Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975,
when the party was in opposition.
4 Years later she made history when she became the first female
Prime Minister in British history, leading the Conservatives to victory
in the elections of 1979. This was the first of 3 elections
in which she led her party to victory.
She became Prime Minister of
the United Kingdom at a time
when the government was
unemployment was escalating
and the labour unions were
paralysing the country with
Bold Economic Initiative
Margaret Thatcher successfully turned the country around
by cutting social welfare programmes, reducing trade union powers
and privatising major industries.
She offered a bold plan to reverse Britain's economic decline and to
reduce the role of the state in the economy.
Margaret Thatcher declared:
"The problem with
socialism is that
sooner or later they
run out of other
The Iranian Embassy Siege
Early in her prime ministership, Margaret Thatcher demonstrated her
determination to use decisive military action during the 1980 siege of
the Iranian Embassy in Princess Gate, London.
For the first
time in 70
force on the
held by 6
When Prime Minister Thatcher authorised the Special Air Service to
storm the Embassy, it was a time when many embassies were being
held, including most famously, the American Embassy in Iran.
took bold action,
which no other
government in the
West appeared to
have the nerve to
carry out at that time.
Lady Thatcher also had to deal with the ongoing IRA terrorism which
increasingly targeted the British mainland.
Margaret Thatcher declared in the House of Commons:
"The future of the constitutional affairs
of Northern Ireland is a matter
for the people of Northern Ireland,
this government, this parliament,
and no one else!"
Defeating the IRA
When IRA terrorists, imprisoned in Northern Ireland,
went on a hunger strike to attain the status of political prisoners,
Thatcher refused to budge.
She declared: "Crime is crime is crime; it is not
political!" She faced a firestorm of opposition
as 9 of the IRA hunger strikers died.
However, Thatcher's resolute determination to not be
manipulated by opinion polls, or political blackmail, made
the outcome a significant political defeat for the IRA.
The Falklands War
With over 2 decades of withdrawals and retreats from Empire, handing
over one overseas territory after another for independence, many
assumed that the British were passed having the military capability, or
determination, to resist aggression.
When the ruling Military Junta in Argentina invaded the Falklands
Islands and South Georgia, 2 April 1982, the world was amazed that
Prime Minister Thatcher dispatched a Naval Task Force to recapture the
British overseas territories.
As Newsweek declared:
Margaret Thatcher made Britain's position clear by sinking the
Argentinian battleship Belgrano, and launching an amphibious and
ground combat operation which recaptured the islands from the
This military achievement, at the other end of the globe, sent
shockwaves throughout the Soviet block, alerting them that the West
was not quite as decadent and weak as they had imagined.
When on 12 October 1984,
Margaret Thatcher narrowly
escaped assassination in the
Brighton Hotel bombing,
during the Conservative Party
conference, she insisted that
the conference be opened
The next day she made her speech as planned, in defiance of the
Freedom on the
Throughout the Cold War,
Margaret Thatcher supported
the United States
President Ronald Reagan's
policy of putting freedom
on the offensive,
directly supporting anti-communist movements in the Soviet Empire
and refusing to provide any more financial loans to the Soviets
and their satellites.
Margaret Thatcher's success in reviving the British economy also helped
to demonstrate that capitalism had a future, even while communism
was bankrupting the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
Margaret Thatcher's role in enabling the West to defeat the Soviet
Union and win the Cold War was decisive.
The Iron Lady had this to say about the Berlin Wall: “The Berlin
Wall stands as concrete proof that when people have a choice,
they choose to be free … Freedom has its problems – but we’ve
never needed to build walls to keep our people in.”
The Triumph of the Free Market
Despite widespread riots, strikes and other agitation mobilised by the
Communist International and socialists throughout Britain, Margaret
Thatcher continued to reduce state intervention, selling off nationalised
industries such as British Telcom.
Under Margaret Thatcher, inflation in Britain fell dramatically, as did
unemployment. The British pound strengthened impressively.
Standing for British Sovereignty
Margaret Thatcher is also renowned for resisting all pressures to
integrate Britain into the European Union.
She resisted pressures
to abolish the pound
and bring Britain into
the Euro common
currency. From the start
she asserted British
At Bruges, Belgium,
made a powerful speech
in which she outlined
her opposition to proposals
from the European
for a federal structure.
She asserted that the EEC should
be limited to promoting free trade
and effective competition.
She opposed any centralisation
which eroded the sovereignty of
She succeeded in keeping Britain
out of the Euro zone.
Trade Not Sanctions
Margaret Thatcher was also the leading international advocate of
constructive engagement with South Africa during the 1980s.
She was the most forthright opponent of economic sanctions against
South Africa. She argued that a prosperous society would be the most
receptive to positive change.
Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain in the 1980s with a dedication to
free markets and became a critical ally and ideological soul mate of
President Ronald Reagan in the Cold War against Soviet Communism.
