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Margaret Thatcher – some thoughts on life and leadership April 12, 2013

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, human quality, UK.
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Love her, hate her. Whatever it is, Margaret Thatcher is now history’s iron lady.

She is well known for having her own guts that don’t bend when she believes in it. Certainly not a Great leader who would command a perfect 100 percent respect from all kinds of people. I wouldn’t expect the working class people to like her. Neither would the middle income people would favour her. She has a hard fist on the economy. Perhaps there was no detour to save the country from an ailing system where companies had relied heavily on state support. You cannot exactly blame her for the hard handedness. But neither can you genuinely appreciate what had become of it either. She is a highly controversial leader to be agreed upon as a great leader in that sense.

But when you look upon how she handled high officials in her cabinet, you would have to admire her persistence. It is exactly the undying spirit that she stood out from her modest family background to rise above most as a formidable political figure with a very pragmatic perspective towards life. She seems to see many things as business but she was always on the go. Perhaps too much on the go. Often one may have to ponder if family was in her mind as she ran for politics. Would life be called a success when family commitments are not fully met? Would leadership be fully commended when people suffer? Should so many suffer?

I like her for her guts. I like the fact she was tough. In politics and in business, you have to be tough. Bending over is a no brainer. But her hand in policies that wreck many people’s lives did not exactly get better. Change requires pain in many instances. But I truly believe in mitigating such sufferings to a bare minimum. Sometimes the way forward is actually taking a step back. Iron fists sometimes don’t work well in some areas. Then again, the Falklands war was the best iron fist she ever pounded on. Integrity of the nation on the world stage is one of the most important concern from a great leader. She did it without fear.

Her greatness lies in saving the country from the brink of national collapse. However, her failure was to sacrifice the less economic well off to suffer amidst such huge radical change. It’s pretty hard to call her a 100 percent true heroine. But one thing you can be resolute about her is her staunch determination to rise from the ground. She is also very fortunate to have a doting husband who was always supportive of her.

As much as I admire her guts, I have some doubts about her as a true peoples’ heroine. In international politics and business, she was a great leader and a master heroine. But as a true people’s leader, I doubt she had a superior score. I could recall some of our humanities tutors at college many years back, who were British, did not like her at all. I could understand the sentiment. If I were them, I wouldn’t either.

A leader must always bring the thought of the people first. Maybe trying circumstances then forbade her to do so. Perhaps the initial change must include great suffering. But when the suffering becomes recurrent, then it is a problem not to be ignored. It’s a personal thought here that perhaps some people may come against it, but as a student who used to live in the United Kingdom, I could dare say people don’t generally show detest for nothing. Especially when people are generally kind and reserved. – Karen Fu

Reference link:
1. New York Times: