/ Thatcher: "No such thing as society"

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Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
Can we, once and for all, be clear what she meant? She was not saying "don't care about others", she was saying exactly the opposite, *DO* care about others. She was saying that "society" is not some entity that comes along and helps people, it is other people who help people (whether directly or through taxes).

Thus one should not sit around on ones butt waiting to be helped, expecting "society" to provide for you; nor, if you think others need helping, should you sit around expecting "society" to do it, you should try doing the helping yourself.

"There is no such thing as "society". There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate."

(Funny how often the phrase gets quoted without the context of the surrounding sentences. For the fuller context see http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/106689 )
Jon Stewart - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

If you're terribly concerned about her being misquoted, Wikiquotes suggests that the "man aged 30 getting on bus is a failure" quote is apocryphal.

But hey, I don't think it's going to change anyone's view about her poisonous philosophy.
The Lemming - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

That may be the message, but it wasn't the journey that the nation took, which happened to be guided by the author.

We can, once and for all be clear on that.
Tyler - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Sounds like the 'Big Society'!
toad - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Her actions spoke louder than even misquoted words
Alyson - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: So we should be prepared to help each other through taxes but that doesn't constitute a 'society' and even if we've put into that pot we shouldn't expect help if and when we need it?
Nor should I expect that my taxes will actually go towards supporting the poor and vulnerable but I need to find out how to track the most vulnerable people down and look after them myself while also doing my full time job and paying said taxes? BUT paying taxes still counts as helping people, even if we shouldn't actually expect any help to come from it.

Seems like a great ideology with absolutely no flaws that I can think of.
Offwidth - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Funny really that someone gets misquoted who famously mangled the meaning of some key biblical passages for hewr own political gain.

How do you think the unfortunates at the time would have scored relying on the good-hearted nature of Thatcherites compared to the state? Talking the talk is easy on Christian values towards the poor and needy, walking the walk proved a lot harder.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> So we should be prepared to help each other through taxes but that doesn't constitute a 'society' ...

No, she meant that "society" was not a thing separate from people helping each other. she was saying that society *is* people helping each other.

> and even if we've put into that pot we shouldn't expect help if and when we need it?

No, she was explicitly saying that the pot *should* be there to help people if and when they need it.

> Nor should I expect that my taxes will actually go towards supporting the poor and vulnerable

No, she was explicitly saying that one *should* expect ones taxes to go towards supporting the poor and vulnerable.

> Seems like a great ideology with absolutely no flaws that I can think of.

You could try reading it for comprehension.
cuppatea on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Should there be an apostrophe in "one's butt"?
stroppygob - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> Thus one should not sit around on ones butt waiting to be helped, expecting "society" to provide for you; nor, if you think others need helping, should you sit around expecting "society" to do it.


Unfortunately, after the Bliar years, we have just that. A nation of which a significant percentage want "someone" (the state) to make life ok for them, to give them free money and housing, to sort out any obstacles to them enjoying themselves, to ensure they do not have to work, and to make excuses for them when they do wrong or worse.
dissonance - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to stroppygob:

> Unfortunately, after the Bliar years, we have just that.

ah Bliar, always a good sign that some deep political insight is due.
I dont suppose you have any facts to back up those claims?
Alyson - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: So "there is no such thing as society" actually means "here is a definition of society", and then she goes on to explain what most normal people think society is?? Do you (or did she) really think nobody else understands collectivism? And you are happy to brush away all the many contradictions she goes on to make as me not reading it right. Ok fine. I don't even know what the point of your post is then. Funnily enough, while I would like my taxes to go towards helping people who need it I don't seem to get that under a Conservative government. In fact I tend to get the opposite. Why is that?
Jon Stewart - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to stroppygob:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
>
> Unfortunately, after the Bliar years, we have just that. A nation of which a significant percentage want "someone" (the state) to make life ok for them, to give them free money and housing, to sort out any obstacles to them enjoying themselves, to ensure they do not have to work, and to make excuses for them when they do wrong or worse.

There must be some data out there somewhere that could actually provide some evidence about how many of these dull scum folk actually exist. My suspicion is that while they occupy a huge amount of space in the psyche of the frothing right and thicky public, they take up very little actual space (or resources) in the real world.
toad - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to stroppygob)
> [...]
>
> There must be some data out there somewhere that could actually provide some evidence about how many of these dull scum folk actually exist. My suspicion is that while they occupy a huge amount of space in the psyche of the frothing right and thicky public, they take up very little actual space (or resources) in the real world.

Can't be bothered to find it again (sure it will google up), but Joseph Rowntree Trust did some work on this last year - the concise answer is not very many at all!
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> Do you (or did she) really think nobody else understands collectivism?

First of all, the "no such thing ..." was not the point she was trying to make. Second, she phrased it badly, it was a live interview, and perhaps didn't get her point across well. However, you seem to be willfully misunderstanding it (as most people try to do).

What she was arguing against is the (possibly strawman) attitude that "society should support me", as though "society" were some third party that was nothing to do with other people.

She was saying that, if someone says: "But what is the point of working? I can get as much on the dole!” then that money comes from other people, people who are going out to work, not just expecting the dole to support them. As she said it: "You say: “Look” It is not from the dole. It is your neighbour who is supplying it and if you can earn your own living then really you have a duty to do it and you will feel very much better!”

Thus she was saying, yes taxes should fund a safety net, and yes people should be supported by it when they need it -- but that entitlement also comes with duties, duties to the people who pay taxes into that welfare pot, and those duties include an obligation to support yourself as well as you can, and thus to go to work even if the financial reward is not much better than the dole. Thus the reciprocal of the welfare safety net is an obligation to strive not to need it.

In other words, she was trying to personalise the whole idea of such social contracts, making it clear that they are between *people*, and are not about some divorced entity "society" that is nothing to do with people. Her phrasing of that one bit might have been a poor way of making that point, but if you read the whole thing in context it is clear.

> Funnily enough, while I would like my taxes to go towards helping people who need it I don't seem to
> get that under a Conservative government. In fact I tend to get the opposite. Why is that?

Come on, under this Conservative government the welfare budget (taxes going towards people who need it) is higher than ever before.
Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to toad:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]
>
> Can't be bothered to find it again (sure it will google up), but Joseph Rowntree Trust did some work on this last year - the concise answer is not very many at all!

Could never find the original but the summary I saw didn't seem very convincing. It found only a miniscule number of families that had not worked for three and very few for two generations. The version I read didn't have much information on families that had barely worked.

It also seemed to give great credence to the fact that most people said they "wanted to work". "Well they would say that wouldn't they".

Jon Stewart - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to toad)
> [...]
>
> Could never find the original but the summary I saw didn't seem very convincing. It found only a miniscule number of families that had not worked for three and very few for two generations. The version I read didn't have much information on families that had barely worked.
>
> It also seemed to give great credence to the fact that most people said they "wanted to work". "Well they would say that wouldn't they".

A search for evidence would probably just degenerate into a debate of the issues...so we all know we'll just press on with the debate without any evidence! That's politics.
toad - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: link to the full paper from here (I think - my adobe isn't working!) don't know if this is what you want - I think the JRF have some other studies on underemployment (if that's what you want?) but it's not remotely my thing - just one of those conversations with people (after the press story) who have worked in the field and that led me to do a bit more reading

http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/cultures-of-worklessness
tony on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to stroppygob:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
>
> Unfortunately, after the Bliar years, we have just that. A nation of which a significant percentage want "someone" (the state) to make life ok for them, to give them free money and housing, to sort out any obstacles to them enjoying themselves, to ensure they do not have to work, and to make excuses for them when they do wrong or worse.

So what would that percentage be, approximately?

tony on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
>
> Come on, under this Conservative government the welfare budget (taxes going towards people who need it) is higher than ever before.

To what extent is this because of the aging population? And high unemployment? Just because it's going up doesn't mean it's under control or that it's what the Government actually wants to do.
Alyson - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Alyson)
>
> Come on, under this Conservative government the welfare budget (taxes going towards people who need it) is higher than ever before.

Actually the proposed welfare budget for 2014 is roughly the same as 2005.

If you implement austerity measures which create more jobless people, you have more people who need support. Therefore if your welfare budget is the same as it was a decade ago but you have a lot more people needing help, you are paying each of those people less and leaving them worse off than before. But you knew that anyway.
The Ivanator - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: Are you Tebbit in disguise?
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> Actually the proposed welfare budget for 2014 is roughly the same as 2005.

According to this site: http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_chart_2004_2024UKb_12c1li111mcn_40t

UK welfare budget was £84.7 billion in 2005 and is estimated to be £99.1 billion in 2014 (both in inflation-adjusted 2005 pounds) -- of course actual expenditure will likely exceed the estimate.

In terms of GDP, 2005 welfare spend was 6.2% of GDP whereas in 2014 it is projected to be 6.7% of GDP.

Thus I don't see how this adds up to your claim: "I would like my taxes to go towards helping people who need it I don't seem to get that under a Conservative government".

You are currently getting £116 billion a year spent on welfare (in 2013 pounds). That figure is the highest all time (in inflation-adjusted money).
redsulike - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to stroppygob:

Before the Thatcher era there was no such thing as a benefit scrounger, the term had not been invented because the problem as it is today did not exist. The unemployed received the dole and then went out to find work.

Thatcher changed all that by creating mass unemployment where there was absolutely no hope of work and her policies created a system whereby whole generations and entire families were condemned to a life on the dole. The work ethic fell away and the pattern of living on benefits grew from the hopelessness of entire regions of the country having the work taken away form them as she sought to close manufacturing indusrty and replace it with the financial and service based economy we have now.

This was Thatcherism, but it came at a cost. The welfare bill and public spending rose exponentially and her promise of cutting public spending could not be met. Her answer was to blame the unemployed for being unemployed and to suggest it was their feckless 'something for nothing' nature in that they chose to live that way. She began the policy we see today of cutting benefits in order to reduce the public spending bill. The country cannot afford to subsidise people out of work. The problem was that she was the architect of mass unemployment. To justify her policies another scapegoat had to be found, and it was the unemployed who became that scapegoat. It was their fault they were unemployed not hers.

Tebbit crystalised it when he talked of his father 'getting on his bike' to look for work. This has become Tory doctrine ever since; 'if you are unemployed it is your fault and you cannot expect the hard working tax-payers to fund your feckless lifestyle'. They created the situation and have sought to divide and rule by blaming the most needy for a predicament of their own making.

If you believe that the ills of the country are down to the lifestyles of benefit scroungers sucking the life out of the economy, you may also believe that immigrants are taking all our jobs and coming over here to live the Life of Riley on our benefits system.

It is the most ironic and sadistic twist that a woman who had a philosophy of 'no such thing as society', meaning that it is the up to individual to make the most of their talents through hard work, that those who espouse her are the first to blame others for the economic and social problems we now face. The problems we face today are Thatcher's legacy to us all.
Sir Chasm - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:
> Actually the proposed welfare budget for 2014 is roughly the same as 2005.
>
Which figures are you basing that on? DWP expenditure was 115 billion for 05/06 and 163 billion (projected) for 13/14.

tony on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
>
> In terms of GDP, 2005 welfare spend was 6.2% of GDP whereas in 2014 it is projected to be 6.7% of GDP.
>
So is that a good thing or a bad thing? Or just a thing that doesn't deserve either any credit or opprobrium?
The Lemming - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to redsulike:

How dare you speak the truth.

+1
Dave Garnett - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to redsulike:
> Tebbit crystalised it when he talked of his father 'getting on his bike' to look for work. This has become Tory doctrine ever since; 'if you are unemployed it is your fault and you cannot expect the hard working tax-payers to fund your feckless lifestyle'.

I'm no fan of Norman Tebbit (to put it mildly) but is that really what you think it means? Could it not possibly just mean that if you are unemployed you have to take at least some responsibility for actively finding yourself another job, rather than taking a completely passive attitude and expecting the state to do it?
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to redsulike:

> Thatcher changed all that by creating mass unemployment ...

Or rather, unemployment had been rising from the late 1960s and into the 1970s, as the ineffectiveness of the British economy grew. And a lot more were in uneconomic jobs that were unsustainable.

E.g. "1972: UK unemployment tops one million. The number of people out of work and claiming benefit has risen above one million for the first time since the 1930s. There were angry demonstrations in the House of Commons when the jobless total was confirmed as 1,023,583."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/20/newsid_2506000/2506897.stm

Thatcher than shook out the bad in the economy, creating more unemployment as a part of closing down non-viable businesses. But it wasn't her who created the problems that led to this. What she did was decide that something had to be done about the downward drift and decline.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I'm no fan of Norman Tebbit (to put it mildly) but is that really what you think it means?

