Margaret Thatcher – First and Only

The world rightly pauses to pay its respects to one of the towering political leaders of the 20th Century, Margaret Thatcher.

She is credited with saving Great Britain from itself and the Soviet Union.

Not a bad legacy for the First and Only female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

What is often, sadly, undiscussed is her amazing path to become Prime Minister.

You can, and should, look up most of the basics online, but here is what struck me.

She never won an election to Parliament with 54% of the vote! Never.

Her highest margins were 53.9, 53.8, and 53.6 and her lowest was 44.

Thatcher was on the ballot ten times for her district, Finchley, and not once got more than 53.9% of the vote?

Stunning.

But why?

Because dealing with local political pressures cycle after cycle is incredibly difficult work and it involves all manner of issues with which to contend.

Tip O’Neill said famously, “All politics is local”. True. Very True.

But local politics is TOUGH. Very TOUGH.

Thatcher is often called “uncompromising”, right? First elected in 1959, she served until 1990. Thirty-one years and never compromised? Please. Thatcher serves twenty years in Parliament before becoming Prime Minister and she never compromised? I seriously doubt it.

Tough? Determined? Focused? Yes, of course. But a politician does not withstand ten local elections, thousands of pieces of legislation, and deal with so many issues and constituencies without compromising.

The greatness found within the great political leaders is that they gain more ground than they lose. Far more.

Win the debate, then make the deal to get it done. Make the other side compromise more than you do. Much more.

Conservatives point to her resolve against political pressure to not unwind Great Britain’s march to socialism, her steadfastness in the defense of liberty and freedom, and Thatcher’s alliances with President Reagan and Pope John Paul II that led to the fall of the Soviet Union. Conservatives love Maggie.

And they should.

She was an amazing leader. But along the way, there were some decisions conservatives would wince at today. But this is today, not yesterday.

Margaret Thatcher rose through the ranks of her party to become its leader in the mid 70s and eventually the First and Only female Prime Minister. But we should not remember her because of her gender, we should remember that she fought for freedom.

First and Only.

And she won.

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Chris Saxman

About Chris Saxman

Father of four, small business leader, retired politician, and Executive Committee member and former Chairman of an international trade association, Chris Saxman delivers strategy and insight as a political coach and keynote speaker. Contact Chris.

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