Lady Margaret Thatcher picked up a few things during her stay in Utah - an honorary doctorate, a brief education about the LDS Church and the state's history, and an only half-joking offer of support if she should decide to run for the U.S. presidency.
Utahns welcomed Lady Thatcher as one of their own during her weeklong stay to promote business ventures between the state and Britain, where she served as prime minister for 11 years and leader of the Conservative Party.It was refreshing to hear the eloquent Iron Lady, who not so long ago was the most powerful woman in the world, underscore the importance of such traditionally Utah values as individual initiative, the rule of law and the importance of stable, two-parent families.
As Lady Thatcher finished her address at Brigham Young University, LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley thanked her for visiting the state and the BYU campus and - with tongue in cheek - assured her there are many who would like to see her as a candidate for president in this country.
Despite the little matter of British citizenship, it appeared from the reaction of the crowd that President Hinckley's joking remark may have had more than a kernel of truth.
Lady Thatcher, a sophisticated and genteel woman and legendary politician in a nation that takes its politics extremely seriously, extolled the virtues of hard work, faith and leadership and urged Utahns and all Americans to be vigilant in maintaining moral principles and a love of liberty.
Utahns obviously have much in common with the former prime minister. Her opinions and knowledge about world issues - as well as her wit - earned applause during appearances in the Salt Lake and Provo areas. Often she expressed traditional conservative viewpoints with which many Utahns agree.
We can only hope Lady Thatcher makes a return visit soon. And if her name were ever to appear on a November ballot, well . . .