Lady Margaret Thatcher – Honored Leader and Friend
With the passing of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the world lost a great figure and person of enormous political courage. In a serendipitous pairing of a leader with her times, Thatcher’s convictions, and the remedies she advanced, were precisely what the UK needed to revive its economy and rise again to global prominence. As Prime Minister David Cameron observed, “They say that cometh the hour, cometh the man. Well in 1979 came the hour, and came The Lady.”
Upon her election in 1979, marginal tax rates were at 83 percent, inflation hovered at 10 percent, and one-third of the economy consisted of state-owned enterprises that included coal mining, utilities and even Rolls-Royce and BP. By the end of her tenure, marginal tax rates had come down by more than 50 percent and privatization was embraced as a way to stimulate economic growth. Thatcherism propelled the UK into a period of economic prosperity, and her ideas spread worldwide.
Thatcher’s passing marks the loss of a friend and kindred spirit who shared the Exchange Council’s commitment to free market, limited government principles. In the fall of 2006, a delegation of Exchange Council legislators led by the director of the International Relations Task Force met Thatcher for breakfast. According to the legislators, the first question Thatcher asked was, “How is Nancy doing?” a testament to her friendship with the late President Reagan and his wife.
Thatcher’s friendly and informal dialogue left an impression on the visiting legislators. Ken Lane, a representative of the Exchange Council’s Private Enterprise Council from Diageo North America, said Thatcher was “so very gracious to our group!” Kansas Senator Susan Wagle–now serving as Senate President–presented Lady Thatcher with the International Pioneer Award, of which she is the only recipient. Two years later on the Exchange Council’s 35th anniversary, Thatcher sent a letter of congratulations and inspiration that can be found here.
Thank you, Lady Thatcher, for your bold leadership, gracious friendship and unwavering dedication to limited government principles.