Death and funeral of Margaret Thatcher

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Photograph of Margaret Thatcher
We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton. ~ David Cameron

Margaret Thatcher, former Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, died of a stroke in London on 8 April 2013 at the age of 87.

Britain and British territories[edit]

Photograph of Tony Blair
Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country but of the world. Margaret was such a leader. ~ Tony Blair
  • Mark Thatcher told a gathering of journalists "Good Afternoon. Thank you all very much for coming. I just wanted to say a few words. First of all and most importantly, I would like to say how enormously proud and equally grateful we are that Her Majesty has agreed to attend the service next week at St. Paul’s. I know my mother would be greatly honored as well as humbled her presence. By any measure my mother was blessed with a long life and a very full one. However the inevitability or the inevitable conclusion may appear, of the recent illness she suffered it is no easier for us to bear in what is without doubt a very sad moment. We have quite simply been overwhelmed by messages of support, condolence of every type from far and wide and I know that my mother would be pleased they have come from people of all walks of life. These messages often convey personal stories and vignette of parts of the journey of my mother’s life and we are all enormously grateful for the warmth that these messages convey and they will be a source of encouragement and strength as we face the inevitable days ahead and for that I am most grateful. I don’t think I’ve got anything else to say. I’m sorry I’m not going to take questions - that’s it. Thank you very much for coming."
  • Carol Thatcher told journalists "I would just like to say that I feel just like anyone else who has just lost a second parent. It’s a deeply sad and rather thought provoking landmark in life. My mother once said to me ‘Carol, I think my place in history is assured.’ The magnificent tributes this week, the wonderful words of President Obama to others from colleagues who once worked along side her have proved her right. An enormous personal thank you to all the people who have sent me messages of sympathy and support. These have given me strength but I know that this is going to be a tough and tearful week even for the daughter of the Iron Lady. Thank you very much.
  • Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British prime minister. Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies. Her role in international affairs was equally belligerent whether in support of the Chilean dictator Pinochet, her opposition to sanctions against Apartheid South Africa; and her support for the Khmer Rouge. Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering.
  • Margaret Thatcher was a towering political figure. Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country but of the world. Margaret was such a leader. Her global impact was vast. And some of the changes she made in Britain were, in certain respects at least, retained by the 1997 Labour government, and came to be implemented by governments around the world. Even if you disagreed with her as I did on certain issues and occasionally strongly, you could not disrespect her character or her contribution to Britain's national life. She will be sadly missed.
  • She will be remembered not only for being Britain's first female prime minister and holding the office for eleven years, but also for the determination and resilience with which she carried out all her duties throughout her public life. Even those who disagreed with her never doubted the strength of her convictions and her unwavering belief in Britain's destiny in the world.
  • We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton. As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn't just lead our country, she saved our country, and I believe she'll go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister. Her legacy will be the fact she served her country so well, she saved our country and that she showed immense courage in doing so. And people will be learning about what she did and her achievements in decades, probably for centuries to come.
  • Margaret Thatcher was one of the defining figures in modern British politics. Whatever side of the political debate you stand on, no one can deny that as prime minister she left a unique and lasting imprint on the country she served. She may have divided opinion during her time in politics but everyone will be united today in acknowledging the strength of her personality and the radicalism of her politics.
  • Margaret Thatcher freed millions of people to buy their own homes and buy shares in British companies. She ended the defeatism and pessimism of the post-war period and unleashed a spirit of enterprise. She fought against the clubby, cosy, male-dominated consensus of both main parties - and she won. Her beliefs - in thrift, hard work, and proper reward for merit - were not always popular. But her legacy is colossal.
  • Mrs. Thatcher was a powerful politician who will be remembered by many for the destructive and divisive policies she reigned over which in the end, even in the Tory party, proved to be her downfall. Her legacy involves the destruction of communities, the elevation of personal greed over social values and legitimizing the exploitation of the weak by the strong.
  • She created today's housing crisis, she produced the banking crisis, she created the benefits crisis. She decided when she wrote off our manufacturing industry that she could live with two or three million unemployed and the legacy of that (is) the benefits bill that we are still struggling with today. In actual fact, every real problem we face today is the legacy of the fact she was fundamentally wrong.
  • In government, the UK was turned around under - and in large measure because of - her leadership. Her reforms of the economy, trades union law, and her recovery of the Falkland Islands elevated her above normal politics, and may not have been achieved under any other leader. Her outstanding characteristics will always be remembered by those who worked closely with her: courage and determination in politics, and humanity and generosity of spirit in private.
  • Our sincere gratitude was demonstrated in 1983 when she was granted the Freedom of the Falkland Islands. Her friendship and support will be sorely missed.
  • The coverage by the British media of Thatcher's death has been exclusively absorbed in Thatcher's canonization to such a censorial degree that we suddenly see the modern British establishment as an uncivilized entity of delusion, giving the cold shoulder to truth, and offering indescribable disgust to anyone unimpressed by Thatcher. Even to contest Thatcher's worth is termed "anarchist", and this source of insanity - intolerant of debate, is spearheaded by the BBC reporting not on how things actually are on British streets, but on how they would prefer things to be. For those of us who survived despite Thatcherism, and who recall Thatcher as a living hell, The Daily Mail and The Guardian have a steadfast message for us: You are nothing. Our thoughts are further burdened by the taunting extravagance of Thatcher's funeral; the ceremonial lavish, the military salute, stripping Thatcher's victims of everything, and rubbing salt in wounds with teasing relish.

