Back in 1975, America contributor Peter Hebblethwaite wrote about the rise of Margaret Thatcher, who passed away this morning:
In its leadership contest, the Conservative party in Britain exhibited two outstanding characteristics: ruthlessness and daring. Without the slightest sign of compunction or compassion, it sacked Edward Heath despite his experience as Prime Minister, his historic achievement of getting the country into Europe and his reputation as a world statesman, which led even Chairman Mao Tse-tung to confer with him. But none of this counted. He had lost two elections within eight months. He had to go. But then, having wielded its long knife, the party showed imagination and chose 49-year-old Mrs. Margaret Thatcher as its leader.
I can almost hear the deep tremors of unconcern sweeping across the Atlantic. OK: she becomes the leader of the Conservative party and so is likely to become the first woman to lead a Western country. There will be exhausted jokes about “the only man in the government “ and about her sticking her hatpin in people. There is, however, more to Mrs. Thatcher’s victory than meets the eye.
Read the rest here.