret Thatcher, whose biography was replenished with a new achievement, became the first woman - the prime minister in the history of her state.
The foreign policy of the Thatcher cabinet suggested a revival of the position of Great Britain as a great world power, as well as participation in solving a number of global issues on the world stage, including those not in the immediate interests of the country. British diplomacy of that period is characterized by determination and toughness - features that distinguish the policy of Margaret Thatcher as a whole.
"Iron Lady" has relied on the development of mutually beneficial bilateral relations with the former British colonies in southern Africa. Thanks to them, Britain managed to significantly strengthen its economic and military presence in the region.
In 1982, after Argentina occupied the disputed territories - the Falkland Islands, Thatcher sent British warships to the South Atlantic, which were able to regain control of the islands in a matter of weeks. This achievement brought the conservatives a second victory in parliamentary elections next year.
Thatcher viewed the processes of European integration in a very negative way. She would prefer to orient the life of Europe on the same principles that she preached in her own country: free enterprise and cash flow, lack of protectionism and free market. In her opinion, the basis of relations on the continent was to be cooperation between independent sovereign powers. However, some concessions, in particular the participation of Britain in the European currency exchange rate mechanism, the predecessor of the Monetary Union, said that the “iron lady” still made compromises, recognizing the inevitability of the integration processes taking place on the continent.
The period of the premiership of Thatcher is characterized by the rapprochement of Great Britain with the United States. The latter supported Britain at the UN during the Falkland crisis; Allied relations of these countries have significantly strengthened in a number of global issues. This was largely justified by the similar political convictions of President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Photos of both politicians during their frequent official meetings are known throughout the world.
Thatcher endorsed the American PIO project, as well as NATO’s plans to build weapons, allowing it to deploy one hundred sixty medium-range missiles in Britain and adopting a program to equip nuclear submarines with Trident missiles. She supported the Reagan initiative towards the USSR, to which they both treated with suspicion.
Relationship with the USSR
Back in 1976, leading the Conservative Party of Great Britain, Thatcher sharply criticized the political actions of the Soviet Union, claiming that he was determined to win world domination. In response to the pages of the Red Star, the newspaper of the Soviet Ministry of Defense, she was called the “iron lady”. This characteristic was immediately picked up by the English edition of The Sunday Times. Since then, the nickname of Margaret Thatcher - "Iron Lady" - has become her second name.
At the same time, despite the tough anti-Soviet stance at the very beginning of his time in power, Thatcher became the first leader of the Western state, who supported the political changes in the USSR. Even before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe, she spoke about the end of the Cold War, openly supporting Mikhail Gorbachev.After Gorbachev came to power, the relations of the two leaders maintained a constructive and emphasized respectful character.
An entire chapter was written about Russia in the book “The Art of Government”, published in 2002 from the pen of Margaret Thatcher. In general, supporting the reformers of the 90s of the last century, she expresses the idea that it is impossible to “fit” Russia into the framework of Western European values due to the historical features of the development of this country.
In her eleven years as head of the British Cabinet, Margaret Thatcher has carried out a number of tough reforms in various areas of the country's life. She initiated the transfer into private hands of traditionally public sectors of the economy (telephone, aerospace and gas companies), as well as the purchase of housing by its tenants, raised a number of taxes.
She actively fought against the influence of trade unions, limiting their powers. She revised the system of assistance to the unemployed, stimulating earlier retirement, part-time work, and retraining of more demanded personnel. In addition, the development of small businesses was encouraged.
These measures actually led to stabilization of the economic situation, reduction of inflation and unemployment. However, the introduction of a new communal “head tax” instead of the former house-based rental value, as well as the promotion of paid education and medicine, caused sharp protests from the British and contributed to the decline in popularity of the Prime Minister and her party.
Resignation and life after it
After the adoption of a number of unpopular measures, accompanied by the scale of anti-government speeches, Margaret Thatcher had no choice but to resign. She decided to take this step in November 1990, after much hesitation. Her place was taken by John Major, the former finance minister.
In the same year, the Iron Lady was awarded the Order of Merit, and two years later, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain bestowed Margaret Thatcher a baronial title and the right of life membership in the House of Lords.
The postulates of "Thatcherism" were adopted by many of its followers. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron met with her after they were elected to this post. Until the last days, she continued to take part in the public and political life of her country.In addition, she wrote several books on autobiographical content, and also established her own fund.
Margaret Thatcher died on April 8, 2013 in London at the age of eighty-seven. Memorial service took place in the Cathedral of St. Paul with military honors. She was buried "iron lady" next to her husband at the cemetery of the military hospital in Chelsea.