Monday, 22 April 2013

Farewell to a Great Leader : Baroness Margaret Thatcher.

 "  You know, if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, wouldn't  you, at any time? And you would achieve nothing ! " 
     -  Baroness Margaret Thatcher .                     
                       Baroness Thatcher, LG OM PC FRS (née Roberts )
                                      13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013) 
Margaret Hilda Thatcher was Britain's first female Prime minister  from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. 
Born on October 13, 1925 in Grantham, England, she was the younger daughter of Alfred and Beatrice Roberts.  Her father was a greengrocer and respected town leader, serving as lay-leader with their church, city-alderman and then as mayor.
 He taught Margaret never to do things because other people were doing them.
"..... do what you think is right and persuade others to follow you ", he told his daughter. 
She attended Oxford University from 1943 to 1947 and earned a degree in Chemistry, but it was clear from early on that politics was her true calling.

The same determination  and courage  which  made her to achieve  her academic  and professional  laurels  propelled her even to greater heights in her political career.
 She stood as a Conservative candidate from Dartford in the 1950 and 1951 elections.
She practised tax law for a time in the 1950s, but was elected to Parliament from Finchley in 1959.
 Two years later, she was appointed to the cabinet as Minister of Pensions. 
In 1970, she was appointed Minister for Education and earned the title "Thatcher the Milk Snatcher", for eliminating free milk for schoolchildren in a round of budget-cutting. 
In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition and became the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. 
She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.  She was Prime Minister from  4 May 1979 – 28 November 1990 .
She was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman to have held the office. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.

The Poll Tax and her refusal to endorse a common currency for Europe led the Conservative party to force her out of office in a bloody internal coup. 
She was forced to resign as Prime Minister in November 1990. 
Since she left office, she was introduced to the House of Lords in 1992 as Baroness Thatcher. 
Even after leaving the office of Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher continued  to flourish  as a highly sought - after mentor , adviser , author and very important  personality in the different parts of the world.
 Her final years were spent in engaging  herself in worthwhile projects all over the world ; especially speaking  engagements  . 
She travelled the world, touring the lecture circuit promoting her causes and was president of numerous organizations dedicated to her causes. 

Baroness Thatcher was indeed a remarkable  woman  and national leader , worthy of emulation .She carved a path for her self-actualisation in an era when women were supposed to seen but not heard ; when women were told to be  silent and to be content with “ the position which God had ordained for women ”.
As it was in those days , same it is nowadays   that Bible quotations , always , were used to remind women of their " proper place and duties ".   
 In that era in the UK when women  were expected to accept the roles of “support staff ” to their male colleagues in offices and in almost all careers ; Mrs Thatcher was one of those  few women who stood up , stood out and excelled in their chosen professions .
It is remarkable that the young but determined Margaret , rose from being a grocer’s daughter  to  become the First female Prime Minister in the UK .
She held on that position for eleven years and half, even in the face of stiff oppositions ; to become the longest-serving  Prime Minister in the UK .
In her personal life, she was fulfilled as a mother  and as a happily married wife .
She married Denis Thatcher in December 1951 and they had twin children,Mark Thatcher and Carol ThatcherDenis Thatcher , her beloved husband for many decades ; was a very successful business man , even before his wife became Prime Minister. 


By her excellent achievements, Mrs  Thatcher  has proven  that  it is  possible for a woman to  be a happily  married mother ; as well as be a successful woman in her chosen career. 
By her success , she confirmed that a woman's success in her chosen career or business is  not  something her husband  should  be terrified of ,  neither is  a woman's desire and ambitions for success an "affront , disrespect or a threat "  to  his ego as the head of their home..
                                        Sir Denis  and  Baroness Margaret Thatcher
She was a good example of self-actualisation to all  women , worldwide.
Although she was  the wife of a wealthy business man , Mrs Margaret Thatcher was not  content to wear her husband's rank , glorying and boasting of her husband's  achievements only ; as some married women did in her era and as some are still doing  , even today.
If  some women were in Mrs. Thatcher's  position as the comfortable wife of a wealthy man,  they would make sure that they show everybody that they have "arrived" , indeed. 
Mrs Thatcher could  have been content  to put on "airs  and graces " and to throw her husband's  weight around .
But she did not do that.  Instead,  she forged a glorious  and distinct path for herself which her husband was proud of. 

