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Apr 09, 2013

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To attempt some balance.....

Don't we love the idea that a world-class leader is to be 'strong' 'determined' 'idealogical' 'forthright' and 'singular'.

But the reality is that prime minister Thatcher was a bully, that did not listen to or recognise better advise from cleverer people; was economically incompetent; and whose policies have directly led to the destruction of the UK economy and fragmentation of UK society. Remember Thatcher was the one that said: "we do not need manufacturing industry, we are to be a service economy", and "there is no such thing as society, just individuals".

It was North Sea oil and gas revenues that saved the UK economy and initiated the boom years after the bust of the early 1980's, not Thatcherite policy. It was Thatcher's lack of economic intelligence that, despite public warnings, embarked on policies that led to an over-valued pound stirling that in turn led to uncompetative export conditions for UK products, the collapse of UK manufacturing industry and the loss of so many jobs, skills and communities. Just ask the German's if they thought there was a future in manufacturing?

The 'little-England' obsession for home ownership was another of Thatcher's catastrophic policy failures. Combined with deregulation of the mortgage finance industry, we have seen an explosion in house prices, a nation of personal debit, a reduction of families to virtual slavery to serve unassailable mortgage debts, and the ultimate collapse of the banking sector. And lets look at that banking sector: where is the great Thatcherite ideal of taking responsibility for your actions? Across the western world we have seen the consequences of privatising profits yet nationalising debts. The great banking service sector, the thing that Thatcher deregulated to the point of irresponsibility (in ignorance of the lessons learned after the 1930's crash), the sector that has always been staunchly Conservative and returned so much wealth to the already wealthy, now languishes as a busted industry surviving only because of the trillions of pounds GIVEN to them by public purse and the very society that Thatcher claimed didn't exist.

Hypocrisy doesn't come much fuller than that. So its a travesty to read or hear such a lack of informed debate about prime minister Tatcher's legacy. Instead we find the media conflate political dogma with intelligence and mistake the economic fruits of technological advancement as the legacy of a successful economic policy.

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