A few numbers on the Thatcher years

Listening to the shriller critics of Margaret Thatcher, they claim that she uniquely divided the country. They attribute to her job losses and pit closures, implying either that she wanted this or that it was the result of her uncaring policies.

They should read a little more of the history of post war Britain. In the early 1950s the National Coal Board, the new nationalised coal industry, employed 700,000 people. By the time Margaret Thatcher took office in 1979 465,000 or two thirds of the entire workforce had lost their jobs. These losses occured under Conservative and Labour governments. They pursued a consensus policy of nationalised subsidised monopoly closing pit after pit on the grounds that the losses on individual pits were too great or the coal was exhausted. No-one seems to attack those governments for doing so much damage to pits and mining communities.

In the mid 1970s the nationalised steel industry under Labour was in deep trouble. Around 40,000 jobs were shed. Between 1950 and 1967 the nationalised rail industry removed 300,000 jobs, a collosal figure. Not all these related to the Beeching cuts, continuing under the Labour government.

The best way to lose your job was to work for a nationalised industry. That is one of the reasons a few of us thought we needed a new model for industrial organisation in the 1980s.

During the Thatcher years manufacturing output expanded by 7.5%. That was not a huge increase, but it belies the image of a government allowing or deliberately encouraging the decline of industry. Much of our time was spent trying to find new ways to encourage investment and innovation in the industrial opportunities of the future. The UK motor industry commenced its important resurrection with big inward investment of money and talent from abroad.

By way of contrast manufacturing output at the end of Labour’s period in office in 2010 was a little lower than it was in the last year of Margaret Thatcher. Mr Brown did not discover how to stop industrial decline on his watch.

I will resume my Japanese analysis later this week.

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108 Comments

  1. Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    As an aside, a comment from the BBC’s political editor the other evening said quite a lot about the commentariat: “The thing is,” she said, “despite the cuts, public spending went up by 1.5% a year [under the Thatcher government].”
    Ummm, so what cuts was she referring to…?

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Typical of BBC reporters

      I liked the one where climate change reported talked about positive feed back (in relation to global warming), he clearly did not have a clue what positive feedback actually is.

      Assuming that it must be a “positive” thing and not a negative one!

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Robert,

      I know exactly what you mean! There’s an agenda these so-called experts, especially those at the BBC, have to stick to. What they ought to have said, was that the economy was re-balanced and re-aligned, with the emphasis away from state industries that didn’t pay and cost the tax-payer money, to private businesses that DID pay, and actually put money into the coffers!

      Only a left-wing agenda could insist that such fundamental things were couched in different terms, but isn’t that what we’ve come to expect from these underhanded people anyway?

      After all, that was the way socialist states were run, and unless we fight hard to counter their deceit and nonsense, they’ll do their damnedest to take us ever-closer to one.

      Tad

    • Posted April 12, 2013 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      Which cuts is she referring to? The cuts in the invented “BBC think” childlike, narrative, version of history, one assumes.

    • Posted April 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Evidently the cuts either weren’t sufficient to reduce the public spending increase to 0% or there was spending increases along with these cuts.

      • Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        The propaganda of the left during those years was a constant one of “cuts cuts cuts”.
        And we knew at the time it was lies.
        The figures prove it.
        The left believe if your budget in year one is £1million and you try for £2 million budget in year two but only get £1.5 million that is a wicked cut of 50%

      • Posted April 12, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Spending increases along with cuts…… you what?

        Which was it did she cut spending ( reduce it) or increase it?

        • Posted April 13, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          Cuts to milk for children maybe? Cuts to jobs? Cuts to the right to free protest? Cuts in higher education spending. Tax cuts to the rich? Spending increased by the welfare bill caused by cuts. Thatcher effectively shut down British manufacturing, much of it forever. In its place, she turned to the banks and the City, making their wildest dreams come true with the financial ‘Big Bang’. We all know how that ended…

          • Posted April 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

            A logical rely is expected lifelogic as (foolish-ed) cheer leader for the right.

  2. Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    JR: “By the time Margaret Thatcher took office in 1979 465,000 or two thirds of the entire workforce had lost their jobs. ”

    Weren’t a goodly number of those job losses a result of Lord Anthony Benn’s policies at the ministry of energy?

    He may have given up the title, but he sure kept hold of the money, typical Socialist hypocrite.

  3. Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I don’t think you can summarise Mrs Thatcher’s government without looking, too, at that of Mr Wilson.
    In the mid 1970s I was an A level teacher – at the very top of my profession – and in a Public School too. I was desperately poor. I used to take food home from the staff dining room to feed my family who were cowering with no real heating in the dark most of the time. My car broke, so I bought a bike and when that broke, I went by bus.
    A friend in the army told me, in confidence, that the army very nearly staged a coup d’etat under the Wilson government.
    Mrs Thatcher ended all that. That is why I consider she was a good thing, despite the poll tax. Putting the coal and other out of date Unionised and nationalised industries out of their misery was a final kindness. Ending inflation was yet another big achievement.
    When Labour gets elected in 2015, the Unions will be back in force…….

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Mike Stallard – could you explain, please, what was wrong with the poll tax?

