James Forsyth

How Margaret Thatcher transformed politics and this country

How Margaret Thatcher transformed politics and this country
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Margaret Thatcher is the most significant British political figure of the past 50 years. In her time in office, she transformed the British economy, promoted the vigorous virtues and offered strength and support to the dissidents of Eastern Europe and. On top of all this, she was — of course — Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

In future, people will find it hard to believe just how nationalised Britain’s economy was before the Thatcher revolution. As she said in her 1982 conference speech, ‘How absurd it will seem in a few years' time that the State ran Pickford's removals and Gleneagles Hotel.’

With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to underestimate the state of crisis that this country was in before Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979. She brought this country back from the brink.

But her greatest triumph was that she made the Labour party accept the new reality that she had created. The Labour party that won in 1997 was very different from the one that she defeated in 1983 and 1987.