The Thatcher Years (1979-1990)

This is the first of two blogs concentrating on Margaret Thatcher who died this week.  Broadly, here I focus on her political career, while the second will focus more on her personal life.

She entered politics as M.P. for Finchley in 1959, and was brought in to Edward Heath’s cabinet in 1970 as Secretary of State for Education and Science, from which position she earned the reputation of “milk snatcher”.  If it had not been for the failures of Edward Heath’s administration, she may not have risen to prominence as she did.  Edward Heath was a shy and introverted Cancerian, and in the same way as Gordon Brown, a shy and introverted Piscean, was not suited to the extrovert role of Prime Minister.  That does not mean all introverted signs are not suited to the highest office, but that these two were particularly introverted and that was part of their problem.  His Saturn (sense of failure) was square to her Sun, and he never rose above the fact that she had usurped him.

She became Leader of the Opposition on  11th February 1975, to the surprise of many, with Jupiter (success) transiting her Uranus (surprise) in her 5th House of Self-Expression.  Pluto was conjunct her Mars in 11th House (taking power in the party).

She became the first female Prime Minister on 4th May 1979, which is still a remarkable achievement even seen from the hindsight of the 21st Century, though she was always surrounded with men in her cabinet.  This was a validation and expression of her karmic mission, as transiting Jupiter was exactly conjunct her North Node in Leo, fulfilling her destiny of Leadership.  She would re-define leadership, and Tony Blair styled his leadership after her model.  Other supporting aspects at the time were Jupiter trine her natal Venus and Sun ruler, and Neptune sextile her natal Sun.

In the style of Neptune, she famously began her prime ministry by saying:

“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony,

Where there is error, may we bring truth.

Where there is doubt, may we bring faith.

And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Unfortunately, our society is still debating what she did do.  She ignored the poorest strata of society, declaring there was no such thing as society, and encouraged self-serving.  But there were many changes whereby she wrought transformation, and some of those might be seen less negatively, or be more easily debated.

More memorable words were heard at the Conservative Party Conference of 1980, confirming the Iron Lady title she had been given by the Soviet Union:

To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the ‘U-turn’, I have only one thing to say: ‘You turn (U-turn) if you want to.  The lady’s not for turning.”

She was proud of the badge, and her reputation was magnified and solidified in the public imagination, becoming the archetype of a strong woman.

In her early years of office, she was still struggling to turn around the unrest she had inherited, but a turning point was offered in the Falkland conflict of 1982.  Here was a conflict which could be said astrologically to bring out her Inner Warrior.  The conflict has been echoed recently with Argentina, and I wrote in my blog of 12th February 2012:

“The original conflict in 1982 was a vehicle for Margaret Thatcher’s Inner Warrior because she was experiencing a Mars Return at the time!  This Mars Return was exactly trine the U.K. Ascendant.”

The success of the war enabled her re-election in 1983 (then going on to win a third term in 1987), and she was able to press on with her economic mission, based on monetarist thinking.  Her policy was to privatize national services and resources, to show a healthier economy, but stopped short of privatizing the NHS and the railways, which would have had even more severely adverse effects.  She encouraged the buying of council houses by council tenants, which many are still grateful for, but did not provide housing to replace them, thus contributing to the current housing shortage.

Miners’ Strike

Where she did clash violently with society and communities, many of which to this day have not recovered or forgotten, were in the mining dispute, and over the community charge tax (later re-named the Poll Tax).  Here we saw at first hand the violent clashes and the result of extreme feelings by those affected, on our television screens.

The fall guy (and some declared foolish) in the  conflict of the Miner’s Strike (1984/5) was Arthur Scargill, leader of the National Union of Mineworkers.  Margaret’s Pluto opposed exactly Scargill’s Venus, but her Jupiter was exactly conjunct his Venus, so her Jupiter-Pluto assertion of power was exercised in this battle of wills.

Many argue that the political stranglehold of the Unions needed to be broken, and it certainly was a success for Margaret, but these days they might do with being a little stronger in order to be able to stand up for the “little man” – perhaps this balance went too far the other way.

Mikhail Gorbachev

Perhaps her greatest achievement, and one worthy of the Libran Sun sign, was to end the Cold War.  She first cemented an alliance and friendship with the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, then brokered an entente between him and the newly emerging President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.  She famously said that Gorbachev was a “man she could do business with”.  His Neptune was conjunct her Midheaven, which could be what drew her to him, but his Pluto and Saturn were square to her Sun.  Her intervention really did transform the relationship between the West and the East, but when Gorbachev was removed some of the benefits of the achievement started to slide.

Another overseas ally was Augusto Pinochet of Chile, whose chart comparison reaveals a double whammy of her Venus trine his Neptune and his Neptune trine his Venus.


When she was forced to resign, after a first ballot for the leadership election, followed by disappointing interviews with her cabinet colleagues, Jupiter was square to her natal Saturn/Ascendant.  At the time of Geoffrey Howe’s devastating resignation speech a couple of weeks earlier, Pluto was trine his Pluto, a moment of his empowerment for which he had waited a long time.


She once humorously declared that Tony Blair, or New Labour, was her legacy.  And she certainly did transform society, but that can be good or bad depending on who you are or what you believe in.  Owen Jones in his book “Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class” (2011) states:

“At the root of the demonization of working-class people is the legacy of a very British class war. Margaret Thatcher’s assumption of power  in 1979 marked the beginning of an all-out assault on the pillars of  working-class Britain.  Its institutions, like trade unions and  council housing, were dismantled;  its industries, from manufacturing  to mining, were trashed; its communities were, in some cases, shattered, never to recover; and its values, like solidarity and collective aspiration, were swept away in favour of rugged individualism.”

But that is no reason to dance on her grave, or anyone’s.  It is a sad reflection when society is ruled by hatred.  I hope we do better in the future, now that we can see her “reign” in black and white.

Further Reading: