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John Drake

Thatcherism - The Political Debate Thread

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Sorry but it did relate to Thatcher; her government put up interest rates that meant the industry couldn't afford to re-tool to modern machinery. I worked with a bloke who had this problem. He and his partner had purchased a firm and had orders that couldn't be met with the existing machinery. They couldn't get a loan because their building was rented and couldn't be offered as surety. The business closed, costing about twenty people their jobs. Under a Labour administration, they'd have had their guarantee underwritten.

 

I worked at John Fosters Black Dyke Mills in 1975. The firm already had a very big mill but was bullish about its future and decommissioned its mill pond and built two large brick buildings ... spinning shed and warehouse ... on the footprint.

 

Similarly, I dealt with Woolcombers who built a huge boiler to burn scouring sludge to provide heat and steam for their combing plants.

 

At work in the 1970's, I dealt with ICI and Holliday Dyes, both doing well until Thatcher's government got in.

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The first thing I'd like to say is that I am amazed at the anti-Thatcherism amongst people who were born AFTER 1980. In other words those of 33 years or younger. And even more so people 23 years or younger. I don't know if it's because everyone has been watching "This Is England", or that scenes of the miners striking are cool, or perhaps even because of the whole "socialism/communism/anarchism" phase that every politically minded teenager goes through circa 17 years old (and fortunately 90% soon grow out of!), but it does seem to me that a lot of those dancing in the streets where under the age of 25!

 

I'm sorry but I cannot view their opinions with the same strength than those who actually remember 1979 and who are thus 40 years old+ (whether they are pro or anti Thatcherism)

 

For that reason my opinion I don't feel is as valid as someone who actually had the vote in 1979/1983 or 1987! But nevertheless having studied politics I'll give it a go!

 

I think the greatest thing that Thatcher did was uphold and promote the key belief that naturally, human beings are not equal.

 

It is common belief that we are all born equal (hence why racism etc is wrong), but that due to varying factors from creativity, intelligence, ingenuity, ability to connect with others, focus, ability to work hard and compete, leadership etc, as adults we soon diverge so that some individuals become better, and thus superior, than others. This leads humans to compete, and thus for humanity and the nation to develop. We were doing it 5000 years ago over food and resources! And we will continue to do it in 5000 years time over food, resources, and, err, electronic gadgets!!

 

This is something that unfortunately has not been promoted in society (which does exist!) recently. Hard work I feel is increasingly becoming less rewarded, and ideals such as responsibility, competitiveness and "standing on your own two feet" are not being promoted in our schools. Fortunately my parents taught me at an early age that on the whole hard work and developed skills can lead to happiness, wealth, stability and prosperity - but you must be prepared to compete for it!! Because everybody else wants exactly those things too!

 

It was a belief that my Father shared but unfortunately for him he grew up in 60s working class Liverpool. His Dad died when he was very young which can't have helped matters. My Uncle actually had an interview at Cambridge University in the late 1960s but was rejected because he had a Scouse accent, was a Northerner and didn't have a (wealthy) Father.

 

I have been told that Mrs Thatcher's policies destroyed the rigid class boundaries - the idea that ANY man born upper class died upper class, and any man born working class died working class. Fortunately with our country's fantastic education system, libraries, and of course access to the internet (Wikipedia anyone?!), anyone who is prepared to put in the hours of study can become great in our now "knowledge-based" economy. It now doesn't matter whether you were born in Brixton, Cornwall, Glasgow or Castleford - you can now compete with the "Home Counties gentry"!

 

There was even a clip of Alan Sugar on the BBC explaining that Thatcher's policies caused any old geezer who had the intelligence and the 'get up and go' attitude could now make it in the world of business.

 

There seems to be two types of people that are anti-Thatcher. They seem to be a minority (she did win three elections!). One group is those whose jobs were taken away by her (mines, pits etc). From what I have heard these were no longer economically viable industries (which doesn't surprise me! Europe/Japan/USA are built on pharmaceuticals, banking, technology, highly-skilled engineering, services and law - NOT coal and steel!!).

