The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Margaret Thatcher was a Great Person

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/30/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,531 times Debate No: 33065
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




This is a debate for whether or not Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister from 1979-1990, was a great person. Some quick definitions:

GREAT: Inspiring; famous BUT not necessarily popular or "good"

I'll just point that out again; this is not a debate about whether she was well liked or a "good" person, but about whether she was great or not. Therefore this debate will not discuss her political ideals but her as a person.

Round 1: Opening Statements
Round 2: Argument, no rebuttals
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: "
Round 5: Closing Statements

I'm taking the "pro" side of the argument because I believe Margaret Thatcher was indeed a great person and very inspiring.

I look forward to an interesting debate!


I accept the debate. Once upon a time British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was called a``Iron Lady``.
As Pro points out, ``she was indeed a great person.`` It is true that she challenged for introducing a drastic policy to strengthen the competitiveness of her country. However, unfortunately, it brought about serious problems on the life of many people of the United Kingdom. Therefore, I believe that she is not necessarily a ``good ``person.

I look forward to an enlightening debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Before I begin, I'd like to remind my opponent that this debate is not about whether or not Margaret Thatcher was a "good" person, but whether or not she was a "great" person. Therefore this debate will not be focusing on her political ideals but her as a person. I'd also like to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge and I look forward to a very interesting debate.

I'll now begin my argument. It will be split into four sections; 1) First Female Prime Minister of Great Britain, 2) The Iron Lady, 3) Lasting Impact and 4) A True Patriot.

1) First Female Prime Minister of Great Britain

Thatcher was, as stated in the title, the first and, to date, only female Prime Minister that Britain has ever had. She battled through sexist prejudices in place at the time to become the longest serving Prime Minister for Britain. This immediately shows that she was a great woman; she wasn't elected because she was the best woman candidate for the place, she was elected for being the best candidate.

2) The Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher was nicknamed the "Iron Lady" by a Russian reporter. She responded with this famous quote:

"They were right. Britain needs an Iron Lady." - Margaret Thatcher

And how right she was! She was a convicted politician, standing by her decisions even whe she became unpopular. Few politicians had done it before and even fewer have done it since. Just look at David Cameron; while I have respect for him and his policies, he doesn't have the coviction and the dedication that Margaret Thatcher triumphantly brought back to politics.

What's more, she took her beliefs to the grave. She did not take back her policies once in her lifetime and stood by them.

3) Lasting Impact

Days after Thatcher's death, a protest began. Hundreds of people began to "celebrate" her death, a disgusting act that is utterly disrespectful no matter what she stood for. People also began to riot and protest, apparently ignorant to the fact that it would do nothing to change what had happened.

However, in contrast, her funeral ceremony rivalled that of a member of the Royal Family, with thousands lining the streets to pay their final respects.

Both these acts, though contrasting in nature, show what a lasting impact she had on society. Most important of all, she was, and will be, remembered unlike many of the politicians we see in power today. She was a great person who had an impact then and, arguably, a greater impact now.

4) A True Patriot

Thatcher stood out from the crowd as being a politician who, rather than focusing on personal gain, was dedicated to her country. This is shown by her conviction, as stated in my first point and her devotion to doing what she believed was right. Whether that benefited the country or not is for a different debate, but the fact is that she stood for what she believed in and did it for Britain. How many politicians can we say that for today?


Therefore, Margaret Thatcher can be considered "great" chiefly because she was Britain's first woman Prime Minister, an overwhelming achievement in itself, because she was convicted, she had a lasting impact and was totally dedicated to her country.

I look forward to my opponent's reply. Please note that your argument should not contain rebuttals of my points as they shall be saved for the next round.


I believe that Margaret Thatcher was not a great person.

Firstly, her revitalizing policy which was called ``New Liberalism``created a mass unemployment.
The privatization of the State-run industries led to the loss of job opportunities among workers. In particular, mine workers were seriously hit.

Secondly, ``tax policies were deliberately repressive, increasing inequality and decreasing social mobility.``(1)
The important thing is that tax of the wealthy people and the big companies were reduced but the consumption tax was raised. ``The burden on consumers was increased. The VAT(value added tax), a kind of sales tax , and the motor fuel tax were raised. These increases fell mainly on middle-and low-income people.``(2)
In particular, ``consumption taxes fell heaviest on low-income families and the poor.``(3)
And ``the Thatcher government did not succeed in reducing taxes overall. Taxation accounted for 38.5 per cent of GDP in 1979 and 40.75 per cent in 1990.``(4)

Thirdly, ``Community Care Act greatly impacted ability to deal with mental illness, causing increase in number of homelessness and suicide.``(5) This means that financial resources for local care programs were greatly reduced.
``A number of community health services were transferred to the responsibility of local authorities.``(6)
And ``increasing pressure was being placed on local authority finances.``(7)

Fourthly, she decided to involve in the war. ``The Falklands war was pointless, sending British soldiers to fight for a tiny island just off the coast of Argentina that no one had heard of and before you say about the strategic importance.``( Is Margaret Thatcher great ?,
This war was meaningless and public money should have been used for a meaningful purpose instead of using for a military action.

Conclusion: A great person must be respected and be admired by all the people including the rich and the poor for a long time. However, unfortunately, the jobs which Mrs. Thatcher did are not highly evaluated by the people who suffered from the hardship caused by her decision-making. They believe that the root cause of the recent recession in the United Kingdom originates from it. Therefore, in my opinion Margaret Thatcher was not necessarily a great person.

I look forward to Pro`s reply.

