Like a cross between Auntie Joan and my headmistress

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COMMENT: A business community that is simply the best

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As a young child I saw her as a cross between my headmistress and Auntie Joan. She was the lady I didn’t want my mum telling that I’d been a naughty boy!

I’m one of the generation who grew up under Margaret Thatcher and there are many things she did that shaped the life I lead today – the first being to take away my school milk.

There has never been a Prime Minister in this country’s history that divided opinion so much.

‘She saved Britain’ and ‘Our greatest peacetime PM’ were the headlines in some newspapers. Meanwhile the local Sheffield paper led with ‘We can never forgive her’.

My earliest memories are of regular power cuts in 1979, hunting out the candles and thanking our lucky stars we had a coal-fired Aga.

Then 1981 stands out for me with the light and shade of riots and the Royal Wedding.

The early ’80s seemed a dark place here in Britain. But the late ’80s were the boom years, as many of Mrs Thatcher’s policies bore fruit.

We had Yuppies with Filofaxes and Porsches and ‘loadsamoney’ bankers wearing red braces.

Now forgive me for speaking politics, but in my mind we needed a strong leader to get the country out of the mess we found ourselves in.

The unions had become too powerful and our nationalised industry was very flabby. We needed deregulation. We needed to be tough.

I wonder where the UK would be today if it was not for Mrs Thatcher. Bankrupt?

I can certainly understand how the coal mining communities of the north and Wales see her legacy, but for the greater good of the country we had to feel the pain first before the reward.

And what of today? Politics seems very weak to me. We have very corporate, safe party leaders.

No characters, no-one willing to fight the fight. They bicker during PMQs like kids in the playground.

So where is the next Margaret Thatcher? How will we be strong in Europe? Who will tackle today’s issues head-on?

Oh no, not Boris?