Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady

By John Blundell | Go to book overview

7. REFLECTIONS

“My politics are based … 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.”

With no overall majority Harold Wilson was bound to go back to the country very soon to ask for a clear mandate and working majority. In the meantime Ted Heath promoted Margaret Thatcher to Shadow Environment1 Secretary, and she reveled in mastering a raft of housing and local taxation issues. On the housing front inflation, high interest rates, planning costs and delays, the “green belt”2 policy and other impediments were making the dream of home ownership more and more distant for many and suddenly an issue again to the forefront of British politics. On local taxation, called rates, there was annual pressure from the media for reform. Every outlet carried endless stories about the unfairness of a property-value based system which charged a widow us

1 This was a new department created during Heath’s premiership by amalgamating the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and the Department of Transport. While some “green” issues came under its umbrella it was mostly concerned with housing, local government and zoning.

2 “Green Belt” is the concept of declaring thousands of square miles of land around cities unavailable for development.

-71-

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Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • List of Acronyms ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Protocol xiii
  • Table of Contents xv
  • Preface 1
  • Introduction 11
  • 1- Childhood 17
  • 2- University 25
  • 3- Launching 35
  • 4- Elected 45
  • 5- Opposition I 53
  • 6- Education Secretary 63
  • 7- Reflections 71
  • 8- Leader 77
  • 9- Opposition II 83
  • 10- Power 89
  • 11- Liberating the Economy 93
  • 12- Privatizing the Commanding Heights 99
  • 13- Selling off Public Housing 107
  • 14- Going to War 113
  • 15- Beating the Miners 121
  • 16- Reforming the Unions 127
  • 17- Battling the I.R.a 131
  • 18- Befriending America 137
  • 19- Kicking Down the Wall 141
  • 20- Dealing with Brussels 147
  • 21- Resignation 155
  • 22- Retirement 165
  • 23- Family 173
  • 24- Men 181
  • 25- Her World 191
  • 26- Ten Lessons 197
  • Postscript- What Remains to Be Done 207
  • Appendix I- Table of Margaret Thatcher’s Elections* 209
  • Appendix II- General Election Results from 1945 -2005 210
  • Further Reading 211
  • Index 213
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