Margaret Thatcher, the first and only female Prime Minister of England, has entered immortality.
Not that there aren't plenty on the Left who are doing their level best to consign her to Hell in popular memory. The featherbedded unions, the welfare sponges, and of course Communists both "reformed" and unrepentant, all are pouring their customary vitriol on the Iron Lady.
Not that they didn't do the same while she was alive and in power; the reaction of the global Left to Ronald Reagan and even to George W. Bush was a lovefest compared to how they felt about Mrs. Thatcher. The reason for their hatred was best explained by Mrs. Thatcher herself at a Conservative Party conference when England was in the throes of her own market-based reforms and her government was under heavy pressure to return to the familiar comforts of socialism:
To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the 'U-turn', I have only one thing to say: "You turn [U-turn] if you want to. The lady's not for turning."
More than any other, this phrase captures Mrs. Thatcher's approach to politics: She knew she was right, so why should she change to a different course that led somewhere else? Mr. Reagan was staunchly against Communism, but he was willing to negotiate with his domestic political opponents, notably when he traded an amnesty for illegal immigrants for serious border enforcement that, of course, never came. Mrs. Thatcher negotiated only with the electorate and that grudgingly.
Margaret Thatcher always knew her convictions and the direction they pointed. As the Economist put it:
What were those convictions? In Mrs Thatcher’s case, the quickest way to her political make-up was usually through her handbag. As she prepared to make her first leader’s speech to the Conservative Party conference in 1975, a speechwriter tried to gee her up by quoting Abraham Lincoln:
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer.
When he had finished, Mrs Thatcher fished into her handbag to extract a piece of ageing newsprint with the same lines on it. “It goes wherever I go,” she told him.
There's a lesson here for conservatives: Margaret Thatcher was so strong in the confidence of her convictions that she carried an entire country along with her for a decade, despite the almost unified opposition of every other power factor in England from the limousine liberals of the BBC to the Communist-backed trade unions. The strength and vehemence of her knowledge of what was right persuaded the average voters that she not only knew what was right, she also knew how to address what seemed to be England's unsolvable economic problems of the 1970s.
Today, America and the entire Western world is once again wracked with what seem to be unsolvable problems originating from the same source that was killing Britain: overbearing government regulation and outlandish government overspending. Alas, thus far there isn't an American Thatcher who knows what needs to be done and intends to do it no matter what anyone says. Our modern Republicans hem, haw, and waffle, and as for her modern Tory heirs, Mrs. Thatcher would be speechless with fury if she understood the liberal polices being espoused by England's "Conservative" Prime Minister David Cameron.
And yet, for all that her party has lost its beliefs, her thrashing of communistic socialism was so thorough and so vivid that even modern England with its three leftist parties refuses to even discuss nationalizing any industries, as true socialists demand. Prior to Mrs. Thatcher, large chunks of the British economy from railroads to coal mining to even some manufacturing were wholly owned and operated by the British state. Mrs. Thatcher privatized many and deregulated most, and to be elected, Labour's Tony Blair had to continue the same policies of freedom. Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, true socialism is dead in England to this day.
Now, this doesn't mean that conservative economics attained a permanent victory in England, right ideas never do. The pure socialism of out-and-out nationalization has been replaced by the modern economic fascism of the administrative state where businesses are technically owned and controlled by private stockholders but in reality can hardly change a light bulb without the say-so of a pettifogging bureaucrat. In this, America is little different from England; neither Mr. Obama or Mr. Cameron are Communists who actually want to own the means of production, but their governments make sure they wholly control them just the same.
Mrs. Thatcher spent the last years of her life in the fog of dementia. This was a desperate shame for freedom lovers the world around but was probably a mercy to her. A Mrs. Thatcher who retained her full faculties would be pounding on the table in fury at what has become of her beloved nation, and her almost as beloved cousins across the pond.
But today, we have an advantage that Margaret Thatcher never did: her own example. She rescued her nation from a far worse morass of government control than we see today, and achieved greater heights of victory than, really, any American conservative ever has.
The Iron Lady has taken her only turn, to dust. Her record stands as an embodiment and proof that it can be done, and always will.
Now, like Mrs. Thatcher herself, we need only to believe in the strength of our principles and get out there and do it.
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.