I will never forget one of her most remarkable phrases; I remember her saying it at the Conservative party conference, "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."
I liked that about her, she knew how to knock sense into the most nonsensical paradoxes. She knew how to not turn while getting everyone else around her to turn. She was a woman in total control, neither pretentious nor barking mad. For that I admired her strength!
She was like the marmite; you either loved her or hated her. I remember how vexed I became when she claimed in an interview, "there’s no such thing as society". I could see her vision transforming Britain towards a more capitalist only rich people friendly country and of fundamental shift - abdication of the state’s responsibilities. At the heart of her belief was privatisation of the public assets so that the private enterprises could have unfettered profiteering right from the essential and basic services, which would otherwise be the responsibility of the state. I detested her for throwing away the human neighbourly values that kept the society together. She cared more for profit than true human relationship and happiness. I wonder what she thought of Cameron’s the “big society idea”!
She was unforgiving, especially ruthless to lazy and waste of space men. She once said,
"If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman."
In more ways than one, some men in our society personify Mrs Thatcher’s mocking depiction of them. Such men do not wish to work but wish to occupy positions of power, influence and wealth. All of these come through hard work and prudence. I admired her for telling the sea of men around her that they were good for nothing and simply big mouths. That needed guts and belief. I have been told by some Conservative party members that men around her were petrified by her.
I felt at home when she laid out common sense approach to her economic policies. She was right when she said,
"my policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police."
This could have been the most amazing value driving British economy and for the honest and hard work people but Mrs Thatcher had already sold most of the British assets to a small band of filthy rich people. While the rest of us wanted to work hard and earn a decent living the competition was unequal before it even began. There were some more privileged and more equal than others. I detested her social class bias in determining this country’s economy and people.
I admired her determination to promote the interest of Britain. No matter where she went and no matter who she fought with, it was always British interest that took priority. She is fondly remembered for her patriotism, in her own words,
“A man may climb Everest for himself, but at the summit he plants his country’s flag.”
But I hated her attitude towards the rest of the world especially her bitter relationship with Europe. She once said, “The President of the Commission, Mr. Delors, said at a press conference the other day that he wanted the European Parliament to be the democratic body of the Community, he wanted the Commission to be the Executive and he wanted the Council of Ministers to be the Senate. No. No. No." She preferred a special relationship with the USA and its President Ronald Regan.
Her fighting spirit and unyielding stance was evident even after she was evicted from the office. She was stabbed on the back by her closest friends. She left the office in tears but promising never to forgive those who plotted to evict her from her office.
I believe Mrs Thatcher’s legacy in British Politics will live on and here is what I will remember her for:
“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.”
Mrs Thatcher passed away on April 8, 2013 aged 87, after suffering a stroke.