Remembering the Iron Lady

The Grantham Museum with the artist's impression of Lady Thatcher's statue

The Grantham Museum with the artist’s impression of Lady Thatcher’s statue

If you go to the States looking for memorabilia of Ronald Reagan, you will find practically a Heritage Trail.  In particular, there’s the Reagan Archive and Library, although ironically as I write it’s closed for the US government shut-down.  But the Americans know how to honour their leaders.  I have possibly slightly  less regard for Kennedy than for Reagan, but no one going to Washington can miss the Kennedy Centre.

So it must seem strange to Americans that we do so little for our own great leaders.  Margaret Thatcher was Reagan’s opposite number this side of the Atlantic.  She stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him, and stiffened his spine when he threatened to “go wobbly”.  Yet until recently you would find little more in Margaret Thatcher’s birthplace in Grantham, Lincs, than a very small plaque on the grocer’s shop where she grew up – now a health spa and centre for alternative medicine.  But now a group of dedicated volunteers has launched a project to refurbish the Grantham Museum and to build a statue of the Iron Lady in her home town. The artist’s impression above shows how one of the proposed designs would look, with the museum building behind.

I understand that Lincolnshire County Council recently found itself unable to continue funding the museum, so the fund-raising efforts of the volunteers become even more important.

Grantham is in my East Midlands patch, so of course I have been there a number of times since 1999.  But I am ashamed to say that I had never visited the museum until last weekend, when I was there with the Freedom Association.  The visit was to mark Margaret Thatcher’s 88th birthday – October 13th.  The main events took place in the Angel and Royal Hotel, claimed to be the oldest hostelry in England, with associations with King John, and later Dick Turpin.

As speakers we had John Whittingdale OBE MP, who served as Lady Thatcher’s political secretary for a number of years, and also Mark Worthington, who was in her private office for many years.  It would be difficult to find two men who knew her better, and their reminiscences gave fascinating insights into the politician and the woman.  It fell to me to give the vote of thanks, and I was able to throw in my tuppence-worth, having met Lady Thatcher in Malaysia (CHGC 1988) and later in Seoul, Korea.

Margaret Thatcher was undoubtedly the greatest peace-time Prime Minister of the 20th Century, and she deserves greater recognition than she’s received so far.  The volunteers of Grantham deserve our support.

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10 Responses to Remembering the Iron Lady

  1. Anne says:

    Would she have ratified the latest EU Treaties? I like to think not.

  2. I wonder how much this has to do with Planning Applications and jobsworths being involved?

  3. Anthem says:

    I always thought that they missed a trick when Lady Thatcher passed away earlier this year.

    With all the furore about her funeral being paid for “out of the public purse” (it wasn’t) and with certain sections of the population celebrating her death.

    Someone should have set up a fund and anyone who wished to could have contributed voluntarily.

    I suspect that donations would have amounted to a sum that not only would have covered every expense that her funeral incurred but that there would have been more than enough left over to fund the building of some kind of monument in her honour.

    Not only would that have shut everyone up who believed that taxpayers were paying for her funeral but it would have let those who took joy in her passing know that they weren’t representative of the general feeling towards this remarkable woman.

    Oh, how much we need someone like her right now.

  4. As I have just written to the Grantham Museum folk: if they can correct the two glaringly annoying grammatical mistakes on their home page I will contribute. People who put words onto websites must be able to use the language correctly as otherwise people like me get a little uppity.

  5. Bob Aldridge says:

    I thought it was George Bush who “went wobbly”.

  6. Graham says:

    It is such a pity that Margaret Thatcher is also seen by many as a divisive figure. What she did to heavy industry such as steel and coal, and particularly car manufacturing, was arguably long overdue if Britain was to remain competitive in world trade. To take on this challenge against trade unions encouraged to resist change by previous Labour and Tory governments required resolve and vision. Thatcher had those in buckets. The hardship caused by industrial reform was in part due to lack of engagement and cooperation by trade unions. That is what she will, unfortunately, be remembered for rather than saving the country’s economy and overseas standing (Falklands conflict). Her legacy is there but misted in emotion. I for one consider her admirable and I hope in time her enemies come to that conclusion too.

  7. Jane Davies says:

    In comparison to to our American friends this is typical of us Brits, we do not bang our own drum very loudly and proclaim how wonderful we are and pat our leaders on the back. As a nation we should have more pride in our past and I agree Lady Thatcher was a Prime Minister with a spine unlike the present incumbent. She blotted her copybook though in that state pensioners are still worse off because of her, but then no-one is perfect.

  8. Russellw says:

    Anyone know her views on AGW? I’ve seen someone quote that she was a believer.

    • Martin Reed says:

      Margaret Thatcher was initially badly advised by the sort of warmists who still seem to frequent the corridors of power even today. As a result she was instrumental in setting up the disastrous Hadley Centre for Climate Change. However it is very easy to be wise in hindsight. In those days we were in the middle of a minor warming trend and there was much talk of CO2 being a “greenhouse gas” which could influence climate. It was far harder to see the wood for the trees in the late eighties. Since then a huge amount of research has been done as a result of more than a hundred billion being thrown at this minor scientific backwater by Western governments. With the development of the internet anyone with a computer can have a vast library of information at their finger tips in little more than minutes and get to the bottom of the monumental hoax that politicians have perpetrated. Moreover since that time countless warmist predictions have been proven spectacularly wrong and the warming trend has peaked and if anything appears to have recently started to go into reverse with a decline in the sun’s magnetic field. Considering all the circumstances it is easy to see why she was so persuaded at the time. Hardly surprising then that by 2003 Mrs Thatcher had repudiated her previous position and become one of the earliest prominent sceptics. All credit to the lady for that.

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