The context is worth remembering. Tebbit's "bike" comment was a reply to a question just after the Brixton riots, the questionner having suggested that rioting was a natural response to unemployment. Tebbit replied that the many unemployed in the 1930s depression had not rioted (and added that his father was among them, rather than rioting he had looked for work).
ads.ukclimbing.com
Alyson - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Unemployment in 2005 = 1.4 million. Welfare spending £84.7 billion (your figure)
Unemployment in 2013 = 2.68 million. Welfare spending £99.1 billion (your figure)

Unemployment increased by 91%. Welfare spending increased by 17%.
Bob Kemp - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

There was a good piece in the Observer that had some interesting data:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/06/welfare-britain-facts-myths

Couple of samples:

From the Economist: "Though most of them seem to end up in newspapers, in 2011 there were just 130 families in the country with 10 children claiming at least one out-of-work benefit. Only 8% of benefit claimants have three or more children. What evidence there is suggests that, on average, unemployed people have similar numbers of children to employed people ... it is not clear at all that benefits are a significant incentive to have children."

And:

Do any families get more than £100,000 a year in benefits, as George Osborne has claimed?

A freedom of information request by Full Fact showed that in August 2010, there were fewer than five housing benefit claimants receiving the equivalent of £100,000 a year.

Most of the current wave of anti-poor propaganda is just that, propaganda. Smoke-screening to disguise woefully inadequate politically motivated policy.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:

> So is that a good thing or a bad thing? Or just a thing that doesn't deserve either any credit or opprobrium?

It's not as simple as answering either of those. Of course the ideal is a well-functioning economy with high employment such that the welfare bill is low because few need it.

The current government would find that easier to achieve if Labour hadn't handed over an economy nose-diving into the biggest recession since the 1930s.

That contrasts with Thatcher/Major handing over to Blair/Brown a healthy economy with historically low debt, sound finances, and a solid platform in the early years of steady growth (a sufficiently good foundation that the steady growth continued for another decade -- so good that it lulled Gordon into thinking that the good times would last forever and thus he could spend as much money as he liked).
dissonance - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The current government would find that easier to achieve if Labour hadn't handed over an economy nose-diving into the biggest recession since the 1930s.

wow Labour did that all on their own?
By the by wasn't the economy recovering up to the point that the tories took over.

> That contrasts with Thatcher/Major handing over to Blair/Brown a healthy economy with historically low debt, sound finances, and a solid platform in the early years of steady growth

Historically low debt paid for by the the North Sea oil and gas and also the flogging off of public assets which is now coming back to bite in terms of increased housing benefits costs as just one example. Oh and a financial system.
Sound finances, see previous. Now admittedly Blair and co should have backed away from the house of cards rather than keep building them up but to say it was a solid platform is a joke.


Offwidth - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to redsulike:

Direct from the horses mouth in Coel's original post on the correct quote: "....the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate."

Tebbit's father's habit didnt suddenly die out but plenty of those who did get on their bike and really tried to get a job got nowhere. That's the real irony and sadistic twist in this. I suspect it will end up exactly the same for the political idea of Big Society (as opposed to the charities who actually practice what they preach).

Alyson - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> That contrasts with Thatcher/Major handing over to Blair/Brown a healthy economy with historically low debt

Err... no. In 1997 when Labour/Blair came to power, national debt was 42% of GDP having risen sharply right throughout the 1990s. In 2008 just before the global banking crisis hit, it was 35% as you can see here http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_chart_1990_2011UKp_12c1li011mcn_G0t
Offwidth - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

It's not that simple. Tony and Gordon were experts at generating off-balance sheet debt... this includes all PFIs and student loans.
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Offwidth: Student loan - the great off-balance sheet scam of the Tories!

It's not a loan, people, whatever anyone tells you, it's a tax!
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> Err... no.

Err yes.

> In 1997 when Labour/Blair came to power, national debt was 42% of GDP

But 42% is historically low. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:UK_GDP.png We can only dream of getting back to that figure now. We are currently well over twice that and rising.

> In 2008 just before the global banking crisis hit, it was 35% ...

What an amazingly convenient point at which to stop! A couple of years later (when Labour handed over to the Coalition) it was at 60% and was zooming skywards at the greatest rate ever in peacetime.
Jimbo W on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> Unemployment increased by 91%. Welfare spending increased by 17%.

Wow! Point nicely made!
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:

> By the by wasn't the economy recovering up to the point that the tories took over.

You mean it was in a dead-cat bounce sustained by stupendous levels of borrowing, and the real fall out was just beginning.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

>> Unemployment increased by 91%. Welfare spending increased by 17%.

> Wow! Point nicely made!

Of course the "unemployment" section of the welfare budget is only a small part of the total.
Jimbo W on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But 42% is historically low. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:UK_GDP.png We can only dream of getting back to that figure now. We are currently well over twice that and rising.

Well on that scale it's still historically low, and furthermore, you can see that the recent rise has predominantly occurred after 2008, i.e. after the collapse of Northern Rock... ...so it appears most of the increase isn't because of increased spending, but rather due to an acute fall in GDP (that's where your record "rate" comes from too)!!! Krugman keeps making this point, our deficit is not an issue, it has to be dealt with, but it is not a reason to curtail proper decent infrastructure spending.
Offwidth - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

See now... your being unfair in the opposite direction: the global crash was hardly Labour's fault and the policies that made the effects worse in Britain were not being fought or slowed by Tory opposition (in fact they had pretty much full support). What Alyson's stats do show is that for national debt when things were in the Labour government's control they could hardly be accused of prolificacy.
Offwidth - on 09 Apr 2013
Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Alyson)
>
>
> [...]
>
> What an amazingly convenient point at which to stop! A couple of years later (when Labour handed over to the Coalition) it was at 60% and was zooming skywards at the greatest rate ever in peacetime.

The deficit/GDP is a better indicator. As this shows it was fell steeply in the 80s and, after the early 90s recession, fell steeply again. Because Brown stuck to Tory spending plans it continued to fall for several years until he abandoned that policy (having ended "boom and bust"!) and it rose inexorably from thereon out.

http://www.debtbombshell.com/britains-budget-deficit.htm

Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> What Alyson's stats do show is that for national debt when things were in the Labour government's control
> they could hardly be accused of prolificacy.

What they were doing was expecting the debt-fuelled boom to go on and on, which meant they felt they could spend all the buoyant tax receipts and a bit. "No more Tory boom and bust" was Gordon's mantra, he'd abolished bust (so he thought).

> the global crash was hardly Labour's fault ...

They bear as much blame as anyone. The 2008 crash came after Labour have been in power for over a decade. They thus had regulation of the UK economy and banking system for all the time leading up to the crash. They are not the only ones to blame, admittedly, but they are very much to blame.
Enty - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to stroppygob)
> [...]
>
> There must be some data out there somewhere that could actually provide some evidence about how many of these dull scum folk actually exist. My suspicion is that while they occupy a huge amount of space in the psyche of the frothing right and thicky public, they take up very little actual space (or resources) in the real world.

You need to sell up in Shipley and move to Burnley Wood, Duke Bar or a small town called Haslingden just over the Pennines ;-)

E
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to the thread:

Micawber: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

Well Labour didn't overspend by a mere sixpence, they were overspending by 170 billion pounds in their last year. Result misery. Of course those with the responsibility for clearing up the mess now get the blame for the misery.
Jimbo W on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> They bear as much blame as anyone. The 2008 crash came after Labour have been in power for over a decade. They thus had regulation of the UK economy and banking system for all the time leading up to the crash.

You're right, they weren't free market enough... ...should have de-regulated more...

...and in a free market, shouldn't we have let the banks go to the dogs too, like Iceland?!!!
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> You're right, they weren't free market enough... ...should have de-regulated more...

No one, however right wing, believes in total de-regulation. Market rules are always necessary.
dissonance - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You mean it was in a dead-cat bounce sustained by stupendous levels of borrowing, and the real fall out was just beginning.

in your world perhaps.
Or just maybe confidence was recovering before collapsing once the tory plans became clear.
Jimbo W on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Micawber: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/did-thatcher-turn-britain-around/
Alyson - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Alyson)
>
> What an amazingly convenient point at which to stop! A couple of years later (when Labour handed over to the Coalition) it was at 60% and was zooming skywards at the greatest rate ever in peacetime.

I know you don't seriously think that whatever political party was in power would have made a difference to the events of 2008. What the collapse taught us is that politicians don't actually hold the reins, that's all.

You talk about Labour 'having regulation of the UK economy and banking system' as if you don't know what 'global' means in terms of financial markets and as if you think Gordon Brown was busy granting 110% mortgages in the USA.
dissonance - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No one, however right wing, believes in total de-regulation. Market rules are always necessary.

remind me again what the tories position was on the level of regulation (or indeed spending) during the Labour government.
Oh and what measures have been put in place now?
dissonance - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> I know you don't seriously think that whatever political party was in power would have made a difference to the events of 2008. What the collapse taught us is that politicians don't actually hold the reins, that's all.

The damage could have been limited. Some countries got away relatively unscathed due to their policies. Others, like the UK, did not.
The question though is what the tories would have done differently. In most cases the only difference is they didnt think Labour went far enough (not really surprising considering new labour aped the tories original policies).
Jimbo W on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Micawber: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

The difference being we can print money:
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/incredible-credibility/
Mike Stretford - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Alyson)
>
> [...]
>
> The damage could have been limited. Some countries got away relatively unscathed due to their policies. Others, like the UK, did not.

Agreed

Alyson: Labour messed up big time because they did what the Tories would have done, but that is no excuse. They were the part of the left, they should have attempted to rebalance the economy in 1997 rather than just adopt Thatcherite policy.

Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Alyson:

> I know you don't seriously think that whatever political party was in power would have made
> a difference to the events of 2008.

If they'd have been plonked there suddenly in 2008 then of course it would have made no difference. However, they could have taken a different course over the previous decade.

> ... What the collapse taught us is that politicians don't actually hold the reins, that's all.

I think it's more that Labour and Tory policy on such things was actually very similar over much of that period. The difference between Blair's New Labour and the Tory party was not much. So that slight difference would not have altered the outcome much. But that is not the same as saying that the politicians "don't actually hold the reins".

> You talk about Labour 'having regulation of the UK economy and banking system' as if you don't know
> what 'global' means in terms of financial markets and as if you think Gordon Brown was busy granting
> 110% mortgages in the USA.

It's well established that Brown took a light-touch and allowed the banking sector to get into a debt-fuelled boom because he wanted the buoyant tax receipts. His 40% cut on everything came to quite a lot. He could have been far more circumspect had he wanted to have been.
Jimbo W on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Papillon:

> Alyson: Labour messed up big time because they did what the Tories would have done, but that is no excuse. They were the part of the left, they should have attempted to rebalance the economy in 1997 rather than just adopt Thatcherite policy.

Absolutely
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Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
> Oh and what measures have been put in place now?

Well, these for a start, in conjunction with the Basle 3 capital requirements:

On 1 April, as the Financial Services Act 2012 (the 2012 Act) came into force, the UK coalition government delivered on its 2010 promise to dismantle the prevailing tripartite architecture responsible for financial stability in the UK, due to its failure during the 2007/2008 financial crisis, with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) bearing the brunt of the blame and being abolished. The tripartite architecture comprised HM Treasury, the Bank of England, and FSA. In its place, the 2012 Act establishes a new financial regulation architecture with separate regulators responsible for macro-prudential regulation generally, micro-prudential regulation of systemically important authorised firms, and conduct regulation of all authorised firms.

The 2012 Act contains the core provisions for the government's structural reforms. The original bill was published on 27 January 2012 and, after parliamentary scrutiny, received Royal Assent on 19 December 2012. The 2012 Act largely amends existing legislation, making extensive changes to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), as well as to the Bank of England Act 1998 and the Banking Act 2009. It is worth noting that the 2012 Act did not repeal FSMA. The government decided to amend FSMA, rather than repeal, redraft, and reenact it, to minimise the impact.[1]

The focus of this LawFlash is the new UK financial regulation architecture. A summary of the other significant changes to financial services regulation wrought by the 2012 Act appears below. We will issue further guidance on certain areas of change under the 2012 Act, with particular focus on those affecting corporate and finance practitioners.
Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> Oh and what measures have been put in place now?