Most people would applaud  wives and husbands who join hands to  support their spouse , but most right-thinking people do not respect women who wear their husbands' ranks and boast   with their husbands' achievements; when such women themselves are unqualified to fit into the "over-sized burrowed robes ( borrowed ranks ) " they dress themselves in ; because they have no personal achievements , neither educationally or otherwise , to show for themselves .
Ironically , in countries like Mrs. Thatcher ' Britain, where the rights of women are well-protected  it is uncommon , it is  not the lifestyle of most women to flaunt their men's ranks or to sit back , sipping their tea and nibbling on their crackers and relying on their men's  achievements .
Neither is it common  to hear of stuff like "Association of  Wives of so and so Big Deal " or some other funny  names.
The mentality of wearing "Borrowed-robes" is unwise , particularly unwise for women in countries where the laws enforcing the rights of girls , of single and married women, exist on paper only .
In such nations, in the event of separation , divorce or death of their husbands, wives are treated as "disposables attachments" who , even after decades of marriage and home-building  with their spouses,  stand the risk of losing their homes , everything they own, including their  children. 
 In unjust societies , enforcing the  human rights of  anybody , especially of women  is an uphill task because demands for justice for  women and for the poor are treated as huge jokes by their courts  and other law-enforcement agencies .

Women leaders in unjust societies should learn from the policies which Mrs. Margaret Thatcher used  to improve women's welfare and to enforce justice for women.

Also they should use their positions to work towards removing not only the injustices against women in their countries , but they should also educate their women about the need  for self-actualisation  in preference over  wearing "borrowed robes". 
Bringing good changes  to the lives of  women is essential  work  for leaders in  countries where , culturally , women's legal rights are not enforceable, 
if their husbands were removed  from the  life - equations of  those wives who relied on their husbands' ranks and positions , what  then happens to their  own lives ?
Such wives , if left on their own, could not stand on their own feet for too long. 
They would become  emotional  and financial wrecks, who could be likened to foolish children  who refused  to get an education to prepare themselves  for their own future,  just  because they were relying  on inheriting their parents' properties .
Properties which unknown to their children, the parents had sold already , or had heavily mortgaged  to various creditors.

Margaret  Thatcher  was indeed a star  among  her political peers at home and abroad.

She had vast opportunities  to  line her  pockets by embezzling public funds and she could have allowed her husband and her children to  do the same, 
But there are no records that she did that .
 If she did , by now  someone would have exposed her corruption and the British press would have had a field day tearing  her reputation to pieces. 
She and Sir Denis were examples of a "power couple" who was

an example in selflessness worthy of emulation by leaders of impoverished  nations  who join hands with their wives , their children and other family  members to "clean out " the treasuries of their  nations .
When Margaret Thatcher spoke , her colleagues and the nation paid attention to her words because they knew she was not a clown to be toyed with and she could not be bribed because she had the interests of her country at heart.
Though some of the men under her leadership were fixed in their prejudice against  females  and they resented her leadership ; yet they respected  her , grudgingly.

Worth  mentioning amongst  her numerous outstanding achievements is the life-line and financial support which  Mrs Thatcher gave  to the Church in the UK , as an enduring legacy of her government, up to this date .
It is to her credit  that during  her tenure as Prime Minister , Baroness Thatcher initiated and implemented the Gift Aid policy in 1990 . 
The Gift Aid scheme is a government funded incentive to assist the Church and all registered Charities in the UK, whereby for every one £ sterling they receive as tithes , offerings , donations and other collections  from tax-paying  UK citizens; the government will  top it up with a free gift of 25 pence, that is an additional  25% gift  on every pound sterling from the UK government.
For this generous gift , the Church in the UK and other Charitable organisations  are forever grateful to Baroness Thatcher.

Baroness  Thatcher,  by her achievements , encouraged millions of  men and women , whether they were married or single ,  to develop the mentality that nobody and nothing could stop them if they were determined  to realise their dreams ..

Also , thanks  to Mrs. Thatcher's visions of laying solid foundations of good government economic policies, today the citizens of the UK  are supported by the State to enable them survive any of those challenges they could face in  the UK society.  
Economically , she upgraded the status of  many people,
Praise and gratitude flow from those who say  Mrs. Thatcher  turned the UK from a country of shop-keepers  to a country of stock-brokers ; from a country  of  council tenants to a country of home-owners. 

