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Goodbye, Maggie

“If you lead a country like Britain, a strong country, a country which has taken a lead in world affairs in good times and in bad, a country that is always reliable, then you have to have a touch of iron about you.”

Ask me, “Are you proud to be British?”, and 9 times out of ten, my answer will be yes. Very rarely am I made to feel disgusted or upset at my country, especially when I am not a very political person. At almost 24, I am far too young to have known or lived under the rule of Margaret Thatcher. I was, however, brought up to respect not only my elders, but those who have influenced, inspired and left their mark, for the better, on our country.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course. I couldn’t possibly understand how those who lived under her time in Office felt. But neither could I EVER celebrate and have a party over the death of someone who played such a monumental role in British history. I guess what’s agitated me the most is that those protesting and rejoicing are of my age or younger. I don’t understand how, as young people, they can be filled with such loathing and malice when they too, weren’t even born in her time.

What I do know, from my reading and research, is that Margaret Thatcher, regardless of her, or indeed your own, political views and beliefs, was one hell of a woman. She had more balls than that of any leader of any party I’ve seen. She paved the way for women in politics and no matter what your personal feelings for her; she DID shape Great Britain. Could you run the country, knowing that no matter how firm and proud you stood, you wouldn’t please everyone? I certainly couldn’t.

My point is, she led the country for three whole terms – almost 12 years. That’s the longest ever period for a prime minister, I believe. Margaret Thatcher knew that she wouldn’t be liked. She knew she’d be criticised. But she still stuck to her values and principles, knowing she had to be the ‘bad guy’. For me, it was her sheer determination and belief in hard work that I find most admirable and it is that which I will remember her by.

I didn’t write this post to start arguments or cause upset. Unlike those protesting, I choose to celebrate and remember her as a leader of this country, a strong woman, a mother and wife. Regardless of what you thought of her, she was, and remains, Britain’s only female prime minister who ruled for the longest period in British history. If that doesn’t deserve respect, I don’t know what does.

I guess my point at the end of the day, is that I don’t want people to go around filled with hate. Life is too short to be this way. If you want to celebrate something, why not celebrate love and life, family and health. If you want to remember someone, remember them well or not at all. Let the hate go. Britain, like most countries, has it’s flaws, but it is also a wonderful place with amazing achievements despite it’s size. Most other nations believe Britain is Great, lets not give them a reason to dispute that.

Maggie has been put to rest today and I believe we should now step back and leave her in peace. I will myself leave you, but with my favourite quote of hers that is especially poignant at this time. All I ask is that after this, sometimes, you try and put yourself in other people’s shoes. Something so simple as looking at life from a different perspective, may, in fact, find you changing your own. & we could all do with a little bit more understanding (and love), couldn’t we?

Just please remember, Britain is called Great for a reason – let us not forget it.

“I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end, good will triumph.”

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