Thinking about Peters reply, sorry to Fifer I could have worded my reply better, although comments about class war and saying how maggie destroyed the industry when it was the militants who did that , and how she put the working men in their place,when thats not true either she broke the back of the militants and regained control of the nation, then cut taxes and gave everybody freedom to look after themselves.
Britain was sick man of europe in the 70,s crippled by strikes, the unions were in power, it was not a democracy.
The car industry is a good example. France, Germany, Italy still have their national car companies.
Britain does not.
Britains car industry was nationalised, hijacked by unions , crippled by strikes and work to rules, produced half the cars per head of our european neighbours, lost huge amounts of money , and as a result there was no money to invest in new technology ( which the unions wouldnt allow anyway) or in new models. This was the same story in all our nationalised industries. Thatcher just shot the crippled horses and put them out of their misery, whilst breaking the back of the militants who ran the show. Even the Labour party themselves now accept this.
Peter, I am sorry but the 1970,s was not this utopian socialist dream of the people. The labour party and the unions were one and the same. The country was a closed shop, if you were in the labour party and a union with a job in the governemnt or nationalised sector you were alright jack, otherwise you were screwed.
There was no social justice.
I remember my childhood well. My father was a farmworker, that meant real hard work for the lowest wages that existed. I lived in abject poverty. We had a coal fire to heat the entire house. I cannot begin to tell you the hardship my parents suffered to give me a good education so i would not suffer the same fate.
I do remember the strikes, the powercuts, the food shortages, the rail strikes. How Arthur Scargill could close the entire country by cutting off the nations coal supplies.
I remember the anger of my parents towards the unions. The injustice. Living in abject poverty, my parents paying the highest taxes in europe to fund those state industries and watch scargills thugs on the picket line.
Please do not ever talk to me about poverty and injustice or about how those greedy selfish unions didnt wrecked the nation because I have seen it all, and Maggie Thatcher did more for my mum and dad than any Labour governemnt. The Labour party is the poverty party, you vote for them and you are guaranteed poverty, the suffering the poor in this country will have to endure in the coming years because of the last 15 years of reckless governemnt and immigration is something you have yet to realise.
And also, the highest business taxes in europe meant the highest unemployment in europe and no chance of finding work unless you were willing to sell your soul and join a closed shop. There was no business, no self employment , no chance. It was a time of depression and without hope.
Maggie Thatcher had her faults but she dragged us kicking and screaming into the modern world and for that I admire her.
The lilly livered Tories today are socialists in disguise and useless. The Labour party are the same bunch of thugs as they always were , except they dont beat people up on picket lines these days, they smear and destroy anybody who tells the truth, remember how they murdered Dr kelly, or try to destroy companies who stands in the way like Murdoch, the Mirror group got off scot free and he took the fall.
As one born into privilege, but descended into difficult circumstances, I strongly empathise with your very moving post, Peter - we may have been poles apart, once, but we still have John Lewis in common! - I'm a strong believer in benevolent dictators, like Hadrian, who at least got things done, and was a man of the people, with a conscience when he went wrong!
i would not like a return to the 70s i would like to see union leaders show a bit of common sense as they do not always try the best for their members it bodes better for them the better the deal they get why dont they cut their salaries and perks just to willing and help the country
Peter, I actually agree with much of what you write especially the John Lewis model of which I believe I have also advocated.
But please do not preach me to me about the unions in the 70,s, they destroyed this country with their greed , it was a closed shop. There was no negotiation, and there was no negotiation because there power together with labour was absolute. Their arrogance did for them, they didnt believe any politician would defeat them, but Thatcher did.
Thatcher broke them and thank god she did, this country was on its knees, ridiculed in the rest of the world and dieing.
Labour is no friend of the poor, they claim to be the party of the poor, but their inherent interest is keeping people poor because when people have money they switch allegiance.
Labour is the party of poverty , vote labour and you vote for poverty.
The fact that both you and I lived in such poverty should in itself be evidence that life today is so much better , and it wasnt Labour that turned it around, it was Thatcher. The standards of living rose during theat Tory governemnt between 1979 and 1997. My families life changed much for the better during that period and it was nothing to do with unions and strikes.
Today the tories and labour have similar policies, one party is a party of thugs,the other a party of politicians paralysed with fear of leaving the centre ground.
