The PJ Tatler

Farewell, Maggie

The last of the Big Three who took us to victory in the Cold War is gone. Reagan, then John Paul II, and now Thatcher. I haven’t googled it, but I doubt I’d be the first to call them the might, the soul, and the brains behind saving Western Civilization from its demented half-brother.

The fight isn’t over yet, of course. Culturally, progressives of the Left and the Right rule the day in most of Europe. And they’re well on their way to cementing their hold on this country. The threat of instant global nuclear annihilation is over, but the slow “ratchet” of vile progressivism remains. Mister, we could use a gal like Maggie Thatcher again.

I call her “the brains,” not because I fall into the old smear of Reagan as an “amiable dunce,” but because she wore hers on the outside where Reagan instead wore that sunny smile. And also because, given the nature of parliamentary politics (and British culture), Maggie could say impolitic things Reagan just couldn’t. “If you want to cut your own throat, don’t come to me for a bandage,” remains one of my favorites. Thatcher certainly destroyed more Tory men than she ever did men from the Left.

Thatcher joked that “When I’m out of politics I’m going to run a business, it’ll be called rent-a-spine.” While she was still in politics, she lent hers out for free. It was Thatcher who reminded President George HW Bush not to “go wobbly” in the face of Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait. It was her example that lent Helmut Kohl the courage and the cover to face down his own people and allow Reagan to deploy Pershing II missiles in West Germany. Those super-accurate, nuclear-tipped missiles went a long way to scaring the Soviets into signing the INF treaty. Moscow was revealed to be a paper tiger.

The Dour Old Men of the Conservative Party finally got their revenge on Thatcher at the end of 1990. A revolt led by Michael Heseltine forced Maggie out, and then she was succeeded by the deeply uninteresting John Major. While they might have had the last laugh, I’ll give Thatcher the last word:

If… many influential people have failed to understand, or have just forgotten, what we were up against in the Cold War and how we overcame it, they are not going to be capable of securing, let alone enlarging, the gains that liberty has made.

Thatcher was the first major western leader to roll back the “gains” made by the Left. Reagan was the last. I fear we may not see their likes again.

[Cross-posted from]

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