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Is Thatcherite ideology working?

thatcher-flagIn a general election a great number of things will be said, but only a few or even one really matters and that will determine who wins. This 2015 election is in effect a referendum on Thatcherite ideology. Here is what Labour should be saying, but isn’t.

Point 1: For 35 years since 1980 the Thatcherites, which includes for this purpose Brown and Blair, have been pursuing major cuts in corporation tax on the grounds that that would stimulate the economy, produce a surge of investment, unleash higher wage jobs, and thus increase government tax revenues to pay down the deficit. The opposite has happened: corporation tax has been cut from 52% in 1980 to 21% today, and the proportion of government revenues generated by corporation tax has almost halved to just over 5%. But none of the benefits promised have materialised, so why do we not reverse this failed policy?

Point 2: The same Thatcherite ideology – suppress wages, weaken trade unions, and increase corporate power – has been used to improve competitiveness and lay the foundations for growth – but has had the opposite effect. Company profits have risen over the same period by a whopping 6% of GDP (worth over £90bn), while wages have dropped like a stone (a corresponding loss of £90bn), yet competitiveness has got worse (there will be a deficit on UK traded goods this year of more than £110bn) and the growth lost between 2010-14 will never be recovered. Why keep on with this policy?

Point 3: Worse, Thatcherite ideology has taken the responsibility to pay decent wages away from employers and put the duty on to taxpayers. The number of people in the UK living in poverty (normally defined as living on incomes below 60% of the median wage) has actually nearly doubled from 7.1 million in 1978 to a shocking 13.5 million today. In order for this extra 6.5 million people to buy food and pay rent, the State has been forced to triple spending on housing benefits and tax credits in order to free up employers to invest, create new jobs and grow the economy. But again the opposite has happened.

Point 4: The total bill for additional income support and reduced corporation taxes compared with the 1980s now runs at about 4% of GDP per year (a cool £60bn, or more than half the deficit). The distorting effects of this are colossal.

Point 5: Thatcherite ideology also favours low taxes by another route – the use of transfer taxes by the multi-nationals and the use of tax havens by the hyper-rich, on the grounds that freeing up capital to roam wherever it will should maximize wealth creation. It hasn’t, except for the .01% and the .001% richest, but what it has produced is the biggest financial crash for a century from which we may not escape (under current policies) for at least 20 years. Who wants to keep such a disastrous ideology? Why doesn’t the Labour party shout this from the rooftops?


  1. John reid says:

    Part 2 unions lack of power has been due to their own actions, illegal strikes, and the loss of public sympathy

    Part 3′ self made employers who rely on a profit, can make a more efficient job, of their trade and the work they create can ultimately effect how much their pay staff.

    Part 5′ lower tax,and VAT on products can let people decide what they want to spend more of their money on

    Maybe the 2015 election labour will win,and it maybe on a non Thatcherite manifesto,the first time a non thatcherite has won a election in 41 years, or it could be a case of the Tories form another coalition,and it’ll be a case of a thatcherite government like the 8 that preceded it,

  2. Rod says:

    John Reid: “Maybe … labour will win, and … maybe on a non Thatcherite manifesto”

    There’s no chance of Labour offering a non-Thatcherite manifesto.

    As Ann Pettifor pointed out a few days ago: Miliband is committed to “an economic goal set by Labour’s opposition”.

    Of course, some who write for this blog and probably many who read it will want feel that by supporting the LP they are opposing the Tories. But when it comes to policy that is an illusion. This has been pointed by Ann and others on numerous occasions.


    You may be heartened by this link, and start to think that anyone who believes that Miliband believes that free markets produce egalitarian outcomes had been proven wrong!!!

    Read more:

    1. Robert says:

      That’s the problem he is all over the place, one minute he is old labour the next new labour the Next Thatcherite, he’s trying to be something to everyone.

      The fact is the deceit is labour problem, it backs the Tories it has to be ended, maybe he will take longer which means the people of this country will have to suffer longer.

