What Labour can learn from the Thatcherites

6391840805_37db042a8d_mThatcherism wasn’t always as popular as it is today. For David Cameron to be able to introduce the market so heavily into the NHS, universities, even schools, to privatise the Queen’s head, as Dennis Skinner described the Royal Mail sell-off, shows the strength of right-wing politics in Britain. For Cameron to then be re-elected with a majority, and for half of voters to opt either for him or UKIP, a party ostensibly to his right, shows the political consensus remains firmly on enemy terrain. Continue reading

Political Scandal and Indifference

police at orgreaveLet’s look at what you would’ve won. No more privatisations. No market fundamentalism. An extension of trade union rights. A thriving mining industry using the most advanced technology in the world. A joined up approach to finance and industry. A strong labour movement. Communities proud of their history. All under three successive Labour governments, dating from 1987 to 2001. It was a time that saw the 1945 settlement strengthened and deepened. Social democracy renewed was the common sense of the age, so much so that they wrote it into the European Union’s constitution. Britain, by no means a perfect society, was nevertheless more at peace, more at ease. It had earned itself a respite from ugly industrial strife and the attempts to dismantle British industry by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives. Continue reading

Thatcher’s legacy on debt: cut spending, destroy earning capacity

Mrs. Thatcher was once asked: What is Thatcherism? She replied “living within our means”. So what is her legacy in this regard? In the two decades from the mid 1980s private household debt rose to the level of total national income (£1.5 trillion), financial debt following her deregulation of the banks rose to 5 times total national income (a total of £7 trillions), and public debt after the crash of which her policies sowed the seeds will rise to the level of total GDP by 2016. These are the highest levels of indebtedness, living beyond our means, in British peacetime history.

‘Living beyond your means’ also entails earning the money you need to buy what you import in trade with the rest of the world. Continue reading

Stop all the clocks

Stop all the clocks, sell off the telephone,
Feed the starving with a juicy bone,
Silence the unions and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the Tories come.

Let Pinochet circle moaning overhead
With Reagan he scribbles the news: She Is Dead.
Put crepe nooses round the white necks of the ailing,
As her private health dreams left an NHS failing.

She cut my pay, my jobs, my milk and she maxed,
My working week and my local poll tax.
We walked we marched we campaigned with song;
She thought her power would last for ever: she was wrong.

The fights are still wanted now: we call every one;
To pack up the Mail and dismantle the Sun;
Pour away the rich takers and lift up the poor,
On our hope and our future she’ll not close the door.

(after W.H.Auden)

Sketch: Thatcher and the Ministry of Truth

PAUL DAVIES assesses the “rewriting of history” seen in the days since Thatcher’s death

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith only had time for a short break from his work at the Ministry of Truth this lunchtime. He had to get back soon; there was a big job on. The death of the Dear Leader, Margaret Thatcher meant that there was much urgent work to be done.

Winston was a little annoyed by this change to his work plans as he was already so far behind with the Scroungers project. However, he did enjoy his work. He had a way with words and he had been promoted several times due the creative manner with which he could manipulate Newspeak. However, he had to confess that he was finding it difficult to grasp the underlying issues of the Scrounger crusade.

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