 

What I believe she perhaps should have done is take the old industries away with one hand, and attempt to replace with the other hand. From what I've heard most of the "new" wealth and industries that were created ended up in London, whereas I think it would have been better if they were spread out across Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow etc. But that probably would have gone against the free-market.

 

The second group are simply people who cannot compete. They blame this on "the rich", or "the state", and thus believe in socialism, but the bottom line is that for whatever reason they cannot compete. When aimed at Thatcher I have a sneeking suspicion that a lot of these people are under the age of 25! Their skills, personality or knowledge is just not desirable enough for them to earn a large wage/do the job that will make them happy/become employed. I feel sorry for these people but they cannot blame their circumstances on other people or on the state.

 

As a whole though, as one nation, it's clear from statistics that we went dangerously close to being a nation of "Tier 2" stagnation, to a nation of "Tier 1" prosperity! And even now in 2013 after Major, Blair, and Brown we are STILL a tier 1 nation. The British people still have the opportunity to live extremely happy and fulfilling lives!

 

I have always had respect for anyone who manages to get into that elite group of being Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but...

 

For promoting and staying true to her beliefs, for firing up the British people and the British engine to compete with each other and with other nations, for believing in pure meritocracy in social and economic settings - I tip my hat off to Mrs Thatcher!

 

RIP.

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It was a belief that my Father shared but unfortunately for him he grew up in 60s working class Liverpool. His Dad died when he was very young which can't have helped matters. My Uncle actually had an interview at Cambridge University in the late 1960s but was rejected because he had a Scouse accent, was a Northerner and didn't have a (wealthy) Father.

 

I tip my hat off to Mrs Thatcher!

 

RIP.

 

 

Are your Dad and Uncle tipping their hats to her as well?

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I think your posts sum up what thatcher was about. You personally benefited in a very small financial way from her policies therefore her dogma was a good one.

Just forget about everyone else in society.

:lol:   But in terms of the poll tax, there were thousands like me: single people and small family units who had had to pay the same rates as families with numerous working people living within the family.  So those of us who benefited from the poll tax were simply a group of people who had, for years, been unfairly treated.  If I live alone now I can get a reduction on my local tax and that is a hangover from the poll tax principle: that it is unfair for one person to pay the same as a group of people when that single person is not using the services to the same degree as the group of people. 

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It wasn't just the coal industry that got Thatchered; she destroyed the UK's textile and steel industries as well.

We still have a textile industry and a steel industry.  At the time she was elected though both had pretty much priced themselves out of a market and of course China and India have undermined us in textiles (and China in steel) for over a decade.  Thatcher didn't destroy anything.  She simply did what others had been to weak to do and made us face the reality that our nationalised industries were uncompetitive, badly managed and losing money - taxpayers' money - hand over fist.  Our present textile and steel industries are those which survived by being competitive and offering quality product.  Most of our textiles are high end, just as our remaining car industry is high end.  We are very good at producing high end stuff.  But other countries now excel at producing mass market stuff as cheaply as people in this country want it.

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Sorry but it did relate to Thatcher; her government put up interest rates that meant the industry couldn't afford to re-tool to modern machinery. I worked with a bloke who had this problem. He and his partner had purchased a firm and had orders that couldn't be met with the existing machinery. They couldn't get a loan because their building was rented and couldn't be offered as surety. The business closed, costing about twenty people their jobs. Under a Labour administration, they'd have had their guarantee underwritten.

 

I worked at John Fosters Black Dyke Mills in 1975. The firm already had a very big mill but was bullish about its future and decommissioned its mill pond and built two large brick buildings ... spinning shed and warehouse ... on the footprint.

 

Similarly, I dealt with Woolcombers who built a huge boiler to burn scouring sludge to provide heat and steam for their combing plants.

 

At work in the 1970's, I dealt with ICI and Holliday Dyes, both doing well until Thatcher's government got in.

 

 

Sorry but it did relate to Thatcher; her government put up interest rates that meant the industry couldn't afford to re-tool to modern machinery. I worked with a bloke who had this problem. He and his partner had purchased a firm and had orders that couldn't be met with the existing machinery. They couldn't get a loan because their building was rented and couldn't be offered as surety. The business closed, costing about twenty people their jobs. Under a Labour administration, they'd have had their guarantee underwritten.