      It always struck me as manifestly unfair that my widowed mother, living on her own, paid the same rates as the woman next door – whose 4 adult daughters lived with her.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a poll tax, but it has never worked. If I recall correctly, Maggie’s attempt to introduce it was the 3rd time in British history and on each occasion it led to civil unrest and eventual abandonment of the idea.
        I have always thought that the civl servants who set out the poll tax rules for Maggie deliberately included traps with the intent of it not working. For example, Councils being allowed to set whatever rate they wanted for the owner of a second home (e.g. a holiday home) which they might only occupy a few months of the year, thus having to pay poll tax at their main address and perhaps twice the amount of others living in the area where they had a second home – pretty much guaranteed to cause discontent, unrest with a sense of unfairness.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        What was wrong with it is that is was never going to work politically, and it this led to Thatchers downfall and the dreadful John Major and Blair and Brown.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Mike Wilson – Same as my widowed mother . When the poll tax was scrapped and Heseltine’s Community charge introduced . My mothers rates doubled .
        the poll tax was meant to make local councils more accountable by making everyone being able to see (through the charges ) what the council was up to . Instead we carry on with the same brain dead FPTP charade for locals and Parliament .

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        I don’t think it was the poll tax per se Mike, just the way it was badly managed, and they will make the same mistake with the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ if they’re not careful.

        Tad

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. The community charge was a good policy in principle and in practice.

        We would not have seen the ballooning of local government costs and the inevitable lost jobs if we had retained it.

        Unfortunately it was strangled by a determined media campaign

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        It was unpopular because under the old system the wealthy paid more because they had larger houses, while under the new system the wealthy got a large tax cut while the poor had a huge tax rise.

        • Posted April 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          Not true.

          In fact once the community charge was abandoned domestic rates shot up for all households and less wealthy people have ended up paying considerably more

          • Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            Before the Council Tax took hold,I had an abatement on my rates (on a small bungalow) as Council Houses had been built on the orchards opposite my property which narrowed the road considerably.Once the council tax was imposed I was informed that the abatement was to do with the physical location whereas the council tax was to do with the taxable assessment which applied to all properties independent of the numbers living in them above TWO.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Hear hear.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        I couldn’t agree more. The Community Charge (Poll Tax) was, and still is so much fairer than the Council Tax. I,m at a loss to understand why that policy was not persued despite opposition from some quarters. After all many other difficult decisions were taken at the time.

        • Posted April 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          The poll tax was never fairer than council tax. With council tax those with the largest houses pay the most, under a poll tax everyone pays the same. So it’s effectively a tax cut for the wealthy and a tax rise for the poor.

          The fact that so many people refused to pay the poll tax clearly shows why no one sought to reintroduce it.

          • Posted April 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

            Again not true

            Under the community charge students, the unemployed, those on benefits only had to pay 20% of the charge.

            Oh by the way after it was scrapped and replaced with council tax vat was increased from 15% to 17.5% to make up the tax shortfall so that worked out really well for the poor too didn’t it

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        Mike Wilson

        I agree with you, I thought the poll tax a much fairer system too as it spread the cost to all.

        Everyone (each individual) pays the same, for the services provided by the Local Authority.

        In the long run it would have led to a much more accountable Local Authority as well, because the greater numbers who pay, can have a greater influence if and when they vote, as more people may be interested then in local politics so they can hold the Local Authority to account at election time.

        • Posted April 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          Any system where the poor have to pay the same amount of tax as the wealth is never going to be fair, for this tax will always harm the poor far more grievously than the wealthy.

          Also a poll tax will never make the local authority any more accountable. There’s never been any proven link between high taxes and high voter turnout.

          • Posted April 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            uanime5

            The error was in calling it a tax.

            Because it really was a service charge.

            Why should the so called rich pay more for street lights, more for refuse collection,
            more to use the library,
            more to have the streets cleaned,
            more for education,
            more for the police,
            more for the fire service,
            more for any local services
            Just because they live in a larger house.

            Larger house owners/renters does not equate to being rich.
            It could mean that you value property above booze, fags, gambling, a large car, expensive holidays, expensive clothes, etc.

            How about a small house of multiple occupation, why should their combined bill, be less than a single person in a modest house.

            No, it is the present system is unfair !

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        I’m with you on this one. Me and the wife paid £249.50 each in 92/93 in poll tax, that went up to £944.77 by 94/95 (I think we all got Transitional relief in 93/94 for us it was £201.53). We got no more that the family up the road with 4 adults in it (two of who got rebates anyway because they were unemployed. Council tax is well over £2K this year, they have just filled in a pot hole down the road, they light the street and empty the bins.

        Daedalus

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        In theory, I cannot possibly disagree. It works in theory. Actually, I was out of the country at the time, but when I got back, the sheer anger that it caused even among very ordinary people whom I met staggered me. Apparently it is a big issue still today in Scotland. So politically, I should have said it was a disaster.

        On a different note, it was really good to see Mr Redwood getting a really good write up in the Leader column of the Telegraph this morning.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      I heard that from a good source as well – the situation in the 70s was a dangerous one. The medicine was brutal for some but it had to be done.

  4. Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Indeed, and judging from the speeches yesterday, aren’t Lady Thatchers critics unbelievably bitter, irrational and pathetic.

