The Iron Lady: Could Filipinos have handled a leader like Margaret Thatcher?

Filipinos can only make wistful remarks about the greatness of the late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who died yesterday aged 87. This is a lady who busted Britain’s paralysing unions, sent Her Majesty’s warships sailing thousands of miles south to take back the Falkland Islands from the Argentines, and stared down scores of politicians who stood in the way of her efforts to institute reforms in British industry.

She is the leader Filipinos talk about aspiring to be led by but in practice fear being subject to. Indeed, Thatcherism exacts the very sorts of commitments Filipinos are renowned for srhinking away from when push comes to shove…

[…] by the time she left office, the principles known as Thatcherism — the belief that economic freedom and individual liberty are interdependent, that personal responsibility and hard work are the only ways to national prosperity, and that the free-market democracies must stand firm against aggression — had won many disciples. Even some of her strongest critics accorded her a grudging respect.

margaret_thatcher

Suffice to say, one cannot expect the sorts of results delivered by Iron Ladies when in the habit of electing flaccid doofuses in every election. Filipinos have yet to learn that simple reality.

Originally a research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government. In 1975 Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition and became the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.

After moving into 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives to reverse what she perceived to be Britain’s precipitous national decline.[nb 1] Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher’s popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and high unemployment, until economic recovery and the 1982 Falklands War brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her re-election in 1983.

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987, but her Community Charge (popularly referred to as “poll tax”) was widely unpopular and her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership. Thatcher held a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords.

Back in the 1976, when the Soviet Union loomed large as global bogeyman, Thatcher issued these scathing words to her Cold War foe:

The Russians are bent on world dominance, and they are rapidly acquiring the means to become the most powerful imperial nation the world has seen.

The men in the Soviet politburo don’t have to worry about the ebb and flow of public opinion. They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns.

They know that they are a super power in only one sense—the military sense.

They are a failure in human and economic terms.

The Soviet Union has since fallen but China, itself a powerful relic of the Cold War but far more adept at reinventing itself to suit the changing times, now fits the very same profile and is now as relevant to Filipinos as the USSR was to Thatcher’s Britain. It just takes a leader with even just half of the Iron Lady’s man-nerves to issue the same words.

Indeed, so long as Filipinos apply the same sort of thinking with regard to the exercise of their “hard-won” democratic powers, the late Margaret Thatcher will remain the sort of leader Filipinos can only dream of following to greatness.

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article “Margaret Thatcher” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site. Photo courtesy NPR.org.]

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90 Comments on "The Iron Lady: Could Filipinos have handled a leader like Margaret Thatcher?"

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Gogs
Member
It will never happen. Pinoys love their dancing girls, show biz hype and latch on to the popular. The pinoys never once in my lifetime valued substance. They are onion skinned. They have proven they will embrace the Noynoys and Eraps of this world. The pinoys will soon show the world they will also embrace the Grace Poes and Nancy Binays too. Polar opposite of Maggie. Admiral Roebuck: With all due respect, M, I think you don’t have the balls for this job. M: Perhaps. But the advantage is, I don’t have to think with them all the time. Tomorrow… Read more »
Libertas
Guest
“There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty” Margaret Thatcher Economic reform was at the centre of her belief and strategy, and she achieved a remarkable turnaround in a relatively short time through clarity of purpose, conviction and a work ethic and intellect few could match. When she came to power the tax rate for high earners was 83%, + an additional 15% for unearned income, equating to 98% tax. That stifled investment, the unions strangled productivity, and inflation eroded savings. Through privatisation, changes in working practices, wealth sharing, and a focus on skills, innovation and technology the… Read more »
Hector Gamboa
Guest

With Pinoy Emo, a culture of mendicancy and victim mentality? Ain’t gonna happen!

Rosan Holmes
Guest

The comments may be true and valid but I am disturbed that we speak of Filipinos in the third person like we are not one of them.

Gogs
Member

Valid point Rosan. I can only speak for me. I will often use the word “we” as in : We voted , we accept , that’s what we like, that is our values etc. it’s all there in my posts. We are all in it together no matter where we are.

