Key figures and events of the 20th and 21st century
She was a British stateswoman and politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, and the first woman to have held the office. A Soviet journalist dubbed her the "Iron Lady", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.
On moving into 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives intended to reverse high unemployment and Britain's struggles in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and an ongoing recession. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher's popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and high unemployment, until the 1982 Falklands War and the recovering economy brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her re-election in 1983.
Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987. During this period her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990. After retiring from the Commons in 1992, she was given a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the county of Lincolnshire, which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords. After a series of small strokes in 2002, she was advised to withdraw from public speaking.
He is a British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. Under Blair's leadership, the Party used the phrase "New Labour", to distance it from previous Labour policies and the traditional conception of socialism. Blair declared support for a new conception that he referred to as "socialism", involving politics that recognised individuals as socially interdependent, and advocated social justice, cohesion, equal worth of each citizen, and equal opportunity. Critics of Blair denounced him for having the Labour Party abandon genuine socialism and accepting capitalism. In the first years of the New Labour government, Blair's government introduced the National Minimum Wage Act, Human Rights Act, and Freedom of Information Act.
Blair strongly supported the foreign policy of US President George W. Bush, and ensured that British Armed Forces participated in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and, more controversially, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair has faced strong criticism for his role in the invasion of Iraq, including calls for having him tried for war crimes and waging a war of aggression. Blair was succeeded as the leader of the Labour Party on 24 June 2007, and as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007 by Gordon Brown. He now runs a consultancy business and has set up various foundations in his own name, including the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.