A Thatcher remembrance

Conrad Black in The New York Sun remembers Margaret Thatcher:

[…] When large chunks of her parliamentary party lost their nerve over her free-market economics — a reduction of the top personal income-tax rate to 40 percent, elimination of all currency controls, massive privatization of industry, and right-to-work laws to remove the terror of the labor leadership — she famously told her party conference: “U-turn if you want; the lady’s not for turning.” She was a rock-solid supporter of the Western Alliance and was instrumental in the balanced elimination of intermediate-range missiles in Europe and the satisfactory end of the Cold War. She is generally credited with assisting President George H. W. Bush in determining that Saddam Hussein had to be evicted from Kuwait: “George, this is no time to go wobbly.” She made Britain the fourth economic power in the world, after the U.S., Japan, and Germany, made her prosperous and a low-tax country with declining public debt, improving public services, and steady trade surpluses. As she promised, she restored “Great” to Great Britain. It was, to scale, Elizabeth I’s Gloriana, without Shakespeare to publicize it, and with more than a trace of the Churchillian courage and virtue that first attracted her to a Conservative candidacy under Churchill’s leadership in 1950 and 1951.

She formed her judgment of Germany when the Luftwaffe (in what must rank as one of the greatest long-term strategic blunders of World War II) bombed the town of Grantham, where teenage Margaret Thatcher lived. And she formed her opinion of Americans from the U.S. servicemen, black and white, whom she and her family invited home for dinner after the wartime Sunday services in her local Methodist church. She was always grateful for America’s deliverance of the old world from the evils of Nazism and Communism, always supported the right of Israel to survive and flourish as a Jewish state, and never went cock-a-hoop for sanctions against what she called “the evil and repulsive” apartheid regime in South Africa, because she did not “see how we will make things better by making them worse.” She was a practical person of unswerving principle. […]