 

I worked at John Fosters Black Dyke Mills in 1975. The firm already had a very big mill but was bullish about its future and decommissioned its mill pond and built two large brick buildings ... spinning shed and warehouse ... on the footprint.

 

Similarly, I dealt with Woolcombers who built a huge boiler to burn scouring sludge to provide heat and steam for their combing plants.

 

At work in the 1970's, I dealt with ICI and Holliday Dyes, both doing well until Thatcher's government got in.

and lots weren't doing well, check any history of the decline of the UK textile industry in Bradford or anywhere in the UK. This was happening for at least 20 years before Thatcher.

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Most of our textiles are high end, just as our remaining car industry is high end.  We are very good at producing high end stuff.  But other countries now excel at producing mass market stuff as cheaply as people in this country want it.

 

More fool us; by allowing the endless import of cheap foreign textiles we are condoning child labour and sweatshop working. We can't stop these practises, but we can tax them.

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:lol:   But in terms of the poll tax, there were thousands like me: single people and small family units who had had to pay the same rates as families with numerous working people living within the family.  So those of us who benefited from the poll tax were simply a group of people who had, for years, been unfairly treated.  If I live alone now I can get a reduction on my local tax and that is a hangover from the poll tax principle: that it is unfair for one person to pay the same as a group of people when that single person is not using the services to the same degree as the group of people. 

and there were millions who weren't people on low incoms struggling o bring up families.

Again congratulations on benefitting from the poll tax.

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We still have a ...  a steel industry.  Our present ...  steel industries are those which survived by being competitive and offering quality product. ...  We are very good at producing high end stuff.  But other countries now excel at producing mass market stuff as cheaply as people in this country want it.

 

I don't think you are fully aware of what happened to the UK steel industry; it was sold off to Corus (Dutch) and Tata (Indian). Both just wanted the order book.

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We still have a textile industry and a steel industry.  At the time she was elected though both had pretty much priced themselves out of a market and of course China and India have undermined us in textiles (and China in steel) for over a decade.  Thatcher didn't destroy anything.  She simply did what others had been to weak to do and made us face the reality that our nationalised industries were uncompetitive, badly managed and losing money - taxpayers' money - hand over fist.  Our present textile and steel industries are those which survived by being competitive and offering quality product.  Most of our textiles are high end, just as our remaining car industry is high end.  We are very good at producing high end stuff.  But other countries now excel at producing mass market stuff as cheaply as people in this country want it.

yet again, and I wonder for how many more times few dispute that much of the UK's heavy industry was obsolete. The issue surrounds how the issue was addressed.

It wasn't just the nationalised industris that were uncompetitive.

 

presumably you are against Taxpayers' money being used to subsidise the agriculture industry, orinded on unemploymet benefits.

 

The UK car industry produces vehicles right across the market spectrum-check out what the higly succesful  Nissan plant in Sunderland makes for instance, or honda in Derby for another example.

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More fool us; by allowing the endless import of cheap foreign textiles we are condoning child labour and sweatshop working. We can't stop these practises, but we can tax them.

I agree.  Unfortunately it is the people of the UK who have destroyed our textile industry by doing just as you suggest.

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I don't think you are fully aware of what happened to the UK steel industry; it was sold off to Corus (Dutch) and Tata (Indian). Both just wanted the order book.

I am aware of that yes.  But that is not Thatcher destroying the steel industry. 

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Not sure why you've picked MIRAS, to be honest. Someone will probably correct me, but I thought there was tax relief on the interest paid on mortgages before MIRAS. All it did was alter the way it was paid - 'at source'. It was popular among almost everyone trying to buy a house.

 

Was this down to Thatcherism, or just the changing nature of global industry, for which we were unprepared.

 

Your third point is interesting. Thatcherism could not have happened if the Labour party had been able to offer a credible alternative.

