All posts tagged: Margaret Thatcher

Iron Ladies and Golden Dreams

Steven Keith It was Margaret Thatcher who as Prime Minister was the principal driving force behind the expansion of the European Union. It was she who advocated the broadening of the physical, philosophical, financial and spiritual scope of the European Community as it was then known, to include the eastern European and Baltic, former Warsaw Pact states. Her nemesis at that time was Jaques Delors, a bureaucrat and a Frenchman. He of course (being that he had risen to the appointed post of a Commissioner) came from the Brussels mindset that was then and remains to this day of the same view, that being, that Brussels, Berlin and Paris run the show between them. The physical structures of the EU project in Brussels, Belgium being underpinned by the financial and philosophical capacities of Germany and France. Thatcher attempted to weaken that triumvirate by expanding the number of nations and taking advantage of the fact that those countries were existing in their post-Soviet incarnation, that being, in a state of virtual financial anarchy, masquerading as liberalism. …

Leavings

Tony Benn used to say that he grew more radical as he got older. As in many things, Benn was unusual. People are generally apt to grow more reactionary as they get older. This is particularly true of MPs of all persuasions. For all its timid and marginal reforms of itself, the Palace of Westminster is still more like a traditional gentlemen’s club than any other institution. MPs are easily lulled by the comforts and the rhythms of the House.

Neoliberalism and its Discontents

Frank Lee Pure economics is not a theory of real-world economics, of actually-existing capitalism, but of an imaginary capitalism.” Samir Amin, The Liberal Virus (2004) According to orthodox economic trade theory, free movement of labour, capital and commodities, will result in flows into the most optimal investment and growth areas. In doing so this process will be seen to maximise social welfare in terms of growth of income and output. At the level of theory this may seem disarmingly plausible; in practise, however, the theory begs a number of key questions and is not necessarily always the case. Like much orthodox economic theory, the free-trade paradigm is a one-size fits all prescriptive model; always and everywhere it is thought to be the policy of choice. Free-up the markets and they will deliver the goods. This is, to say the least, a questionable view. The quasi-religious belief in the efficacy of free trade and factor input movement is the cornerstone of trade agreements such as free-trade areas like NAFTA and trading blocs like the EU and …

NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard

by the George Washington University’s National Security Archive, December 12, 2017 Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today [December 12, 2017] by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu). The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian …

Red And Green Should Never Be Seen

David Lindsay “I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim who realizes so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential!” So tweets Donald Trump. This is why we must promote the exploitation of the vast reserves of coal in this country. That, and the extension of civil nuclear power, are the means of delivering highly paid, highly skilled, high status, unionised jobs while securing independence from Arab oil, from Russian gas, and from coal that has been mined using child and slave labour. From North Korea, Trump intends his dynasty to supply a dependent world with the coal of the Kim dynasty deep into the twenty-second century. Yet we have our own, right here under our feet. Horror stories about how coal was burned or mined in the Britain of the twentieth century have no relevance to the Britain of the twenty-first. This is part of a wider battle. We must reject out of hand the notion that the problem with the world is that it has people in it. Instead, we must …

Economics: Class War by Another Name

Frank Lee The terrible case which … socialists are able to make out against the present economic order of society demands a full consideration of all means by which the ownership of property may be … made to work in a manner beneficial to that large portion of society which at present enjoys the least share of its direct benefits.(John Stuart Mill – Essays on Economics – 1824 I recall an old anarchist cartoon which was in the form of a pyramid. The top stratum consisted of Kings and Queens, millionaires, billionaires, high-ranking politicians, the military, ministers and statesmen and various other high-falutin’ members of the ruling elite: the adjacent caption read – “We rule you.” The next tier down, consisted of the Pope, cardinals, archbishops, priests and other members of the clergy: the caption read – “We fool you.” Beneath that there were soldiers and militia and police: the caption read – “We shoot you.” And the lowest, broader and most populous layer was – us, the ordinary folk, the caption read: – “we …

JFK at 100: The War on Our Heroes Part 2

In the first half of this article, published on JFK’s centenary, I discussed the general degradation of the intellectual and moral character of figurehead politicians, the concomitant societal decay, and whether or not this is a deliberate policy or a by-product of promoting sociopaths above their ability to function.

In this half we will re-examine the death of JFK, not just as a simple assassination, but as an act of psychic-warfare on the general populace, and explore the long-lasting effect on the American psyche.

Celebrating the Birth of the NHS

Today is the 69th anniversary of “The Appointed Day”. On July 5th 1948, the Labour government under Prime Minister Clement Attlee, launched their revolutionary National Health Service. In the 69 years since the service, though regularly undermined and underfunded by Tory and New Labour governments, has saved millions of people’s lives, and provided vital support for injured, disabled and chronically ill people who – in any other era of human civilization – would have been forced to live in ruin or die in the gutter.

Social-Democracy and the Centre-Left: Decline and Fall?

Viewed retrospectively, the significance of the Reagan-Thatcher counter-revolutionary offensive of the 1980s has been seen primarily as a political project aimed at the overturning of the post-WW2 political and social settlement; an undertaking in which it has largely succeeded. However, perhaps of equal importance was the political assimilation of centre-left, liberal class, into this emerging neo-liberal, neo-conservative movement.

One Nation Labour: The Party That We Need

by David Lindsay On the scale of public ownership and on the extent of trade union power, Jeremy Corbyn is well to the right of Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home. That is not hyperbole. It is fact. As it is that Margaret Thatcher presided over publicly owned railways, and over a 60p top rate of income tax well above that proposed by Corbyn. And as it is that Tony Blair promised to renationalise the railways in several speeches leading up to the 1997 General Election. Why would Corbyn’s position not be the centre ground? You can have all the private health insurance that you like. But if you were hit by a car, or if you collapsed in the street with a heart attack, then someone would call 999, and an NHS ambulance would take you to an NHS hospital. That that call would certainly be made, even by a perfect stranger, is testament to the definition of the United Kingdom’s culture by the social democratic legacy of previous Labour Governments, and supremely of that …

The Origins of Labour’s Civil War

As the poisonous and potentially irrevocable conflict inside the Labour Party gathers pace, it seems a useful exercise to try to plot the origins of the animus. This analysis is written from the perspective of an unashamed supporter of Jeremy Corbyn; nonetheless, it is intended to be as factual and objective as possible and to avoid assumptions, speculations and accusations. Much of the heat in the present conflict is undoubtedly generated by the deployment of propaganda. The deconstruction of some of the myths that inform the anger is one of the aims of this essay.

VIDEO: Tony Benn speech on the aims of Thatcherite policies

The late Tony Benn speaks out about the real aims of the banking industry, debt slavery, and the policies of pro-business politicians from Thatcher to the present day. Short and to the point.