26 Jan


mARGARET tHATCHER photo: Margaret Thatcher MargaretThatcher58.jpgI reckon that we’re all paying for the cruel dominatrix and her politically jaundiced ways, Margaret Thatcher (RIP) and her free-market economy that might have worked, but hasn’t.

The theory (and that’s all it was) expounded at length by the lady when she was in power was based on the illogical notion that an enterprise run for profit was going to be more efficient than the same industry run as a service to the community and on behalf of the community it serves.

I was confounded at the time. But, like a lot of people back then, in the heady days of a Britain on its way to bankruptcy I swallowed it. What we see now, of course, is that the fiscal problems of the nation had very little to do with a telecom giant or a public service gas industry and more to do with other frailties within society, some concerning an excess of Trades Union influence and its ability to unwisely bring the country to a standstill, and some to do the intractable management in key industries.

Somehow, we were led to believe, if an industry is owned by shareholders who expect a dividend every quarter then it will have to pull its socks up and be more efficient or go to the wall. They forgot, of course, that those same industries already had owners – we, the people.

There were two ways they could be made more efficient and produce the promised dividends and they involved reducing the workforce and paying them less (especially the lower echelons with little or no Trades Union power) and charging more for the end product, be it a phone call or gas or electricity.

And to make it all seem so very tempting we were told we could all become shareholders if we wanted to buy shares! Not that the truth, that we all held virtual shares already was explained. Anyway, sales took place and quite a lot of “ordinary” men and women bought shares. After all, they were a bargain and too good to miss!

The vindictive dominatrix probably knew what would happen. The shares would go up in value and the “ordinary” folks would sell theirs for a profit, not having the experience of financiers to hold onto them. And then her chums in the City could buy them and wait for their collection to pay ever bigger dividends.

The thing is, we had a much more divided nation back then. There was upheaval of a most unsavoury kind, some of it carefully sculpted by the aforementioned evil dominatrix, (remember her Poll Tax?) and it’s a mistake to suggest she cured all ills with her stubborn insistence that she was incapable of thinking an inaccurate thought.

Take her big sell-off of council houses. It seemed such a good idea, giving good tenants the right to buy their homes rather then spend their lives pointlessly paying rent for them, but what’s happened since?

A great many of those council houses, bought cheaply by tenants, have been subsequently sold by their excited new owners at a profit, and have spookily swelled the portfolios of private landlords who can charge twice the rent the council would have charged and for a poorer service. And those private landlords have entered the real economy of share-owners where the toil of the working man is unvalued, or, to be kind, undervalued.

And more: stocks of social housing, built up since the Victorian era, have been depleted. A young family in need of a roof over its head often MUST pay what private landlords ask, and often for an ill-maintained hovel.

And look what happened when she was finally and belatedly ousted from power: after a brief Major blip Tony Blair reinvented the Labour party and changed it into a Conservative shadow party and very much continued on the road she had built until he got tired of peace and wanted a war even if he had to lie to get one. But that’s another story.

When I hear it mooted that there are new Thatcherite moves afoot I become worried. I become very worried, because her policies caused more damage to our nation than even she might have expected, though in truth all her policies had one thing in common: they enabled a fiscally upper-class to accumulated ever more of the national cake, and keep it to themselves. Things couldn’t have carried on as they were when she took the reins of power, but there must have been a gentler, kinder way than that which Thatcher provided.

Remember this every time you pay a Utility bill or wonder when you son/daughter will afford a home of their own. And while you’re at it, don’t blame the immigrants: it’s not their fault.

© Peter Rogerson 26.01.15


One Response to “WHERE WE WENT WRONG”

  1. georgiakevin April 7, 2015 at 2:52 am #

    This is spot on and explains so much! Well done again.

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