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How I learnt to pray for Lady Thatcher

12 April 2013


From the Revd John Oliver
Sir, - I was at a national Christian conference in October 1984. Living in east London, and working in youth and community work in inner cities, with strong links with South Yorkshire, I saw and experienced the devastating effect of Lady Thatcher's policies, with there probably unintended but nevertheless awful consequences for many communities and millions of individuals.

We were challenged to pray for our Government, Margaret Thatcher in particular, especially if we disagreed with her policies and practices. I really struggled that night to pray for her - not just to pray "against" her. Eventually, I was praying for her, as our Prime Minister, as a party leader, as a wife and mother, and as one who seemed to have some sense of God's story.

I woke early the next morning to the news of the Brighton bombing, the IRA's attempt to kill her.

Since then, I have always tried to pray for our leaders - especially the ones with whom I really disagree. I entrust Lady Thatcher and ourselves to God's ultimate justice and mercy.

7a Southwood Road
Bournemouth BH6 3QA

From Mr Andrew McLuskey
Sir, - Lady Thatcher was a remarkable woman. Inevitably, her legacy is controversial. No one can deny, however, that she ushered in a new age in Britain. The era of corporatism had clearly run its course. In addition, strikes and excessive union power were threatening to strangle economic life in Britain.

As with any pronounced swing of the pendulum, this one probably went too far. Greed and individualism became disturbingly widespread, and clearly contributed to the crash of 2008. Churchpeople, too, may feel that the lady's forays into theology - such as her "Sermon on the [Edinburgh] Mount" - were somewhat unfortunate.

For once, however, it is surely not a cliché to say that we shall not see her like again.

17 Diamedes Avenue
Staines TW19 7JE

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