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Wednesday, October 21, 1998 Published at 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK

Talking Point

Are Thatcher's views still relevant?

Baroness Thatcher is causing a stir again this week, demanding that former Chilean dictator, General Pinochet be released and suggesting that single mothers should be sent to religious institutions to learn family values.

In a letter to the Times, she says the General should be released immediately, because he managed to shorten the Falklands war in 1982, saving many British lives as a result.

Real Video: Adam Keelan reports on Baroness Thatcher's comments
She was branded outdated and unhelpful when she told students in the USA that single mothers would be better off at the Salvation Army than on relying on welfare.

The Iron Lady's reputation for upsetting people is pretty well known.

In 1995 she accused the United Nations of "acquiescing in genocide" by failing to deal aggressively with the Serbs in Bosnia.

A year later she was accused of undermining John Major's position on Europe, accusing him of betraying the middle classes by failing to give them an honest or principled debate.

When British Airways unveiled their new global tail fins last year, Baroness Thatcher tied her handkerchief over one of the offending models. "We fly the British flag, not these awful things you are putting on tails," she said.

Is it useful for society to have such an outspoken figure that can provoke debate? Or should we stop listening to her?

Maeve Sherlock from the Council of One Parent Families said "Mrs Thatcher is sounding like someone from another age."

But Tory MP David Wilshire welcomes Lady Thatcher's latest comments. "I'm quite delighted that somebody has spoken out and opened up the debate," he said.

What do you think?

Are Thatcher's views still relevant?

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