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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Margaret Thatcher


While I never met Margaret Thatcher, I for some reason remember her first election success very clearly. I was making the trek from Virginia back to Johannesburg after Easter to continue my second year dental studies at Wits University and the whole journey was punctuated with news coming in of her Conservatives winning more and more seats until a majority was reached......the rest of course is history.

Born into a very strict Methodist home, a lay preacher's daughter, they evidently worshipped several times on a Sunday and stuck to some of the Methodist requirements of the day like....no dancing and no theater going. Although married in London's Wesley Chapel, she later joined her husband's Anglican church.

“Methodism is the most marvelous evangelical faith and there is the most marvelous love and feeling for music in the Methodist Church which I think is greater than in the Anglican Church. But you sometimes feel the need for a slightly more formal service and perhaps a little bit more formality in the underlying theology too.”

She identified three “distinctive marks” of Christianity. First, that man has been “endowed by God with the fundamental right to choose between good and evil.” Second, that as creatures in God’s image “we are expected to use all our own power of thought and judgement in exercising that choice,” with divine guidance if we “open our hearts to God.” And third, that “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when faced with His terrible choice and lonely vigil, chose to lay down His life that our sins may be forgiven.”

Some of my favorite Thatcherisms, not all of which I agree with:

On Power
“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.”

On Convictions
"I am not a consensus politician. I'm a conviction politician."

“Consensus: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?”

"If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing."

On Society
"There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.''

“It used to be about trying to do something. Now it's about trying to be someone.”

“Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.”

On Character
“Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.
What we think, we become.
My father always said that... and I think I am fine.”

On Work Ethic
“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's a day you've had everything to do and you've done it.”

“I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.”

On Perseverance
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

On Patience
“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”

On Leadership
“Don't follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.”

Sources: Margaret Thatcher the Methodist and Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Dies Today at 87

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