    Glenda Jackson unbelievably thought:-

    Margaret Thatcher wreaked ‘heinous social, economic and spiritual damage’ on Britain, created a Britain that 18th-century cartoonist William Hogarth would have recognised,

    By far the most dramatic and heinous demonstration of Thatcherism was not only in London but across the whole country in metropolitan areas, where every single shop doorway, every single night, became the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom for the homeless,’

    Thatcherism turned vices into virtues. ‘Greed, selfishness, no care for the weaker. Sharp elbows and sharp knees, this was the way forward,’ she said.
    ‘People saw the price of everything and the value of nothing.’

    women who helped run the country during the war would not have recognised the idea of ‘womanliness’ embodied in Lady Thatcher.

    ‘The first prime minister of female gender, ok. But a woman? Not on my terms,’ she said.

    Actresses should perhaps just stick to reading other peoples lines, they do not seem very adept at thinking rationally for themselves.

    It seems too, from Norman Tebbit’s speech yesterday, that we have the IRA to blame for having to suffer John Major and then 3+ terms of dreadful Labour and now Cameron government. “I’m sorry I left her to the mercy of her ‘friends’ in Cabinet” Norman Tebbit said. This sadly as a result of commitments given to his wife, very badly injured in the Brighton bombing.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      They all seem to forget what it was like before she came to power. Three day working weeks where employers were concerned they could not provide work for their employees because of electricity cuts. Miners were affecting their fellow workers in other industries and putting them out of work and on the bread line.

      They also forget the cowardly acts of some of the miner strikers ie following children and women to harass and intimidate them because their husbands refused to join the strikes, damaging their homes. In some respects the union appeared to be no more than a racketeering outfit against other people and the state.

      The biggest insult from the BBC was to allow Gerry Adams to give any commentary- what a disgrace. The IRA tried to kill her for goodness sake! An apology should be demanded, and given, on behalf of her family.

      JR, you and your colleagues need to lobby against the BBC. Change is long overdue. We do not want to pay for a TV tax that serves no useful purpose to the public. It does not even comply with its own impartial mandate, is a bias centre left socialist propaganda unit. Time for it to be sold off.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Cameron clearly thinks the BBC is just fine. He even put the anti-Thatcherite & pro EU, Lord Chris Patten in charge of the trustees so it is quite clear where his heart and sole lies.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Amen to that!

        Tad

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        @Dissafected: When I was serving in the Army in Londonderry, (Adams and McGuines were wanted men-ed)

        We have come to a sorry state when he is now feted (and his minion McGuiness, too) as representatives of a legit political party. For that, I believe the politicians of the two principal hues are to blame.

        That he was invited air time to provide his diatribe on the BBC was a scandal in my view. Bugger the Beeb…

        Repkly I think the world is a better place now the disagreements are handled through democratic politici ratehr than by using guns.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        The BBC seem to be taking every opportunity to promote the disrespectful activities originating from uninformed useful idiots of the left.

        They’re also making sure that listeners are kept informed about the time and location of celebrations around the country.

        I am disgusted by the BBC, but I realise that our current batch of politicians don’t have the backbone to deal with the problem.
        I just hope that Joe Public will eventually realise what the BBC is about and vote with their wallets.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        You can’t really expect any more from the BBC, but at least it shows them in their real light so people can be reminded of their real agenda.

        zorro

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        On the BBC problem. I was wondering if a Telly Tax strike could take place. Irony indeed.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      It is quite weird. I grew up in a working class area where everyone voted Labour. I am, at heart, quite left leaning I guess – in that I don’t much like a society where the wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few.

      But, notwithstanding that, I could see that what Margaret Thatcher did was absolutely necessary – for the good of everyone. And that, fundamentally, she was a thoroughly decent and kind person.

      Who would one rather have running the country – Margaret Thatcher or Glenda Jackson?

      The tragedy is that Margaret is no longer with us to restore our fortunes after Labour’s latest mess.

      My she rest in peace.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Margaret Thatcher was a world-historic figure as we see from the tributes paid to her from around the world and from the leading international figures of her time. A few vitrolic carpings from the British Left will be forgotten. I think its good to hear them – people are reminded of what she was opposing. Bob Crow has made vicious and tasteless remarks. Bob Crow these days is a nobody – but in the 1970s the country was in sway to such people. The BBC saw fit to ask Gerry Adams’s view, which was of course vitriolic and negative. Who is surprised and who cares?

      I(words left out ed)

      What is most striking is how absurd the anti-Thatcher criticisms are in substance. An example is the attempt by the BBC’s favourite clergyman, Giles Fraser, and by Ken Livingstone, to blame the 2007-08 banking crash on Lady T. Let us see the ugly hatred of the hard left as they ‘celebrate’ Lady T’s death, and remember that these are the sort of people and the sort of politics she saved us from.

      • Posted April 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Apologies for taking your editorial time, I had thought my edited comment would pass. I had speculated on interviews the BBC might have conducted in 1965, at Churchill’s death, with certain of his erstwhile enemies, had they wished to hear some negative comments.

        Reply I am always wary of extreme comparisons.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      The warped hatred that Lady Thatchers passing has given sulpherous vent to is surprising. Though its an international embarrassment that British scum of the sort who trample on graves exist (& people ARE surprised around the world) it should not be to the people of the UK. It is for the best that this wretched display has occurred. This is the moment for fence-sitting to end. Are you for England or against?

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      Just console yourself that these people of the far left, have now popped their heads up over the parapet.

      We can now see that they have never gone away, but just been working in the background.
      They still await their opportunity, how nice that we can now see it, as clear as day.
      Who was it that supported Miliband for leadership of the Labour Party, not his real brother, but the band of brothers, who will probably want to be repaid with benefits in kind, sometime in the future.