Despair
Member
Rosan, we are speaking Pinoys in the third person because we aren’t Pinoys anyway. Pinoys are EMO creatures, Filipinos aren’t because they are bound to logical reasoning before deciding on things. On the other note, some Pinoys are easily swayed by media that undergoing such Iron Rule will hinder their “freedom” to live “peacefully”. They don’t want an organized way of living, they want to have it their own way only. Conclusion: They got their style of life for the past 26 years. Proud Pinoy, eh? I will rather want an organized dictatorship that Pinoys keep on demonizing rather than… Read more »
ChinoF
Member

It helps to see things from an “outside” perspective.

Johnny Saint
Guest

Just to add — by the end of her run as prime minister the double digit unemployment was down to below ten percent. At one point dropping to as low as 5-6%.

Libertas
Guest

And one policy which is often overlooked but made a big change socially and economically, was the ability to buy ‘government owned’ property at up to 50% discount on market value – “right to buy”. home ownership rather than renting.

I personally benefitted by buying a flat in central london under the scheme – which i still have, and is the best investment i ever made.

WinterSoldier
Guest

I think Miriam Defensor-Santiago quoted one of Margaret Thatcher’s quotes.

TBH, she is the one who is behind Britain’s success in the 80s. One of the best British PM’s since Churchill.

Libertas
Guest
In the UK thatcher broke the grip of the unions – the block of people who still hate her -and created a truly free market economy, including the privatisation of state companies – british telecom, british airways and british gas – with shares being sold to the public at discount rates. A means of wealth sharing, promoting consumer spending, and achieving inclusive growth with a high emphasis upon small and medium enterprises, including help with start up costs and free advice/support. The thought is what she would change in the philippines. I would suggest the following would be high on… Read more »
Dusty
Guest

Please do mention supporting agricultural sectors in the provinces of Visayas and Mindanao with a sufficient subsidy and no corruption from the government. Develop more high paying jobs in the mentioned provinces so that Metro Manila won’t be over-crowded just by means of finding a good job.

marius
Guest
Dusty: it’s a bit more complicated than that. Subsidies will just make things worse, as they do 9 times out of 10 anywhere. The reason is that most farmers have no idea how to farm. If you gave them money to buy fertilizers and poisons, they’d be out there turning the fields into a toxic wasteland. I have quite a lot of experience farming in the tropics and most Filipino farmers are either doing it wrong, or not doing it at all (because they think it’s hard work and unprofitable – it isn’t, IF you do it right). There are… Read more »
monk
Guest

But much of that military power was based essentially on debt, and de-regulation eventually lead to the global financial crisis currently taking place.

Johnny Saint
Guest
Excuse me, but that is a lie. At best, blaming the financial problems that have plagued the world economies for the last 15 years on Margaret Thatcher is just dishonest leftist demonization of a conservative icon. Part of political left’s propaganda in the face of their failed economic policies. Thatcher’s accomplishments: 1. Dismantling of labor unions that had crippled UK during the 1970s 2. “Small government” ethos (compared to today where the state’s share in the economy has grown immensely!) 3. Low taxation (compared to top rates of 99% during 1970’s) 4. Vastly improved workplace legislation (now taken away by… Read more »
Libertas
Guest
One of thatchers few failures which got little press even at the time was the inability to negotiate an additional 50 year lease with the chinese for hong kong – if successful that would have had ripple effects even in the philippines, especially in terms of dubious capital outflows and money laundering, and chinoys would possibly not have as much economic power as they now have in the philippines. The reluctant compromise of ‘one country, two systems’ is in place still and working, but it was not what thatcher wanted. I worked there during the handover and the chinese agenda… Read more »
ChinoF
Member

One question is I have in mind is, before Filipinos would handle that kind of leader, would Filipino society produce that kind of leader? My view is that such a person goes against the grain of how Filipinos are. We love leaders who spoil our sense of entitlement and encourage our laziness, instead of encourage us to work for our future. Thatcher, if born here, would have been shipped off to another country to be a human ATM. And a chemist forever.

eduardo
Guest

The country CAN produce that kind of leader. A good example is Bam Aquino, Bida Ang Mamamayan sa kanya.