International[edit]

Africa[edit]

  • [Margaret Thatcher] told us that its about time that we engaged South Africa in constructive engagement, and that is perhaps the best way to get rid of apartheid. I took her advice and invited De Klerk to this country. I think she was a fine example of a very courageous political leader. She is admired greatly by a majority of countries in Africa.
  • I say good riddance. She was a staunch supporter of the apartheid regime. She was part of the rightwing alliance with Ronald Reagan. In the end I sat with her in her office with Nelson Mandela in 1991. We knew she had no choice. Although she called us a terrorist organisation, she had to shake hands with a terrorist and sit down with a terrorist. So who won?
  • Although she was always a steadfast critic of apartheid, she had a much better grasp of the complexities and geo-strategic realities of South Africa than many of her contemporaries. She consistently, and correctly, believed that much more could be achieved through constructive engagement with the South African government than through draconian sanctions and isolation. She also understood the need to consider the concerns and aspirations of all South Africans in their search for constitutional consensus.
  • Thatcher was warlike and uncompromising in her ways. I know that in her country some people admired her for that, but to many of us that wasn't impressive. We in Ghana were very critical of the way she led her country into war in South America – she seemed too ready to resort to force to settle the Falklands. And her position on the ANC wasn't acceptable. She proved to be too conservative; she didn't seem to appreciate the rapidly changing world.
    She believed that there are only a few creators in this world, entrepreneurs and investors, and that you protect them – they are the people who will increase the wealth of the nation and create jobs for people. That is a philosophy I also subscribe to.

Americas[edit]

Photograph of Barack Obama
As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. ~ Barack Obama
  • She was an inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity. She is a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • With the passing of Baroness Thatcher, the world has lost a giant among leaders. While many in positions of power are defined by the times in which they govern, Margaret Thatcher had that rarest of abilities to herself personify and define the age in which she served. Indeed, with the success of her economic policies, she defined contemporary conservatism itself. Her greatest achievements however, were surely on the world stage. Along with the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and His Holiness Pope John Paul II, she played a key role in the fall of the USSR. The era of peace and prosperity that followed the end of the Cold War must therefore rank as one of her great and lasting gifts to this generation. Lady Thatcher’s leadership in time of conflict and during the generous peace she helped bring forth, was an example to the world. As a result, millions now live with the dignity and freedom that she envisioned for them, during the darkest moments of the post-war years.
    I recall with pride her eloquent portrayal of the philosophical groundings of the principles that have - and I hope forever will - unite the British and Canadian peoples.
  • She was a great leader, a great friend of the United States, an important representative of Britain in a very difficult period and I found her a warm person - however fiercely she defended her views.
  • Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics. It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward in the UK at the end of the 20th Century.
  • Very few political leaders are able to lend their name to an era. Margaret Thatcher was able to do that. We all know that there’s such a thing as Thatcherism which represents a set of values, a set of perspectives, a set of policy positions which she espoused, promoted and fought for. Now you can have your own opinions as to the virtues or the vices of that world outlook but the fact is that it exists, and for as long as she was in active politics, it was impossible to ignore her.
  • With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom’s promise.
  • Margaret Thatcher died. No is of good Christian rejoice for this news. Certainly I am not a good Christian.