      It is these very people who kept Margaret Thatcher in power for so long, because the alternative to her, were these very people having control.

      The majority of the population of those who voted (clarification for Uni) chose Mrs Thatcher above the union leaders, and that is why she won all of her General Elections.

      The union leaders did not like her, because their bully tactics did not work on her, like they did on other people, some of their own members, Company management, and other politicians.

      I am so pleased they are now shining a light on themselves, and I would not be at all surprise is Mrs T is not looking down from above with a smile on her face, and thinking “exposed you again”.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Do you know there is something very mind opening about reading literature. It is not a case of simply learning lines, but rather having an insight into all strata of society , by empathising , understanding and temporarily living that role if an actress. Glenda’s perspective is not simply from one biased view .She has stood in the shoes of Queen ,pauper, misunderstood woman and much more. Give her a bit more credit for understanding humanity.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed you need to answer a few previous questions you right wing loon.

      • Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        You can always be counted on to raise the level of the debate Baz.
        Nice.

  5. Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Just ask the Green numpties. Do they want coal powered power stations?

    Er No.

    So you would shaft the miners then?

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Indeed the leftie, green religion nutters would have closed the coal mines down anyway.

      Or perhaps they would just have paid the minors forever, with money from the magic money tree, maybe just to dig it up and make a big pile of coal then bury it again.

      I assume the same tree pays all Cameron’s wind farm and PV subsidies. Oh I forgot he now says he does not have such a tree.

      • Posted April 14, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Where do you think coal comes from now lifelogic? The coal tree?

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      “Green numpties” indeed look no further than the BBC’s absurd position. Pro all the quack religion (so long as it is done mainly with female engineers in hard hats with endless government subsidy) but then endless blaming Mrs Thatcher for closing down the uneconomic mines.

      The politics of the magic money tree as usual.

  6. Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I think where you are wrong is that underestimate attitude , emotion and the role model effect. She implicitly gave people the right to fight, no scrap between themselves, she publically allowed stubbornness to reign without impunity ( she wasn’t going to change her mind whether she was right or wrong) but policies are not pushed through by one person. They require a circle of contemporaries and vote.
    Once the overall feeling had been established that anyone could make it, it was left to individual/background morals to flounder and bully their way to gain brass.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      If you are talking about bullying and stubbornness, you are talking about Union activities in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s.

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        @SM: And, in 2015 unfortunately under the reds under the beds (Labour)

      • Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        I am talking about bullying ‘persae’ and as some call it the chemical energy between different sects of society. There was no one faction which was without fault. In the process of antagonisation, unfairness, bullying and activity which the only ends were to make money out of each other, many fell and not just miners, but scores of smaller businesses , family break ups due to loss of jobs , reduced income from losing the middle man and much more. It was a continual atmosphere of ‘grab’ to get what you want.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      As opposed to the unelected marxist union leaders deciding who shall get work and how much they should be paid

    • Posted April 14, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      The enemy within is the working class demanding fair wage and conditions. The wages and condition of the average person have fell dramatically to boost company profits and stagnate the economy. This idea that large companies pay the market rate is false in the case of supermarkets they set the wages.

      • Posted April 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        If you ever employed anyone, what wages would you pay Baz?
        Twice the market rate Three times the market rate.
        Do tell us.

        • Posted April 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Making a sole trader ‘the market’ is an old Tory trick. Ram it

          • Posted April 15, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

            Pathetic dodging of a fair question.
            But its a question those on the left who keep banging on about “top hatted bosses exploiting the workers”, always fail to want to consider.
            If you worked for yourself you would earn what you earn out of your customers.
            And if you took someone on, you would have to set a rate for the job just like all employers do.
            There is no difference between this scenario and a company employing hundreds.
            The boss has to set the wage rates to attract the staff they need to run the business.

  7. Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Points well made. Though the fact was that – far from getting their own way as we are told – British workers had been taking massively heavy losses before they went on general strike.

    The UK motor industry’s resurection with ‘investment and talent from abroad’ may well point to where the problems lay.

    The pit closures could be spun another way. Labourites elect for Greenism so so they should welcome those closures and be thanking Margaret Thatcher. As it is Labour have been freed of an obligation to keep union members in jobs within the coal industry and are free to pursue a deeply harmful Greenist agenda instead.

    As a result of the changing industrial zeitgeist Britain abandoned its policy of independent, secure, self-determining energy production – the ‘free’ market was taken to extremes on this and our jobs. We even find ourselves in competition for our own welfare and NHS with people who haven’t even paid for it.

    I believe Margaret Thatcher was a great PM. It’s what followed that concerns me the greatest.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      We haven’t valued our engineers as highly as the Germans do theirs. Nor our artisans.

      The Japanese managed to make our car plants work well enough using British labour and British middle management. The problems seem to have been at the executive level and in the short-terminist free-for-all that is capitalism in the UK.