Part 2

The new architecture is structured as follows:

* The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has inherited the majority of FSA's former roles and functions and will be responsible for the conduct regulation of all authorised firms and the micro‑prudential regulation of all firms that are not systemically important firms.
* The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), a subsidiary of the Bank of England, will be responsible for the micro-prudential regulation of systemically important authorised firms.
* The Financial Policy Committee (FPC), a committee of the Bank of England, will be responsible for assisting the Bank of England in achieving its financial stability objective and will be given powers of recommendation and direction over FCA and PRA to address systemic risks.
* The Bank of England will have overall responsibility for financial stability, be the regulator of recognised clearing houses, and have the power to direct a UK clearing house in certain circumstances.

Firms regulated only by FCA will number approximately 23,000 and will include independent financial advisers, investment managers, most investment firms, insurance brokers, mortgage brokers, other brokers, non-deposit-taking lenders, corporate financiers, wholesale firms, custodians, professional firms, investment exchanges, collective investment schemes, managing agents, and others.

A relatively small number of firms will be required to be dual-regulated by FCA and PRA—an outcome that has been dubbed "twin peaks regulation". Dual-regulated firms will number approximately 1,700 and will include banks, building societies, investment banks, credit unions, friendly societies, life insurers, general insurers, wholesale insurers, commercial insurers and reinsurers, Lloyd's and Lloyd's Agents, and a small number of "significant" investment firms.
FCA

FCA will have a single strategic objective to ensure that markets for financial services work well and three operational objectives: (i) to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers, an objective that was not conferred on FSA; (ii) to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and (iii) to promote effective competition in the consumer interest.

FCA will be responsible for the regulation of standards of conduct in retail and wholesale markets, supervision of trading infrastructures that support these markets, and prudential supervision of firms that are not PRA regulated. FCA will also undertake the function of the UK listing authority under Part 6 of FSMA, a role previously undertaken by FSA.

Do you want the other parts or have you got the point? :-)

dissonance - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Do you want the other parts or have you got the point? :-)

and Labour could have provided just as long a list about their rearranging of the deckchairs.
Now for the actual reforms suggested by the Independent commission on banking, when are they going to come into force again?
Offwidth - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

This still amounts to it being Labour and Conservatives blame as they both had the same line on the banks.

You can't have it both ways... would thay have taken a different course over that decade and have had more regulation on the banks or not?

Slightly less spending wouldn't have especially made that much difference and much less spending would have made them unelectable (even now the government insist on ring-fencing some budget areas due surely to electoral nerves).
Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...
> Now for the actual reforms suggested by the Independent commission on banking, when are they going to come into force again?

Most of them when the bill passes.

tony on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> This still amounts to it being Labour and Conservatives blame as they both had the same line on the banks.
>
> You can't have it both ways... would thay have taken a different course over that decade and have had more regulation on the banks or not?
>
George Osborne was quite keen on the Irish economy at one time. In 2006, he wrote:
"Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking”

I'm sure Coel will find some suitable spin for that.
Skip - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to stroppygob:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
>
> Unfortunately, after the Bliar years, we have just that. A nation of which a significant percentage want "someone" (the state) to make life ok for them, to give them free money and housing, to sort out any obstacles to them enjoying themselves, to ensure they do not have to work, and to make excuses for them when they do wrong or worse.

It was no different in that respect during the Thatcher years.
dissonance - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Most of them when the bill passes.

care to be any more specific?
Since, me being a simple type I do have to wonder why if these changes are needed they are being put off.
Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
> Since, me being a simple type I do have to wonder why if these changes are needed they are being put off.
>
When you say "being put off", you mean "going through parliament"?

Bulls Crack - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

All said in the context of being anti-welfare state though?
dissonance - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> When you say "being put off", you mean "going through parliament"?

i mean being put off for so many years as to become pretty irrelevant.
Jimbo W on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> You can't have it both ways... would thay have taken a different course over that decade and have had more regulation on the banks or not?

No.. ..because they are on record in the house for saying that GB wasn't going far enough with de-regulation!
Jim C - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> >> Unemployment increased by 91%. Welfare spending increased by 17%.
>
> [...]
>
> Of course the "unemployment" section of the welfare budget is only a small part of the total.

Indeed they choose to count my mother's pension in that, when they then say people on welfare ( my mother)are dragging the country down she feels that when it is constantly repeated.

Lets get the facts right, my mother was a nurse all her life , I was a latch key child while she worked shifts all year and worked most Christmas days so that her patients that had to be in hospital on that day would have a good time. She then moved into district service and helped care for and to keep old folks in their own homes, and later her patients were central to her services being recognised, and she was invited to one of the Queen's garden party as a reward for her selfless public service .

My mother receives her state pension, she therefore receives 'welfare', and as such under this Tory Government she is being labelled as a scrounger.

People should be careful when they look at the 'welfare' budget, it does not mean that you are undeserving, or have not paid their share and more.

Shame on those on here who either don't know what they are talking about,( Who I can forgive) or worse , those who deliberately choose to misrepresent the facts, and upset a whole generation of people who will possibly never live long enough, or receive recompense for the services rendered.
Jimbo W on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Micawber: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

And not only can we print money, but:
http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/downchart_ukgs.php?chart=90-total&year=1900_2011&units=p&a...
..shows that financing our debt has never been easier with truly historic lows in debt interest payment throughout until, again, the onset of the global economic crisis.
doz generale - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to stroppygob:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
>
> Unfortunately, after the Bliar years, we have just that. A nation of which a SMALL MINORITY want "someone" (the state) to make life ok for them, to give them free money and housing, to sort out any obstacles to them enjoying themselves, to ensure they do not have to work, and to make excuses for them when they do wrong or worse.

Corrected!
Jim Fraser - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Can we, ...

No.


> "There is no such thing as "society". There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate."

Utter b0110cks. This bears no relations to the evidence of years of ludicrous and senseless war on the left that she championed. Every resemblance to that living tapestry described there that existed in the lives of people across Britain who had political positions opposed to her own was destroyed.

Her pathetic colleagues and supporters are currently spending their time suggesting to naive journalist who were still in nappies at the time that she helped Britain to compete with it's European neighbours. Meanwhile the evidence, the hard facts of the numbers representing our national income, shows us in the 3rd division team in the European economic league, lying some 20 to 40% behind those who retained and enhanced their means of production instead of destroying it.

Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
Meanwhile the evidence, the hard facts of the numbers representing our national income, shows us in the 3rd division team in the European economic league, lying some 20 to 40% behind those who retained and enhanced their means of production instead of destroying it.

What are you basing that assertion on? By GDP per capita (2011 World Bank figs) we are about 10% behind the Netherlands, 8% behind Germany. level with Denmark and France, and ahead of Spain Italy and most of the others.

Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> i mean being put off for so many years as to become pretty irrelevant.
>
It's all very well being cynical but a huge amount of changes have been made, overseen by the financial services act, already. It's not just deckchair arrangement.

The banking reform bill is moving through parliament. I assume the delays you are referring to are in the ring fencing of retail and investment banking, and the introduction of tighter liquidity requirements.
The latter was Europe wide and partly at the behest of the authorities who recognised that they cannot expect banks to lend more at the same time as tightening liquidity requirements.

On the ring fencing issue the UK is actually ahead of Europe. The devil is in the detail and obviously the banks would like to delay it but it's going to happen and since it's unliekyl to be needed in the short term it's better to get it right than quickly.

If you're thinking of a career change might I suggest jumping on the financial regulation bandwagon? It's the fastest growing wagon in town.
doz generale - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]

>
> If you're thinking of a career change might I suggest jumping on the financial regulation bandwagon? It's the fastest growing wagon in town.

My brother in law left his secure £25k a year job at HSBC as a compliance officer and now earns about 4 times as much as a freelance doing some kind of regulation compliance checking. It's a bit of a gold rush at the moment by all accounts.
Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to doz generale:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> My brother in law left his secure £25k a year job at HSBC as a compliance officer and now earns about 4 times as much as a freelance doing some kind of regulation compliance checking. It's a bit of a gold rush at the moment by all accounts.
>
Just think, getting paid lots to piss off bankers. I'd have thought it would be right up diss's street :-)

Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Jim C:

> My mother receives her state pension, she therefore receives 'welfare', ...

State pensions are not usually included under "welfare".

> ... and as such under this Tory Government she is being labelled as a scrounger.

Can you quote me a Tory minister saying that those receiving state pensions are "scroungers"?
Coel Hellier - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> Every resemblance to that living tapestry described there that existed in the lives of people across
> Britain who had political positions opposed to her own was destroyed.

Don't you think you're getting a tad hyperbolic?

> ... the hard facts of the numbers representing our national income, shows us in the 3rd division team in the European economic league

I notice that you don't give a link to these "hard facts".
Postmanpat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Jim Fraser)
>
> I notice that you don't give a link to these "hard facts".

In reality the 1980,90s, and 2000s were the first period since the late 19thC when british GDP per capita grew faster than other large European countries.
dissonance - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Just think, getting paid lots to piss off bankers. I'd have thought it would be right up diss's street :-)

who says I cant piss them off now and get paid well for it:)
Although why bother when i can just watch admin muppets do it accidently.

As for compliance and audit, god no. As it is whenever I have to deal with those types i try and do it over the phone to avoid GBH charges.
redsulike - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: I think at the end of Jim Callaghan's run unemployment was about 1.5m. Thatcher's answer to this was to enact poilicies which raised unemployment to more than 3 million, bearing in mind one thing she did in response to the increase in unemployment was to change the way the figures are calculated to make them seem lower than they actually were, (something which is now done a regualr basis to make the economy look better than it is).
The sick and cynical part is then to blame and punish the people she had deliberately made unemployed in a strategy to dedflect criticism of her policies.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to redsulike:

> the people she had deliberately made unemployed ...

And in the mythology of the left this was all done purely out of spite. Healthy, well functioning and profitable businesses were closed down just to teach the unions a lesson and to devastate the North as retaliation for the fact that it hadn't voted for her.

Or one could say that the unemployment was the shake-out of "zombie" businesses (in today's parlance) that were non-functional, were hopelessly non-profitable, were only propped up by taxpayer subsidy, and had no future. Ceasing to prop up these parts of the economy was necessary, and they would have closed whatever around that time, given exposure to world markets. The fault here is mainly with those who had allowed the economy to get into that mess, through the 60s and 70s. That includes politicians, managements and unions from the 60s and 70s.
tony on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to redsulike)
>
> [...]
>
> And in the mythology of the left this was all done purely out of spite.

If you really think that, you really are missing the point and demonstrating a considerable ignorance of the ways in which Thatcher's policies hurt millions of innocent people. It's all very well spouting figures, but politics is about an awful lot more than figures. Thatcher's failure was that she didn't take the people with her in her modernisation programme. If she had done, you wouldn't be hearing her described as being divisive.
dissonance - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Or one could say that the unemployment was the shake-out of "zombie" businesses (in today's parlance) that were non-functional, were hopelessly non-profitable, were only propped up by taxpayer subsidy, and had no future.

yes but enough about BAe.
Strange how selective the shake out of those zombie business were.


> Ceasing to prop up these parts of the economy was necessary, and they would have closed whatever around that time, given exposure to world markets.

true considering those world markets were frequently subsidised.
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony: I didn't have that much time for Thatcher myself, but in the mid 80s I was part of a team trying to turn round a small struggling company.

We succeeded but at the cost of a number of jobs and making a number of enemies, and I was conscious at the time that in a small way it was comparable with Thatcher's project - people didn't (and don't) recognise the reality of their position, and there's no easy way to say 'Im afraid your job no longer exists.' There's always someone to tell them you're just being a b*stard for the sake of it.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:

> Thatcher's failure was that she didn't take the people with her in her modernisation programme.

Why sure, but exactly how easy would it have been to have done everything she did by persuasion? Come on, if she'd tried to persuade and "take everyone with her", the result would have been deadlock and paralysis as Britain declined for another couple of decades.

How much of her policies did Blair then change? Very little. He kept all the union legislation, he kept all the privatisations, he didn't start re-opening pits. Blair recognised that Thatcher's reforms had been entirely necessary, but that wasn't the Labour attitude at the time, under Michael Foot etc.

Somebody of Thatcher's drive and unwillingness to compromise was needed in order to get it done. There was no way it could have been done by consensus.
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dissonance - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> How much of her policies did Blair then change? Very little. He kept all the union legislation, he kept all the privatisations, he didn't start re-opening pits.

in case you havent noticed there has been a few issues recently. Indeed the right wingers seem to blame them all on Blair and Brown. So not sure the argument of Blair kept the policies is really that good. We know he did and we know the country is in a shit state.
tony on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to tony)
>
> [...]
>
> Why sure,

And in those two words you show your lack of understanding. Pah, it was all just inevitable and the poor bloody people at the bottom the pile just get shafted. That's why she was so divisive - there was nothing done to try to soften the blows.

