Margaret Thatcher, the former U.K. prime minister who helped end the Cold War and was known as the “Iron Lady” for her uncompromising style, has died. She was 87.
“She had a stroke and died peacefully,” her spokesman, Tim Bell, told Sky News television today. “We’ll never see the like of her again. She was one of the great prime ministers of all times. She changed people’s lives. She is a fantastic person. She loved her country. She dedicated herself to improving people’s lives.”
When Thatcher took office in 1979, Britain’s trade unions were strong enough to knock out party leaders they opposed, and key industries, including utilities, were state-owned. By the time she stepped down 11 years later, her arguments for free- market economics, lower taxes and deregulated financial markets had been adopted across the nation’s political spectrum.
The transition was painful. Unemployment peaked at more than 3 million in the mid-1980s, and many places in the north of the country that had been world centers of manufacturing struggled to adapt to the new service economy.
“She was, quite simply, one of the most influential political leaders that the U.K., indeed the world, has ever produced,” said Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London and author of “The Conservative Party From Thatcher To Cameron” (2010). (Courtesy Bloomberg)