      (I am an ardent supporter of capitalism but I think our version of it has gone awry)

  8. Posted April 11, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Arthur Scargill was chiefly responsible for the pit closures. After years of corporatism and beer and sandwiches at Number 10, the unions thought that they should and did run the country. Scargill called an all out national coal strike without a ballot of the membership, who like lambs to the slaughter, followed his command. This was not just an industrial dispute it was a direct attack on the elected government. Fortunately in Mrs Thatcher we had a leader committed to parliamentary democracy and determined to rescue a country which had become a failing socialist state under post war Labour and Conservative governments. Where this country would be now if she hadn’t taken office doesn’t bear thinking about. Sadly, some of what she achieved has been eroded by lesser men who do not have the conviction she possessed.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Mr Tomkinson – Mr Redwood points out quite clearly in this article that the British working class had taken massive redundancies long before the marxist take over of the unions. Is it any wonder that those with jobs retrenched and resorted to demarcation having seen what had been done to others ?

      At the same time came the importation of competitive labour from the Commonwealth to ‘do the jobs our people didn’t want to do’ just as we were shedding workers in their hundreds of thousands.

      Perhaps our people should not have been told that they had ‘won’ WWII. It led to false hopes and expectations. Perhaps Marshall Aid would have been better spent not on welfarism and the NHS but on modifying factories and infrastructure.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Whilst agreeing with you, I do think one must temper the praise by acknowledging mistakes.

      The biggest mistake her government made was the de-regulation of credit which led to a house price boom and bust. The recession that followed saw many people lose their homes.

      Despite seeing the damage caused, despite Gordon Brown saying, in 1997, “I will not allow a house price boom to put at risk the sustainability of the recovery”, he made exactly the same mistake – multiplied by a factor of 10 – and allowed the biggest house price boom in history which has priced the next generation, for now, out of home ownership.

      Clearly, when you have a whole generation priced out of home ownership, eventually house prices must correct so that they become affordable. We face 20 years of stagnation as a result of uncontrolled credit expansion.

      It is clear that the government needs to protect the people from the excesses of bankers. I’m not sure the Conservative or Labour party will ever do that.

      Reply Under MT credit remained under decent regulated control. It was Brown’s new regulatory system after 2000 that allowed it to let rip.

      • Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        I’d have to disagree with you. In the mid 80s the whole ‘save for at least 2 years with a building society and then take on a mortage based on a maximum of 2.5 times your salary strategy’ was abandoned and money was lent like there was an unlimited supply. It culminated in a massive bubble in house prices – stoked up by the rather foolish chancellor flagging 6 months in advance that joint mortgage tax relief was to end – which burst, precisely, at midnight on July 31st 1988 when the tax relief ended.

        At the same time, or shortly after, we had what I regard as the idiotic changes to renting with some act or other that created Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Designed to facillitate a mobile workforce these tenancies are useless for anyone forced to rent from the private sector who wants to raise a family and have some security of tenure.

        Indeed, the explosion in buy to let landlording started under MT and this is another thing that has not been good for most of us.

        Reply The price rises and debt expansion of the 1980s was small compared to the noughties. It was 2o years later bloated banks were in trouble.

        • Posted April 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          I think your memory deceives you. The number of private rental properties actually fell over the 1980s. The boom in BTL didn’t really get underway until the Labour years with the loose monetary policy that followed on from 9/11. MT believed in owner occupation, and also that councils were not good landlords for those who needed to rent: so we had the start of Housing Associations, and a large expansion in owner occupation –

          Check the data here:

          https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/10586/table-102.xls

          The 1980s boom was caused in large part by an influx of DINKY buyers, supported by double MIRAS allowances (£30,000 each). It became quite obvious that the double relief would be withdrawn long before it was announced as policy, and so there was a scramble to buy while it was still available.

          On the Nationwide index, prices peaked at £62,782 in Q3 1989, but almost three times higher at £184,131 in Q3 2007. That’s substantially higher even if you deflate by RPI.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      It should also be remembered that the first thing that Scargill did when the strike ended was to fly to Moscow. Enough said!

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Scargill was an utter fool who threw away the livihood of his men to make a “point”. His disgraceful actions, in better days, would have (got him into serious trouble-ed)

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Brian Tomkinson: ” some of what she achieved has been eroded by lesser men who do not have the conviction she possessed.”

      The current lot with some notable exceptions are – invertebrates.

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      As one who lived (and still lives) in a coal mining area I was there through the strikes and beyond to the present day. Scargill was out of control as were most union leaders. However the problem was that MT in attacking the union leaders and winning she continued on to decimate the industry and those communities which depended on it. Bear in mind that coal was also fuel for steel plants, a raw material for chemical production and these industries were supported by engineering and service companies. All those in my area have now gone with the loss of 25,000 jobs in the intervening years.

      There was no ‘Plan B’ as it were. The mines needed a managment overhaul, investment in new technologies and yes a new era in industrial relations. However the die was cast and so was the fate of millions of people around the country.

      I hear politicians of all parties say we’ve done this or that to help over the years, but you simply cannot rip 25.000 jobs from one area and expect it to carry on as normal. There was a pit near me that employed 3,000 people and only now 30 years after its closure there is a new warehouse on the site employing 120 people on minimum wage.

      We watch all the cities getting massive regeneration grants totalling billions and organisations set up to attract employers, but it will take many generations for ex-mining areas to recover and maybe they never will.

      I’m one of the people who see both sides, and some recognise the scourge of the unions, but mention MT to most people in my area and its as if you have called their parentage into question.

  9. Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    “The best way to lose your job was to work for a nationalised industry.”

    To be fair, most of those industries were already in trouble by the time they were nationalised, and even if they had been left in private ownership the jobs would have gone anyway, one way or another, and probably sooner rather than later.

