What would Thatcher do? All political movements, however secular, have their pantheon of deities, saints and inspirational figures. In the modern Conservative party Margaret Thatcher is still the magnetic north, against whom all subsequent Tory leaders have positioned themselves.
A lightning rod for equal measures of love and hate, she was the only UK PM who stood up to be counted on the European question – and stood her ground on more than one occasion.
As a humble grocer’s daughter from Grantham, Thatcher not only became the first female PM in 1979, but she galvanised the Conservative party and, some might say, the country.
Much more than any other modern British politician – particularly Conservative politicians accustomed to swimming against a leftish cultural tide – Margaret Thatcher fought, and Margaret Thatcher won. Her victory was so great that it changed her political opponents – the Labour Party – as much as it changed her own party. Her defeat of the left made Tony Blair possible. And today, with David Cameron having finally led the Conservatives back to No. 10 Downing Street and wrestling with a massive, inherited government deficit, as Mrs. Thatcher did 30 years earlier, all the old debates have become relevant once more.