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Bloomfield couple recalls life in England after Margaret Thatcher’s death

By: Megan Mattice

The death of Margaret Thatcher brings back different memories for Bloomfield couple, and owners of The Printing Press, Graham and Gillian Chapman.

Prince Edward County may be their new home, but the majority of their lives were lived in London, England.

“We were 16 when Thatcher was first in power, so we saw the first part of our employment under her,” says Graham.

Graham believes Thatcher reshaped almost every aspect of British politics by reviving the economy, reforming outdated institutions, and reinvigorating the nation’s foreign policy.

Thatcher died Monday morning at the age of 87, after suffering a stroke.

Along with Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, Graham remembers Thatcher for playing an important role in successfully ending the Cold War.

Shifting British economic and foreign policy to the right, Thatcher’s governments helped to encourage wider international trends which broadened and deepened during the 1980s and 1990s.

“I think Canada could learn a thing or two,” says Graham.

Accomplishments aside, Graham does vividly remember watching the news as a youngster and seeing the Britain riots protesting the installation of Community Change, more commonly referred to as “poll tax”.

“That was a huge problem for her. It was a huge problem for all of us,” says Graham.

Graham’s wife, Gillian, remembers more of those problems that were centered around Thatcher’s time in office.

“Personally, I didn’t agree with an awful lot of what she did. My husband and I have slightly different memories of the time,” says Gillian.

One of the biggest memories Gillian has of the Thatcher era, was sitting at her work desk crying because she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to pay her mortgage.

Thatcher’s decision to allow council tenants to buy the properties they lived in at a discount “converted thousands of Labour voters into Conservatives”.

On the downside, the scheme depleted the stock of social housing.

“The decisions of her government had a huge impact on us,” says Gillian.

Both agree that Thatcher was “indeed” a formidable leader, but remain on opposite sides of the Iron Lady’s legacy.

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