Margaret Thatcher altered Britain forever. When she took office, the state owned and ran gas, electricity, coal and most of the oil industry. It made the ships, planes, buses, trucks and cars. It ran the airlines, the buses, freight lines, and ferries. These were turned from subsidised loss-makers into profitable private companies. She took office in a country dominated by powerful trade unions which had defeated Labour and Tory efforts to control them. By introducing strike and leadership ballots and by facing down the miners, she brought them under the law. She gave ordinary people the chance to own a stake in the country through popular share issues and the right to buy their state-owned homes. Systematic tax cuts under her leadership turned Britain from a high-tax country into one with the lowest taxes among advanced economies. She turned Britain from a basket-case into an economic powerhouse.
Dr Madsen Pirie is founder and president of the Adam Smith Institute.