    The textile industries were huge sources of employment and the government tried to keep them going without resorting to nationalisation, but most of those jobs went as well.

  10. Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    MT divided the Country between the aspirational, the responsible and the competent to the ignorant and the ideological dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the Marxists were mostly educated, monied and connected, as they always have been. They realised in the 80s that they could not get their way democratically – the people had rejected them. So, they chose to infiltrate the media and education. They are still bitter, which is why you have Financial Times journalists celebrating her death and describing her as “scum” (Evening Standard, yesterday) and middle-class teachers oragnising ‘death’ parties. Unfortunately, for them and their comrades at thw BBC, the NUJ no longer has a monopoly on the media. We have the internet and blogs, and now their lies, such as those about MT, can be exposed.

  11. Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    While the merits and demerits of Margaret Thatcher temporarily dominate public discussion in this country,(the news -ed)this morning shows that some other things have been going on …

    Like the much-vaunted BitCoin making the euro look like the rock-steady currency it was supposed to be:

    “Think the great BitCoin drama is over? After plunging by over 60% intraday, touching $100 from an all time high of $265 earlier, BitCoin was just getting started, posting a just as epic rebound to $200 in mere hours… before tumbling once more to $125… before rebounding again to $180… before sliding to $140… and so on.”

    Like the truth emerging that the Fed privately provides crucial information to favoured financial institutions before its public release.

    And like “Europe Extends Confiscatory Non-Template ‘Template’ To Interbank Deposits”, which is sure to help free up the financial system to encourage economic recovery, not.

  12. Posted April 11, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Heres an intersting stat on the miners.

    No of pits closed under Harold Wilson prior to 1979: 290
    No of pits closed after 1979: 160

    The left would have us believe that Thatcher closed all the pits – funny how facts can be twisted to suit – thats politics for you. Mr Redwood probably knows the answer to this but I suspect the pits would have been closed over a much longer period had Scargill not been trying to destabilize the govt and holding everyone to ransom – Mr Kinnock has more or less said this himself.

  13. Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    John,

    It’s an inconvenient truth the lefties like Glenda Jackson and Ronnie Campbell tend not to want to admit, but those who continue to bury their heads in the sand never will see the light of day. What amazes me, is that some people ignore the evidence, are persuaded by their vitriol and rhetoric, and actually vote for them!

    Another truth relates to something the former Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson once said – ‘One man’s wage increase, is another man’s price increase’. It wasn’t Mrs. Thatcher’s government who decimated the coal industry, it was the NUM under Scargill who wanted to continue with their outdated production methods, and he expected the rest of us to pay for it. Even the out-going NUM leader, Joe Gormley, warned Scargill not to jeopardise everything they had won, as the miners had become ‘middle class’, but that wasn’t going to change either the course, or the mind, of an ideologue. who was hell-bent of confrontation for it’s own sake. It would have been better by far for him to recognise the coal industry was inefficient, needed to change, and to set about that process for the ultimate benefit of the consumer and the country.

    The coal and steel industries had to change, but the unions fought tooth and nail to try to stop it (see the trouble Michael Foot had with the closure under a Labour government, of a certain steel works in South Wales).

    And it’s simple case of economics. Product A is made by an inefficient state industry where restrictive, inefficient practises abound. Subsequently, the cost to the consumer is £500. Product B is made by an efficient company that trims its costs, has better productivity, and theirs retails at £250. So let’s ask those ex-miners who continue to lambast Margaret Thatcher, which one they would prefer to buy!

    It’s called ‘market forces’ and it isn’t the government that dictates it, it’s the consumer, because people will always want more for less, and to ignore what is a basic human trait, is to fly in the face of reason and common sense in the pursuance of some unworkable, fanciful socialist ideology.

    What possible advantage can there be, in going back to state-controlled monopolies, where individual choice was severely restricted, and costs so high, it effectively shackled the people, reduced their spending power, and lowered their standard of living. I’m afraid some of us have long memories. We can recall how it was, and want no part of it!

    I bet for every whinging, moaning, ill-informed leftie, I have heard ten people who have said Margaret Thatcher was the very thing this country needed, and at the time we needed it. And if the climate she created was so bad, Blair would have gone back to what we had before. Except that I feel it’s high time we had another leader like her, because we are once again shackled to an inefficient monolith, but this time, the subsidies and the restrictive practises that drain us, are being exercised by an even bigger menace – the EU!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Posted April 14, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Now we have cartels supplying energy and the coal comes from foreign and often state owned and subsidised mines with poor working conditions providing the cheapness. The idea that these high paying jobs have been replaced and the country is better and more secure for it is your right wing fantasy.

      • Posted April 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Baz
        How would you stop it happening?
        This is the difficult question for you in this new rapidly evolving global economy as you try to create a “little Britain” isolated and protected like a modern day East Germany or North Korea.
        Troops at the ports? Trade barriers? Tariffs on imports? A ban on all immigration?
        What do you think might happen to our export markets when we refused to allow other nations people and their goods entry to our country.
        Do tell us what your left wing fantasy is.

        • Posted April 14, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          Sound like a left wing fantasy in itself. It’s up to us where we buy coal and subsidising an energy supply within our own borders makes sense. Nuclear and wind turbines are subsidised. Especially nuclear.