      Labour to day does not know what it is, where it stands or what it stands for, and Miliband has to be the weakest leader of any party for a generation.

  4. swatantra says:

    Thatcherism is the worst ideology to afflict the Nation because it polarised the nation into haves and have nots, and made the working class greedy for more. They lost their band of brothers,; Thatcherism was all about divide and rule putting Unions against the workers of Britain. And in the end they destroyed each other. The real villan however was Reagan and because Thatcher worshipped Reagan she imported that ideology into Britain a country of warm beer and old maids cycling around village ponds.

    1. John reid says:

      Thatcerism was Greed, swatantra, what do you think unions in the winter of discontent striking for pay rises wanted, and they were preventing other workers going about their every day,jobs, to get those pay rises,isn’t that about taking on other workers
      Divide and rule,Rule? She won elections and the SDP/Ilberals backed her Union policies by democratising union strike ballots, and who was divided, those not striking, surely those who voted not to strike were divided, by unconvincing Union Bosses . Either not explaining why their members should strike ,or not having a decent argument,
      Unions versus non Unions didnt destroy each other,they destroyed themselves

      The haves and the have nots, o.k that’s true and a bad side effect. But had there been decent house building. In the mid 60’s and selling council homes as early as then, then the money could have been found to build them, had unions democratised themselves in 1969, then she wouldn’t have used her ability to control them with the fear of unemployment, industry would have fell , had other governments been in from McMillan keeping them in check to Wilson /Callaghan bank rolling loss making industries with borrowed money,an end to loss making jobs, could have been managed quicker .and new jobs created preventing unemployment misery. If militantiem, hadnt bankrupted us, meaning it took years to control the ecenomic situation to see new jobs appear.

      1. Robert says:

        Dear god what a totally load of utter drivel you really do need to head for the progress site except even they know your so in love with Blair it makes them shamed .

        Leopard cannot change it spots you have tried to get off the Blair band wagon but your hate of socialist and socialism is easy to see.

        1. John reid says:

          You don’t explain ,why you think it’s drivel,
          I don’t hate socialism, but the clue in the defenition of the Labour Party’s slogans was democratic socialism,

          There’s nothing socialist about bankrupting the country, trying to Gang on to industries that the Country didn’t want, bankrupting the country, would have lead to further unemployment, of the state sector, and the end to the NHS, would that have been socialist,

          1. Robert says:

            John you have an obvious hate of the labour party, your love of Blair and Progress is well known, so I really take most of your drivel as nothing more then a bloke who misses his lover

          2. John reid says:

            How can I hate. A party I’ve been a me er of for 28 years raised tens of thousands of pounds for, increased labours vote in every election I’ve organised,and since joining in May 1987 we were trying to increase our vote nationally from 8.4 M, 27% , which we have done,
            If you recall the Tories have t won an election in 23 years,

            Can’t say I’ve ever read Progress,but ive been telling you that for 5 years,and you still haven’t answered why you think what I put was drivel.

      2. James Martin says:

        ‘Greedy workers’ JR? It makes you wonder why you think being in the Party formed by trade unions who were fighting for the legal right to strike to get more wages (Taff Vale et al) is a good thing. Shouldn’t you have ran off with all the other anti-union traitors to the SDP/Lib-Dims, after all you have the right politics. As for the greed part, yes, weren’t all those appallingly low paid workers greedy, fighting for a living wage while the rich had to fight for nothing while the Labour government did their job for them with unjust wage restraint on the poor that allowed them to get ever richer at our expense. It’s always the same with thicko right-wingers isn’t it, occasionally condemn the worst excesses of capitalism while at the same time making sure it’s victims are castigated whenever they dare to fight back…

        1. John reid says:

          I was pointing out that ,saying thatcherite greed for a decent wage was no bad thing, same as unions fighting for a decent wage wasnt bad either

        2. John reid says:

          You suggest I should have ran off to the SDP, then you say the SDP were traitors, how can you suggest someone leave, then once they’ve left call it treachery, surely its you encouraging people to leave is the real treachery

    2. Robert says:

      You and John should meet up in a pub have a room together and have children your both bloody new labour.,

      1. swatantra says:

        Being Labour is like being part of an extended family; and sometimes you fall out, but you’re still ‘family’. I’ve never really believed there was a separate Party called ‘New Labour’. There’s always only been one Party for me and that is ‘Labour’.

