Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Tim Pat Coogan: Margaret Thatcher's brass neck and iron will hardened hearts during the hunger strikes

The death of former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher has divided opinion across Northern Ireland
The death of former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher has divided opinion across Northern Ireland
Prime Minister David Cameron pays respects to Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Flowers laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death this morning after a stroke
People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton
People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton, south London
Meryl Streep has paid tribute to Baroness Thatcher
Geri Halliwell has tweeted about Margaret Thatcher's death
Morrissey has attacked Baroness Thatcher after the former prime minister died
Members of the armed services will line the route of Baroness Thatcher's funeral procession to St Paul's Cathedral
A man lays a bunch of flowers outside the home of Lady Margaret Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death
Margaret Thatcher pictured with her husband Denis in 1999
Margaret Thatcher waves to well-wishers after her 1983 election win
Margaret Thatcher arrives at 10 Downing Street after winning the 1979 election
The Union Flag is lowered to half mast at the Houses of Parliament after the death of Baroness Thatcher
Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
Margaret Thatcher at the Tory Party Conference in Brighton in 1980
Baroness Thatcher's death left some Twitter users with the impression that the singer Cher had died
Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has died following a stroke
Jose Manuel Barroso hailed Baroness Thatcher as a 'great stateswoman'
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Mrs Thatcher talks to Siobhan O'Hars (left) and Katherine O'Hare during her visit to Rathmore Grammar School, Finaghy. 19/6/1978 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. In the driving seat...Margaret Thatcher is shown the interior of a GT dawb sports motor by director of the Belfast Tool and gauge Company, David Woods, during her visit to the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Hands across the counter as the Prime Minister margaret Thatcher shakes habds with shoppers during a tour of Belfast City centre. 28/5/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. 14/11/1975 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Foreman Mr Robert McCullough of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher at the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher arriving at RAF Aldergrove, Belfast. 28/5/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. 5/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Durham Miners' Association general secretary David Hopper described Baroness Thatcher's death as 'a great day for all the miners'
A bouquet is laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in Chester Square
Flowers are laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in London
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
Visit of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at St. Angelo Airport outside Enniskillen where she is pictured inspecting the 39 Field Regiment of Royal Artillery who presented her with a beret by Col Kit Faith, 6th March 1981
File photo dated 29/05/1987 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, waist-deep in blackcurrent bushes, bringing the agricultural scene into focus during a visit to Appleford Farm, Rivenhall, near Witham, East Anglia
File photo dated 04/12/1985 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with Queen Elizabeth II prior to a dinner at 10 Downing Street, London, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Prime Minister's office
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said Baroness Thatcher was 'the reason I came into politics'
File photo dated 09/11/1959 of Baroness Thatcher, with her children Mark and Carol, aged 6, at their home in Farnborough, Kent. The BBC has said today they have no plans for Carol, after she referred to a tennis player as a 'Golliwog'. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 3, 2009. The daughter of the former Prime Minister made the remark after filming last Thursday during a conversation with the show's presenter Adrian Chiles and several guests. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 11/05/83 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher receiving Soviet writer Aleksander Solzhenitsyn at No 10 Downing Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Issue date: Monday August 4, 2008. Tributes were being paid today to Nobel-prize winning author and Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who has died aged 89. Solzhenitsyn, whose books chronicled the horrors of the Soviet gulag system, died last night of heart failure, according to his son Stepan. See PA Story DEATH Solzhenitsyn. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
British politician Margaret Thatcher talks to a policeman outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
British politician Margaret Thatcher outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
File photo dated 14/11/04 of Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair during the annual National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire
File photo dated 10/2/05 of Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the Churchill Museum Opening, Cabinet War Rooms, London
File photo dated 22/5/89 of Margaret Thatcher fielding questions with Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe (background), at a press conference, in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Martin Keene/PA Wire
File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Conservative Leader Margaret Thatcher ariving at Tory Headquarters in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 24/10/2000 of former Conservative Prime Ministers Sir Edward Heath and Baroness Thatcher check their watches as they listen to the debate at the Conservative Party Conference annual conference in Bournemouth. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 12/08/1987 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis walking on the Trevose golf course, Cornwall, on the first day of their summer holidays. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 13/07/1950 of Margaret Hilda Roberts, the Conservative candidate for Dartford, on her way to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Baroness Thatcher in Downing Street...Prime Minister David Cameron helps Baroness Thatcher as she leaves Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 8, 2010. Prime Minister David Cameron today welcomed his predecessor Baroness Thatcher to 10 Downing Street for a private meeting. See PA story POLITICS Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Max Nash/PA Wire...A
New premier Thatcher clashed with ministers... File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Margaret Thatcher waving from the doorstep of Number 10 Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 30, 2009. Thatcher swept into Downing Street determined to push through a programme of swingeing spending cuts and radical economic reform. But official papers released today by the National Archives in Kew, west London, under the 30-year rule show how the new Conservative Prime Minister initially struggled to impose her vision on her Cabinet colleagues. See PA story RECORDS Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire...A