Women in particular have Baroness Thatcher to thank for initiating and making laws which have  made the  UK one of those countries where the  welfare  and the human rights of girls and women are upheld and strictly protected  .
Many working-class women in the government or private sectors are full of praise for Mrs Thatcher for being their role model who opened doors of vast opportunities for self-actualisation for all women.
She was  the leader who made women to dare to dream and to be determined to actualise their ambitions to  become the success stories  they are today. 
Women in the UK are the envy of their counterparts in some other nations because women here are well cared for and supported by the State.
The UK is world- famous as the country where there is unconditional  Zero -Tolerance for all forms of harassment , assault and injustice against  girls  and women. 
Today, in the UK , there is an entrenched  mentality in the nation which respects and upholds the rights of all girls and women of all age groups and social levels.
Women are able to live their lives as complete and valuable human beings in the British society ,without any form restrictions and  deprivations,  
Therefore if and  when women desire to maximise their potentials , either in their offices or in business, they  do not  have  to beg or  bribe anyone, neither do they have to idolise or  to  deify any man (or woman ) in order  to be able to eke out a decent  and stable living for themselves .
Thanks to Mrs. Thatcher and other pioneering women in the UK , the  mentality of women about themselves and even the mentality and the attitudes of men towards women have been polished  by the societal values and  prevailing cultural attitudes towards women in the UK .
Therefore the prevailing mentality in the British society about women is not the same as that of citizens in those areas of the world where their entrenched social values, their mentality and cultural attitudes  are unfavourable  to  the rights of single and  married women and rights of the female child.

Like all things good or bad have an ending , so are  the life-journeys of all human beings.
Sir Denis Thatcher , her beloved  husband died in 2003 , aged 88 years. 
Baroness Thatcher was deeply shocked  by the  loss of  her husband whom she called , " my best friend , supporter , lover  and confidant ". 
"What a friend , what a husband !", she exclaimed after his death. 
In recent years , Baroness Thatcher , had  to reduce her public activities and appearances, due  to ill-health. . Like all mortals, with the passage of time  she became frail in health , due  to age-related infirmities . 
Baroness Margaret  Thatcher died on April 8th, 2013 , aged 87 years , after succumbing  to a stroke , the second one in recent years.
Though her invaluable presence, active mind and gallant  spirit  have left this realm of existence , they  belong to UK and world history , forever.
Immediately  after the news of her passing-away broke out, tributes started pouring  in for the late Prime Minister . 
Funeral arrangements commenced right away ,  to give this  great  woman a befitting send- off.
Amongst the populace , there has been praise and  gratitude  to her ; whilst others have expressed their condemnation for her and her policies .
Margaret Thatcher  was accused of , amongst other things the big  R  word. 
So why would non -whites care whether Margaret Thatcher  is alive , dying or  dead ?
Racism is a hate-crime and a disease of the mind .
Victims of racism feel the pain  but  like all diseases , it is the carrier or the sufferer  of the disease who bears the greater burden of the pain and restrictions  caused by the disease.
The practice and evils of RACISM exist in every nation  either as xenophobia against foreigners in their midst or  as discrimination against each other , even  as citizens of the same country ; in the forms of  tribalism , ethnicity , nepotism , sectionalism and class divisions.  

All leaders attract protests or hatred . Some are deserved  and some are  undeserved 

Leaders,  bad ones and even the good one are targets  for  criticism and hate at one point or the other during their .tenure because they could not please every body , even if they tried to .
In Margaret Thatcher's case , maybe  because of her  zeal to make the United Kingdom  a better place , she did  step on some  sore toes even in her own Tory  party.
 Along the way, as a human being, she  must  have  made some  mistakes which  gave rise to her many nick names such as "Iron Lady", "Maggie", "Attilla the Hen ", " Thatcher, the Milk Snatcher " , "Bitch", "Scab", "Witch" and so on.
Personally, life would be very boring  if every body "liked" or "loved " me and if every body had good things only  to say about  me!  
Criticism , hatred and bad -mouthing  could be just  the spice and catalyst  needed  to add  zest and flavours to a person's  determination  to do what they want  to do .
So , bring it on.
If name-calling or hatred  could kill anyone , Margaret Thatcher would  have died long ago. LOL!
But , what do you know ?  The "Iron Lady" had the last  laugh. 
She lived  to a good and ripe old age of 87 years ! How many people can  beat that?