WinterSoldier
Guest

Lies. We need people who have CONCRETE VISION, not last names.

B-Bobo
A-Ang
M-Maniniwala

Your call. 😀

Libertas
Guest
It must be playtime at school – so predictable that some moron tries to compare a global icon with a local idiot, especially another woman. How vicarious and inappropriate. Not only diammetrically opposed in terms of intellect ( scholarship at oxford and then passed bar exams to be a lawyer), integrity, ability and achievements. Free markets, share ownership, innovation, competition, and liberty. The exact opposite of a feudal system governed by oligarchs and wealth concentration. She bestrode the world stage like a colossus, aquino is a minnow in a backwater pond. He would have quaked in his boots and p!ssed… Read more »
Libertas
Guest

Almost forgot aquino’s main/lasting contribution
The word “noynoying”
Perfect to describe someone who is lazy and derelict in the performance of his duties.
In the army such people are treated as cowards and traitors – another aquino trait – aquino snr should have been shot. no mention of him on day of heroes. he has a special place in the pantheon of traitors.
No surprise to the psychologists amongst us.

joeld
Guest

Kung ulan ang kabobohan, yung iba nagpapayong. Ikaw nagpayong din…pabaligtad nga lang.

joeld
Guest

for eduardo

Gogs
Member

Only a retard would join a permanent Ninoy lookalike pageant. Sorry Eduardo.

Gogs
Member

Eduardo. Good point. I mean what organization of MEN has Bam lead. Maybe the same one his cousin Noynoy has lead. As in imaginary troops. Face it . Noynoy is an incompetent Juan Tamad who won an election thanks to a grieving nation . Then they hire knobs like you to perpetuate the myth. Hope you are proud of yourself.

Libertas
Guest

ah. bam aquino
the congenital liar about his “harvard education”, ” harvard alumni”
his non role at hapinoy – founded and developed by mark ruiz,
and his allegiance to gma which he likes to play down.
someone else you have never met and know nothing about..
liar, copycat, and hypocrite. par for the aquino course.

ChinoF
Member

Failed example. Sorry.

eduardo
Guest

We have already those kind of leaders, namely President Cory and President Noynoy.

MIdwayHaven
Guest

Can you prove it without resorting to name calling?

eduardo
Guest

The corruption index went down, the previous corrupt president and lapdog chief justice were filed strong cases. Cory made PCGG. Really proves that they have an iron hand when it comes to the destroyers of the state.

WinterSoldier
Guest

Lies. Corruption is STILL there when Cory came. Also, the corruption index still goes up.

What I mean is if your so-called Aquino demigods are insistent on corruption, then get everybody. EVERYBODY. Why is PNoy and his family getting away with incident of Hacienda Luisita? How about the other politicians? Barrangay governments on a local level?

If I were you, I’ll just get EVERYONE. No favors. No bias. Not to mention BRIBERY and PORK BARREL is a form of corruption and if you say no, then congrats, you’re an insane buffoon. 😛

MIdwayHaven
Guest

eduardo: Can you come up with references for your claims? Because if you can’t back these claims up then it really isn’t true.

Johnny Saint
Guest
To be fair, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) used by global watchdog Transparency International (TI) shows a SLIGHT improvement. As of 2012, the Philippines came in at 105 with a 3.4 CPI in TI’s list (tied with Algeria, Armenia, Bolivia, Gambia, Kosovo, Mali, and Mexico) that ranks 176 countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. This is better than the previous 129th out of 178 ranking in 2011 with a 2.6 CPI (10 means that a country is perceived as very clean). Put in perspective: The Philippines is STILL HIGHLY CORRUPT — belonging… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest
Here’s another way of looking at our CPI ranking: We are at the same level as Mexico, a country that has a violent peace and order crisis going on. Where the police either work for the drug cartels as assassins or are decapitated and displayed in public spaces. Where anyone can be kidnapped off the streets and held for ransom. We are at the same level as Bolivia whose court system has long been riddled with corruption and inefficiency. This is a country notorious for its persistent human rights abuses, drug-trafficking, and economic mismanagement. We are at the same level… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest

