Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Kesteven, leader of the Conservative Party in 1975–1990 and Prime Minister in 1979–1990, passed away on 8 April 2013. She is one of the most successful and respected British politicians of all times and the only one which has given a name to a political idea, “Thatcherism”: the determined and relentless pursuit and defence of individual freedom and the creation of opportunities to move from poverty to affluence. It is widely believed that Lady Thatcher did not only change British politics significantly, but also that she and Ronald Reagan, the US President in 1981–9, with their firmness and their foresight, led the Western powers to a complete victory in the Cold War. The Association of Young Independents in Iceland, SUS, holds a meeting about Lady Thatcher, her political heritage and present relevance, on her birthday, Sunday 13 October 2013, in meeting room N-132 in Askja, the Natural Sciences House of the University of Iceland, 17–18. There, the British writer and commentator John O’Sullivan talks about “The Real Iron Lady”. A glimpse will be shown from the recent controversial film on Thatcher, The Iron Lady, where Meryl Streep plays the Prime Minister, and from documentaries about her. Ms. Hanna Birna Kristjansdottir, Minister of the Interior and Vice-Chairman of the Independence Party, chairs the meeting. It will be followed by a reception on the premises, 18–19.
Born in 1942, John O’Sullivan was educated at the University of London. He stood for the Conservative Party in the 1970 elections and was in the 1980s an adviser to Mrs. Thatcher, remaining close to her after her retirement and helping her to write her memoirs in two volumes. He was later the editor of the conservative American magazine National Review, established by the well-known writer William Buckley. O’Sullivan is now editor of Radio Free Europe in Prague. Funded by the American Congress, this radio station played a crucial role in the Cold War by transmitting reliable information and comments to the oppressed nations of Central and Eastern Europe. In 2006, O’Sullivan—a practising catholic—published the book The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister, arguing that with Mrs. Thatcher and President Reagan, Pope John Paul II contributed to the victory of the West in the Cold War.
RNH supports and promotes this event as a part of the joint RNH-AECR project on “Europe, Iceland and the Future of Capitalism”. Lady Thatcher was the protector of AECR. The next event in the project will be an international conference in memory of Professor Arni Vilhjalmsson, a popular and respected businessman and scholar, Monday 14 October 17–19. The keynote speaker will be an international authority of fisheries policy, Professor Ralph Townsend, who will discuss the logic of ITQs, Individual Transferable Quotas. Professor Ragnar Arnason will argue against resource rent taxes, and Dr. Gunnar Haraldsson, Director of the Economic Research Institute at the University of Iceland, will offer a critical appraisal of the CFP, Common Fisheries Policy, of the EU.