RISE AND FALL OF THE IRON LADY; the ECHO'S Former Political Correspondent Ian Hernon Looks Back on the Life and Times of Margaret Thatcher + MARGARET THATCHER 1925-2013 + MARGARET THATCHER 1925-2013 +

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), April 9, 2013 | Go to article overview

RISE AND FALL OF THE IRON LADY; the ECHO'S Former Political Correspondent Ian Hernon Looks Back on the Life and Times of Margaret Thatcher + MARGARET THATCHER 1925-2013 + MARGARET THATCHER 1925-2013 +


Byline: Ian Hernon

WHILE Toxteth burned Margaret Thatcher turned from the TV screen and said to a Cabinet colleague: "I thought these people were meant to be the salt of the earth?" " In that simple question she displayed her ignorance of Liverpool and of working-class towns and cities the length and breadth1of Britain.

But love her or loathe her no-one can doubt that she was one of the most dominant figures of the late 20th century.

She was Britain's first female prime minister, she won three consecutive general elections - a record matched only by Tony Blair - and she was in power for an unbroken 11 years.

She also left her country, her party and the European and international community deeply divided.

Her 'salt of the earth' comments referred back to the late 50s when Liverpool was regarded as a Tory stronghold, with four of the five city seats held by her party.

Her image was of burly dockers and entrepreneurial merchants happy to vote Conservative and wrap themselves in the union flag. Not of drug-fuelled violence in a derelict wasteland.

And there was always something of the blue-rinsed 50s housewife about her, having grown up politically during a decade when the Conservatives were seen as the unassailable party of power.

The changing attitude of the 1960s largely passed her by but not the 70s when she established on the ministerial ladder and was appalled by union power, what she saw as the growing benefits culture and the politics of agitation.

To her the 1981 Toxteth riots, Brixton before them and a wave of copycat disturbances after them were the result of permissiveness, nationalisation and dependency on the state.

She could never see that a country with towns and cities aflame, picket line battles, mass unemployment and a deepening north-south divide hardly fit in with the Conservative ideal of a genuinely UNITED Kingdom.

That, in a sense, made her a genuine radical, tearing up traditional Tory values, smashing the unions and embarking on an untested monetarist theory. Market forces ruled. That radicalism also sowed the seeds of her downfall.

The Iron Lady, in the early years at least, could be pragmatic.

The Cabinet colleague she turned to as she watched the Toxteth footage was Michael Heseltine. After her initial anger she dispatched him to Liverpool with a pot of money to paper over the social cracks.

The legacy of Heseltine's efforts is dramatic regeneration based around and upon the waterfront.

Margaret Hilda Roberts was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, on October 13 1925. Her grocer dad was a big Tory fish in a small pond and she learnt from him the values of thrift and good housekeeping.

After Oxford University she worked as a research chemist, developing a technique to inject air into ice cream to save on content and boost profit margins.

She married Denis, an oil executive who became a millionaire by selling the company and that financial security allowed her, the mum of twins, to realise her political ambitions.

She was elected MP for Finchley in north London in 1959, held a series of Opposition briefs and was appointed Education Secretary by Ted Heath after his 1970 election victory.

When he lost the 1974 election she challenged him for the leadership the following year. To the astonishment of many, not least Heath, she won with the help of a cabal of Right-Wingers which included Colditz escapee Airey Neave.

In 1979, after Jim Callaghan's Labour government was wrecked by the winter of industrial discontent, she swept to victory with a campaign which was given momentum by Neave's car bomb murder by Irish terrorists. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

RISE AND FALL OF THE IRON LADY; the ECHO'S Former Political Correspondent Ian Hernon Looks Back on the Life and Times of Margaret Thatcher + MARGARET THATCHER 1925-2013 + MARGARET THATCHER 1925-2013 +
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.