Slight correction: when I said the Philippines is in the bottom third of corrupt countries, I meant to say WE ARE NEAR THE BOTTOM THIRD. Or if you want to put a rosier, feel-good spin on it: the Philippines is just above the lower third in CPI ranking. Bottom line — the Philippines is still perceived as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Regardless of whatever lies eduardo might spin.

Libertas
Guest
Surveys and statistics have always worried me. At the end of the day i rely on personal experience and trusted colleagues/acquaintances, and the one thing that every business man will tell you is that corruption and smuggling has increased, in the past 2 years in particular. The handlers/fixers are all well known but ‘fireproof’, through local and political protection. And many businessman – especially the chinese – are very content with the system, because even with the ‘levies’ they make good money/profits as well, so no-one wants to blow the whistle. And pay-offs go all the way up to cabinet… Read more »
ChinoF
Member

The US though has a pie in the face to throw at this.

WinterSoldier
Guest

It’s all lies, eduardo LACIERDA. It’s all LIES. This is fact-

Cory: Internal strife in her admin, screwed up constitution with dated laws that allow no real financial progress or growth, oh and the constant brownouts. No wonder people couldn’t remember, it was REALLY the *puts on shades* DARK AGES!

PNOY: Pork barrell. Got away with murder. Fun stuff. Potentially could have been linked with narco-politics but we’ll never as that is an unsolved mystery.

Set your priorities straight for once.

Libertas
Guest

and not to leave attention seeking nutcase kris out of the family asylum.

Kris aquino meets 60 year old businessman in paris and goes to his hotel room for a ‘nightcap’.

he gets into bed and says ” i hear you are a member of the filipino KKK”
“Yes” she says.
” good, then get you are used to getting your head under a sheet”
“No, just giving it”

Next morning he leaves some money on the bedside table.
“What about a tip” she says
” the quick route to the airport is via rue de la madelaine”

alconce
Guest

If Thatcher were our president she would have dismantled the Cojuanco’s Luisita, kicked the Chinese, Americans and Malaysians butt, busted some machismo egos and could now be in jail for doing so.

traffice2000
Guest

Although she was known as the iron lady, we cannot hide the fact that she abuses her power during her terms; one of them is by sending young soldiers in war without any training, they don’t even how to handle riffles. She’s tough we know but she’s a murderer as well.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

@traffice 2000

You should read about the Falklands War. She never abused her power during the war or sent young soldiers to the war without training. You said: “she’s a murderer as well.” That ignorant, brash name calling is libel to the memory of the dead former Prime Minister. Read about the exploits of the SAS and other elite British forces during the war.

traffice2000
Guest

Sorry I cannot give you the link. I just heard it in an interview that she let her people die in war without training nor know how to handle gun/riffle because they were too young to fight the war just to get the Falkland. My mistake if I tagged her as a “murderer” maybe you’re right I’m ignorant again my mistake.

Libertas
Guest
calling thatcher a murderer a day after she died and making up stories says a lot – about you. it was argentina that sent untrained soldiers!! 180 degrees wrong. disgraceful. research and engage brain before making such moronic statements. bet you have never been an army officer – unkess argentinian! “Then why did Britain win the war? Key factors of victory were professionalism, committed soldiers and leadership attitude. On paper, Argentina had an extra edge, in material, planes, supply lines, military, and ships. For example, British had sent their elite troops, such as Special Forces, Paratroopers, and Commandos well trained… Read more »
Libertas
Guest

happy to live and learn.
please enlighten me on the info behind your comment.
you could provide a new insight to the british people.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
alconce
Guest

Your claim of abuse and sending ill trained soldiers is totally false and utterly ignorant of how the british parliament works. That war with Argentina over the Falklands was approved overwhelmingly by a hostile parliament. Abuse of power you say? She would not last that long if she ever did so.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

Cheers to the best British woman Prime Minister! One hell of a fighter, politician, economist and woman with guts and the natural feel for doing the best for the U.K. I will never forget her! This country should do well to vote for people with her credentials.

