The Iron Lady – Live a Life that matters.

The movie “Iron Lady” was released in December 2011 talking about the first female Prime minister of the British Empire – how much can we learn as business students from this point of view? The production is centred about the price of power rather than on the economical efforts and achievements of Margaret Thatcher.

What is your personal opinion about the Iron Lady?

“The Iron Lady” is a film about a significant historical person and the contrast between her weak, old age, and the days when she was a major political figure. As a study of human character it is ideal for an actor of Meryl Streep’s ability, but it does not provide any historical depth. There is no explanation of Margaret Thatcher’s significance – she just was.

How valuable was she for the development of the economy of Great Britain?

Ha! Well, it depends on what you mean by “development”. In one sense she was clearly very significant for the development of the British economy, primarily as a powerful symbol of change. Behind her were powerful forces that provided the strength (economic, financial, political, ideological) necessary to overcome various obstacles and thereby transform Britain economically, politically and socially. When Thatcher had outlived her usefulness these forces fractured and thereby deprived her of the support necessary for her to continue.

In another sense she and her governments were disastrous, if “development” is taken to mean something like “progress”, and that progress is measured according to living standards. During her period of power unemployment, poverty and inequality rose dramatically. Millions of skilled and semi-skilled industrial jobs disappeared, many never to be replaced. The financial sector was given greater freedom to take risks at the expense of public infrastructure and industrial production. North Sea oil began to flow just as she took power, and her governments squandered that wealth.  

As was clearly understood especially in Scotland, she was representative of a kind of Britishness that was alien to millions of people living outside of the prosperous counties of southern England. Her governments’ destruction of industry and waste of oil income led ultimately to demands for greater regional democracy, culminating in the Scottish parliament and government, which is now organising a referendum on Scottish independence. 

So what is her legacy? An economy that pays for itself only by attracting tax-evading money transfers from the rest of the world. An economy in which large areas of the country remain afflicted by poverty and deep social problems. An economy in which public infrastructure is simply inadequate. A political culture that is strongly anti-European. A society in which insecurity has replaced large parts of the welfare state. And a state that is coming closer to breaking up because the glue which held it together was destroyed by policies that were supposed to make Britain “leaner and fitter”.

That is certainly significant.

Michael Keaney, Economics teacher


The question whether she rescued Great Britain and solved problems also in the long-term view remains still unsolved, but the way how she gained power and influences is marked with humor and strength, struggle and sacrifice.

Margaret Thatcher – “Free Society Speech” 1975

Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth.*
Margaret Thatcher


After all, there must be a reason why people’s interest in this Lady is so big that there is a movie about her life and her progress after her political career was over. Great minds suffer with the same possibility as “normal” human being. Illness does not spare celebrities, politicians or genies.

Even so the movie “Iron Lady” lacks information about the concrete economic changes it does not fail to portray the tragic and personal story behind this political person.


Eventtip: “Iron Lady”
Go and get your own opinion, experience history and have a nice evening at the same time.