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Thatcher Matters---and Not Churchill in 2010,
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This review is from: There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters (Hardcover)The title somewhat confused me when the book initially came out in 2008. I failed to sense the impending worldwide crisis now threatening the economies of the Western World. It is now two years later---and Claire Berlinski has turned me into a total convert. Margaret Thatcher clearly understood the benefits of the free market. She realized that any compromise with members of the Labor Party or the squishy moderates within her own party hurts the British citizenry. The woman was not for bending. Thatcher committed herself to achieving her goals regardless of the costs. She would push aside and irritate in countless other ways anyone who got in her way. Thatcher was not known for always being gentle. Winston Churchill was a wartime prime minister. He never got to serve during peacetime. Thatcher is therefore the role model for today's challenges.
The author interviewed individuals who were not hesitant in revealing Thatcher as a strong willed lady that may have even occasionally rubbed them the wrong way. France's Francois Mitterrand even described her as "Brigitte Bardot with Caligula's eyes." She was also born and raised in modest middle class surroundings---and the elites never forgave her. One is also readily reminded of the friction between the American Sarah Palin and her big government Republican detractors. Mrs. Thatcher worked closely together with President Ronald Reagan to defeat the Soviet Union. This same sort of focus and vision is currently needed to combat Islamic extremism. Claire Berlinski has successfully made her case. The title of the book says it all. Margaret Thatcher still matters and there is no alternative. Great Britain is experiencing an existential crisis that may destroy its democratic institutions. Can it find another Thatcher before it is too late?
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Initial post: Aug 29, 2010 10:03:25 AM PDT
Thomas R. Dean says:
A good review, but I just wanted to correct one statement. Churchill was Prime Minister in peacetime - from 1951 to 1955, so he did have the happy experience of defeating the man (Clement Atlee) who had defeated him in 1945. However, it was neither Britain's nor Churchill's finest hour - Churchill was 77 when he became P.M. again and his brilliant eloquence less frequent due to both less dramatic times and his age, and the growing evidence of Britain's economic decline and the restiveness of colonies for independence - were not easily altered by any Prime Minister. His forte was always foreign relations, and just as he had spent the late 1940s urging the West to awaken to the Soviets' aggressiveness, so as Prime Minister he did his best to seek to avoid a precipitious conflict between U.S. and USSR. I think he found his job difficult - in part because the decline in British power meant that British influence lay largely in Churchill's influence upon Eisenhower - who (naturally because he was now President, but also as a person) had become less open to Churchill's persuasion than during the War.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 30, 2010 2:07:50 PM PDT
David Thomson says:
I was very well aware that Winston Churchill was prime minister between 1951-1955---but he was too old to be effective in the economic sphere. Margaret Thatcher therefore still remains the model to be followed during the present era. David Cameron is a wimp who appears to lack the courage to combat Great Britain's budget crisis. He is simply wasting everyone's time. It is unfortunate that Churchill had not been allowed to remain in power after the 1945 elections.
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