Length: 1178 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)
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Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of Great Britian. Margaret changed many policies and she also defended strongly other government policies.
An example of this was when Margaret Thatcher was Secretary of state for education and science. The government had to cut school funding by $300 million. She didn’t want to cut anything that had to do with the students missing out of education. It was her duty to provide the best education for them. The solution she had come up with would be one of the most unpopular moves in her career-up to and including her as Prime Minster (Hole 35). The decision she had made was to eliminate free milk from the lower grades. Free milk had already been eliminated from the older students of a previous labor government cut. She said “ I took the view that most parents are able to pay for milk for their children, and that the job of the government was to provide such things in education which they couldn’t pay for, like new primary schools.” “Mrs. Thatcher, milk snatcher,” was screamed at her (Hole 36).
When Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister the first thing she wanted to do was limit union power. She felt that union power applied to nationalized industrial monopolies resulted in poor service at exorbitant cost to the taxpayers. She pointed to inefficient work practices, overemployment and restrictive employment conditions such as the all union “closed shop”. These rules were dictated by union contracts and served to tie the hands of managers and the government alike. Mrs. Thatcher’s greatest grievance concerned the powers union leaders had over strikes ( Moskin 100).
Margaret’s first targets were the closed shop, picketing practices, and the use of secondary strikes. During her first term in office, new legislation strengthened the power of individual union members against their leadership and provided for penalties imposed on unions that called illegal strikes. A law was enacted to compel unions to make strike decisions by secret ballot. The unions were getting very angry ( Moskin 100).
The National Union of Mine Workers (NUM) had a strike thinking it would defeat the Tory government and Margaret Thatcher. The NUM wanted to promote more socialism in Britian with more nationalization of industry and more control of industry by labor. Because Mrs. Thatcher’s policies were exactly the opposite, his efforts were directed at toppling her Conservation administration.
Margaret had done some planing she ordered lots of coal and other essential coal-using products. And then she forced Authur Scargill’s hand when it suited her rather than when it suited him. She ordered the closing of a number of unproductive mines early in the spring in 1984. Scargill calls for strike again. To his surprise, his miners voted against walking out. When three separate calls did not produce a strike vote, Scargill decided to strike without polling his members. It was an inauspicious moment for Scargill’s decision. There was lots of coal and many industries had converted to oil as North Sea oil became cheap and plentiful. The workers saw their problems more clearly than their leader did; they were not eager to strike. The government had offered them generous benefits to workers in the mines scheduled for closing. Scargill deployed his flying pickets. But this time the government did not hesitate to invoke its new laws. To protect workers who wanted to work (Moskin 101).
In 1982 Argentine forces occupied the nearby Falkland Islands, which were claimed by both Argentina and Great Britain ( Encarta ).
In England, in a continued effort to cut government expenses, a decision was made to retire the HMS Endurance, a survey ship stationed 8,000 miles away in the South Atlantic. The reason for the ship’s position so far away from home was the Falkland Islands, clusters of land located off the southeastern coast of Argentina. The British foreign office and the navy warned that removal of the ship would send the wrong message to Argentina. The budget cutters ignored the warnings. Thousands of miles away in Argentina things were changing fast Lieutenant General Leopoldo Galtieri, the new head of repressive Argentine junta, had serious problems. There was terrorism and inflation. Dictators always look for ways to distract their people attention from such problems. Recapturing the Falkland Islands seemed like a popular, heroic, yet safe, diversion. On April 1, 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and reclaimed then selves as the Malvinas, their Spanish Name. But General Galtieri had no reckoned with Britain’s Iron Lady. To Mrs. Thatcher the invasion came to her as a shock and a major dilemma. “Gentlemen, we have to fight,” she told her cabinet, hastily summoned to a meeting on April 2. She had made her decision after long consultations with her most trusted advisors and with representatives of the military. She polled her cabinet ministers one by one so that their agreement with her decision would be on record for history (young 281).
On April 3, the plan to send the fleet was presented to Parliament and was accepted almost unanimously by members of all parties. There was a feeling of determination, although the dangers and obstacles were clear to all. On May 2 an Argentine ship was , the General Belgrano, was sunk by the British submarine the Conqueror. Over three hundred Argentine solders lost their lives in the icy sea. It was never clear what really happened. The timing was unbelievable it was just around the same time as a new third-party peace formula had been proposed and accepted by Great Britian. This had started a war. The fighting was fierce, with bloody battles on land as well as at sea. The men in her cabinet, those with first hand battle experience, rallied around her, felt they needed to shield her, to explain to her about casualties and losses in war. But she didn’t hide her dismay or her tears, she never once considered a retreat. When asked later if, as a woman, she didn’t mind having to give orders that would lead to bloodshed, she replied, “We were thinking in terms of saving lives” (Young 282).
After the sinking of the Belgrano and the Sheffield, the peace initiatives were dead. British troops landed on South Georgia Island and overwhelmed the Argentinean army. Ten days later it was all over (Dellheim 230) Mrs. Thatcher told the reporters gathered in front of Number 10 Downing street: “Rejoice, just rejoice!” The struggle to protect British rights has been won. She was now for the first time the hero (Young 284) .
This all shows the results of Margaret Thatcher ideas that majority of the time ended well. She got more money for the government, stopped the constant striking and even won a war. She was a very intelligent and remarkable woman.BOOKS
Dellheim, Charles. The Disenchanted Isle Mrs. Thatcher’s Capitalist Revolution. New York: NY, 1995.
Hole, Dorothy. Margaret Thatcher. New Jersey: Hillside, 1990
Moskin, Marietta. Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain. New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs, 1990
Young, Hugo. The Iron Lady. Printed in USA, 1989
“Thatcher, Margaret.” Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Microsoft Corporation, 1998.