Margaret Thatcher Looms Large in British PM Race
Almost a decade after the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, her ideas are experiencing something of a political revival in the race to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Both candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, have increasingly appealed to the legacy and imagery of Thatcher as they seek to gain power.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Sunak described his economic approach as “common-sense Thatcherism” and said he would take cues from the policies she pursued as Prime Minister. Sunak has also tied his upbringing as a pharmacist’s son to Thatcher’s humble origins as the daughter of a grocer and local politician. Meanwhile, Truss has taken to copying Thatcher’s image, notably adopting the late prime minister’s preferred lavallière blouses and appearing for strikingly similar photo opportunities, including a famous picture of Thatcher holding a calf. In the case of Truss, British political commentators have relished noting these similarities on social media.
Liz Truss was asked earlier today whether she modelled herself on Margaret Thatcher.
“I reject that. I’m my own person,” she told BBC. pic.twitter.com/QO8kmm9pCG
— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) July 21, 2022
Thatcher remains a polarizing figure in British politics. She served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990 and led the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. Though she was criticized for accelerating the rate of deindustrialization in Britain’s northern counties, Thatcher is credited for restoring British leadership on the international stage and salvaging the country’s finances after years of economic malaise. Inspired by the monetarist theories of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, Thatcher oversaw the privatization of many government monopolies, including British Airways, British Steel, and other languishing state-run companies. Her government also cut inflation from over 25 percent in the 1970s to single-digit rates by the end of her time in power.
For almost two decades after she left office, Thatcher’s influence over the Conservative Party was undeniable. In particular, her legacy of skepticism toward t
Article from Reason.com