Baroness Margaret Thatcher , the  great leader , widow,  mother and grand -mother  was  given a glorious send-off  in a funeral ceremony  which was  full of  pomp and  pageantry on Wednesday ,17th of April , 2013.
 According to her wishes , she said she  did not desire  a  " State Funeral " .
Leaders from 170 nations were present and millions watched the funeral  live.
Considering the glory of her funeral which we saw yesterday , if  her  funeral  was not a State Funeral , then what would qualify  to be described as a "State funeral" ?
The nation , the government and citizens of her beloved country ,showed their gratitude to her  by giving Baroness Margaret Thatcher a final farewell which was the type of  funeral  ceremony reserved  for  the  departed  Kings and Queens of England.
The bells of Big Ben and the Great Clock at Westminster  went  silent during her funeral.
This was the same honour given to Sir Winston Churchill during his funeral .
What else could Baroness Margaret Thatcher  have  wished  for as a befitting  end to a glorious life well-spent ?
Some people have wondered if Baroness Thatcher "made heaven" ; which is an eternal and a greater achievement than all her worldly achievements , put together .
 We will have to keep  wondering , won’t we ?
The Bible says it is difficult  to tell such things and to conclude who "made" or did not make heaven.
Until that day when we will all appear before the judgement throne of Jesus Christ.
Then we shall all know the things done in the secret by each person. Romans 2:13-24.

 Baroness Thatcher and my mother were women who were my  role models, women  worthy of  my respect  and emulation  because of who they were and what they achieved  during  their life time.
 As far back as my teen age years , I had admired Mrs. Thatcher's beauty , guts and her achievements .
Although I did not meet  Baroness Margaret Thatcher  formally ; I was very excited to see her in person twice ; excited to be in the same room with her and listen to her speeches at different functions in London ,some years ago , 
To accord her my last respect, I was there amongst the crowd who witnessed her funeral ceremony, to bid her farewell, 
 Hundreds of thousands of people  suspended  their work  like I did , came out and lined the streets during her funeral procession on Wednesday, 17th April , 2013 . to pay their last respects to this great  woman and selfless leader .  

Here are some of the photos taken at the  glorious event .
Map of the Funeral Route : From The Houses of Parliament  in Westminster  - Downing Street - The Strand - Fleet Street , ending in St. Paul,s Cathedral , all in Central London.

       St Paul's Cathedral , London was venue for the Funeral Service.

Inside St. Paul's - the floor

People  slept overnight  on the Fleet Street to  get a good viewing position near the funeral procession route .


           Adequate Security was put in place .

                             Sniffer dogs  doing their  job  before the  event

Thatcher's coffin passing  by  the gates of Downing Street , her home  for eleven  years and half 

The Union Jack , flying at half mast over Trafalgar Square

Cheering & clapping Crowds lining the route

Praise Tattoo; all  for  Mrs. Thatcher

Workers viewing it all from their office windows along  the route.

                          Yours  truly - At St. Paul's Cathedral  

The Funeral Procession


At Fleet Street

Arriving St. Paul's

The Queen arrives St. Paul

       Thatcher's Children  ,their spouses & grand children

The Queen gazing at  the Coffin arriving inside St. Paul's.


Prime Minister David Cameron and wife .Former Prime Ministers- Tony Blair  and                                   
  Gordon  Brown.

World leaders arriving  St. Paul's. 170 world leaders were present.


                            Order of Service for the Funeral               


 Hymns sang at the ceremony were the ones chosen  by Baroness Thatcher.  

Grand daughter Amanda Thatcher  reading the 1st  Lesson - Ephesians 6: 10 - 18.

Amanda Thatcher

Prime Minister David Cameron  took the 2nd reading from  John 14: 1- 4.

        The Queen 

Tears  for Thatcher
 Prime Minister David Cameron weeps

Chancellor  of the Exchequer - George Osborne shedding tears

Carol Thatcher  weeps  for Mum

            Oh dear !  Overwhelmed by it  all.

The Police checking  Protesters




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