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 24th January 1950: When not engaged in her political work in Dartford (Kent) where she is standing as Tory candidate, Miss Margaret Roberts, youngest candidate for the general election, is busy with her work as a research chemist. Margaret Roberts went on to become Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. 7th December 1962: Conservative MP Margaret Thatcher has fun on a ski run in Battersea Park with instructor Joe Hoki. (Photo by Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. circa 1950: Conservative candidate Margaret Roberts accompanies four voters on the piano in a sing-song after a brief political argument in the bar of The Bull Inn, Dartford. (Margaret Roberts married Denis Thatcher and went on to become Prime Minister.) (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. November 1976: Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher makes a 'victory' sign outside her home in Chelsea, London. (Photo by John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street, London, at the start of her third term in office. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher covering her face with her hand at the 1985 Conservative Party Conference. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. Conservative politician and future prime minister Margaret Hilda Thatcher, wiping dishes whilst a nurse looks on. (Photo by Chris Ware/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts, as the Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent, and before she married husband Denis. (Photo by Chris Ware/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. October 1985: British prime minister Margaret Thatcher looking pensive at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
File photo dated 10/06/1983 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher waving to well-wishers after her election win. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
File photo dated 09/11/1959 of Baroness Thatcher, with her children Mark and Carol, aged 6, at their home in Farnborough, Kent. The BBC has said today they have no plans for Carol, after she referred to a tennis player as a 'Golliwog'. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 3, 2009. The daughter of the former Prime Minister made the remark after filming last Thursday during a conversation with the show's presenter Adrian Chiles and several guests. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 11/05/83 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher receiving Soviet writer Aleksander Solzhenitsyn at No 10 Downing Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Issue date: Monday August 4, 2008. Tributes were being paid today to Nobel-prize winning author and Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who has died aged 89. Solzhenitsyn, whose books chronicled the horrors of the Soviet gulag system, died last night of heart failure, according to his son Stepan. See PA Story DEATH Solzhenitsyn. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
British politician Margaret Thatcher talks to a policeman outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
British politician Margaret Thatcher outside the House of Commons, where she is taking her seat as the Member of Parliament for Finchley, 20th October 1959. (Photo by Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Conservative Leader Margaret Thatcher ariving at Tory Headquarters in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 10/06/1983 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher waving to well-wishers after her election win. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 24/10/2000 of former Conservative Prime Ministers Sir Edward Heath and Baroness Thatcher check their watches as they listen to the debate at the Conservative Party Conference annual conference in Bournemouth. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 12/08/1987 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis walking on the Trevose golf course, Cornwall, on the first day of their summer holidays. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 13/07/1950 of Margaret Hilda Roberts, the Conservative candidate for Dartford, on her way to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Baroness Thatcher in Downing Street...Prime Minister David Cameron helps Baroness Thatcher as she leaves Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 8, 2010. Prime Minister David Cameron today welcomed his predecessor Baroness Thatcher to 10 Downing Street for a private meeting. See PA story POLITICS Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Max Nash/PA Wire...A
New premier Thatcher clashed with ministers... File photo dated 04/05/1979 of Margaret Thatcher waving from the doorstep of Number 10 Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 30, 2009. Thatcher swept into Downing Street determined to push through a programme of swingeing spending cuts and radical economic reform. But official papers released today by the National Archives in Kew, west London, under the 30-year rule show how the new Conservative Prime Minister initially struggled to impose her vision on her Cabinet colleagues. See PA story RECORDS Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire...A
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
File photo dated 12/10/77 of Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher with 16 year old Rother Valley schoolboy William Hague, after he received a standing ovation from delegates at the Tory party conference in Blackpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Library filer dated 8/6/1988 of Margaret Thatcher standing in the shell of London's old Battersea power station, when she renamed the site 'The Battersea'. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 21/2/07 of Former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher in front of a bronze statue of herself, inside the Palace of Westminster, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Johnny Green/PA Wire
File photo dated 13/9/07 of Gordon Brown with Baroness Thatcher as she leaves her old official residence at 10 Downing Street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire
File photo dated 04/05/2000 of former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher sitting alone as she waits for the start of the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 06/12/1990 of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with former US President Ronald Reagan at Claridges, in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
File photo dated 12/10/84 of the upper floors of the Grand Hotel Brighton, severely damaged in the aftermath of an IRA bomb, which was planted during Tory Party conference week. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Library filer dated 3/5/1989 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher outside 10 Downing Street, in London, with her son Mark, daughter-in-law Diane, and two-month-old grandson Michael. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Library filer dated 26/1/1990 of Margaret Thatcher toasting Julie Goodyear and the cast of Coronation Street when she visited the Rovers Return at Granada Television Studios in Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
