Margaret Thatcher turns 80 today, and the world is reminded once again of her courage, strength of character, and statecraft. In London, a large birthday party is planned, and the Queen is expected to attend (an unusual recognition of Lady Thatcher’s stature).
In “Margaret Thatcher and the Integrity of Leadership,” I observed: By any measure, Margaret Thatcher leaves a legacy of leadership that transformed, not only her nation, but much of the world. As Sir Rhodes Boyson, one of her fellow architects of the “Thatcherite Revolution,” explained: “When she became leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, Britain was on the brink of disaster, threatened by total collapse. The weak Labour government with a small majority presided over a bankrupt economy in hock to the IMF and threatened from within by a challenge to law and order itself. When she was forced from power in 1990, she left a sound economy and a confident and well-ordered society. The lessons are writ large.”
Further: Standing at the center of her leadership and her legacy is the belief that the integrity of leadership is inevitably tied to the character of the leader and to the power of the leader’s ideas. This is how she lived, and this is how she led–and this is why we all stand in her debt.
See also: “What We Can Learn from Margaret Thatcher,” by Sir Rhodes Boyson, The Heritage Foundation, November 24, 1999; “Friends and Ex-Foes Pay Tribute to Thatcher at 80,” The Telegraph [London], “Why Thatcher Still Looms Over Politics,” BBC News; “Queen to Attend Thatcher’s 80th,” BBC News.