Instead of using North Sea oil and gas revenue for investment in the future of the country, she chose to piss it up the wall on unemployment benefits.

Mike Highbury - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: The Queen has spoken:

The difficulty with giving a comment on Margaret Thatcher's death to the British tabloids is that, no matter how calmly and measuredly you speak, the comment must be reported as an "outburst" or an "explosive attack" if your view is not pro-establishment. If you reference "the Malvinas", it will be switched to "the Falklands", and your "Thatcher" will be softened to a "Maggie." This is generally how things are structured in a non-democratic society. Thatcher's name must be protected not because of all the wrong that she had done, but because the people around her allowed her to do it, and therefore any criticism of Thatcher throws a dangerously absurd light on the entire machinery of British politics. Thatcher was not a strong or formidable leader. She simply did not give a shit about people, and this coarseness has been neatly transformed into bravery by the British press who are attempting to re-write history in order to protect patriotism. As a result, any opposing view is stifled or ridiculed, whereas we must all endure the obligatory praise for Thatcher from David Cameron without any suggestion from the BBC that his praise just might be an outburst of pro-Thatcher extremism from someone whose praise might possibly protect his own current interests. The fact that Thatcher ignited the British public into street-riots, violent demonstrations and a social disorder previously unseen in British history is completely ignored by David Cameron in 2013. In truth, of course, no British politician has ever been more despised by the British people than Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday will be heavily policed for fear that the British tax-payer will want to finally express their view of Thatcher. They are certain to be tear-gassed out of sight by the police.

United Kingdom? Syria? China? What's the difference?

Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:

> That's why she was so divisive - there was nothing done to try to soften the blows.

And the unions and the left were just as divisive, opposing all the changes she advocated. If they had said "ok, we agree the economy needs radical reform, but can we discuss and plan how to soften the blows?" then things would have been better all round. But it is very hard to do things in a non-divisive way when the opposition is committed to fighting you at every point.

Let's take, as an example, the case of the print unions. Many newspapers had tried negotiating change and modernisation, and were just stone walled and met with strikes by the unions. It took a highly divisive act (Murdoch starting again at Wapping) to actually effect necessary change.
tony on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Mike Highbury:
>
> United Kingdom? Syria? China? What's the difference?

That's nonsense. I disliked Thatcher intensely, and I've been able to find plenty of critical comments all over the media.

The idea that there's any similarity with the ways in which critical commentary is dealt with in the UK and in Syria and China is deluded gibberish.
Sir Chasm - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Mike Highbury: Which queen was that?
Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:

> So not sure the argument of Blair kept the policies is really that good. We know he did and we know
> the country is in a shit state.

Banking regulation is one issue. The union legislation, the privatisations, the ending of unprofitable pits, etc, are nowadays generally accepted by all from centre-left to centre-right.
tony on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It was in Thatcher's power to do something more useful with North Sea oil and gas revenues than waste it on unemployment. The fact that she not to do so said that it was better to have 3.5 million people on the dole than to have some of them doing useful work on national infrastructure. That decision cannot be laid at the doors of the unions.
off-duty - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Mike Highbury:

"Teargassed out of sight by the police" ? Really? That wouldn't be hyperbole would it....
Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> She simply did not give a shit about people,

So the mythology of the left has it. You know, the fact that the left so misunderstands things is why it hasn't been in power for a generation (Blair/Brown were not "left" de facto).

> In truth, of course, no British politician has ever been more despised by the British people than Margaret Thatcher.

And few have won more general elections.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:

> It was in Thatcher's power to do something more useful with North Sea oil and gas revenues than waste
> it on unemployment. The fact that she not to do so said that it was better to have 3.5 million
> people on the dole than ...

Any attempts by governments to "create jobs" like that are usually hugely ineffective and very poor uses of money. This form of state socialism just does not work.
Tim Chappell - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:


"What she meant"? A slippery concept that. What Mrs T intended to say? What the words she came out with added up to? Or something in between? There is such a thing as a Freudian slip, you know. If Mrs T was hounded by this remark for the rest of her career, maybe that was fair enough *even if* she was quoted out of context (as I think she was).

What, anyway, did she mean? What was the old bat driving at? I suspect she had in mind a background of right-wing libertarian political philosophy--Robert Nozick, Milton Friedman--which denies that there is such a thing as corporate agency: "no such thing as society" meaning "there's no Big Brother to do it for us, we have to do it for each other".

What did that translate into in practical politics? Three things, I think:

1) a bizarre reluctance to use the already-existing agencies of the welfare state even when they were patently the most efficient way of securing the welfare of the vulnerable;
2) an equally bizarre misty-eyed nostalgia about the role of "charity", i.e., in practice, of Victorian or pre-Victorian parish-system ways of coping with the poor which are already denounced in Oliver Twist;
3) and most bizarre of all, an extremely authoritarian and centralised welfare state system, the point of which, in her head, was apparently that only it would have the power to do away with the welfare system.

Broadly speaking I regard what Mrs T did as harsh, but necessary. But even in her own terms she didn't always take the best route to her objectives. Alongside her reforming achievements there was a streak of lunacy and fanaticism in her which had results that were especially harsh, and completely unnecessary.
Mike Highbury - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Mike Highbury) Which queen was that?

true-to-you.net/morrissey_news

As for the other respondents, God help you all.
Sir Chasm - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Mike Highbury: Thank god for that, I was worried the queen had died and you'd appointed yourself. I can cope with Thatcher or the queen dying, but the media shitstorm if they both died in the same week would be too much.
dissonance - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Banking regulation is one issue. The union legislation, the privatisations, the ending of unprofitable pits, etc, are nowadays generally accepted by all from centre-left to centre-right.

wow its accepted by the centre? such a broad spectrum.

Union legislation. Its effect is unclear, certainly for the car industry etc the main change seems to have been non UK management who are capable of working with the unions.
Privatisations. Lets see how the infrastucture holds out shall we? Its noticable that the tax payer is still being expected to pay for all the expensive infrastructure (eg the issue last month around gas supplies due to lack of investment in storage).

ending of unprofitable pits. Why not ending of unprofitable BAe? The selectiveness of which unprofitable industries to support is curious.
tony on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to tony)
>
> [...]
>
> Any attempts by governments to "create jobs" like that are usually hugely ineffective and very poor uses of money. This form of state socialism just does not work.

So don't bother trying anything useful. Just leave the poor people at the bottom of the pile. Just waste billions on unemployment. Do you honestly think that was a good use of tax revenues?
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony: There are other ways. Listening to the current Labour plan to 'guarantee jobs' for job seekers makes me despair. They'll have people painting rocks white, which won't do anything for the painters and it won't do anything for the economy.


tony on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to tony) There are other ways.

Yes, look at the way Norway invested their oil revenues. Compare and contrast.
Jimbo W on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> Broadly speaking I regard what Mrs T did as harsh, but necessary. But even in her own terms she didn't always take the best route to her objectives. Alongside her reforming achievements there was a streak of lunacy and fanaticism in her which had results that were especially harsh, and completely unnecessary.

Well, for once I find myself agreeing with Polly Toynbee:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/09/thatcher-acolytes-cameron-dont-know-when-to-stop

I think those who have come after have been and remain far more destructive.
Jim C - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
> So don't bother trying anything useful. Just leave the poor people at the bottom of the pile. Just waste billions on unemployment. Do you honestly think that was a good use of tax revenues?

If you cycle from Dumbarton to Balloch you will cross bridges built by youngsters on the youth Opportunities programme in the 70th. Well built and worthwhile taining and legacy.

Jim C

Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:

> Union legislation. Its effect is unclear, ...

Its effect is clear in vastly fewer strikes. Blair and Brown kept *all* of Thatcher's union legislation, despite it being highly controversial when passed.

> Privatisations. Lets see how the infrastucture holds out shall we?

None of Blair, Brown, or Milliband have called for mass reversal of the privatisations.

> ending of unprofitable pits. Why not ending of unprofitable BAe? The selectiveness of which
> unprofitable industries to support is curious.

According to wiki, BAe made a profit of £1 billion in 2012.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:

> Just waste billions on unemployment. Do you honestly think that was a good use of tax revenues?

No-one does. However, the record shows that government attempts to create jobs for such people are highly ineffective and expensive. Left wing parties would be elected into government a lot more often if they were actually any good at creating such programs.
Postmanpat on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> [...]
>
> Yes, look at the way Norway invested their oil revenues. Compare and contrast.
>
Do you really think the two countries are comparable?

dissonance - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Its effect is clear in vastly fewer strikes.

no it really isnt. Surely you should realise that its a tad more complicated than that. Just as a starter for ten you can look at the changing shape of businesses and also in those industries still unionised the management style is somewhat different.

> Blair and Brown kept *all* of Thatcher's union legislation, despite it being highly controversial when passed.

you keep saying this like some sort of mantra. They also kept charging along with other policies such as the use of disability to shift people from jobseekers. Now are you supporting those too?

> None of Blair, Brown, or Milliband have called for mass reversal of the privatisations.

Wow I never knew you believed they were such good politicans.
Now, can you think about how much it would cost to renationalise especially bearing in mind the way Thatcher gave them away?

> According to wiki, BAe made a profit of £1 billion in 2012.

you do realise subsidies can be indirect with respect to rather generous contracts dont you?
tony on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to tony)
>
> [...]
>
> No-one does. However, the record shows that government attempts to create jobs for such people are highly ineffective and expensive.

What about government programmes to pay for mass unemployment? That's better, is it?
tony on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to tony)
> [...]
> Do you really think the two countries are comparable?

I really think it demonstrates that there should have been better ways of spending all that money than paying millions of people to be unemployed. Do you really think it was a good way to spend the money?
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:

I agree with you. Of course, the social problems in Norway are much smaller because of their very small population; but apart from their oil, they've got very little indeed, except their intelligence, which prevented them from ever getting into this ridiculous thing of being able to bribe the electorate by reducing taxes.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:

> What about government programmes to pay for mass unemployment? That's better, is it?

Look, if instead of handing out dole money for people to sit around, you gave them the same money to do some productive work, then that would of course be better. But the left would faint in horror at that concept, they'd want people to get much more for their work, and thus it would cost a lot more.

Then you add in the cost of organising and managing the work, and the result is that it becomes expensive unless the work is really needed and worthwhile. If that can actually be done then great. But the point is that governments have a very bad track record at organising such things. That includes both Labour and Tory governments.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:

By the way, I entirely approve of workfare concepts. Now, if the left and the unions would cooperate in implementing it then great!
John2 - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: An interesting item on this topic on last night's PM programme. Thatcher was at a dinner at Magdalen College, Oxford when she said, 'Society is the building block for the future'. This statement was vigorously opposed by a number of PhD students and also Richard Dawkins. She was persuaded by them, and took the sound byte 'There is no such thing as society' away with her.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:

> This statement was vigorously opposed by a number of PhD students and also Richard Dawkins.

I'm dubious about this anecdote. First, Dawkins was never associated with Magdelen, he was at Balliol as a student and then New College as a don. Second, Dawkins is a soft-left Guardian-reading sort of guy, so the likelihood of his advocating this sound-bite is low. Further, your anecdote doesn't tell us what those (supposedly) arguing for it actually meant by it.
John2 - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: Well listen to last night's PM programme on Listen Again, and see if you revise your opinion. Dawkins had dinner at a different college - quite shocking.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:

So who was reporting the anecdote? Were they at the dinner?
Jimbo W on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I'm dubious about this anecdote. First, Dawkins was never associated with Magdelen, he was at Balliol as a student and then New College as a don.

It's really not that unusual to go to debates hosted by different colleges! Dawkins wasn't at Christchurch either, but he was at a few there too!

> Second, Dawkins is a soft-left Guardian-reading sort of guy

Where's this come from?
John2 - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: I forget his name, he is now a professor and was at the dinner. Why don't you listen to Listen Again rather than pestering me?
Jimbo W on 14 Apr 2013
Coel Hellier - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Where's this come from?

It's pretty obvious if you read his writings, twitter feed, etc.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:

I suspect that this is an invented anecdote. There are a small number of people, led by Britain's stupidest philosopher Mary Midgley, who think that Dawkins's book "the selfish gene" implies that humans are selfish. These people are too stupid to read beyond the title. Indeed they are too stupid to even read the title. It is the selfish **gene**. And, as Dawkins has said, it is because the **gene** is selfish (in the technical evolutionary sense) that *humans* are *not* selfish. That is what the book was about, why humans are *not* selfish.

