The sad news of Baroness Thatcher's passing has caused us all to reflect, in different ways, on her legacy. There is no dispute that she divided opinion. But can politics ever please everyone?
I was a mere one year old when Mrs Thatcher became Britain's first woman Prime Minister and twelve when she left office. My recollection of the effect she had during my childhood is hazy at best. But it isn't the memories that I cherish in my appreciation for Margaret Thatcher; it's the principles behind a great lady.
Looking back at her life, she embodied the ambition and drive which she encouraged our Country to embrace. A belief that whatever your goals and desires these are achieved by hard work, focus and personal determination. By pushing yourself, not being pulled through life by others.
Leadership often requires difficult decisions to be made; Decisions which are sometimes less acceptable to one group of stakeholders than to another, but which are required to achieve our common goal. After all, if leadership were easy people wouldn't shy away from the challenge.
In the various commentary about Baroness Thatcher's life, I have heard repeatedly that she was direct, determined, focussed and drew strength from her faith. Margaret Thatcher had a vision for a better Britain.
A country of and with ambition is, I believe, what Margaret Thatcher aimed to achieve for Great Britain. Many of the events which have caused some people to be conflicted about her legacy are likely to have happened with time. It is simply part of the post-industrial cycle. Margaret Thatcher's purposeful leadership brought these changes forward; dragging Great Britain into World leadership faster than would have otherwise been the case.
Each time I discuss Leadership Perspectives on my courses, I take the time to reflect and review my own perspective and life purpose. My ambition is to inspire and teach others so that they can achieve their full potential and live their lives on purpose. I believe that having clarity of our life goals and the passion and drive to achieve them benefits the country as a whole.
As I reflect on what I will learn from a lady I greatly admire, I must also reflect on what I perceive to be her failing. Many have spoken of her personal kindness whilst working for her. However, I do believe that in executing her policies she sometimes showed a lack of compassion. I would suggest however that this is, in part, a reflection of the male dominated environment she fought hard to be successful in; a need to become more masculine in order to gain respect.
We are in a different world now. One she has been highly influential in shaping.
We should be striving for a new sort of Conservatism. One which encourages ambition and personal growth; one which understands that family, however you wish to define it, should be the first line of support; one which understands that people should have the freedom to spend their hard earned money and where hard work is rewarded; one where Government provides a foundation for society without being wasteful or majestic; one where there is compassion and support for those truly in need and where equality encourages ambition.
Death is a time to celebrate and give thanks for a life lived. No one can deny that Margaret Thatcher lived her life with passion and purpose. She has provided a strong role model for, not just Conservative values, but values which are universal if we are to build a society which encourages people to achieve their full potential.
Margaret Thatcher, thank you.