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Inside Story

Legacy of the 'Iron Lady'

Did Margaret Thatcher turn Britain into a heartless country or did she save it from an almost certain meltdown?

Last Modified: 09 Apr 2013 09:13
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" Whatever happens whenever you talk about Margaret Thatcher you always end up using very strong words … Thatcher turned us into ... a tougher country, worst moment by far came when she called the striking miners … the enemies within, this was an unspeakable thing for a British prime minister to said of her own citizens, and it's something which it is almost impossible to forgive her for. "

- Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.uk

Margaret Thatcher, popularly known as the Iron Lady, Britain's first female prime minister and a politician with a steely resolve, died on Monday at the age of 87.

She was a towering figure in post-war British and world politics. 

British prime minister David Cameron has been leading tributes to Baroness Thatcher, who died following a stroke.

"We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton..."

"Today is obviously a day we should most of all think of her family...she served her country so well, she saved our country, she showed immense courage ... people will be learning about her in decades to come, that's her legacy but today we must think of her family," he said. 
 
The shopkeeper's daughter dominated British politics for more than a decade, leading her Conservative party to three election victories.

"She was an incredibly determined politician ... she created this society that was based on money above all else … that made Britain into a much cold, a much more heartless place at the end of her term as prime minister, and many of those changes unfortunately have stayed."

- Jeremy Corbyn, British opposition Labour party member of parliament

She won praise for rescuing Britain from economic ruin. She tamed the trade unions at home, and Argentina in the Falklands War - and helped thaw the Cold War.

But critics branded her a heartless tyrant who ushered in an era of greed, at the expense of the poor.

So how will history judge her legacy? Was she really a heartless tyrant or was she a heroine who rescued her country from an almost certain meltdown?  

To discuss this, Inside Story, with presenter Fauziah Ibrahim, is joined by guests: Jeremy Corbyn, an opposition Labour party member of the British parliament, and Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.uk.

"The way she fought that [Falklands] war, the decisiveness seemed to work as a sort of a metaphor for what she can do for the economy at home, she'd beaten the Argentines at the South Atlantic, now she was going to beat unemployment and the economy needs at home." 

- John Campbell, biographer 

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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