Lady Thatcher

This post is also available in: Vietnamese

When Margaret Thatcher was elected British Prime Minister I was fourteen years old, and about to take my first “O-levels” (school exams). When she resigned I had been through school, a university degree course, a managerial training programme, several other private sector jobs and a doctorate.

She had been one of the world’s most prominent political figures through all of my formative years and, though I never met her, hearing the sad news of her death brings back to me many poignant memories of that time.

Photo provided by Chris Collins of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Baroness Margaret Thatcher

Even as a child who had little interest in domestic politics it seemed clear to me that she believed in what she was saying and doing. She did not seem to be driven by the media or by narrow selfish interests. This I particularly admired. It is a quality not universally shared by all politicians (or diplomats).

Some have compared her determination and tremendous work ethic to that of Winston Churchill. Like Churchill, she was a Prime Minister who evoked strong reactions in response to her policies at home and overseas.

The British Prime Minister David Cameron MP yesterday tweeted:

Lady Thatcher didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country.

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) April 8, 2013



It was with great sadness that I learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We have lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister, and a great Briton.

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) April 8, 2013

She made history too by becoming the first woman to be Prime Minister in the world’s oldest parliamentary democracy. Perhaps one day we will see a woman PM in Vietnam.

Baroness Thatcher will be given a ceremonial funeral with full military honours. The British Embassy in Hanoi and the British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City will open condolence books on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 April so that members of the Vietnamese Government and international community in Vietnam can pay their respects, and mark the passing of a moment in history.

5 Responses

  1. Abiodun Ogundipe says:

    My dad used to mention her name ‘Margaret Thatcher’ when I was very young in late 70s, I used to think she was the Queen of England until I got to High school. What a great name and model she left behind in the whole world for women! Who is going to wear the shoe she left for any woman to pick? May her gentle soul Rest In Peace. She is going to receive warm welcome in Heaven for doing her best on earth.

  2. John Chebus says:

    I have to say I’m not happy at all that you have chosen to repeat the statement that Margaret Thatcher “saved” Britain not just on your Facebook page but here as well.

    I was under the impression that the Foreign Office was not here to be political and that statement is absolutely political. There are just as many people who will argue that Thatcher wrecked Britain. Particularly at this time when bailing out the banks is leading to so much hardship in the UK, her setting in motion deregulation led us directly to this situation.

    As regards Vietnam she was also very reluctant to giving asylum to the Vietnamese boat people. In addition her support for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge (while referring to Mandela as a terrorist) is well documented.

    Can we have some balance please and stop trumpeting party political messages.

    • John

      Thank you for raising the Vietnamese “boat people”. I am pleased that Britain’s relationship with the Vietnamese Government has become stronger and closer since then, and particularly so recently.

      Clearly there are strong views including highly critical ones. Although I agree that the Foreign Office should not be a party instrument, I don’t think that my reference to the Prime Minister’s statement following Lady Thatcher’s death is inappropriate in this context. But your comments and others’ views are welcome.


  3. Polina Bayvel says:

    I echo ‘the poignant moments of that time’ quote…A wonderful blog, Dr Stokes!

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