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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Remembering Thatcher

The very first General Electtion I voted in was in 1979. I was at University and exercised a postal vote for my home seat in the Wirral. A group of us stayed up all night to watch the results roll in with growing despondency. It was the last time I went 36 hours without sleep. Somehow all-nighters never had the same attraction afer that.

I was elected to Swansea Council in 1984 and saw at first hand the impact of Conservative policies. I had cut my teeth in local politics slap bang in the middle of the Falklands' War when I was the Liberal agent in a safe Tory seat. We cut the majority to 171 and went on to win it in the 1985 County Council elections, though by then I was concentrating on taking the two county council seats in my own ward.

Soon after I was elected the council was dealing with the impact of the miners' strike on South Wales. I remember that they gave permission for the miners to collect donations in Swansea market and of course there were the demonstrations and other events to support the strike.

Swansea took a particular interest in the clash between Michael Heseltine and Margaret Thatcher of course, because the former was born and bred in the City.  Equally, Geoffrey Howe's dramatic resignation speech that set the scene for the Prime Minister's removal, bore particular resonance because of his roots in Port Talbot.

I was never one of Thatcher's children as I formed my views during the political turmoil of the 1970s but I started my active life in politics during her premiership and saw at first hand how her will and her agenda reshaped Britain.

Margaret Thatcher is reputed to have said that her greatest achievement was Tony Blair. There is no doubt that she was one of just two or three profoundly influential Prime Ministers of the twentieth century and in that respect, for better or worse, her legacy is secure.

Her death marks the end of an era of sorts, but the country she created lives on in many many aspects. After 1979, nothing was ever the same again.
Will miss her - knowing she was still alive gave me comfort - Margaret Thatcher had well deserved iconic status. With her in power the country stood tall. Speaking now with my American hat on; Margaret Thatcher was a dear friend of America - as somebody else once said: we will not see her like again. A great leader in troubled times - she oozed confidence and surety, Margaret Thatcher was a rock. RIP Margaret.
Dr Christopher Wood
I admired fellow-Wirralian Glenda Jackson's for not fawning around the late Margaret Thatcher. Undoubtedly she left a legacy, but not one of any merit.
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