The Iron Lady’s Not (Re)Turning
It’s been said that only psychopaths can be leaders. Now that The Iron Lady is dead many are gambolling on her grave singing: “The witch is dead, ding dong, the witch is dead”. I hated some of her politics but she did revitalize Britain at a time when the country was going to seed. She was a tough girl and you had to be to get to where she did. This is her comment in 1969: “No woman in my time will be prime minister or foreign secretary.”
Ten years later she was Prime Minister. Funny how times change or in her words: “It’s a funny old world.” What a perfect illustration of how our tendency as humans to extrapolate and project current conditions is seriously defective. Who would have thought that a negro would be Preseident of the United States less than fifty years post Martin Luther King proclaiming that he had a dream? Who could have thought it would take only five years from the death of Emily Dickinson in 1913 to women being given the vote in Britain? And how long ago was homosexuality a crime in the West and now we are talking gay marriage? Quoting MLK again: “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice”. Perhaps the moral here is not to give up on a worthwhile venture even when the probability of achieveing it looks like zero from where one is standing. Amen.
There was a toughness to Baroness Thatcher (otherwise she wouldn’t have earned the moniker The Iron Lady). One quote signified this perfectly:
“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.”
Indeed the one memorable time she turned was when she introduced a divisive tax (the poll tax) that set off riots on the streets and also the chain of events that eventually led to men in dark suits knocking on her door. She met their demand that she step down after unconvincinly winning a vote of confidence with a characteristically defiant “I fight on, I fight to win. She resigned the next day. Her quest was over.
Anyway back to psychopaths …. there was also a mean streak to Thatcher. Two quotes epitomise her schizophrenia:
“I don’t mind how much my ministers talk, as long as they do what I say.” (1980)
“It was treachery with a smile on its face. Perhaps that was the worst thing of all.” (1993 after she was gone).
What did she expect after treating people like fodder?
BTW: all Thatcher quotes above from the BBC website