Despite many hurdles she faced in her political career, Margaret Thatcher never gave up. Resolute as ever, she stood among other political kingpins such as the former Prime Minister Edward Heath belonging to her political party (Conservative Party) and managed to win. She then became the first female opposition leader in the House of Commons. Aitken (2013) affirms that in 1979, she received yet another political elevation after she was appointed to the position of a Prime Minister at a time when Great Britain was suffering from political mayhem and economic slump. Her reception as the first female premier was remarkably warm because they believed she was a leader who would save the country. Being the first woman to take up the position of a Prime Minister, her appointment coincided with the time when England was in dire need of a savior who would solve the problem of unemployment by creating as many jobs as possible and bring the economic slump in the country to an end.
Roy and Clarke (2006) say that Thatcher’s political journey was full of disenchantments, as she had to endure consecutive defeats. She started as a leader in college, where she became the President of the Conservative Association in Oxford University and gained political momentum. A few years after college, she ventured into politics. Although she suffered defeats, she was resolute and remained firm in her political career until she attained what was seemingly her ultimate dream as a woman. Her political life took a new shift after winning a seat in the House of Commons as a Finchley representative in 1959 and a few years later, she became a prominent member of the Shadow Cabinet, which served as a stepping-stone to her career advancement. Her political journey is however nothing more than a typical political journey of a politician irrespective of their gender. Her journey was similar to the political journey of a man.
Thatcher’s policies and the way of making these policies were known to be guided by her rigid political and leadership style. Her decision was final and could not be swayed by any other person. Aitken (2013) reiterates that though this stripped her of popularity concerning her Conservative Party, she did not care as long as she won. Her uncompromising approach to policy-making was very typical in terms of her gender. She was willing to do anything including making policies in a bid to save the economy of the nation. Her polcies and the process of making these policies can be described as depicting moral absolutism because of the fact that even though she was aware of how wrong something was, she still went ahead to do it for the sake of what she believed in.
She was a woman who believed in herself and despite the lack of support from her fellow party members, she could make decisions she never regretted to have made. For instance, Roy and Clarke (2006) affirm that Thatcher introduced the idea of poll tax for which she had no regret whatsoever despite that she lacked the support of her colleagues. Besides, she suggested the need to withdraw support to outdated industries claiming that they were creating more harm than good to the nation and stood by the policy despite dissension within her party. Her swift reaction is also attributed to how quick she responded to both economic and political scenarios that required her attention. For instance, when the Argentine army assaulted the Falkland Island, Thatcher was quick to act by organizing troops and sending them to the area claiming the island back. She was successful in her decision and the island was quickly reclaimed. In addition, she was a friendly leader who befriended other public figures who believed in and preached her philosophy such as Queen Elizabeth II, whom she relied upon in a bid to make wise decisions.
Just like any other politician, Margaret Thatcher was severely criticized throughout her political career. While some seem to have been contented by her political philosophy, others openly discredited her claims the she indeed failed to protect her own nation during her premiership. Roy and Clarke (2006) agree that during her tenure, proponents of her political philosophy emphasized that she was a successful woman who augmented the number of shares held by adults from as low as 7 per cent to 25 per cent. Besides, the economy of the country was significantly enhanced with improvement of the living standards of households and increase of personal income. This ensured that despite the increasing cost for houses, the purchasing power was still a notch higher to allow them acquire those houses. Besides, Thatcher is hailed for her wise decisions that lead to the reduction in the level of inflation.
According to Aitken (2013), Thatcher’s economic policies were widely influenced by the idea of monetarists and economists to help in rebuilding England by correcting its major indicators in the economy. She is also seen as a hhero whose decisions and quick reaction against the assault of the Argentine army at the island of Falkland ensured that the island remained intact and under control of Great Britain. On the contrary, others argue that Margaret Thatcher was indeed doomed to a failure and never realized her mistakes. Her opponents claim that she failed to create employment, which instead led to the increase in social strife contrary to her promises. As such, they tend to question the eligibility of her economic and political policies towards solving the menace of unemployment and social conflicts saying that she indeed was beaten in her own game. Additionally, critics argue that her premiership as the first female leader in her position did not influence the political course of other women not only within her party but also in the government. They claim that she served her own selfish interests both politically and socially without mentoring other females to rise politically as she did.
Essentially, Britain underwent a major transformation in line with its initial political and social condition and the attained stability all the same. During Thatcher’s tenure, she ensured that she did all she could in a bid to make Britain better than before. As Roy and Clarke (2006) indicate, she was dedicated to her political life and economic policies in terms of effectiveness to gain stability. Her appointment to the position of premiership coincided with the time when Britain was experiencing economic slump with high inflation rate. Devoted to reverse this situation, she fixed high interest rates and encouraged mass privatization of state-owned companies, which helped to reduce inflation. She also managed to reduce union powers over parliamentary democracy that significantly enhanced the economic performance of the nation thereafter.
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According to Aitken (2013), Thatcher also increased indirect taxes at the cost of lower income taxes, which led to increase in personal wealth and consequently increased their living standards. In a way, her appointment as the first female premier transformed British politics so that other females saw her as a role model and believed that everything was possible and that they could become leaders just like she did. She not only was the first woman to serve as a Prime Minister but she also served the longest term in this position in the twentieth century. This also transformed Britain’s politics through a distinct definition of the same and made many other women follow her example.