Margaret Thatcher the Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher the Iron Lady

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Összefoglaló a Vaslady életútjáról és munkásságáról szószedettel és hanganyaggal. 

No British Prime Minister has divided opinion as much as Margaret Thatcher. The Conservative leader led the United Kingdom for more than a decade, she radically changed the face of British politics. To some, she is seen as a great reformer, to others she is the woman who destroyed Britain.

Margaret Thatcher was born Margaret Roberts in Grantham, a small town in Lincolnshire, in 1925. She was the daughter of Alf Roberts, a shopkeeper. It was from her parents that she learned the value of hard work and the importance of business and self-reliance.  In 1947 she graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Chemistry. While at Oxford she was the president of the Conservative society. This was the beginning of her interest in politics. She married Denis Thatcher in 1951 and they had two children Carol and Mark. In 1953 she qualified as a lawyer specialising in taxation. Her husband was a successful business man and was very important in funding her political career.

Her political career really began when she was elected to the safe Conservative seat of Finchley, in 1959. So began one of the most famous political careers in politics. In 1970 the Conservatives won an election under Ted Heath, and Margaret was chosen to become Education Secretary. In 1974 the Conservatives lost the general election, and the following year Thatcher became the leader of her party. In 1979 she won the general election and became the first and only Woman Prime Minister of her country.

The Downing Street Years

She was Prime Minister of Britain from 1979 to 1990. She won three consecutive elections and was one of the most successful leaders in British history. During this time she radically changed the face of politics in Great Britain. Her political philosophy, called “Thatcherism”, was built on 3 important beliefs: less government, lower taxes and more freedom for business and people. She believed that people should do things for themselves and not wait for the government to help them. She believed strongly in supporting business and helping them to succeed through less interference and lower taxes. (Well, her father was a shopkeeper.) Like her hero Churchill, she believed that Britain should be great and that Europe should not be trusted. It became her mission to make Britain great again.

The Falklands War

In 1982 the Falkland Islands were invaded by Argentina. Argentina was ruled by a corrupt leader, called General Galtieri. Where many believed diplomacy to be the answer, including the United States, Thatcher decided to go to war. This decision was her greatest political challenge, and she believed that not to go to war was a sign of weakness, and that she had been given no choice. She felt the weight of history on her shoulders and the ghost of Churchill at her ear. The lady was not for turning, no surrender, no matter what the cost. After a short and brutal campaign, Britain won the war with very few causalities. The truth was the Argentinean soldiers had no stomach for the war. It also helped her very unpopular government win the election in 1983.

The Unions

Thatcher had a mission to destroy the unions. She blamed them for Britain’s economic decline. In 1984, there was a dispute between the coalminers union and the government over job losses and mine closures. The dispute became a war between miners’ leader Arthur Scargill and Thatcher. After a year on strike, the miners lost. Thatcher then started a process to close down the majority of coal mines in Britain, even those that were profitable. Many saw it as an act of revenge, but it also allowed Thatcher send out a strong message to all the unions. This victory allowed her to control the unions and bring in privatisation.

The Brighton Bomb

In 1984 Thatcher was nearly killed by an I.R.A bomb, which blew up in the hotel she was staying at in Brighton. The bomb killed 5 people, who were attending the Conservative party conference in the seaside town. It was one of the few times that the Iron Lady was shaken. In 1985 she signed the Anglo Irish agreement, which would eventually lead to peace in Ireland. It was one of the few times she ever backed down. She realised she could never beat the Irish Republican Army. She also understood the economic damage they could inflict on the city of London. In 1993 a bomb at Bishopsgate, in the heart of London, caused 1 billion pounds of damage. The car bomb that caused the damage cost just £400 to make. Nobody died.


In 1990 Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister. She had tried to bring in a Poll tax on every adult in the U.K. which would mean everybody paying the same tax from students to the very wealthy. It was seen as a very unfair tax and led to riots. She became extremely unpopular within the country and most importantly in her own party. The party and the country knew she had to go and she was eventually deposed.

to divide opinion- megosztja a közvéleményt
decade - évtized
reformer - reformátor, újító
to destroy - tönkretesz, lerombol
value of - valaminek az értéke
importance of - valaminek a fontossága
self-reliance - önbizalom, onmagára támaszkodás
to qualify as - képesítést szerez, mint …
to specialise in - valamire szakosodik
taxation - adózás
to be elected - megválasztva lenni
to win an election - megnyerni egy választást
Education Secretary - Oktatási Miniszter
general election - országgyűlési választás
three consecutive - három egymást követő
belief - hit
government - kormány
lower taxes - alacsonyabb adók
to believe strongly - szilárdan hinni valamiben
to succeed  - sikerül valamit csinálnia
interference - beavatkozás, közbeszólás
to be trusted - megbíznak benne
mission - küldetés
to be invaded by - megszállva lenni
to decide to do something - elhatároz valamit
to go to war - háborúba megy
challenge - kihívás
weakness - gyengeség
choice - választás
to surrender - megadja magát
no matter what - nem számít, mindegy
causalty - haláleset, sérülés
to have no stomach for - nincs gyomra valamihez
unpopular - népszerűtlen
to blame somebody for  - valakit hibáztat valamiért
economic decline - gazdasági hanyatlás
dispute - veszekedés, vita
coalminers’ union - bányászok szakszervezete
job loss - munka elvesztése
mine closure - bánya bezárás
process - folyamat
profitable - gyümölcsöző, hasznos, előnyös
revenge - bosszú

to allow- megenged
victory - győzelem

to attend- részt vesz valamin
agreement - megegyezés
to back down - visszahúzódik
to inflict on  - okoz valakinek
to resign - lemond
poll tax - fejadó
wealthy - vagyonos, gazdag
riot - lázadás
to depose - lemondat

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