Asia[edit]

  • Baroness Thatcher will be remembered as the British Prime Minister whose signature appears on the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in Beijing in December 1984.

Europe[edit]

Photograph of Angela Merkel
She shaped modern Great Britain as few have before or since. ~ Angela Merkel
  • His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. He recalls with appreciation the Christian values which underpinned her commitment to public service and to the promotion of freedom among the family of nations.
  • To have been Great Britain’s first female Prime Minister means that Margaret Thatcher’s place in history is secure. She will be remembered as one of the most conviction-driven British Prime Ministers who drew on a scholarship that demanded markets without regulation. The policies of Mrs Thatcher’s Government in regard to Northern Ireland gave rise to considerable debate at the time. However, her key role in signing the Anglo-Irish Agreement will be recalled as a valuable early contribution to the search for peace and political stability. Lady Thatcher’s political career, its impact and legacy will be discussed and debated for many years. What is undeniable is that the strength of conviction in her beliefs was acknowledged by those who robustly opposed her, as well as by those who enthusiastically supported her.
  • Our first meeting in 1984 marked the beginning of a relationship that was difficult sometimes, not always smooth, but serious and responsible from both sides. Gradually, human relations developed as well, they became more and more friendly. Eventually we were able to reach mutual understanding, and this contributed to changes in atmosphere between our country and the West, and to the end of the Cold War. Margaret Thatcher was a great politician. She will remain in our memory and in history.
  • Throughout her public life, with the conservative beliefs that she fully assumed, she nurtured the influence of the United Kingdom and the defence of its interests. The relations she maintained with France were always frank and loyal. She knew how to build a constructive and fruitful dialogue with François Mitterrand. Together, they set about reinforcing the ties between our two countries. It was in that era that Mme. Thatcher gave the decisive push to the construction of the Channel tunnel.
  • She shaped modern Great Britain as few have before or since. She was one of the greatest leaders in World politics of her time. The freedom of the individual was at the centre of her beliefs so she recognised very early the power of the movements for freedom in Eastern Europe. And she supported them. I will never forget her contribution in overcoming Europe's partition and the end of the Cold War.
  • Lady Thatcher was among those great personalities who, with her strong faith in democratic values, turned the course of history and led the way to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism. That, for all of us on the other side of the Iron Curtain, meant being free, to which Baroness Thatcher made an indisputable contribution. She strongly believed in everyone’s right to be free, in everyone’s right to have a choice.
  • Thatcher was certainly one of the most colorful political figures of the modern world. I believe that we have lost a major politician, I'm sorry about this and would like to offer condolences on behalf of the Russian leadership to the British government and people... [Margaret Thatcher was] a pragmatic, tough and consistent person.

Middle East[edit]

  • There are people, there are ideas. Occasionally those two come together to create vision. Lady Thatcher was an exceptional leader, a colleague in the international arena and a friend for me personally. She served as an inspiration for other leaders, as the first female prime minister of Great Britain she broke new ground. She showed how far a person can go with strength of character, determination and a clear vision.

Oceania[edit]

  • As a woman I am admiring of her achievements on becoming the first woman to lead the United Kingdom, the first female prime minister there. For women around the world they will be reflecting on the loss of a woman who showed a new way forward for women, and a way into leadership.
  • The passing of Margaret Thatcher is obviously a very sad day for her family and Great Britain. She will be remembered as a very strong and determined leader that faced some real challenges.
    I think she has left a strong and permanent legacy for Great Britain, the challenges that she faced were quite unique at the time. She was very determined as a leader but she believed passionately in what she was doing and I think she'll be missed by many people in Britain.

Supranational[edit]

  • We will miss her great leadership. She was a pioneering leader for her contribution to peace and security, particularly at the height of the Cold War. She was also a great model as the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who not only demonstrated her leadership but has given such great hope for many women for equality, gender equality in Parliament

External links[edit]

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