        1. Robert says:

          NO it’s not that’s your idea because your not labour mate, your just like Blair you came to labour in the hope of gaining something out of it you stood as an MP and lost, thank god.

          I would say your what is wrong with labour with John.

          1. John reid says:

            I recall Swatantra stood in q completely unwinnable seat, I could point out that you’re gaining something out of your anti labour dialect, because you joined labour were part of a group that made it unacceptable,and then watched the right of the party gain back control and win,and after being in power for 13 years , we let the Tories nearly win, but your criticism of us is we still did better last time then you did in 1983′ and your bitterness at the sort of Labour Party you wanted being unelectable , means you’ve nothing better to do, than sneer because our wing of the party isn’t as popular as it use to be,

            Blair may have joined labour and used charm to rise to the top quick,he’s now a millionaire, but he did something your wing of the party never could he won

  5. Rod says:

    swatantra: “There’s always only been one Party for me”

    Your loyalty has only been rewarded with contempt from those at the top. You are denied any say on policy.

    No surprise that, as a politcal party, Labour is so hollowed-out members couldn’t even manage a token protest when the conference vote in favour of taking the Royal Mail back into public ownerership was slapped down by the elite.

    No doubt some will continue to meekly pay their subs and expect nothing in return or chase the receding dream of democratic reform. But that number is shrinking. As is Labour’s core vote.

    1. John reid says:

      Labour score vote, the 8.4m who voted Kabour in 1983 certainly in Essex were voting knowing full well that manifesto would never be introduced, as Labour has. Done better at every election since the 1983 one, it’s core vote has been more than the 27% we got in 1983,

      But labours collapse in vote isn’t due to leadership, taking members for granted, there’s never been more than 500,000 members, there never been less than 8.4 m, voters

      1. Rod says:

        Kinnock received more votes in ’92 than Blair did in 2001.

        And Labour’s vote declined at every election subsequent to ’97.

        1. Robert says:

          Your wasting your time with both these two.

          1. John reid says:

            And labours vote declined on every election, with one exception between 1951-1983, by 5.6 million

  6. P Spence says:

    The answer: 1. Capital controls; 2 Repeal anti TU laws; 3. Nationalisation of the banks and utility companies ( end tollgate capitalism); 4. Scrap VAT ( it’s regressive and will give a massive sudden boost); 5. Increase income tax to 75% >100k incomes ( we are in an economic emergency after all); rent controls and convert shorthold tenancies into secure tenancies ( why do we tolerate the rentier class; they produce nothing and are parasitical on the working (productive) class).

    1. Robert says:

      That is not going to happen it would be to risky for labour to even think that I suspect5 all we will get with Miliband is basically what the Tories would have done with a hew sweeteners for the working class like get rid of the bed room tax and then we have to wait to see what Miliband will put in it’s place.

      The simple fact is labour has been ripped apart by the right so we will need to wait and see if the people vote for this sort of rubbish party

  7. Ian Z says:

    Surely nobody is still expecting anything worthwhile from the Labour Party?

    You’ll have no right to complain about Labour if the win the next election. If you vote for careerist, neoliberal arseholes ten that’s what you’ll get.

  8. Pete. says:

    I disagree entirely that Blair and Brown were Thatcherites. Thatcher tried very hard to dismantle the NHS and Gordon Brown rebuilt it. What no one seems to take into account is mechanisation. The same amount of product is being built but more and more of it by machines. The same amount of profit is being made but much less to pay in wages, so company owners become very rich.

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