I have no doubt nobody in the closed shops ever worked the way my father worked. He was written off and left in poverty because he refused to join the closed shop and because there were no other options because the country was a trainwreck left by the unions.
I say Margaret Thatcher was national hero who saved us from tyranny and jackboot union militants and made all our lives better.
Whether you like it or not I suspect you also saw your standard of living rise sharply during her governemnt, and you have more or less confirmed that to me.
Today we dont have strong politicians only weak cynical liars and thats part of the problem.
Peter, I know very well the role unions played in bringing up workers standards for workers and how important they were , but that was very different to what I talked about in the 1970,s. They became completely out of control and power crazed and lost all sense of reality. The unions of the 1970,s left my family in poverty without hope. Thatcher gave my family hope and a chance and that was my point.
I agree with you about how workers should be treated, i agree with you about the bankers , I agree with you about almost everything except the dark ages of the 1970,s.
I dont remember before that because I wasnt born, I was from a poor background, but Unions never did anything for me , just kept me poor. Thatcher was the one who helped the real poor like my parents, and she helped them by giving opportunity and cutting taxes.
I see people complaining today about employers , i was exploited but I wont be exploited again, so I take the option Thatcher gave me and I work for myself. Nobody has to be exploited because its very easy to work for yourself.
Alan Sugar showed on the apprentice just this week how easy it is for somebody to take £150 and turn it into £900 in a couple of days. Its easier though to get a job and complain about exploitation.
We each of us now have the freedom to determine our own destinies and make our own livings ,that was the gift that Thatcher gave us.
In the wake of the Greek election revealing that the pro-bailout ruling parties have lost their majority in the Greek parliament, alarming release from Reuters in Berlin this morning announcing that Klaus Regling, (chief of the European Financial Stability Facility incorporated in 2010 with a mandate to safeguard euro zone financial stability by providing financial assistance to euro area member states), has warned that if Greece exits the euro (which now seems likely), there will be a catastrophic knock-on effect not just for the banks, but Greece itself. He also said it would be completely out of the question that the EFSF's ESM (European Security Mechanism) would recapitalise banks directly, a venture currently being proposed by some individuals to help Spanish banks.
This, coupled with the disappointing performance on Wall Street last Friday, is having a very sobering effect on the market today, from which we are absent, because some Labour idiot decided May Day needed celebrating as well a Whitsun! Can't imagine what tomorrow may bring, to quote Socrates!
The way I see it, (and many associates), is the Euro really cannot survive without a United States of Europe, and it is clear for all to see, with the overwhelming rejection of the security measures entailed, that people no longer have the stomach for this, and most, including us, now crave retaining our own National identities, particularly with the corruption and intrusion that is rife in the so-called European vision. We all have to tighten our belts now, and that means battening down the hatches and safeguarding our own national interests. Dilemma for Britain though, is how to we get back our vital resources which we have sold off to other nations, without regard to our national interest? What has happened post-Thatcher has been a national disgrace, and we the long-suffering electorate have taken it on the chin. Well, I think we can all say with certainty, that it's time for the political charade to stop, if our leaders wish to avoid a state of chaos in our country akin to Greece. So, in answer to your question, yes, I believe the demise of the Euro is coming soon, and we all need to prepare plan B pretty damn quickly, unless we are to avoid tripling unemployment. We have to accept austerity, but I argue, we the Brits need to be in charge!
Did you watch the Meryl Streep portrayal? I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to watch it, but I'm very glad I did...
That says something for the "old crone"
She was always a bit mad, in my view, but she believed in putting Britain first, and anyone whom she perceived as standing in her way, including the Unions, the Argentine navy, Bobby Sands, she felt justified in crushing regardless of the strategy employed. Not surprisingly, she was not universally popular, but at least, as a grocer's daughter, she was no hypocrite to her beliefs that everyone should live according to their means without sponging on others. I admired her as Education Secretary, when she alone stood up for married women teachers' rights who were unfairly discriminated against at the time. With this woman, you always knew what to expect, and she never for once hid behind others' tails - so, "hypocrite", could never be levelled at her.
Response to Peter's post NOT Nigel's - don't understand what I did there!
...and she did huge damage to the Conservative cause in Scotland, as a result. I too am a Scot, proud of it, and happy to remain in the Union! Cameron is right on that one, and he needs to restore bridges there. The Scots know well enough, that with their/our banks in a parlous state, any referendum for them on independence at this time would be absolutely disastrous for the average Scot.