LONDON – Two former prime ministers were buried this week. One was a gloriously battling heroine of freedom, Boadicea in pearls, who put the Great back into Great Britain and won the Cold War with a little assistance from U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The other was the empress of evil, Cruella de Vil in a twinset, who smashed her country to bits. Then there is a third Margaret Thatcher, the real one masked by all the myths with which she has been embalmed since her death. This woman was a much more complex personality with a much more paradoxical legacy than either the eulogists or the haters can allow.
It is undeniable that she was a huge figure: the first and only woman to occupy Number 10, and the first person to win three elections in a row under universal suffrage. It is also unarguable that she was a transformative leader. She changed her country, her own party and their principal Labour opponents. The largest British prime minister on the global stage since Winston Churchill, she played a significant role in changing the world too.
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