I probably don’t have much to say on Margaret Thatcher. I was 2 when she became Prime Minister. During her premiership, beyond knowing she was Britain’s first female Prime Minister, I did not feel that she had any great impact on my life. Of course, this might be because I grew up in the South East – no doubt, if I lived anywhere else, I probably would have felt differently towards her even then. As a result, Thatcher was a faraway figurehead, like the Queen, and my life carried on. On hindsight, there were moments of intersection – I remember my parents voting in the 1983 and 1987 elections. Towards the late eighties, when I was in secondary school, I became aware of something called Communism, the Berlin Wall and Gorbachev. But the significance of the Wall coming down did not really really register in my mind; it was just another thing that happened in the world. It was her forced resignation – when I was 13-14 – that was probably the first time something happened where I thought, at the time, this is an important moment in history. I even remember where I was when I heard – having just left the Science Museum on a school trip and reading “Thatcher resigns” on an Evening Standard board. I have since become aware of her policies and I understand why she is divisive figure, but I guess my view of her is as the first female Prime Minister.
I was therefore incredibly surprised as to how shocked I was when I did hear about her death. (For the record, I was procrastinating on Twitter.) In a sense, her Premiership was like a “memory” in the womb and her resignation became a moment of birth (a sort of turning point between history and the present). But I think I agree that her death is an end of era – not just in history – but for me, it somehow feels like the end of adolescence. (Admittedly, a somewhat belated end of adolescence but still…). I knew this moment was coming when Michael Jackson died a few years ago, and other deaths of names from my childhood. But this one feels like the big one. On the other hand, she’s not the Queen… Anyway, I am close to submitting my PhD thesis and soon to become “Dr” and not just “Mr”, an expert in something supposedly. So maybe it’s time to move on to the next life stage.