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A Brief Study of Margaret Thatcher’s Leadership

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“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony;

Where there is error, may we bring truth;

Where there is doubt, may we bring faith;

And where there is despair may we bring hope.” 1

This was the St Francis’s prayers recited by a woman before moving into her would be new home/office for the next decade and a year on 1979.

Little did the world and her country anticipated the impact she would bring about to them during her occupation there. In the next decade and a year, with striking energy and determination, her administration would radically transform every aspect of the politics, economy model, social structure, foreign policies and international status of the country she was serving. In the process, she became one of the most influential and respected political leaders of the world. Her almost brutal approach to the transformations and their long lasting effects (of many of those changes) until today has created a great controversial legacy of hers that people still debate over today.

That new home was on 10, Downing Street, London. The woman was Margaret H. Thatcher, the first woman Prime Minister of United Kingdom, a.k.a., The Iron Lady.

Brought up and early years

Mrs. Thatcher was born Margaret Hilda Roberts, daughter to Alfred Roberts, a grocery shop owner in the town of Grantham in Lincolnshire, east England. Alfred was a Methodist lay preacher and a councilor in the local government. Margaret grew up in a strict religious family and exposed to conservative politics from a very young age, as her father would talk through with her the issues of the day. As she later recalled:

“You were taught to work jolly hard, you were taught to improve yourself, you were taught self-reliance, you were taught to live within your income, you were taught that cleanliness was next to godliness, you were taught self respect, you were taught always to give a hand to your neighbor, you were taught tremendous pride in your country, you were taught to be a good member of your community” 2

She also attributed her political believes to the influence of her father, after winning her first general election, she said:

“He brought me up to believe all the things that I do believe and they're just the values on which I've fought the Election.” 3

Margaret was very keen in politics and leadership even in her college days. While doing her third year chemistry degree in Oxford University, she became the president of the student Conservative Association at Oxford University. That position has enabled her to meet with many prominent politicians, making her known to the leadership of the Conservative party.

After graduation, Margaret continued her pursue in politic. She was the youngest woman candidate when she ran as the Conservative candidate attacking the strong Labour seat of Dartford in 1950 and 1951. Even though she lost both times, she managed to slash Labour’s majority sharply. In the same year, she was married to Daniel Thatcher. Mrs. Thatcher did not run for election again until 1958

Being “Shadow spokesman” and Rising to Power

In 1958, Margaret Thatcher adopted Conservative candidate for Finchley and won that election (1959) effortlessly and continued to represent that constituency until she became a member of the House of Lords in 1992.

Two decades would past between this first victory of Margaret Thatcher and her eventual rose to premiership. During this period, she has been to various duties in the shadow cabinet of the Conservative. She shadowed the Housing and Land (1965), Treasury as deputy (1967), Fuel and Power (1967), Transport (1968), Education (1969), Environment (1974) and again assisting in Shadow Treasury in 1974. Margaret Thatcher was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary - Pension & National Insurance (1961) and Secretary of State for Education and Science (1970) when Conservatives formed the government then. Her portfolios practically consist of experiences in almost all of UK’s important ministries.

During this period she experienced first hand how swaying bad policies can brought about disastrous effects and the negative impact of too much government interventions in industries, as well as the nightmares brought about by all too powerful trade unions; and how the largely working class suffered. All these has shaped Margaret Thatcher’s later campaign

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