References : (1)-(7) ``Thatcher is not great``by Rob Brown,
Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to point out, for the third time that this debate is focusing on her as a person and not her political ideals, thus rendering my opponent's arguments invalid. Therefore I will give my opponent a second chance to rewrite his argument so it does not focus on her policies in the next round. The format from now on will be:

Round 3: Arguments, no rebuttals*
Round 4: Rebuttals
Round 5: Final rebuttals and closing statements

*I will forfeit this round so my opponent can rewrite his argument.

Therefore I forfeit this round. I look forward to my opponent's argument.


Let me present my arguments.

Firstly, a great person must devote his or her life to realize the prosperity and the welfare of their fellow people.
The first female British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was called a ``Iron Lady.``
However, many people suffered from tax increase and mass unemployment caused by the privatization of the state-run industries during the time when she served the Prime Minister. This contributed to losing her popularity. People showed distrust toward her government.

Secondly, she did not have an interest in participating in European Union. This shows her lack in international mind and cooperative behavior with member countries. Therefore, she lost trust and respect from them.

Thirdly, she decided to involve in the Falkland war. This war was meaningless. People did not understand the reason of going to the war. Her action and decision had a harmful effect not only on the society but on the life of the general public of her country. Therefore, it is doubtful that we call her a great person.

Good Luck.
Debate Round No. 3


I'd like to thank Con for his arguments. I will commence with my rebuttals.

Tax Increase etc...

While this was not one of her best decisions, I will admit, I do think that it was for the best. The money raised by taxes would have helped support those in unemployment, so she was, in fact, supporting Britain through a particularly bad time.

Naturally, people will feel upset when they are forced to pay more. I think that people in general can become obsessed with their own needs and fail to see the good it is doing elsewhere, so her loss in popularity would be because of general greed rather than actual distrust in her policies.


I beg to differ! While she may have rejected the EU, her cooperation with other countries spread across the World. Her relationship with Ronald Reagan, in particular, showed her eagerness to cooperate with other countries.

Also, I think her decision to join the EU was a good one. The EU hasn't really done much for Britain and it seems that many want us to leave it; just look at how well UKIP did in the last elections!!

Falklands War

Actually, I think this war just showed her dedication to Britain. How would Britain have looked if they had just given away some of their territory? It would make Britain, and her, look weak and helpless, persuading others to come in and take their pick.

There can be no war without casualties. While I do not think it right that so many died, they died for their country and for, what I believe, a noble cause.

I look forward to my opponent's reply.


I`d like to thank Pro for his arguments.
I will present my rebuttals.

First is regarding the argument, ``First female Prime Minister of Great Britain.`` However, in my opinion, Winston Churchill was greater than her. The reason is that he contributed to ending the World War Second and helped greatly reconstruct Europe which had been devastated by the War. Moreover, he taught the importance of peace for the people of the world.

Second is regarding the argument, ``The Iron Lady`` and ``Lasting Impact.``
Pro said : ``She was , and will be, remembered unlike many of the politicians we see in power today.``
I believe Churchill is and will be remembered by many people in the United Kingdom. I think that his power, political leadership and diplomatic ability are not inferior to that of Thatcher. So she was not the only great person in the country.

Third is regarding the argument, ``A True Patriot.``
As Pro argued, I think she devoted her political life to make the country powerful and competitive in spite of receiving the protests from many people.

I look forward to Pro`s reply.
Debate Round No. 4


"Winston Churchill was greater than her"

While I do agree that Churchill was a great leader, he was at his best when Britain and the rest of the World had gone to war. Therefore I believe that Churchill was one of the great war-time politicians while Thatcher was one of the greatest peace-time politicians. Therefore it is almost impossible to compare them as the two jobs have drastically different duties.

Also, Thatcher was the longest serving PM ever, serving even longer than Churchill.

"Churchill is and will be remembered"

Again, I believe Churchill flourished in war rather than in peace so is in a completely different medium to Thatcher.

In addition; Churchill was remembered primarily of the war that went on around him. Do you think he would have been remembered if he had led Britain through a time of peace? It is the same for many politicians we see today; they may be remembered if something drastic happened during their empowerment, but otherwise they would, most probably, be forgotten. Therefore Thatcher stands out of the crowd as a great person who will be remembered.

Closing Statement

I, wholeheartedly, believe that Margaret Thatcher was a great person as she stood out from the crowd, had conviction and was dedicated to her country. She will also be remembered; she is, and forever will be, Britain's Iron Lady.

I'd like to thank Con for his arguments; this has been a very enjoyable debate and I look forward to debating against you sometime again in the near future.


I thank Pro for your reply.
Let me present my conclusion.

Conclusion : A great person like Churchill and Thatcher influenced greatly on the course and destiny of their nation.
Their action and decision-making brought about benefits and unreasonable effects on the society and the life of people.
However, I believe that we must keep in mind their achievements in historical perspective.
In my opinion a great person of the future must face and cope with many problems like global warming, recession and international tension existing in many parts of the world. Sense of responsibility and leadership will be required as Thatcher and Churchill assumed.

This was an enlightening debate for me.
Good luck.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Jegory 3 years ago
Actually that's an interesting idea; Hitler and Stalin could both be considered "great" leaders, leaving aside their ideals and the atrocities they committed.
Posted by unitedandy 3 years ago
Yeah. Having "great" defined in such a way as being devoid of moral content would allow Hitler or Stalin to be great leaders as well.
Posted by OneElephant 3 years ago
Inspiring is vaguest term ever :I
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con didn't focus on the subject early in the debate, so conduct to pro. Pro's arguments were stronger and able to hold better.