News, Politics

Britain’s “Iron Lady” Dead At The Age Of 87

Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Work provided by Chris Collins of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation
Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Work provided by Chris Collins of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of England from 1979 to 1990. That was the longest time for any British prime minister since the early 19th century.

Thatcher was Britain’s only female prime minister and she was considered an important leader around the world.

On Monday Thatcher died of a stroke; she was 87 years old.

When she was Prime Minister, Thatcher was considered by most people to be very strong-willed. Her nickname was “The Iron Lady.” Once when her own Conservative party members asked her to tone down her hard decision, she said to them: ‘The lady’s not for turning.’

On the other hand, Thatcher had a vision for her country and she was loyal to it to the end.

She believed strongly in lowering government spending, letting private companies buy government agencies and letting companies compete with each other without government help.

When a terrorist bomb, meant for her, killed five people, she made a speech that evening telling her own party that the British would never give in to terrorism.

One of her best friends was then-U.S. President Ronald Regan, who shared her values. Together they pushed for the collapse of communism and when the Berlin wall (a symbol of communism around the world) came down in 1989, the two leaders felt rewarded.

Finally, Maggie Thatcher’s right-wing (conservative) policies were too hard for the people to take.

When Thatcher approved a new tax for all ordinary citizens, the British people had had enough. After 11 years in power, Thatcher left the Prime Minister’s office.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Margaret Thatcher was known as a tough and strong-willed prime minister. Some people loved her and others didn’t.

Do you think all leaders need to be tough and strong-willed? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt:
This article includes many political words and concepts. Some key words are: Conservative, communism and right-wing.

What do these words mean? Use a dictionary or the Internet to look up these terms. Explain what each of them mean in your own words.

Junior and Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues (OME, Reading: 3.2).

Grammar Feature: Proper and Common Nouns
In this article, ‘prime minister’ is written several times. Read through the article carefully and explain why some sentences have ‘prime minister’ written with capital letters while other sentences don’t.