My admiration for Margaret Thatcher must be put in the context of Britain in the 1970’s before she came to power.
As a young teenager I remember huddling around a small battery operated black and white TV by candlelight through yet another electricity strike watching news reports of rats collecting around piles of uncollected rubbish in the streets.
Everyone lived at the mercy of the Trade Unions, employers could not remove lazy workers and British manufactured goods, famous for their poor quality, were a worldwide joke.
It would take a strong and fearless leader to take Britain out of the mess it was in – and that was what we got in Margaret Thatcher.
When I left school I got a job as a lowly office junior in a local firm of accountants, but through diligent hard work and always doing more than I was asked to, I worked my way up the career ladder, eventually landing a job in the City of London and ending up by the mid 1980’s working at the No1 accountancy firm in the world.
It was the ‘Yuppie’ era – we worked hard, we played hard, we made lots of money, we drank lots of champagne.
There was no room for slackers, moaners, shirkers or victims in this world. It was dog eat dog. If you didn’t perform you were out. But there was a real sense of infinite possibility for anyone willing to work hard enough for it. Success was down to you and you alone.
The Thatcher era created a new breed of energized, ambitious wealth creators willing to take their destiny in their own hands. She made Britain great again.
There is still much anger from mining communities – even now, some 30 years on – for the devastation Thatcher allegedly wreaked on them. But put into today’s context, do we have any sympathy for the photocopier, fax and CD manufacturers swept away by the digital revolution? Or by retailers whose goods no longer hold consumer appeal and which go into liquidation?
The truth is, the coal industry simply could not compete on a global scale and Thatcher saw that there was no future in that sector.
But, as in mythology where the serpent eventually eats its own tail, we eventually saw the dark side of Capitalism, where money greed and power became more important than anything else. The eventual collapse of the banking system was the inevitable result of an economy reliant on money which did not actually exist.
Once again the world has moved on, and it is now time for a new era of a more sustainable, harmonious way of doing business where the masculine values of winning at all costs are balanced by the feminine values of nurturing and caring for others.
But Thatcher was the perfect leader for her time back in the 1970’s and 1980’s – to take Britain out of the economic doldrums caused by a ‘the-government-owes -me-a-living’ mentality, and to show people that if they were willing to take responsibility for their lives, they could be the masters of their own prosperity.
Her legacy is the wave of enterprising young talent that I now see creating great wealth for Britain – not just to make money for themselves but as part of a bigger desire to make a positive contribution to the world.