 

What is most disappointing is that we have still not dealt with the fallout of Thatcherism in an effective way. We need new skills, new opportunities, a new outlook. I'm beggared if I know how to achieve that, though.

 

You are correct regarding MIRAS. Endowment mortgages became 'popular' when MIRAS was altered. In the end though it didn't work out.

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yet again, and I wonder for how many more times few dispute that much of the UK's heavy industry was obsolete. The issue surrounds how the issue was addressed.

It wasn't just the nationalised industris that were uncompetitive.

 

presumably you are against Taxpayers' money being used to subsidise the agriculture industry, orinded on unemploymet benefits.

 

The UK car industry produces vehicles right across the market spectrum-check out what the higly succesful  Nissan plant in Sunderland makes for instance, or honda in Derby for another example.

I know about the car industry.  The Nissan plant in Sunderland, for instance, was one of the first examples of inward investment attracted by Thatcher following on from the battles with the unions.  However, Britain did used to make British cars.  The nationalised company was British Leyland (and hopelessly inadequate it was too).  But there were others (all pretty much hopelessly inadequate in the end).

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Sorry but it did relate to Thatcher; her government put up interest rates that meant the industry couldn't afford to re-tool to modern machinery. I worked with a bloke who had this problem. He and his partner had purchased a firm and had orders that couldn't be met with the existing machinery. They couldn't get a loan because their building was rented and couldn't be offered as surety. The business closed, costing about twenty people their jobs. Under a Labour administration, they'd have had their guarantee underwritten.

I worked at John Fosters Black Dyke Mills in 1975. The firm already had a very big mill but was bullish about its future and decommissioned its mill pond and built two large brick buildings ... spinning shed and warehouse ... on the footprint.

Similarly, I dealt with Woolcombers who built a huge boiler to burn scouring sludge to provide heat and steam for their combing plants.

At work in the 1970's, I dealt with ICI and Holliday Dyes, both doing well until Thatcher's government got in.

Interesting point

For all those people who claim industry back then was uncompetitive poorly run etc, compare that to the recent issues with our financial sector.

Why is it right to bail out one poorly managed sector but allow another sector to die out?

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The nationalised company was British Leyland (and hopelessly inadequate it was too). But there were others (all pretty much hopelessly inadequate in the end).

I presume you are alluding to RBS, Northern Rock and HBOS. All hopelessly inadequate in the end and market forces were left to sort it all out - oh hang on a minute

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I know about the car industry.  The Nissan plant in Sunderland, for instance, was one of the first examples of inward investment attracted by Thatcher following on from the battles with the unions.  However, Britain did used to make British cars.  The nationalised company was British Leyland (and hopelessly inadequate it was too).  But there were others (all pretty much hopelessly inadequate in the end).

I think you'll find that;

several car companies spent some time undder state ownership

including Chrysler and rolls royce.

 

They were nationalised because under their various guises: rootes group(chrysler), bmc,blmc, Austin Rover and finally Rover they were a basket case but considered to be strategically important.

 

the battles were between unions and management . I don't thinkl such turkeys as the autin allegro, austin princess, morris marina etc etc etc were designed by trade unions. The problem with industrial relations in British manufacturing industry centred around obsolete prctices on both sides. Union membership at plces such as Nissan is compulsory, there is a closed shop-essential in keeping communications open and constent -both ways.

 

You said that the UK car industry concntrates on high end products. It doesn't and I gave you an answer why it wasn't, next you say you know about Nissan. I find tis a little odd.

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http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-the-thatcher-myths/13236

The Thatcher era certainly saw de-industrialisation, but that process began before she became prime minister and accelerated under Blair and Brown.

Manufacturing output fell from 25 per cent of the economy in 1980 to 23 per cent in 1990.

 

The decline was much faster under Labour – manufacturing fell from 17 per cent of the economy to just 11 per cent between 2000 and 2010.

 

Most advanced economies have experienced a similar decline in manufacturing as a share of GDP.

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I think you'll find that;

several car companies spent some time undder state ownership

including Chrysler and rolls royce.

 

They were nationalised because under their various guises: rootes group(chrysler), bmc,blmc, Austin Rover and finally Rover they were a basket case but considered to be strategically important.

