The Corner

What Has Mrs. Thatcher Ever Done for Us?

Donna Brazile is presumably a large fan of the “What have the Romans ever done for us?” scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Unlike Donna Brazile, I’m too young to remember Mrs. Thatcher’s being prime minister — although I can remember the Tory party knifing her in 1990. But what I do know is this: In the 1970s, the British Left was semi-willfully destroying the country, the unions were threatening to bring down the government, and the Soviet Union was a tyrannical slave state that needed describing and confronting as such. I know, too, that Britain was a disaster: The lights frequently went out, trash was piled up in the streets, and the IMF was called in to bail the treasury out — in response to which the civil service decided that their role was to “manage” Britain’s decline and fall. I also know that the Falklands are British and that sovereignty and self-determination need defending against fascism wherever it rears its head and however small the piece of land that is invaded.

The key to understanding Mrs. Thatcher is recognizing that she was neither a conservative nor a Tory but a radical. The British Tory party is a pretty specious organization and it all too often leans toward maintaining the current order rather than defending the classically liberal principles that made Britain great. Mrs. Thatcher had no time for all that, and as a consequence the Tories were never quite comfortable with her, nor she with them. On more than one occasion, she found herself on the end of terrible snobbery from Conservative-party grandees, grey-suited fellows who regarded her with suspicion as an arriviste and as “just a grocer’s daughter.” It is no surprise she loved America as she did. 

“Diversity” types are amusingly silent about her — and for good reason, as her example is utterly lethal to the culture of victimhood on which they rely. The global Left, likewise, has strong motives to disparage her: She realized that decline was a choice (“I can’t bear Britain in decline, I just can’t”), unashamedly believed that the Anglosphere was crucially important to the world (“During my lifetime most of the problems the world has faced have come, in one fashion or other, from mainland Europe, and the solutions from outside it”), and was possessed of an unwavering belief that America and Britain were forces for good and must lead. Today, I feel particularly for my father, who came from nothing and made something of himself. He abhorred the patronizing socialism of the Labour party and credited the opportunity society in which Mrs. Thatcher believed with making his social mobility possible. She was his hero. 

In death, her enemies will be vile about her — that is their right, and there is no need to pretend that they liked her just because she is dead. Indeed, the usual suspects have already started. But, ultimately, who cares what they say? She was right and they were wrong. While they blathered, she helped to defeat Communism, restored democracy to the Falklands, and saved Britain from the reds at home. She was, without doubt, our finest post-war premier and she made an incalculable contribution to the life of my country of birth. So, “what did the #ironlady do to advance Great Britain and the world?” Everything. Rest in peace, Mrs. T.

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