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Power player: Thousands say goodbye to Margaret Thatcher

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 02:43

April 17 - As the funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher takes place Joanna Partridge reports from Canary Wharf - the place which is now a metaphor for her free-market revolution.

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The Iron Lady's final exit. The great and the good from Britain and abroad gathered for Margaret Thatcher's ceremonial funeral service. In a break with protocol, the Queen and her husband were among those attending. Along with several of Britain's first female prime minister's successors. Among the 2,300 mourners were 11 serving prime ministers from around the world. The route was lined by supporters - some protesters - as the procession made its way through central London. SOUNDBITE: Margaret Kittle, Spectator who came from Canada to watch the funeral, saying (English): "I always said I would come to Mrs Thatcher's funeral because I really admired her. She took on the men - Mr Gorbachev, President Reagan - and they got the wall down." SOUNDBITE: Chris Barber, Protester, saying (English): "It is absolutely atrocious that we are paying for this funeral." Thatcher's critics and supporters agree she changed the face of Britain in the 70s and 80s. Her 11 years in power saw confrontations between police and coalminers, and riots over a deeply unpopular poll tax. But she did make Britain more productive, breaking the power of the trade unions, privatising large parts of the economy and dereuglating financial services. PTC: This could be Margaret Thatcher's concrete legacy. The glass skyscrapers of Canary Wharf that now dominate London's skyline - stand on land once occupied by derelict dockside warehouses. The development and Thatcher's free market reforms changed the City of London - turning it into a financial centre to rival New York. Neal Kimberley from Reuters Breaking Views says Thatcher left the country - and the City of London - in a better state than she found it. SOUNDBITE: Neal Kimberley, Reuters Breaking Views, saying (English): "Big bang opened it up. Now what happened afterwards, I don't think you can blame Thatcher for that. The problems we've had since 2006, 2007, 2008 are a function of how people developed the market, or developed the industry, not caused by the reforms that she put into place. Key word as ever, it's divisive." Not everyone agrees with that - though protests were smaller than expected. And Prime Minister David Cameron's answer to those who criticised the estimated £10 million cost of the funeral - the ceremony was "absolutely fitting and right."

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Power player: Thousands say goodbye to Margaret Thatcher

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 02:43