LONDON - 2006: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival The Rt Hon Baroness Margaret Thatcher (L) and daughter Carol Thatcher watch the match between Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium and Amelie Mauresmo of France during the women's final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 8, 2006 in London, England. Baroness (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - 2009: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Baroness Thatcher waves from the front door of her home after returning from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital following an operation on her broken arm on June 29, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 8: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British Prime Minister David Cameron greets former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street on June 8, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON - 1987: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Conservative Party Chairman Norman Tebbit waving to supporters from the Conservative Headquarters on election night. Original Publication: People Disc - HM0459 (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
LONDON - 2005: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Former leader of the Conservative party, Margaret Thatcher arrives at the Houses of Parliament on October 20, 2005 in London. (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)
LONDON - 2006: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher poses next to a recently created portrait of herself on August 1, 2006 in London, England. Baroness (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - 2009: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah (L) greet Lady Thatcher at Downing Street on November 23, 2009 in London. Baroness (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON - 2008: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Lady Margaret Thatcher walks with Chelsea pensioners (L-R) John Walker, Charles McLaughlin, David Pultney and John Ley during a photocall for the announcement of the naming of the new firmary at the Royal Chelsea Hospital on February 14, 2008 in London, England. Baroness (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
1987: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, enjoys a cup of tea at the opening of the South Mimms Motorway service area, watched by the press on June 6, 1987 in England. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 1: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher poses inside Number 10 Downing Street in London, England on April 01, 1984. (Photo by Express/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 04, 1979: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts (b 1925), with her husband Denis Thatcher (1915 - 2003), waves to the crowds outside the Conservative Party headquarters on May 4, 1979 in London, England. (Photo by John Minihan/Getty Images)
1967: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Conservative politician and future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher speaking at a party conference on Octobe 21, 1967 in England. (Photo by Harry Dempster/Express/Getty Images)
1984: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher shares a joke with American President Ronald Reagan, at No. 10 Downing Street, on June 5, 1984 in London, England. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1983: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her German counterpart, Helmut Kohl, at a press conference at Number 12 Downing Street on April 22, 1983 in London, England. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1986: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Nancy Reagan, the wife of US president Ronald Reagan, meets British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at Number 10, Downing Street on July 22, 1986 in London, England. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1985: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British prime minister Margaret Thatcher holds a chimpanzee in 1985. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 10 NOVEMBER: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. (L-R) Liberal Party Leader David Steel, former Labour Leader James Callaghan and Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher carrying wreaths of poppies during a Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph on November 10, 1980 in Whitehall, London. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
File photo dated 08/11/05 of Margaret Thatcher at the memorial service for former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, at Westminster Abbey in central London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Chris Young/PA Wire
1951: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival Margaret Roberts, Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent and youngest woman candidate in the election, talking to dustmen during her election campaign in October 4, 1951 in England. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
File photo dated 8/12/07 of Baroness Thatcher who joined Falkland Islanders and former servicemen in London to honour all those who lost their lives in wars in the South Atlantic. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire
File photo dated 04/05/2000 of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sitting beside her portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
File photo dated 4/1/79 of Margaret Thatcher in an inter-ship jackstay for her high-speed shortcut across the Pool feature of the 25th London International Boat Show which she opened at Earls Court in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Libray filer dated 23/11/2001 of the head of the puppet Margaret Thatcher on display at a Sotheby's auction of Spitting Image puppets. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Toby Melville/PA Wire
Librray filer dated 10/11/00 of Sir Denis Thatcher (left), accompanied by his wife and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (centre), after receiving his first honorary degree from the University of Buckingham in Buckinghamshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire
Librray filer dated 20/6/2001 of Baroness Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, seated in the House of Lords, London, for the State Opening of Parliament. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
1980: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Conservative politician and first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher speaks at the Tory Party Conference on in Brighton, East Sussex circa 1980. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
File photo dated 12/10/77 of Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher with 16 year old Rother Valley schoolboy William Hague, after he received a standing ovation from delegates at the Tory party conference in Blackpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Library filer dated 8/6/1988 of Margaret Thatcher standing in the shell of London's old Battersea power station, when she renamed the site 'The Battersea'. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
File photo dated 4/1/79 of Margaret Thatcher in an inter-ship jackstay for her high-speed shortcut across the Pool feature of the 25th London International Boat Show which she opened at Earls Court in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 8, 2013. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said. See PA story DEATH Thatcher. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire
Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, on a visit to Belfast. 29/8/1979. Richard Needham can be seen to the right of Mrs Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, on a visit to Belfast. 1981. Mrs Thatcher talks to guests during a dinner held at Stormont. 5/3/1981
Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, on a visit to Belfast. 1981. The Prime Minister Mrs margaret Thatcher greets the guests arriving for dinner at Stormont. 5/3/1981
Baroness Margaret Thatcher has died

