Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first and only female Prime Minister — as well as the first leader to win three General Elections in a row — has died of a stroke at the age 0f 87.
Thatcher, the Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990, first received the nickname "The Iron Lady" for her opposition to communism, but it described her divisive, relentless command throughout her political career. From a Press Association obituary (via The Guardian):
In the view of her many admirers, she thrust a strike-infested half-pace Britain back among the front-runners in the commanding peaks of the industrial nations of the world.
Her detractors, many of them just as vociferous, saw her as the personification of an uncaring new political philosophy known by both sides as Thatcherism.
Thatcher was undeniably a trailblazer for women in politics (and inspired a lot of great music), but that doesn't mean we should celebrate her reign. "If she was a women’s champion, I am Meryl Streep," writes Paul Routledge in a Daily Mirror op-ed that focuses more on her for-profit politics and war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands than her general resilience. "And if anyone is inclined to remind me that one should not speak ill of the dead, let me remind them that she had nothing good to say about us while she was alive."
HappyFunDad put it well: "She was proof that a woman could be strong willed, self sabotage an economy, break the backs of workers, and get her country into a bullshit war for political reasons like any man could."
But the Iron Lady very famously didn't care what you thought of her at all. "If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing," she once said.
Another memorable quote: "In politics if you want anything said, ask a man," Thatcher said in 1975. "If you want anything done, ask a woman."