{Light on the Right} ~ Margaret Thatcher & Ralph Klein

The Right lost two of their more successful leaders in the span of a week.
Ralph Klein and Margaret Thatcher passed away.
It's a common truism that leaders look more attractive the greater the distance viewed; sometimes physically sometimes temporally. It's not uncommon for a leader to be greatly admired outside their borders but despised within them.  Mikhail Gorbachev comes to mind.
So too with Thatcher and Klein.

Klein prided himself on being a 'man of the people' and having the 'common touch'. Where Thatcher was ideological, Klein disdained 'theories'.   He came to national prominence as mayor of Calgary during the Olympics, and basked in the resulting glory.  He was promptly wooed by both Liberals and Tories.  Politically, he was all over the map.  A one-time Liberal Party supporter, he jumped to the Tories when he ran provincially.  Klein was a good student of the polls.  Like Reagan, he charmed with a 'folksy' manner that blunted his conservative policies.  It also helped that Alberta was and remains a hotbed of Conservatism.   He suffered little in railing against the 'left intelligentsia' and battering Liberal Ottawa was a win-win throughout his career.
Klein had the easier time and job compared to Thatcher.
She is probably more revered in America and parts of Canada than in her native England.  She is problematic for many.  As a woman, she wielded power as ruthlessly as any man.  You can look at that statement as  positive or negative depending on your views in the 'gender wars' - women are more 'empathetic'; 'there would be less wars if women ruled'- well, Thatcher proved that theory problematic in deed.  Much of her legacy depends of course on where you fall within the political spectrum.  No leader is more despised among the Left than her.  Perhaps no leader outside of Reagan is so admired by the Right.
She did much the same thing Reagan did in America, only Reagan offered an 'aw- shucks' geniality that charmed even his enemies.   Thatcher? Perhaps Mitterand said it best: "the eyes of Calligula; the mouth of Marilyn Monroe"  She disdained populism.  She took almost a perverse, severe joy in class warfare.
To her credit, she was the first major leader to see Gorbachev as a potential leader from the U.S.S.R. with whom 'we can do business' and she prompted her ideological partner, Reagan, to act accordingly.  Without doubt, an achievement that did transform history. 
In hindsight, after 'business' was conducted, it would leave Britain in an even weaker position than it had enjoyed prior to Gorbachev.  Britain had enjoyed a geopolitical importance before Gorbachev's reign as the Anglo-Saxon 'proxy' for US interests in Europe.  It could be said that Britain 'punched above it's weight' in the geopolitical and economic realm. That all changed largely thanks to Thatcher.
Gorbachev's reforms led to the eventual collapse of the Berlin Wall and with it the collapse of  Britain's special status.  By the time the dust had settled, Thatcher was reduced to staring in the face of German unification - 'it's not fair; you lost the wars!' she spluttered in rage at Helmut Kohl- and with this the eclipse of British clout.  This colored her views on Europe. She was antagonistic. Most observers agree, Britain has suffered for not being at the table while the fate of Europe was being decided.  She is also the leader who deemed Nelson Mandela and the ANC "terrorists"and was intractable in bringing sanctions to bear on the rogue South African regime.  She excused Auguste Pinochet, the right-wing mass murderer from Chile, arguing it was inhumane to try a feeble and infirm man for War Crimes, only to have Pinochet leave his wheelchair on the tarmac and walk down the red carpet upon his return home.
Did she matter? undoubtedly.  Not many leaders can capture the imagination like she did.  A movie was made with Meryl Streep in the starring role.  That doesn't happen to every politician.

I dug into the vault and have posted these cartoons I did many years ago.

They were done in pen and ink early in my career when most illustration work was black-and-white and a good pen and ink style was needed.  I'm working my way through Ronald Searle, Ralph Steadman, Gerald Scarfe, and Georg Grosz at this time.  The Ralph Klein  was drawn using a Bamboo Reed Pen which I think I had read about in Paul Hogarth's book on Creative Ink Drawings.  Dip Pen nibs and toothbrushes dipped in ink were used for the spattered drawings of Thatcher. 


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