Margaret Thatcher is the reason Gerry Adams is sitting in Dail Eireann and Martin McGuinness in Stormont.

Her inflexibility during the hunger strike period, not merely during the Bobby Sands era, but earlier in the strike led by Brendan Hughes, led to a tidal wave of nationalist support swamping the SDLP and revivifying Sinn Fein with the blood of martyrs.

The Hughes strike could have ended the problems in the H Block if Thatcher had been prepared to cut a deal along the lines concluded by the Dublin government with the Provisionals in Portlaoise.

But at the last minute the prisoners failed to get access to 'civilian-type clothing' -- tracksuits, provided by their relatives -- and were frustrated in their attempts to come off the 'no wash' protest.

Hughes called off the protest thinking that one of the hunger strikers, Sean McKenna, was near death. The British thought so too and believed that he would break rather than die. Thatcher wanted a win, not a compromise, possibly steeled in her resolve by the murder of her friend Airey Neave by the INLA. The attempt by the IRA to kill her at Brighton can only have hardened that resolve.

However, Bobby Sands, who took over from Hughes as the leader of the subsequent hunger strike, knew that this one would be to the death and so it proved, with resultant emotional consequences throughout the six counties and with an overspill in the Republic with lasting effects.

Whether Thatcher's 'Iron Lady' nickname in fact portrayed her real character, she did prove herself capable of winning battles, though whether history will judge her a winner in the overall wars is another matter.

'Attila the Hen', as republicans scornfully termed her, defeated the miners' strike led by Arthur Scargill with the aid of the notorious strike-breaker, who she imported from America -- Ian MacGregor -- and MI5, who tapped phones and helped her in her confrontational approach, which involved the use of baton charges and mounted police.

But she fissured British society and her destruction of the trade union movement and her determined assault on the British welfare state and the NHS, while it won her the approval of Ronald Reagan and his "trickle down" economics, arrested the development in English society which had been going on since the days when Lloyd George took the first steps towards welfare for all.

Thatcher could play the Iron Lady role to a thunderous approval from the right, both in England and the US, but she left a very clear scorchmark on Europe where she displayed her 'Attila the Hen' qualities to the full at the expense of Europe's beliefs in Britain's bona fides over Europe.

Perhaps her most egregious use of the age-old trick of distracting her public's attention with a foreign war came over the Falklands. Thatcher's reputation over Ireland, while it was borne down by the hunger strikers, was ironically borne up by the Anglo Irish Agreement of 1985, which she concluded in the face of anguished entreaties from Garret FitzGerald and others that the riptide unleashed by the hunger strikers' deaths would sweep away the SDLP if she did not act.

The agreement, which Charlie Haughey at first denounced, was recognised by the unionists for what it was, a decisive step forward by Dublin into Belfast affairs. Agents of the Dublin government henceforth would be in Belfast as of right, southern accents would increasingly be heard in the corridors of power north of the border.

And the shadow of the Tricolour began to fall across the Union flag, to an extent which elicited the recent loyalist protests over a reduction in the number of days in which it is to fly over City Hall now dominated by nationalists.

So far as England is concerned, Thatcher helped to validate Napolean's famous description of England as being a nation of shopkeepers. This daughter of a grocer was to lead the Tory Party for nearly 13-years, thereby eliciting the judgment of David Cameron that she was Britain's greatest peacetime leader.

Supporters of Tony Blair might say: "Well he would say that, wouldn't he?". But in more unbiased reflection I think it fairer to say that for all that Cameron, the old Etonian, elicits images of elitism, England, and probably Ireland, are better off with the Cameron variety of 'Toryismunbiased' than with Thatcher's habit of creating fairly bloody battlefields and claiming them as symbols of democratic progress.

Tim Pat Coogan is a historian

Source: Irish Independent

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