Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister

When did she live? 他生活在什么年代?

Margaret Roberts was born on October 13th 1925. She married Denis Thatcher in 1951. She died on April 8th 2013.

A Young Margaret Thatcher
A Young Margaret Thatcher

Why is she famous? 为什么她很有名?

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the UK for 11 years (1979-1990, the longest term for any Prime Minister in the 20th century) and was the country’s first female Prime Minister.

She was nicknamed ‘The Iron Lady’ due to her tough politics and refusal to change her mind (famously saying ‘The lady is not for turning’).

Her time in office covered many notable events, including the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina, the privatisation of many of the UK’s businesses, and a series of strikes. Along with Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev she was one of the major international politicians of the 1980s when communism in Eastern Europe (the ‘Iron Curtain’) fell.

What is her mark on history? 他在历史上的主要地位是怎么样的?

Thatcher remains a controversial figure in British politics and opinion. Whilst some believe her switching of the UK from manufacturing-based industries to services and banking helped drag Britain up from the mess of the 1970s (when Britain went on General Strike), others think they killed British industry – especially in the north of the country – and has led to the problems of financial greed in The City.
撒 切尔夫人在英国政坛和舆论界一直都是一个充满争议的人物,一些人认为她让英国从制造工业转型到服务业和银行业的决策帮助英国从70年代一团糟的经济状况 (当时英国经历了大罢工)走出来,但也有些人认为这个决策摧毁了英国产业,特别是国内北部,并且引出了城市内金钱贪欲问题的出现。

Some examples of how Thatcher and her Conservative government changed the shape of Britain:

  • Restrictions on foreign companies buying and owning UK services were lifted in 1979. This brought a lot of foreign investment into the UK, although it is now estimated over half of Britain’s businesses are owned by foreigners, as are 39% of the patents.
  • 在1979年解除了对于海外企业收购或者拥有英国公司的限制,这一举动为英国引入了许多海外投资,虽然现在有大约超过一半的英国企业是有非本国人拥有,其中39%还有专利。
  • In 1986 many of the rules in The City (the nickname for UK’s London-based financial sector) were removed, allowing foreign banks to come in. London is now a headquarters for many international banks.
  • 1986年,伦敦市财经部门的很多条例被废除,允许海外银行进入。伦敦现在已经成为了许多国际银行的总部所在地。
  • Privatisation passed many British services into private companies and was nicknamed ‘The Great British Sell-Off’. The national railways, telephone company, energy companies, airline, bus companies, the post office, security firms, airports, and parts of the NHS are all now owned by private companies.
  • 私有化制度让很多英国服务企业变成了私人公司,这被笑称为“英国大出售”。国家铁路,电话公司,能源公司,航空、汽车公司、邮局,保安公司,飞机场以及一部分的英国国民保健服务现在都被私人公司拥有。
  • In order to replace the manufacturing of the north with banking and services in the south, the trade unions had to be broken. Despite strikes and riots Thatcher’s government won and the unions have not returned to their previous strength.
  • 为了用南方的银行和服务业替代北方的制造业,工会不得不被击败。尽管有各种罢工和骚乱,但是撒切尔德政府最终还是获得了胜利,而工会最终也没能恢复原先的力量。

Internationally, the victory in the Falklands has ensured the islands have stayed under British control. The closeness she had with Reagan and the US has continued into the 21st century.

Margaret Thatcher at a Conservative Party Conference
Margaret Thatcher at a Conservative Party Conference

Notes 备注

As well as being known as ‘The Iron Lady’, Thatcher is also known as ‘The Greengrocer’s Daughter’, referring to her father’s job.

Thatcher’s views on Europe eventually cost her the Prime Minister’s job. Her distrust of joining the soon-to-be European Union – on top of being behind the Labour Party in polls – finally turned her biggest supporters in the party against her. She resigned.

After resigning Thatcher continued as an MP for 2 more years. She then retired to write her memoirs, joined companies as a consultant, and was a paid public speaker. She was given a Life Peerage, making her Baroness Thatcher and allowing her to sit in the House of Lords.

In 2007 Thatcher became the first living Prime Minister to get a statue in the Houses of Parliament.

Thatcher suffered from dementia during her final years. Her daughter spoke of having to tell her repeatedly that her husband had died (Denis died in 2003) and of memory loss.

Honoring her upon her death provoked a hugely divided response: she was given a ceremonial funeral, attended by the Queen, but her death was also celebrated by many (the song ‘Ding Dong The Witch is Dead’ from the Wizard of Oz rose to number 2 in the UK charts, and number 1 in Scotland).
纪念撒切尔去世引发了分歧巨大的反响,她被授予了仪式葬礼,英女王也到场参加。但是也有很多人庆祝她的去世,组合Wizard of Oz的歌曲“叮咚女巫死了”在英国音乐榜单上排名第二,在苏格兰音乐榜单上排名第一。