But some people don't like Dawkins (and they don't like Thatcher), so they try to claim that Dawkins's science inspired Thatcher. Mary Midgely has said that explicitly. But then she is just stupid. People have been pointing out her mistake ever since she wrote a review of Dawkins's book back in 1979. But she is too stupid to get it.

So, I'm guessing that this anecdote was constructed by one of these stupid people. Given how many times Dawkins has, in exasperation, pointed out the stupidity of Midgely's error, I doubt he was ever arguing the exact opposite at a dinner party. It really is the exact opposite of everything he has ever said.
Jimbo W on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I suspect that this is an invented anecdote. There are a small number of people, led by Britain's stupidest philosopher Mary Midgley, who think that Dawkins's book "the selfish gene" implies that humans are selfish.

No, they rather think that Dawkins' expression was a product of a political milieu.

> These people are too stupid to read beyond the title. Indeed they are too stupid to even read the title. It is the selfish **gene**. And, as Dawkins has said, it is because the **gene** is selfish (in the technical evolutionary sense) that *humans* are *not* selfish. That is what the book was about, why humans are *not* selfish.
>
> But some people don't like Dawkins (and they don't like Thatcher), so they try to claim that Dawkins's science inspired Thatcher. Mary Midgely has said that explicitly. But then she is just stupid. People have been pointing out her mistake ever since she wrote a review of Dawkins's book back in 1979. But she is too stupid to get it.
>
> So, I'm guessing that this anecdote was constructed by one of these stupid people. Given how many times Dawkins has, in exasperation, pointed out the stupidity of Midgely's error, I doubt he was ever arguing the exact opposite at a dinner party. It really is the exact opposite of everything he has ever said.

So the Prog Swingland who was there was just lying.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> So the Prog Swingland who was there was just lying.

It's hard to tell without a transcript or recording of this supposed event.
John2 - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: I repeat, why don't you listen to Listen Again? I thought that you scientists were familiar with the process of evaluating evidence.

You are accusing a number of other people of being stupid, but you yourself seemed to be unaware that academics from time to time dine at colleges other than their own.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> No, they rather think that Dawkins' expression was a product of a political milieu.

And that claim is equally non-sensical, firstly because of the timing (the book was written in 1975, several years before Thatcherism, and the terms had been used by Hamilton and others in the 1960s), and second it is completely at odds with Dawkins's politics.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:

> ... but you yourself seemed to be unaware that academics from time to time dine at colleges other than their own.

Of course I'm aware of that, duh, but it's just one of a number of factors that add to the unlikelihood of this claim.
John2 - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: For the third time, why don't you listen to Listen Again? You have given us the benefit of your views on Dawkins' newspaper reading habits and the philosophy of Mary Midgely, you have accused a number of people of being stupid, and yet you refuse to listen to the easily available evidence.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:

> For the third time, why don't you listen to Listen Again?

Mostly because I don't have a computer with a speaker where I am. What is the evidence anyhow? If it's someone making an assertion about some long-ago event, then that's dubious. Do you have any corroboration that there was ever a dinner at Magdelen attended by both Thatcher and Dawkins? Any particular reason why those two would both be invited to a dinner and seated within speaking distance? The whole thing is rather improbable, it has all the hallmarks of an invented story, invented to suit someone's politics.
John2 - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: I know which I think is the more dubious out of Professor Swingland's recollection of an unusually memorable dinner which he attended and your increasingly fantastic fabrications based on a source which you are unwilling to check.
Coel Hellier - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:

Richard Dawkins: "I have no memory of the alleged dinner". Twitter today.
Jimbo W on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Richard Dawkins: "I have no memory of the alleged dinner". Twitter today.

Well he is getting old.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

It does sound like a bit of a 'non-denial denial'...

;-)
krikoman - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to John2)
>
>
>
> But some people don't like Dawkins (and they don't like Thatcher), so they try to claim that Dawkins's science inspired Thatcher. Mary Midgely has said that explicitly.


Can you do us a Venn diagram of this statement please
Gudrun - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to dissonance)

> Banking regulation is one issue. The union legislation, the privatisations, the ending of unprofitable pits, etc, are nowadays generally accepted by all from centre-left to centre-right.

In Germany the government of the so called left ran unprofitable mines for decades,so i'm afraid you are talking out a hole in your posterior there Coel.

"No such thing as society"

Not after she was finished devastating it.
Gudrun - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Mike Highbury)

> So the mythology of the left has it. You know, the fact that the left so misunderstands things is why it hasn't been in power for a generation (Blair/Brown were not "left" de facto).

Nothing to do with another good old British war in the Empire then?

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Nothing to do with another good old British war in the Empire then?

No shona, nothing to do with that. Since the late 80s there has been a consensus on economic policy on the centre right ground because that's what people vote for. About 90% of the population vote for one of the big three parties, and they are all give or take occupying the same ground. You appear to be saying that people vote for them, and have done for 30 years because of a war/wars. I'm sure you don't really mean that, because that would be pretty offensive to tens of millions of people who will have had a range of complex reasons for their choices....

Cheers
Gregor
Gudrun - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Perhaps i should clarify my point,she was only returned because of the war in the Malvinas.
knthrak1982 on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs)
>
> Perhaps i should clarify my point,she was only returned because of the war in the Malvinas.

You really think a war is all it takes to win such a significant majority from Labour? Cameron, take note.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:

quite probably yes

(though thats not the same as saying she only went to war for electoral gain, as discussed ad nauseam on previous threads, it was an extremely high risk operation, with many more ways to lose than win)

but was Coel's point not that there has been a fundamental shift of the middle ground of british politics towards the right? on economic terms at any rate. as blair and brown both followed large parts of 'thatcherite' economic policy, rather than more traditionally left wing approaches. and that they did this, because thats what they needed to do to get elected

cheers
gregor



Tim Chappell - on 22 Apr 2013
"I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it."

John Stuart Mill, in a Parliamentary debate 1866
biped - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Word.
off-duty - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it."
>
> John Stuart Mill, in a Parliamentary debate 1866

Is that THIS John Stuart Mill :-
"Everyone who receives the protection of society owes a return for the benefit."

off-duty - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it."
>
> John Stuart Mill, in a Parliamentary debate 1866

Or is it THIS John Stuart Mill?
"To tax the larger incomes at a higher percentage than the smaller is to lay a tax on industry and economy; to impose a penalty on people for having worked harder and saved more than their neighbours."
Tim Chappell - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to off-duty:

All the same John Stuart Mill, of course, expounding his liberalism.

I think you'll find that even if you don't do him the favour of putting him in the very different context in which he made these statements, all three of them have something going for them.

If you think the third looks controversial, try this: why *isn't* it discrimination against the rich to get, not only more tax from them (because they have more money), but also more tax at a higher rate than other citizens pay? Why *isn't* that an offence against the principle of equality before the law?

Calm down, I'm not opposed to progressive taxation. I'm just pointing out that if you believe (as JSM did and as I do) in equality before the law, then you do have some explaining to do as to why progressive taxation is OK.
off-duty - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Context being the nub - I suspect the conservatives of 150 years ago are somewhat different to conservatives today.
Which is why I'm always a bit dubious about glib phrases by dead people being used to make some sort of point, particularly when viewed in isolation.
MG - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> If you think the third looks controversial, try this: why *isn't* it discrimination against the rich to get,

Well it is. Clearly. But desirable for society, within limits.


John2 - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to MG: From each according to his means to each according to his needs.
Gudrun - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Mike Highbury)

> So the mythology of the left has it. You know, the fact that the left so misunderstands things is why it hasn't been in power for a generation (Blair/Brown were not "left" de facto).

Nothing to do with the views and manipulation of the the rich people in charge of the right wing media then?Who were determined to keep "Old" Labour out and dismantle the social support systems they introduced after the war that were seen as too "Communist".And to keep them from the new oil profits as well promoting the recurrence of Laissez-faire capitalism which was abandoned after the war.When the people fought back saying"Never again", against the rich who kept them in disease ridden slums,mired in poverty and unemployment before employing them to go die in their wars.

Friedman and his mob in Washington were promoting this for some time before they got TC and the UK Conservatives involved.

After all they were royally destroying every Leader,people and country they wanted to which indulged in nationalization and welfare support of the people.But unfortunately for them they couldn't get away with massacring and torturing the Trade Unions,Communists and workers in the UK in the way they could in the rest of the world,so it had to be done with less blood shed but with the same results.

Class war.
Tim Chappell - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:

Who can she mean by "TC"? Tall Clare is no right-wing ideologue. In fact she's a bit of a Guardian-reader, if I'm any judge.
Jim Fraser - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Unusually for me, I have decided to take leaf out of the neo-nazis and Japanese nationalists books and erase an element from history.


There is no such thing as Margaret Thatcher.
Gordon Stainforth - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> Unusually for me, I have decided to take leaf out of the neo-nazis and Japanese nationalists books and erase an element from history.
>
> There is no such thing as Margaret Thatcher.

We desperately need to move on, that's for sure, from something that history is bound to judge as a retrospective, retroactive, rubbish phenomenon.

Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:

... I mean, no one ever claimed Castlereagh was a 'revolutionary', did they?
Timmd on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to krikoman:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
>
> Can you do us a Venn diagram of this statement please

Why, what who?

Why would he bother to?

confused.com
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to Gudrun)
>
> Who can she mean by "TC"? Tall Clare is no right-wing ideologue. In fact she's a bit of a Guardian-reader, if I'm any judge.

No, not tall Clare, Top Cat...

The fascist pig.

;-)
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Jim Fraser)
> [...]
>
> We desperately need to move on, that's for sure, from something that history is bound to judge as a retrospective, retroactive, rubbish phenomenon.

"Bound to"..?

Because people in the future will necessarily think the same way as you?

I'd reckon history is capable of making a more nuanced judgement than that.

Cheers

Gregor
Tim Chappell - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Nuance?

This is UKC. Wash your mouth out.

I thought Gudrun, Bruce, and the other secret-police-worshippers might enjoy this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/athletics/22269445
off-duty - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

I believe the defence to "strategically extinguishing" someone runs along the lines of :-
"But the imperialist fascists in the West killed lots of people with slavery and stuff. And the GDR genuinely believed that defectors were traitors so crippling them to prevent them escaping or competing if they escaped was reasonable".

I look forward to the defence of the medical abuse.... ;-)
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
>
>
> I look forward to the defence of the medical abuse.... ;-)
>
Obviously "western propoganda". (waves union jack, sings Rule Brittania)

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs)
>
> Nuance?
>
> This is UKC. Wash your mouth out.

Sorry, Tim.

Consider my mouth thoroughly washed

I'll be sure to stick to partisan opinion presented as fact, and baseless hyperbole, in future, to keep to the spirit of things...

;-)

Gregor
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs)
>
> Nuance?
>
> This is UKC. Wash your mouth out.
>
> I thought Gudrun, Bruce, and the other secret-police-worshippers might enjoy this:
>
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/athletics/22269445

Of course what I said late last night here was deliberately un-nuanced and, indeed, provocative. Precisely what makes me angry about the whole Thatcher phenomenon was the way in which she/her government managed to brainwash people in so many ways. I am a liberal in the broadest sense and have always opposed police powers that cross the line of the freedom of the individual. I am a member of Liberty for precisely that reason.

My comment again about history was again the very point that it balances opposing arguments. I believe that when the hagiographic fog (we could call it Maggiography) has cleared, the epithet 'revolutionary' will surely be seen as inappropriate and even misleading. Maggie herself had a distaste for history, as witnessed by the extraordinary directive she gave out after the miners' strike that not a trace of the pits should remain visible in the whole of Nottinghamshire. Not a single pithead, even as as historic record. In effect, that huge part of industrial history and heritage should be wiped out for ever, as if it had never existed.

Another irony was the way in which people's rights and freedoms were actually reduced after the 1980s. Obviously the right to strike became an anathema; less obvious was the way the mobility of the population was reduced by the huge shift towards house ownership which relied on massive borrowing and mortgages. To 'get on your bike', ironically, became a lot more difficult. Moving from a poor economic area to a stronger one became virtually impossible. When I myself moved from London to the poorer Midlands in 1989, I knew that, of course, unless my economic circumstances improved very dramatically, it was a one-way trip.

Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

Whoops, "propaganda" and "Britannia" :(
Tim Chappell - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

Have you noticed the way the forum Stalinists use "people" and "the people"? "People" are always doing bad things, oppressing, being capitalists, stealing, cheating and stuff. "The people", on the other hand, are your regular socialist heroes.

