Thatcher was a divisive figure

Thatcher was a divisive figure

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The coffin of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher is carried into the Houses of Parliament in London.
The coffin of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher is carried into the Houses of Parliament in London.
Photo: AFP
As a child, I knew the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who died last week at age 87, as "the lady who fell down".

In 1982, Thatcher fell down the steps of the Great Hall of the People after talks in which she failed to keep Hong Kong under British rule. For me, her tumble signified what happens if you don't listen to your advisors before attending important meetings: you will lose face.

I learned of Thatcher's death from a Facebook newsfeed, and raised the subject in my tutor group that evening. My tutor's wife, a Brit who had grown up in a working class family in Liverpool under Thatcher's reign, said she considered Thatcher an enemy of workers and a hypocrite.

She told us that even as Thatcher was tearing down British labour unions, she was expressing solidarity for union workers in Poland, who at the time were up in arms over communist rule.

Imagine my shock to see an article in The Economist magazine compare Thatcher to Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa, individuals almost universally regarded as saint-like. Such kind of adulation hardly seems like a neutral stance that such a respected publication should adopt.

However, considering the celebratory note some people have sounded since her death, this article in support of Thatcher did, at least, give the situation balance.

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