She was 87, so she lived a full life. She was a strong conservative woman that did a lot for Britain. In her 11 years prime minister Britain's unemployment fell dramatically. She helped reform their outdated education system. She also improved their foreign relations amongst other things. Some people on the far left in Britain as expected are celebrating her death.
Great Britain was ground zero of the pop-cultural explosion of the 1960's but it didn't take long for the 1970's to put an end to the good times.
Just like in the USA, the United Kingdom felt the growing effects of rapid inflation in the early 70's. But the UK had more troubles as their finances buckled under the strain of a state controlled economy dealing with powerful trade unions that could tie the country in knots.
Imagine government-owned industries like airports and airlines, telecommunications, railroads, energy/petroleum production and distribution, health care, postal services, banks, steel production and mineral mining.
Now add to that generous welfare benefits that include housing, education, hospitalization, disability compensation and child care.
But wait - there's more:
Overlaying all this was very powerful organized labor unions staffing all these state owned sectors of the British economy. And when I say labor unions, I mean massive work strikes that crippled the entire economy including several coal miners strikes that brought all of Britain to a hault.
The 1970's saw the British economy at it's weakest point.
Into this mess Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979.
You guys all know what Maggie did, she put the "Great" back in Great Britain. She saw the "welfare state" as a "nanny state", holding England back economically and turning able-bodied Britons into couch-potatos.
By 1981 Maggie took on the coal miners in a nasty labor fight that shocked the entire nation. No one thought that any prime minister could win a fight with the miners. But Margaret Thatcher was determined to show all the other labor groups what she was prepared to do to change the way the UK does business.
Bringing big labor down to size was step one, privatizing the British economy was step two. Whole industries went from public domain to private enterprise, with the effect of eliminating jobs and reducing salaries and benefits.
Step three was scaling back welfare. Families that had lived in subsidized housing for years were forced to pay market-rate rents or face eviction. Payments for child care were reduced or eliminated. Those able to work were out of options, the easy path was gone.
Margaret Thatcher's vision was a Great Britain based on profit driven, free-market principals that would lift the British economy out of decline and produce a work-oriented population ready to compete on the world stage.
The amazing thing about all of this is that for Maggie, the judgement of history is still out! Did she do the right thing for her country or was she a cold-hearted capitalist? The jury is still out on Margaret Thatcher's place in British history. For everyone that admires her there is someone else that loathes her.
In a speech to Parliament, Margaret Thatcher once said, "in order for people to thrive the state must be a servant, not a master".
To a CBC reporter when Maggie was visiting Canada in 1983 she said, "any benefits the state can give you are the the freedoms the state can take from you". (that's how I remember it, more or less)