Aegis-Judex
Guest

Wish we had someone like Baroness Kesteven here…

Libertas
Guest

some envy in some of the posts.
i am happy to have had a pm who enabled me to learn, live well, work hard and become a millionaire ( even though i now have to live abroad for tax reasons), rather than live in a shanty town with politicians stealing your money.
stupid is as stupid does.
time for another pina colada.
cheers

Libertas
Guest

Wikileaks cables confirm that the US and the NBI thought jack enrile guilty or murder and should be prosecuted, but would not do because of impact on father ponce enrile and the marcos regime.
This is the level of filipino politics, not to mention the drug smugglers, rapists, money launderers etc who are all enjoying their time in congress, senate, cabinet.
Not a scintilla of decency amongst the legion of scum, headed naturally by the aquinos who obviously lead by example.
Hacienda luisita massacre, baby!
must go. the maid needs beating. she is too lazy to do it herself.

Hyden Toro
Guest

While I disagree with some of her policies. It will be a long time, before the world can see another Thatcher of Britain. The Lady had a nerve of steel.
While Aquino hides in every crisis situation. Lady Thatcher faced them and won…
She had better Balls, than most of some Presidents…

Glenn
Guest

Thatcher did everything Reagan told her to do. She crippled the Unions, decimated the middle-class. The economic devastation that is visiting the U.K.now is all the downward spiralling path that Ms.Thatcher started all those years ago. Much like Reagan in the USA, the confused among the British people think she was a “Grande Dame” but just ask any workingman in the U.K. what his opinion of the woman is/was.Thatcher and Reagan, what a pair. Selling $500 hammers to their friends and having the people pick-up the tab, sound familiar?

Great work, if you can get it.

Libertas
Guest

7$ hammers and bad accounting practices.
don’t fall for urban myths.

the communists lost, quite rightly. hence the vitriol, but nobody is listening.
the middle class expanded – now 800,000 people in uk on salaries above 150,000 $ per annum, and 700,000 millionaires.

please try to get facts right and avoid quantum leaps in illogical thought/erroneous connections.

Glenn
Guest
No, don’t YOU be fooled. OK? I do not want to be vulgar as this is looking like a tribute to a dead woman, but TRUTH? the U.K. prospered under Thatcher , not because she cut interest rates and financed public housing with low interest rates, because the reality was: IT WAS all paid for and subsidized by the NORTH SEA OIL. North Sea Oil was a boom for the U.K. economy and happened to come along as Thatcher entered the scene. There was NO MAGIC THATCHER WAND. all the prosperity was from the North Sea Oil and had the… Read more »
Glenn
Guest

the second to last paragraph has a mistake, the second sentence should be that ‘Thatcher tried to act as if her ploicies were NOT responsible.

oh and @Libertas, yes ,surely their are millionaires, even billipnaires being made by the speculation and de-regulation of the banking system in London, anyone knows that, but it is done at the expense of the rest of the people. the 1% do not and should not rule over the rest of us! Greece and Spain will not let it happen without blood in the streets.BUT Ireland looks like they like being robbed.

johndoe
Guest
Not” Pinoys” but “Filipinos”? Literally speaking, there’s no difference between the two terms. They both refer to natural-born Filipinos in the Philippines and overseas Filipinos around the world. Except that a very few smart-__s Filipino elitists (not the elite) regard “Pinoy” as pejorative for no logical reason. Like any social climber or person who attempts to gain higher social standing by obsequious behavior, they just delude themselves into thinking they’re “elite” by rubbing elbows with members of the high society. Some even go to lengths of kissing their elite asses. Little did “they” know at some point in history, the… Read more »
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