The trouble here, I think, is that people do exist, but "the people" don't.
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Sorry, last was in reply to no-more-scotch-eggs at 7:29.
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> Have you noticed the way the forum Stalinists use "people" and "the people"? "People" are always doing bad things, oppressing, being capitalists, stealing, cheating and stuff. "The people", on the other hand, are your regular socialist heroes.
>
> The trouble here, I think, is that people do exist, but "the people" don't.

But "the people" in that sense typically meant the (working-class) "masses", and that was no fiction. AKA the "plebs" (a term still used in some quarters).
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
> [...]
>
>
>
> Another irony was the way in which people's rights and freedoms were actually reduced after the 1980s. Obviously the right to strike became an anathema; less obvious was the way the mobility of the population was reduced by the huge shift towards house ownership which relied on massive borrowing and mortgages. To 'get on your bike', ironically, became a lot more difficult. Moving from a poor economic area to a stronger one became virtually impossible. When I myself moved from London to the poorer Midlands in 1989, I knew that, of course, unless my economic circumstances improved very dramatically, it was a one-way trip.
>
And it wouldn't have been a one way trip had you been dependent on council housing? Given the explosion in the private rental market one could argue that mobility became easier.

To offset your argument about bringing unions within the law you could take more than pocket money overseas, millions of people could get a mortgage for the first time, and you could get a phone without waiting three months. Thatcher believed that wealth brought freedom, and most sections of society got wealthier.
Tim Chappell - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

"was no fiction" is right. Because pretty well all the categories that make Marxist analysis so much as intelligible disappeared some time ago. Certainly the category of "the workers" or "the masses" just isn't anything like what Marx was trying to describe.
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Actually, on reflection, I don't think I've got that quite right. The 'people/plebs', in the 2nd World War and the 50s, at least, meant the whole of the working class and the lower middle class. Certainly everyone who was in a Union, but rather more than that. I suppose what we now call 'middle England'. And that's not a fiction either.
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Sure. Our posts crossed. ... Now I have to get to work (rather than talk about it in a Tory way) ... something I actually really enjoy.
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

In London there was certainly not an explosion in the private rental market (if my memory is correct, rented accommodation became sharply less affordable for the "masses" (... there we go again :))) I think movement towards work (e.g. towards new towns like Stevenage) was definitely easier in the 50s/60s. a) I may be wrong, b) there may have been other factors at work.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Maggie herself had a distaste for history, as witnessed by the extraordinary directive
> she gave out after the miners' strike that not a trace of the pits should remain visible in the
> whole of Nottinghamshire. Not a single pithead, even as as historic record. In effect,
> that huge part of industrial history and heritage should be wiped out for ever, as if it had never existed.

Citation needed.

> Another irony was the way in which people's rights and freedoms were actually reduced after the 1980s.

Much less so than under Blair with all his terrorism-related legislation.

> Obviously the right to strike became an anathema ...

No, the right to strike was not reduced.

> the mobility of the population was reduced by the huge shift towards house ownership ...

OK, but not exactly a "rights and freedoms" issue.

John2 - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: 'you could get a phone without waiting three months'

Let's set this myth to rest. I moved to Pembroke last year, and it took 2 1/2 months to get a phone line installed.
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
> [...]

>
> Maggie herself had a distaste for history, as witnessed by the extraordinary directive she gave out after the miners' strike that not a trace of the pits should remain visible in the whole of Nottinghamshire. Not a single pithead, even as as historic record. In effect, that huge part of industrial history and heritage should be wiped out for ever, as if it had never existed.
>
Before you go, can you source that quote? She may have said it, and she certainly seems to have been vindictive on such things, but the Nottinghamshire mines were largely closed by Heseltine under Major so it doesn't make sense.
off-duty - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
> [...]
>
> Of course what I said late last night here was deliberately un-nuanced and, indeed, provocative. Precisely what makes me angry about the whole Thatcher phenomenon was the way in which she/her government managed to brainwash people in so many ways. I am a liberal in the broadest sense and have always opposed police powers that cross the line of the freedom of the individual. I am a member of Liberty for precisely that reason.
>
>

Presumably you are therefore extremely grateful to the Thatcher government for "reigning in" the powers of the police, with the statutory framework of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, which radically affected how the police operated.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) 'you could get a phone without waiting three months'
>
> Let's set this myth to rest. I moved to Pembroke last year, and it took 2 1/2 months to get a phone line installed.
>
You could have gone to Carphone Warehouse and got any one of hundreds in five minutes. You think the State run British Telecom (let alone the Post Office!) would have enabled that?

MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> [...]
> Before you go, can you source that quote? She may have said it, and she certainly seems to have been vindictive on such things, but the Nottinghamshire mines were largely closed by Heseltine under Major so it doesn't make sense.

And even if true, it didn't happen. I lived near a former pithead in 200-3-5 in Nottingham and it was very clear what it had been.
John2 - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: The rise of Carphone Warehouse was nothing to do with the privatisation of BT.

Incidentally, the speed with which the BT engineer disappeared without checking that my internet connection worked was positively comical.
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> And even if true, it didn't happen. I lived near a former pithead in 200-3-5 in Nottingham and it was very clear what it had been.
>
The Thoresby mine in Notts is one of the last remaining deep mines in the UK.

Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) The rise of Carphone Warehouse was nothing to do with the privatisation of BT.
>
>
Of course it was (although actually my point was simply that you now have a choice). The rise of independent suppliers of communications was and without that Carphone Warehouse wouldn't have had a business model.
tony on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to John2)
> [...]
> Of course it was (although actually my point was simply that you now have a choice).

You don't really have a choice if you need a new line installed. Openreach is the only company that actually installs new lines, and if there are no existing cables, it can take months to get landlines installed. This does seem to have been a particular problem with new-build properties.

http://community.bt.com/t5/Bills-Packages/What-a-nightmare-to-live-in-a-new-built-property/td-p/4796...
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> You don't really have a choice if you need a new line installed.
>
Agreed. The problem is that such infrastructure is a "natural monopoly".
I assume in a few years time we'll think of fixed line phones a bit like we now think of red telephone boxes.
John2 - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: Good grief, did you have a lobotomy for breakfast?

1) I am talking about a fixed phone line, not a mobile.

2) In 1984 when BT was privatised the mobile phone was in its infancy. People such as salesmen used to have car phones, and the only handheld mobiles available were the size of a brick and often the object of more amusement than admiration.

3) When people trot out the myth about not waiting 3 months to have a phone line installed they are of course talking about fixed lines.
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) Good grief, did you have a lobotomy for breakfast?
>
> 1) I am talking about a fixed phone line, not a mobile.
>
And I'm not because they are part of the same market.

> 2) In 1984 when BT was privatised the mobile phone was in its infancy. People such as salesmen used to have car phones, and the only handheld mobiles available were the size of a brick and often the object of more amusement than admiration.
>
I know, and I am saying a State monopoly would have been happy to have left it that way given the option. In reality they would have been slow inefficient and expensive in introducing the new technology.

> 3) When people trot out the myth about not waiting 3 months to have a phone line installed they are of course talking about fixed lines.
>
See my point about natural monopolies. I would still reckon BT now does a generally better job tha BT then.

John2 - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: You're completely missing the point about fixed lines. If you want to have a high speed internet connection at minimum cost then you need a fixed connection, which is only available via copper wire, fibre optic cable or satellite. In many parts of the country the only option available is copper wire, and all of the copper wire connections to homes are owned and managed by BT.

The ownership of the copper cables was not changed in any way by Thatcher.
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) You're completely missing the point about fixed lines.
>
>
No, you're missing my point about natural monopolies.
dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> I know, and I am saying a State monopoly would have been happy to have left it that way given the option. In reality they would have been slow inefficient and expensive in introducing the new technology.

yes thank god we have BT eh.
Fast, efficient and cheap.

oh wait.

> See my point about natural monopolies. I would still reckon BT now does a generally better job tha BT then.

you can reckon that but you would need to take the technological changes (something which the pre privatisation BT contributed to at Adastral Park) into account when making comparisons.
John2 - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: This is getting silly. When people claim that Thatcher's reforms meant that people didn't have to wait 3 months to have a phone line installed they are talking about fixed phone lines. Thatcher did nothing to change to ownership of the last part of the fixed line or the time it took to get a line installed.

As for natural monopolies, I'm not sure who owns the physical phone lines in the USA, but I do know that it usually only takes a couple of days to get a new line installed.
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to John2)
> [...]
> No, you're missing my point about natural monopolies.


I don't think I see you point either. 3 months for land line in 1975 with no choice of provider. Much the same now. Hardly a great example of privatisation in action is it? I would have thought the competing providers of the actual telephone service would be much stronger grounds.
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
>
> I don't think I see you point either. 3 months for land line in 1975 with no choice of provider. Much the same now. Hardly a great example of privatisation in action is it? I would have thought the competing providers of the actual telephone service would be much stronger grounds.

Actually the initial plan was to introduce competition in infrastructure but that was abandoned.

Anyway, I would still argue the fixed line service, although shodddy, is much better than in 1980 and that this is partly the result of the introduction of competition in telephone services driving technology and increasing the power of the "buyer" to kick BT up the arse.

In addition I would argue that the introduction and diffusion of competition in the form of mobile communications has 1) massively improved our access to alternative technologies 2) Pressurised the fixed line provider to do better.

You have picked a funny privatisation/deregulation to attack given that it is widely regarded as the best example of a success.

Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> Presumably you are therefore extremely grateful to the Thatcher government for "reigning in" the powers of the police, with the statutory framework of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, which radically affected how the police operated.

Yes. But wasn't it strange how little effect that had when it came to police dealings with the Tory press, and with Murdoch? Shocking really. (And yes, Labour pretty much as bad in this respect ... but all goes to show that Metropolitan Police and the establishment were always working hand in hand ... much eating out and socialising was done, I know.)
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: Well it wasn't me that picked it but you! Anyway, as above, I agree the telephone service but is vastly better, partly due to privatisation and partly due to changes in technology. It was the supply of the lines that doesn't seemed to have changed much but for some reason you seem to see this as an example of a benefit of privatisation.
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:

Of course, we all know that the whole industry built round mobile phones and BT in this country is one great scam, remarkably free of regulation. Second only to our disgracefully expensive railway system ... another great 'triumph'?? of Tory privatisation. Worse than all these, the water privatisation that screwed up the possibility of a national network for ever ... so that we still have water shortages even in years with above average rainfall, in a country that has very much more than adequate rainfall. Sheer greed has screwed up the possibility of a better national system.

HOW are some people (it seems) PROUD of these cock-ups? Sorry to shout.
off-duty - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> Yes. But wasn't it strange how little effect that had when it came to police dealings with the Tory press, and with Murdoch? Shocking really. (And yes, Labour pretty much as bad in this respect ... but all goes to show that Metropolitan Police and the establishment were always working hand in hand ... much eating out and socialising was done, I know.)


If you don't understand the effect of PACE it's ok to say so.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> we all know that the whole industry built round mobile phones and BT in this country is one great scam

Do "we"? In what way is it a scam?

> Second only to our disgracefully expensive railway system ...

Is it really that expensive compared to other countries?

> so that we still have water shortages even in years with above average rainfall, in a country that has very much more than adequate rainfall.

Or rather, the areas of the country with much less rainfall are prone to shortages.

> Sheer greed has screwed up the possibility of a better national system.

Yep, state-nationalised systems are always better!
dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) Well it wasn't me that picked it but you! Anyway, as above, I agree the telephone service but is vastly better, partly due to privatisation and partly due to changes in technology.

think technology is the key.
After all the infrastructure would be even worse than it is if people didnt keep managing to push the limits of what copper can take.
How much longer that can go on is anyones guess though.

John2 - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: 'the areas of the country with much less rainfall are prone to shortages'

I never thought of Yorkshire as lacking in rain, but I well remember when Yorkshire Water produced contingency plans to evacuate the city of Bradford if they were unable to supply it with enough water.
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> Of course, we all know that the whole industry built round mobile phones and BT in this country is one great scam, remarkably free of regulation.

Eh? It seems fine to me.


Second only to our disgracefully expensive railway system ... another great 'triumph'?? of Tory privatisation.

Agree this is a mess and possibly the worst way to privatise the railways was adopted. That said, most countries railways are now at least partly private so I don't think it is necessarily bad in principle.


Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:

PS. I am not at all against privatisation, in fact, i'm all for it. It's just how it's done. With our infrastructure, strong regulation and overall planning is still essential. It's the killer combination of profiteering and amateurism that I object to.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Hi Gordon,

In your post of 09.18, you suggest that the thatcher administration 'brainwashed' people

I'm always uncomfortable reading arguments like that

They have implicit assumptions that

1 there is an objective truth to be found, which coincides with the beliefs of the person advancing the argument

2/ that a vested interest through nefarious means blind people to this truth, and get them to believe the opposite

3/ that the person making the argument has a special resistence to this influence, which huge numbers of their fellow citizens do not share

4/ and that anyone that does believe differently to the person making the argument cannot do so by having appraised the facts and come to their own decision, but have done so due to a weakness in their character that leaves them in thrall to the will of others

Whatever you may think of her, and I am no unequivocal supporter of her, 14 million people voted for her in 83 and 87. I think it is unlikely that enough were brainwashed to have swung the election. More likely, people looked at the evidence and interpreted it differently to you, based on their values and experiences.

If I've misunderstood the point you were making, apologies; but I think brainwashing as an argument us basically a form of ad hominem to invalidate the opinions of people we disagree with, and should be avoided,

Best wishes

Gregor
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: So what form of telephone provision would you favour?
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I'm thinking particularly about the almost complete control of our media, and television. I still think it's true re our television (though it's not as bad as America, of course). The BBC is a very feeble shade of what it once was.
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:

Provision pretty much OK. Pricing, uncontrolled and mostly exorbitant.
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs)
>
> I'm thinking particularly about the almost complete control of our media, and television. I still think it's true re our television (though it's not as bad as America, of course).

I really don't think you know much about TV in the US. Pretty much anyone can set up a channel, from luny religous nuts, to food celebrities, to serious news channels of every political stripe. Quite how you can think it is government controlled is beyond me.
Jim C - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> Hi Gordon,
>
> In your post of 09.18, you suggest that the thatcher administration 'brainwashed' people
............>
> Whatever you may think of her, and I am no unequivocal supporter of her, 14 million people voted for her in 83 and 87. ...
>
> Best wishes
>
> Gregor

Not so sure that the 14 million 'voted for her', I think that it is accepted,even amongst the labour party, that there was NO electable opposition, the Labour party was totally unelectable, despite what the Tory Government was like.

If you have a choice of Doom or gloom , you might vote for Gloom as the lesser evil, that does NOT mean that the 14 Million voters were happy with what thety were going to get by voting Tory, just that they did not want Labour which is not the positive spin that you are putting on it.

So it was not brainwashing, but simply people thinking clearly, and chosing which was worst and voting for the best (of a bad lot.)

ads.ukclimbing.com
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> Provision pretty much OK. Pricing, uncontrolled and mostly exorbitant.

Strange, I am amazed at how cheap it is after you have paid for the BT line. Skype, for example, offers practically free phone calls.

Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> Of course, we all know that the whole industry built round mobile phones and BT in this country is one great scam, remarkably free of regulation. Second only to our disgracefully expensive railway system ... another great 'triumph'?? of Tory privatisation. Worse than all these, the water privatisation that screwed up the possibility of a national network for ever ... so that we still have water shortages even in years with above average rainfall,
>
1) Can you explain your description of the telecoms industry?

2) Have you checked the levels of capital expenditure on the water infrastructure pre and post privatisation? What conclusion would you draw?
The obvious one is that the privatised entities have spent much of the past couple of decades making up for the previous decades of under investment.

3) Have you found the source for the Thatcher quote on the Notts coal mines yet?
dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:

> Strange, I am amazed at how cheap it is after you have paid for the BT line. Skype, for example, offers practically free phone calls.

Skype is a rather poor example though. With it being outside the local telecoms system and incidently one which various providers try to restrict.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs)
>
> I'm thinking particularly about the almost complete control of our media, and television. I still think it's true re our television (though it's not as bad as America, of course). The BBC is a very feeble shade of what it once was.

But what makes you and me resistant to this, but differentially leaves people that agreed with, or voted for, thatcher vulnerable?

Was it possible to have weighed up the evidence, free of the influence you cite, and come to the conclusion it was not a retrospective, retroactive, rubbish phenomenon? Has coel been brainwashed?

Cheers

Gregor

MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> [...]
>
> Skype is a rather poor example though. With it being outside the local telecoms system and incidently one which various providers try to restrict.

How does that make it a poor example? If you take "telephone" as the means to talk to each other a long way a part, it fits the bill fine. And is cheap.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Jim C:

No spin, Jim, just a statement of fact. Nearly 14 million people voted Tory at those elections.

They almost certainly has any number of reasons for doing so. That's the nature of things.

But voting was not compulsory. They could have not voted, spoiled ballot papers, voted Monster Raving Loony or even liberal.

But they put their X next to the Tory candidate. To suggest that they did so without having some degree of affinity or support for Tory policies isn't credible to me. Neither is the proposition that large numbers were not acting under their own will.

Anyhow, back to work!

Gregor
dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:

> How does that make it a poor example? If you take "telephone" as the means to talk to each other a long way a part, it fits the bill fine. And is cheap.

because it is a computer application not part of the main phone network.
So yes if you render the term meaningless you might have a point but as it stands it works despite the appalling infrastructure in the UK.
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> [...]
>
> because it is a computer application not part of the main phone network.
> So yes if you render the term meaningless you might have a point but as it stands it works despite the appalling infrastructure in the UK.

Don't follow. Surely what it does is important, not the means by which it does it? E.g the tranpsort system is now largely road based but it's still tranpsport, despite not using canals or mule tracks.

dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:

> Don't follow. Surely what it does is important, not the means by which it does it?

The point is Gordon was talking about the UK provision of telephones, not alternatives to it.
The cross over is on ability to call out into the wider system (where costs start appearing) and the use of broadband, something for which BT and co dont cover themselves in glory.
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> [...]
>
> The point is Gordon was talking about the UK provision of telephones, not alternatives to it.


Well if you are going to restrict "telephone" to be the thing with a dial, a copper line, provided by BT, then yes I agree they are expensive. But doing that is very limiting. How's the mule?
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG: Or put it anothjer way for <<£20/month you can get effectively unlimited telephone (or maybe say voice communication if you don't like new fangled developments), internet, TV and so on. I would say this is cheap, probably cheaper than simply a phone in the mid-eighties.
dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to MG) Or put it anothjer way for <<£20/month you can get effectively unlimited telephone (or maybe say voice communication if you don't like new fangled developments), internet, TV and so on. I would say this is cheap, probably cheaper than simply a phone in the mid-eighties.

I am quite comfortable with those new fangled developments, its just since I understand how they work I find it best to separate out the different types since it works best when claiming success for a particular approach to understand what, if any, relationship there is.
Now since we are discussing how successful privatisation is shall we look at the traffic shaping etc which is being used as an alternative to investment?
Timmd on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
> 1) Can you explain your description of the telecoms industry?
>
> 2) Have you checked the levels of capital expenditure on the water infrastructure pre and post privatisation? What conclusion would you draw?
> The obvious one is that the privatised entities have spent much of the past couple of decades making up for the previous decades of under investment.
>
> 3) Have you found the source for the Thatcher quote on the Notts coal mines yet?

When you bring up the water industry, do you keep in mind the loophole created to make the purchase of water companies a more attractive buy, allowing water companies to flush raw sewage into the rivers without paying a fine, the closure of which water companies are still fighting?
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> [...]
>
> The point is Gordon was talking about the UK provision of telephones, not alternatives to it.
> The cross over is on ability to call out into the wider system (where costs start appearing) and the use of broadband, something for which BT and co dont cover themselves in glory.
>
The point is that deregulation and privatisation was a major driver in facilitating the availability of alternatives. My old black and white TV probably hasn't improved much and the servicing would be shit.
MG - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> I am quite comfortable with those new fangled developments, its just since I understand how they work I find it best to separate out the different types since it works best when claiming success for a particular approach to understand what, if any, relationship there is.

Well, yes, muleteer prices are quite horrendous these days arne't they?


> Now since we are discussing how successful privatisation is shall we look at the traffic shaping etc which is being used as an alternative to investment?

If you wish.

Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
> 1) Can you explain your description of the telecoms industry?

Not time. Work presses. Other experts can do so much better than myself, and others have already been putting in some of the detail on this thread.
>
> 2) Have you checked the levels of capital expenditure on the water infrastructure pre and post privatisation? What conclusion would you draw?

I would draw the conclusion that our huge water bills are being spent properly, and are now catching up with several decades of severe neglect. The turn around came at about the beginning of this century. But with the railways, the traveller is paying for it with huge rail fares ... I think almost without equal in western world? Again it wasn't until the late 90s (after several major railway disasters) that they started to get their act together.

> The obvious one is that the privatised entities have spent much of the past couple of decades making up for the previous decades of under investment.
>
> 3) Have you found the source for the Thatcher quote on the Notts coal mines yet?

No. I got this from someone who has had close dealings with the local council/s over the years, so will have to wait till I see them again.

dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> The point is that deregulation and privatisation was a major driver in facilitating the availability of alternatives.

ok, care to explain the impact of deregulation and privatisation as a driver for Skype. Or indeed its impact on VOIP in general (which after all came about in part since people were pissed off with the phone services, ermm, service).
Gordon Stainforth - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
> The point is that deregulation and privatisation was a major driver in facilitating the availability of alternatives. My old black and white TV probably hasn't improved much and the servicing would be shit.

As as matter of fact, the first colour TV in the UK was brought in by the publicly owned BBC in 1967, who had wisely waited a few years until the PAL system had been perfected (vastly superior to the American NTSC).
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> As as matter of fact, the first colour TV in the UK was brought in by the publicly owned BBC in 1967, who had wisely waited a few years until the PAL system had been perfected (vastly superior to the American NTSC).
>
I wasn't suggesting privatising BT had anything to do with my colour TV. I was making a point about focusing on fixed line copper wire as symptomatic of the telecoms industry is wrong.

Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> ok, care to explain the impact of deregulation and privatisation as a driver for Skype. Or indeed its impact on VOIP in general (which after all came about in part since people were pissed off with the phone services, ermm, service).
>
Are we going to go through every development in telecomms technolgy and its provision in the past thirty years and argue whether it was helped by deregulation and privatisation?

If the Post office/BT still had a statutory monopoly on telecoms services would Skype even be allowed?
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]

>
> I would draw the conclusion that our huge water bills are being spent properly, and are now catching up with several decades of severe neglect. The turn around came at about the beginning of this century.
>
No it didn't. Capex int he water industry surged almost immediately after privaisation (albeit having been suppressed for a year or two before but after fifteen years of decline)
But with the railways, the traveller is paying for it with huge rail fares ... I think almost without equal in western world? Again it wasn't until the late 90s (after several major railway disasters) that they started to get their act together.
>
Strange argument: because railway capex to offset years of public sector neglect was delayed by the privatised companies for a few years then no blame lies with decades of public sector underinvestment. In fact this shows that publc sector is best?
>
> No. I got this from someone who has had close dealings with the local council/s over the years, so will have to wait till I see them again.
>
I suspect if she had said this it would be in the public domain by now.

Timmd on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:Unusual you've not replied, re sewege discharge into rivers. Did you not know it happens? I was surprised/amazed/annoyed I have to admit.
Sir Chasm - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Timmd: Did it not happen pre privatisation?
dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Are we going to go through every development in telecomms technolgy and its provision in the past thirty years and argue whether it was helped by deregulation and privatisation?

well it would come in useful rather than just regurgitating the standard "in the seventies it took 3 months to get connected" which, as has been pointed out, ignores the fact it still happens now and also the technical changes which makes it less of a factor for users.

> If the Post office/BT still had a statutory monopoly on telecoms services would Skype even be allowed?

Who knows, although we do know that various ISPs have actively blocked/applied throttling P2P and VOIP and it is something which is under consideration for needing regulation.
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> well it would come in useful rather than just regurgitating the standard "in the seventies it took 3 months to get connected" which, as has been pointed out, ignores the fact it still happens now and also the technical changes which makes it less of a factor for users.
>
Well, if one were just regurgitating that rather than highlighting the revolutionary transformation of the whole telecoms landscape over the past 25 years you might have a point. If you think the Post Office would have embraced this wholeheartedly and facilitated the change then so be it. Ca I have some of whatever you're smoking?

>
> Who knows, although we do know that various ISPs have actively blocked/applied throttling P2P and VOIP and it is something which is under consideration for needing regulation.
>
Well you've answered the question. If the ISPs try and block it how about a State monopoly????

Timmd on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:The loophole letting companies off without a fine didn't exist pre privatisation.

Sir Chasm - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Timmd: Isn't the important issue how much shit ends up in the rivers? Was it better before or after privatisation?
Coel Hellier - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Timmd:

> The loophole letting companies off without a fine didn't exist pre privatisation.