The Biblical Foundations of Freedom
In an interview with Human Events 5 February 1996, Margaret Thatcher
declared: "Biblical basis affects one's whole view, attitude and outlook…
the notion of human rights comes from the sanctity of the individual.
The Ten Commandments are addressed to each and every person.
This is the origin of our common humanity
and of the sanctity of the individual.
Each one of us has a duty to try to carry out those Commandments.
You don’t get that in any other political creed… it isn’t
merely about democracy and liberty… it is personal
liberty with personal responsibility.
Responsibility to your parents, to your children, to your God. This really
binds us together in a way that nothing else does. If you accept freedom,
you have to have principles about responsibility.
You cannot do this without a Biblical foundation. …
Today people are trying democracy. But they look at it as a philosophy
or political pattern, without understanding its roots.
The Religious Roots of Liberty
"I am afraid democracy's fundamental religious roots are weakening.
There are some countries, fortunately, kept alive by faithful people. But
even they are tending to weaken.
It is a
In my day, the
the great Hymns
with them the
rest of their
It is really all
The Importance of History
"These things pass into our bloodstreams.
Even if your parents are not practising Christians…
history is an
story of the
man in the
face of great
By looking at history this way, you see how men never lost faith, no
matter how terrible things were."
The Importance of the Family
Concerning the erosion of traditional marriage, Margaret Thatcher
stated: "Today I am particularly concerned about
the number of marriages that break up
and the numbers of children that are born to single mothers.
This is the greatest threat of all. Those numbers have gone up from
1950… For centuries before that it stayed about the same.
These things did happen
to some single mothers;
but it was only about
5% of births.
In the post-war period,
mothers were provided
with houses, or flats,
We hoped that would help the children. But what we have done by this,
is not to relieve the problem, but to multiply it.
Eroding Family Foundations
"Today 30% of children are born to single mothers. We also find that the
criminality factor is much higher in children with single mothers, for the
reason that they have never been brought up with a stable background
in a supportive environment.
If there is one thing I
cannot stand it is…
cruelty, or abuse of
children. It is the
worst kind. It was in
the New Testament
that our Lord said:
Anyone who harms
these little ones
deserves to have a
around their neck
and to be sunk in the
Principle Not Popularity
Margaret Thatcher declared: "If you set out to be liked,
will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime
and you will achieve nothing!"
An Inspiring Example of Excellence
In my opinion, Margaret Thatcher stands out as Great Britain's finest
and most successful Prime Minister ever. She helped win the Cold War
and strengthened Britain's economy.
When asked what motivated her interest in politics, she said:
"I cannot bear Britain in decline. I just cannot!"
She, more than anyone else in the 20th century reversed that decline.
It is for a new generation to take up her principles and policies and
work to rescue a great nation from greater threats than it has ever
faced before in history.
Personal Debt of Gratitude
As it so happens, I have a personal reason to be grateful to the Iron Lady.
In October 1987, when I and three other Frontline missionaries were
prisoners in Zambia, Margaret Thatcher personally spoke up for us and
secured our release.
The Frontline Mission team I was leading had been arrested at
Kazangulu, after refusing to bribe Zambian officials.
We spent excruciating weeks of abuse at the hands of Zambian security
forces, in filthy cells, blindfolded, handcuffed, interrogated and
incarcerated in the overcrowded Lusaka Central Prison.
Friends of ours ensured that the British Prime Minister was informed of
our plight just before her departure for the Commonwealth Conference
Confrontation with Kaunda
There Margaret Thatcher was subjected to haranguing by Zambian
dictator, Kenneth Kaunda, who was outraged that Britain was refusing to
place economic sanctions on South Africa.
responded by asking
why Zambia did not
herself place sanctions
on South Africa?
Kaunda responded that,
that would place many
people out of work.
"Exactly", responded the British Prime Minister, "and as South Africa is
one of our most important trading partners, many British citizens would
be placed out of work if I were to impose sanctions on South Africa.
Quite aside from the many South Africans themselves who would be
placed out of work."
She then went on to relate how Zambians were dependent on South
African maize grown in the Orange Free State,
how Zambian Airways was maintained by South African Airways, how
Zambian Railways was maintained by South African Railways,
how South African veterinarians cared for Zambia’s cattle, and how
many Zambians were migrant workers in South Africa.
Kenneth Kaunda then declared that because of South Africa’s human
rights abuses, Britain should impose sanctions.
It was at this point that Margaret
Thatcher produced our
"Who are you to speak
about human rights
She challenged Kaunda.
Four British missionaries are being held without trial as presidential
detainees in Lusaka Central Prison, tortured and abused
by your own security forces! Kaunda was dumbstruck and humiliated.
He ordered our immediate release.
Respect for a Great Leader
I am only one of many people who have a debt of gratitude to
Baroness Margaret Thatcher.
She deserves our deep gratitude and enduring respect.
PO Box 74