Margaret Thatcher: The word divisive doesn't do her style justice

Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher has died at the age of 87 following a strok Photo: /PA Archive/Press Association Images

Like her, loathe her.

Respect her, pity her.

It's hard to disagree that there was Britain before Margaret Thatcher. And Britain after Margaret Thatcher.

A period, and a set of policies, which got their own name: Thatcherism.

Some may have preferred the country and the course it was on pre-1979.

Some think she saved the country post-1979.

Margaret Thatcher acknowledges a standing ovation after her speech a the Conservative Party Conference in 1979. Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

But we mark her passing for a reason: she changed the country, she changed the economy, she changed the way politics is done here and abroad, and she changed millions of lives.

If you benefited from her policies of selling off council houses, privatising the state industries, if you had a job, if you were what she called "our people" (working class and aspirational) then you will view Margaret Thatcher's time in office fondly.

"Leading Britain into the 1990s" was the slogan for the Tory party conference in Brighton in 1988. Credit: : PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

If you were one of the tens of thousands made redundant in vast areas of the country where state industries were downsized and closed (coal, steel, cars), if you were among the long list of the unemployed in the early 1980s when her economic plan really started to bite, you will have a different view.

Anti-Thatcher graffiti left by Protestant protesters in Belfast following the signing of the Anglo-Irish deal. Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Divisive is an often used word when it comes to Margaret Thatcher -but it doesn't do her style justice.

You either think she saved this country. Or she set it on the wrong path. But even her fiercest critics, her opponents in the 1980s admit she did it with clarity, with dedication and with purpose.

They admit that as even as the country plans the funeral of the prime minister they did battle with 30 years ago.

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