 

the battles were between unions and management . I don't thinkl such turkeys as the autin allegro, austin princess, morris marina etc etc etc were designed by trade unions. The problem with industrial relations in British manufacturing industry centred around obsolete prctices on both sides. Union membership at plces such as Nissan is compulsory, there is a closed shop-essential in keeping communications open and constent -both ways.

 

You said that the UK car industry concntrates on high end products. It doesn't and I gave you an answer why it wasn't, next you say you know about Nissan. I find tis a little odd.

I said that the British car industry now is high end.  You know what I wrote but you choose to be obtuse.  Why?  There is no need for it.

 

Nissan is a Japanese company which happens to produce cars in Britain (among other places).  However, I was labouring under an error as I thought Aston Martin was still a British company but it appears not.  I knew that Bentley and Rolls Royce had gone to the Germans but I didn't realise that Aston Martin had been sold to Ford way back in 1994.  We do produce our own Formula 1 cars still so I suppose that is something.

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Interesting point

For all those people who claim industry back then was uncompetitive poorly run etc, compare that to the recent issues with our financial sector.

Why is it right to bail out one poorly managed sector but allow another sector to die out?

Presumably what action is or is not taken towards a particular sector will be a decision based upon how important that sector is to the country's economy?  The scrappage system under Labour played a big part in getting the car sales market back on track although it has taken until very recently for the industry to record truly healthy sales again.

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This is the big myth.  The miners' union did not destroy the Heath government.  Heath confronted the miners.  He brought in the three day week and then took what he thought was the sure fire opportunity of five more years by calling an election. ( Remember Francis Maud last year trying to stir up a strike with the fuel delivery drivers? For the Tory political advantage? ) Well Heath gambled the people would put him back in and he lost.

  However, she came to power at a time when the unions were strong enough to depose a government (as they effectively did with Ted Heath's government).  

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Interesting point

For all those people who claim industry back then was uncompetitive poorly run etc, compare that to the recent issues with our financial sector.

Why is it right to bail out one poorly managed sector but allow another sector to die out?

Because with the financial sector it's just some people's jobs but the entire economy at stake.

 

Happened in Germany around 1930, everybody's savings were wiped out, nobody put money in a bank after that, no banks had any cash to loan out.

 

You know what happened next.

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Not in Bradford, it wasn't. Still employed thousands when she came to power.

I'd agree that the textile industry was not exactly thriving, but in Morley where I live there were still one or two mills working.  When she was in power spokesmen for the Tories always dated their successes from 1982 - 3 years after the 1979 election. Because their pig-headed policies before then had destroyed British industries that admitedly were not in the best of shape.  Doubling VAT, high interest rates and an overvalued pound killed them.  Thatcher believed that  Britain earning its living from financial services was preferable to "smokestack" industries. Look where it's got us.

BTW another reason she should go to hell was she was one of the inventors of the disgusting soft ice cream. :dry:

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This is the big myth.  The miners' union did not destroy the Heath government.  Heath confronted the miners.  He brought in the three day week and then took what he thought was the sure fire opportunity of five more years by calling an election. ( Remember Francis Maud last year trying to stir up a strike with the fuel delivery drivers? For the Tory political advantage? ) Well Heath gambled the people would put him back in and he lost.

It isn't a myth.  There is nothing mythical about the power held by the unions in the 1970s. 

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I know about the car industry.  The Nissan plant in Sunderland, for instance, was one of the first examples of inward investment attracted by Thatcher following on from the battles with the unions.  However, Britain did used to make British cars.  The nationalised company was British Leyland (and hopelessly inadequate it was too).  But there were others (all pretty much hopelessly inadequate in the end).

Good, and correct, use of "inward investment". Nissan opened a factory in Sunderland where there wasn't one before. That is inward investment.

Usually "inward investment" in the mouth of a Tory means "we sold something important to the Japanese and we now have no control over it"

Inward investment of the Tory kind is the reason that something as strategically important to the UK as our electricity generation and distribution is now mostly owned by the French government.

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