I haven't looked it up, but I'm willing to bet that the concept of fining the company at all didn't exist before privatisation.
dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
> Well, if one were just regurgitating that rather than highlighting the revolutionary transformation of the whole telecoms landscape over the past 25 years you might have a point.

Well you did come out with this. "and you could get a phone without waiting three months". Exactly what was the relevance if not trying to imply it was down to the privatisation?

> If you think the Post Office would have embraced this wholeheartedly and facilitated the change then so be it. Ca I have some of whatever you're smoking?

depends if they were stifled by the government using them a)as a money bank and b)restricting their actions on ideological grounds.
Certainly the Post office then BT came up with some impressive stuff at Martlesham heath. Something which now is much run down.

> Well you've answered the question. If the ISPs try and block it how about a State monopoly????

who knows although considering its the government considering legislation to ensure access that might give a hint.
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Timmd:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> When you bring up the water industry, do you keep in mind the loophole created to make the purchase of water companies a more attractive buy, allowing water companies to flush raw sewage into the rivers without paying a fine, the closure of which water companies are still fighting?
>

Yes, but I was surprised when I found out. Almost as surprised as when I was climbing at Lulworth in 1975 and saw a shoal of floating turds in the sea coming out of a large pipeline. Hope that has stopped for the sale of the DWS folk.

But the number of breaches of water control standards had fallen from 25,000 in 1994 to 3,400 in 2003 so they're doing something right.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> Well you did come out with this. "and you could get a phone without waiting three months". Exactly what was the relevance if not trying to imply it was down to the privatisation?
>
Did you think that I thought this was the sole benefit of privatisation? Of course you didn't.
>
> depends if they were stifled by the government using them a)as a money bank and b)restricting their actions on ideological grounds.
>
>
You're getting there....
>
> who knows although considering its the government considering legislation to ensure access that might give a hint.
>
You mean a hint that Thatcher's idea of less and better regulation and more choice has gained traction with government?

Postmanpat on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Timmd)
>
> [...]
>
> I haven't looked it up, but I'm willing to bet that the concept of fining the company at all didn't exist before privatisation.
>
Apparently there was no consistent monitoring of water standard breaches, let alone fines.

dissonance - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Did you think that I thought this was the sole benefit of privatisation? Of course you didn't.

well you specifically mentioned it as a plus. I was assuming this was because you thought it was worthy of specific attention.
Namely assessing how accurate the claim actually is.

> You're getting there....

Ah to the dream world where private sector runs all investment wisely and well without any intervention or support from the state?
Reminds me of a quote by P.J O'Rourke
"The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."

> You mean a hint that Thatcher's idea of less and better regulation and more choice has gained traction with government?

oh ffs you have to be taking the piss.
I will leave you to get on with your dreams.

Gudrun - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> Have you noticed the way the forum Stalinists use "people" and "the people"? "People" are always doing bad things, oppressing, being capitalists, stealing, cheating and stuff. "The people", on the other hand, are your regular socialist heroes.

You will be refering to my post above which stated-

"When the people fought back saying"Never again", against the rich who kept them in disease ridden slums,mired in poverty and unemployment before employing them to go die in their wars."

And

"Friedman and his mob in Washington were promoting this for some time before they got TC and the UK Conservatives involved.

After all they were royally destroying every Leader,people and country they wanted to which indulged in nationalization and welfare support of the people"

So it turns out that i mean exactly what i say which bears no resemblance to your distortedly strange interpretation.The people in these cases are the majority for the first and the vast majority for the second.

> The trouble here, I think, is that people do exist, but "the people" don't.

This is clearly drivel please try harder.

ps. TC has nothing to do with Tall Clare of UKC(and apologies to Clare) but is a description of Thatcher or "T"hat "_"......!which i first heard as a kid when spoken by adults at times when kids were about and they didn't want to use such graphic language.

Gudrun - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)

> I look forward to the defence of the medical abuse.... ;-)

How can you defend that or more importantly why would you defend that?
It is quite clearly a criminal act by a government.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
> [...]

> ps. TC has nothing to do with Tall Clare of UKC(and apologies to Clare) but is a description of Thatcher


Top Cat!
The most effectual Top Cat!
Who's intellectual close friends get to call him T.C.
Providing it's with dignity.

Top Cat!
The indisputable leader of the gang.
He's the boss, he's a pip, he's the championship.
He's the most tip top,
Top Cat.

Yes he's a chief, he's a king,
But above everything,
He's the most tip top,
Top Cat.

Top Cat!

off-duty - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> How can you defend that or more importantly why would you defend that?
> It is quite clearly a criminal act by a government.

If that's a resounding criticism of the various medical "treatments"of the GDR athletes by their government, then I agree with you.
Whoopee ;-)
Gudrun - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
> Obviously "western propoganda". (waves union jack, sings Rule Brittania)

Had the same meaning as Nazi swastika to many 10s of millions.

"There aint no black in the Union Jack".

"Britons never never never .....will be slaves."

Hurrah !

I was in the house during some football event a few years back which was staged in South Africa.My man and three of his pals were watching it when they noticed Enguland fans belting out this lovely ditty and noted that they seemed to almost peeter out into a mumble when they reached the heroic line of "Britons never never never .....will be slaves."

I wonder what their hosts made of it.
Sick.
Timmd on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Timmd)
> [...]
>
> Yes, but I was surprised when I found out. Almost as surprised as when I was climbing at Lulworth in 1975 and saw a shoal of floating turds in the sea coming out of a large pipeline. Hope that has stopped for the sale of the DWS folk.
>
> But the number of breaches of water control standards had fallen from 25,000 in 1994 to 3,400 in 2003 so they're doing something right.

I'm pleased that has changed.

Postmanpat on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> Had the same meaning as Nazi swastika to many 10s of millions.
>
Blimey, I thought you'd missed the bait for a time there. Good to see you rise xx

Gudrun - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Gudrun)
> [...]
> Blimey, I thought you'd missed the bait for a time there. Good to see you rise xx

You know me too well.

Hugs n kisses.
Duncan Bourne - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:
I wouldn't say not wishing to be a slave is sick, pretty natural.

However that is not why I am here.
I just thought that folk might like to know that Private Eye did a pretty good resume of the Thatcher legacy this week.
Big Bang 1986 - a switch to unlimited leverage & risk (I've condensed the full article) which helped create the 2008 crisis
Booms & Busts - Right to buy helped full the 80's housing bubble which burst in the early 90's. Black Monday 1987
the Guinness, Lloyd's & Barlow Clowes scandals of the 80's a product of the greed is good culture.
Not to say that Labour did a better job but it wasn't all the glory days of economic growth (at the expense of the poor) as some are implying
Gudrun - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
> I wouldn't say not wishing to be a slave is sick, pretty natural.

How about the British *making* 3.5 million Africans into slaves?
(Sorry a fair amount died in the process so that should be a lower amount).

Is that sick?

> Not to say that Labour did a better job but it wasn't all the glory days of economic growth (at the expense of the poor) as some are implying

sorry will you please explain this comment.
off-duty - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:
> (In reply to Duncan Bourne)
> [...]
>
> How about the British *making* 3.5 million Africans into slaves?
> (Sorry a fair amount died in the process so that should be a lower amount).
>
> Is that sick?

You do understand that a wrong by one side doesn't "cancel out" a wrong by another even more so when they are entirely unrelated. Unless you are suggesting that 21st century communists feared being literally enslaved by the West?

Incidentally I would imagine your anecdote about British fans singing Rule Britannia, could equally well be explained by British political correctness and awkwardness in the sudden realisation they were about to use the word "slave" in a country where apartheid was normal.
The song certainly isn't derogatory towards slaves other than suggesting "we" don't want to be one, nor does it glorify slavery.
Gudrun - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to off-duty:

Now you have done well in your last post so i won't be too harsh on my marking,but the first paragraph does belie my appreciation of your second paragraph.My reference to the British Trans-Atlantic slave trade came from our Postie putting Rule Britannia on a hook and waiting,nothing at all to do with the good old former Socialist peace camp....ahhhhhhhhhh !<Stares longingly into the distance to a time when such a wonderful society will be fully realized again>(But with slight modifications)

> Incidentally I would imagine your anecdote about British fans singing Rule Britannia, could equally well be explained by British political correctness and awkwardness in the sudden realisation they were about to use the word "slave" in a country where apartheid was normal.
> The song certainly isn't derogatory towards slaves other than suggesting "we" don't want to be one, nor does it glorify slavery.

Well said!
But personally speaking i interprete the song which was or was not incidentely penned during Britain's horrific 300 year lasting treatment of Africans as animals,as being linked to that empire building golden egg.In fact the foundations of your British empire and industrial revolution as well as finance and capitalism were indeed built on the blood,exploitation,racism,oppression,colonialism/fascisma,bourgeoisie dictarorship and horrific slavery of innocent people.So we are screaming we will never be slaves but at the same time our wealth is being built by them.....hmmm!

It's a glorification of our percieved racist superiority and therefor ...

"Britons never never never never ....will be slaves."
Duncan Bourne - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:
> (In reply to Duncan Bourne)
> [...]
>
> How about the British *making* 3.5 million Africans into slaves?
> (Sorry a fair amount died in the process so that should be a lower amount).
>
> Is that sick?
>

I don't see how that is relevant. Surely not wanting to be a slave is a good thing?

> [...]
>
> sorry will you please explain this comment.

Seems pretty obvious

Duncan Bourne - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun:
> (In reply to off-duty)
>


> But personally speaking i interprete the song which was or was not incidentely penned during Britain's horrific 300 year lasting treatment of Africans as animals,as being linked to that empire building golden egg.In fact the foundations of your British empire and industrial revolution as well as finance and capitalism were indeed built on the blood,exploitation,racism,oppression,colonialism/fascisma,bourgeoisie dictarorship and horrific slavery of innocent people.So we are screaming we will never be slaves but at the same time our wealth is being built by them.....hmmm!
>
> It's a glorification of our percieved racist superiority and therefor ...
>
> "Britons never never never never ....will be slaves."

Well by the standards of the time the Brits did pretty well. Far better than the Russians, the Belgians, the French, the Americans, and just about everybody else who all had slaves and empires and were a damn sight more brutal about it than the Brits (who could be brutal lets not deny that). I seem to remember that us Brits were the first country to abolish slavery (William Wilberforce remember him) certainly before the Americans and the Russians whos serfs had to wait until 1917 to throw off their shackles.


Rob Exile Ward on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Gudrun: I don't know why I bother but here goes:

'In fact the foundations of your British empire and industrial revolution as well as finance and capitalism were indeed built on the blood,exploitation,racism,oppression,colonialism/fascisma,bourgeoisie dictarorship and horrific slavery of innocent people.'

Slavery is an obvious and universal solution to agrarian, pre-industrial problems of manpower. It is unlikely that any societies made the transition from hunter-gathering to settled, agrarian ones without extensive use of the practice, in fact it is so obvious that it would rarely be remarked upon. Who ever mentions Dublin as being the hub of a thriving slave trade in the 10th C? But it was. (With anyone else I wouldn't have to say this but to you I probably do: that doesn't make it 'right'.)

For a relatively brief period in the 16 - early 19 centuries Britain brought a particularly savage efficiency to a practice that had always been practiced by Arabs, with the full complicity of African chiefs who willingly sold victims (and denuded large areas of Afcrica to do so) to them.

What did for slavery ultimately was a combination of enlightenment ideals ('am I not a man and a brother') etc encouraged by widespread education and reading, and the decline of the economic usefulness of slavery. Once you start inventing machines to replace manpower, slaves cease to be cost-effective. So you could say that industrialisation and capitalism caused the end of slavery. Funny how the first industrialised country was the first to legally abolish it and then actively police the abolition, worldwide, isn't it?

I still wonder how you and Bruce can get righteously, almost sexually gratified raging against the horrors perpetrated by 'one' side, and remain totally oblivious to equal horrors perpetrated by 'the other'. Good old doublethink, eh?
Postmanpat on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Gudrun) I don't know why I bother but here goes:
>
>
>
> For a relatively brief period in the 16 - early 19 centuries Britain brought a particularly savage efficiency to a practice that had always been practiced by Arabs, with the full complicity of African chiefs who willingly sold victims (and denuded large areas of Afcrica to do so) to them.
>
During which period, of course, somewhere between 1 and 2 million Europeans, many of them British, were enslaved by Arabs. Far fewer than the number of African slaves but nevertheless not insignificant. Odd how little hand wringing there is about this.

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