  14. Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    When MT left office coal output was c1477 tons per miner. In 1979/80 it was c524 tons per miner. In the 1950s it was c325 tons per miner. As you say, it reflected the closure of exhausted and/or uneconomic pits.

    Parts of the UK car industry (though not Ford) were similarly affected by a proliferation of uneconomic plants. An important difference was their interdependence on one another as part of a supply chain. Unlike a coal mine they were not stand alone. The supply chain was vulnerable to strikes in other parts of the supply chain – a problem that affected Ford too – especially through the 1970s. New foreign investors had the benefit of setting up green field plants, using modern technology and recruiting afresh without the baggage of history that afflicted the established plants. It was and remains a successful policy.

    • Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      It might have had something to do with a big increase in open cast mining. I know now there are coalfields in the North East with monster machines doing the work of hundreds of men.

      • Posted April 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        I am sure it did. I do not see how the UK can compete otherwise.

  15. Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Mrs. T was of working class stock, in 1911 her father was a grocer’s assistant in a small shop in Oundle unable to become a shoemaker in the family trade because of his eyesight and in any case a younger son of a large family. It is little wonder that the grandee’s and high intellectuals of The Left hated her and what she stood for. As for Liverpool, it might be remembered that in 1915 The Liverpool Pals battalions trained for war just along the road from Grantham at Belton House. Perhaps her father cheered them through when they marched off to go to France.

  16. Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    John

    The BBC and Sky wheeled out various individuals to claim that their communities had been destroyed by Thatcherism. Interestingly those same people also declared that their communities had not recovered subsequently.

    If those communities were destroyed and had still not recovered then what does that tell them about their “compassionate” Labour governments, which had 13 consecutive years to put matters right?

    Gerald Kaufmann correctly attributed the miners’ strike and subsequent events to the idiotic Scargill and Paul Flynn (Newport M.P.) stated that he believed Margaret Thatcher and Clement Attlee were the best Prime Ministers of the past 100 years. Some Labour M.P.s (including those on the left) have been fair to praise Margaret Thatcher when they believed it justified. Glenda Jackson was an Oscar winning drama queen and remains a drama queen!

  17. Posted April 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    A concise demonstration of the Conservative’s inability to present their arguments and achievements which continues to rhis day.

    In the good times the argument does not need to be won as the populace votes with its wallet and in the bad times they get voted out.

    Imagine if in 2006 Mr Osbourne had launched an attack on counter-cyclical stimulus programmes instead of promising to match labour spending. The groundwork would have been laid for actual cuts in spending during this parliament instead of tax rises for the middle to pay for excess.

    Did Baroness Thatcher express an opinion on the 2010 budget and spending review? Did she agree with its timidity?

  18. Posted April 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    They pursued a consensus policy of nationalised subsidised monopoly closing pit after pit on the grounds that the losses on individual pits were too great or the coal was exhausted. No-one seems to attack those governments for doing so much damage to pits and mining communities.

    Well if the coal has been exhausted it’s not like striking is going to help the mine reopen. I suspect that if coal pits that were unprofitable because the coal was too difficult to mine were also easy to close because the miners understood why they were being closed.

    However closing profitable mines would be more likely to result in a strike because there’s no economic reason to close them.

    During the Thatcher years manufacturing output expanded by 7.5%. That was not a huge increase, but it belies the image of a government allowing or deliberately encouraging the decline of industry.

    By way of contrast manufacturing output at the end of Labour’s period in office in 2010 was a little lower than it was in the last year of Margaret Thatcher. Mr Brown did not discover how to stop industrial decline on his watch.

    According to Parliament’s figures here is how manufacturing changed as a percentage of GDP in the UK:

    1970: 32%
    1980: 25%
    1990: 23%
    2000: 17%
    2010: 11%

    So while Thatcher may have helped increase output and reduced the amount manufacturing declined she couldn’t stop the overall decline. Though none of her successors have done any better.

    I got these figures from this PDF file. You have to download it to view it.
    http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05809.pdf

    • Posted April 12, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      What does that show? Manufacturing as a % of GDP has been in relative decline in all developed economies over this period as other sectors grow and hitherto closed or irrelevant economies in Eastern Europe, S America and Asia have opened up. A possible reversal of this trend is underway in the US with manufacturing revival due to lower energy costs because of shale gas exploitation. There doesn’t seem to be much chance of that in Europe any time soon.

      • Posted April 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Here’s what the data says about manufacturing as a percentage of GDP in the USA:

        1970: 24%
        1980: 21%
        1990: 18%
        2000: 15%
        2010: 13%

        Consequently there’s no evidence of a manufacturing revival in the USA according to this report. So unless you have some figures showing that manufacturing has increased as a percentage of GDP in 2011 or 2012 then it’s clear that there hasn’t been a revival in the USA manufacturing despite all the hyperbole about shale gas.

        Shale gas is not manaufacturing.
        You can have an industrial revival without the share of industry in the whole rising, if other things are also growing well.

        • Posted April 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          The impact of shale gas in the USA has been to reduce energy costs – for consumers and for businesses. This has encouraged some US companies to bring some of their manufacturing operations back to the USA. The other powerful influence is the narrowing of the gap in wage rates – pay is increasing at a high rate in countries like China. There are some prominent examples of reshoring we know about. One is GE, bringing back some of its white goods manufacturing to theUSA. Another is Caterpillar which is to build a new plant in Texas, rather than abroad. The Economist reported on these and other examples in January of this year. There is clear evidence of this trend.

        • Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          The numbers you give from that source are not % of GDP but % total value added, I believe you have to identify the amount of associated subsidies and taxes to be able to appropriately relate those numbers to GDP.

        • Posted April 14, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          Your figures do not prove anything about the influence of shale gas. Shale gas supply did not expand sufficiently to bring energy prices down until at least 2009/10 (and was insignificant in 2000).

          The fact is there has been an increase in US manufacturing employment from 11.4 million in January 2010 to 11.9 million in January 2013, and some of it could plausibly be attributable to the shale boom. It’s certainly rather a reversal of trend from the long term decline that preceded it.

    • Posted April 12, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Pit closures are inevitable from the moment the first spade goes in the ground; mineral reserves are finite; but the potiticians shrank from explaing that fact. Both my parents had collieries in their background; their coal owning relations were fully aware that their easy days were numbered and greeted the nationalisation compensation with unbelieving glee.
      On the Community Charge, ‘User pays’ must be the right approach; I always felt that it was withdrawn just at the moment people were getting to tolerate it; it had the huge advantage that it spread the payer base much more widely than the current flawed system.

      • Posted April 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Poll tax was never going to be tolerated because it hit the poorest the hardest, while giving the wealthy a tax cut. Unlike the current system where those who can afford the largest houses pay the most.

  19. Posted April 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    As much as I disagree with Labour policies, I never thought that the job losses and cruelty these policies have caused were due to deliberate nastiness by Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and the rest. I honestly think they meant well, despite the misery they caused.

    However there are some that are getting on the media suggesting that Mrs Thatcher has some kind of evil intent.

    The people saying this obviously don’t believe it; the reporters obviously don’t believe this either (otherwise they would surely be morons).

    It’s like being in junior school again. It is comic-book journalism.

    NB John, thank you for putting out some facts to counter some of the myths being peddled.

  20. Posted April 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    “The UK motor industry commenced its important resurrection with big inward investment of money and talent from abroad.”

    So why did the the British mechanical engineering industry require an infusion from abroad? Did not this country invent the mechanical engineering industry? Had it not at one time built more and exported more than any other country? The decline of British manufacturing relative that of our competitors cannot be laid solely at the door of the Marxist infiltrated unions; the complacency of the Establishment in addressing this threat until the time of Thatcher, meant that the battle to save us as a major engineering power and thus world power had already been lost.

    The unions pre-Thatcher were the bastions of Marxism ably assisted by Marxist academics. One of their strategies was to make our industry unmanageable, force it into public ownership through bankrupcy and thus bring forward the Communist state they craved. Their shop stewards controlled the shop floors; they decided that management could not modernise to compete by introducing new equipment or working practices which reduced manning levels or crossed trade demarcation lines, and in order to enforce their will over the workforces, managers and shareholders, they had a repertoire of industrial actions enforced by a draconian discipline and total legal immunity. The Marxist controlled unions controlled this country, not the government. The left lost this power to control us and that is why they hated Margaret Thatcher.

    The problem we now face is however far more deadly than Marxism; it is Cultural Marxism and like its antecedent, originated and propagated by academics. The public service unions have replaced the engineering unions and New Labour has replaced old Labour as the bastions of the destruction, not of our industry, but of (the change of-ed) our country through mass immigration and the legalised invulnerability, not of ‘the workers’, but of the ‘minorities’ who like their antecedents are worthy of preferment and protection by draconian thoughtcrime laws purely on account of their otherness, which, however, often involves abberant loyalties or behaviours. As with pre-Thatcher Conservatives, the response has been limp, verging on the treacherous.

    • Posted April 12, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your analysis of the deliberate attempts made to undermine industry and of your analysis of Cultural Marxism. There is also a powerful element of this thinking behind the climate change legislation and regulations passed by the Blair/Brown governments.

  21. Posted April 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Mike Wilson

    ‘Mike Stallard – could you explain, please, what was wrong with the poll tax?’

    In my view there was nothing wrong with the poll tax – it was way it was introduced that was the problem. Maggie had just not thought through the transition. There were households in which there were several people living with only one council tax payer, so of course the non-payers in the house rebelled at suddenly having to pay the tax.

    I just hope that IDS has got the transition right for the Universal Credit. I believe both taxes need – and needed – a staggered introduction and a rational explanation of the fairness to all of the new taxes.

  22. Posted April 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Coal has been going out of fashion since the end of the First World War, if not a little before. In the Navy, wind gave way to coal fired steam which in turn gave way to oil. On the domestic front, the change from the deadly coal-gas to the new clean safer natural gas and electricity further added to ‘King Coals’ decline. You can also throw in the clean air act and the change from steam railways to diesel/electric and the introduction of motorways and cheap motoring and, you can see where the industry was going.

    To me, rightly or wrongly, the villains of the piece are the Civil Service. They must have, or should have known this. They should have advised ministers on what the likely out comes would be and helped them shape policy to negate the coming disaster for all those concerned.

    To blame a single politician for so much ill, when in ‘truth’ the seeds of much of what was to come had already been sown is plain wrong.

    I believe that a proper historical account of Mrs. Thatcher’s time in office can never be properly put into context, until you take into account much of went on before and the failings of previous governments and their Civil Servant advisers.

    Just my $0.02

  23. Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    An excellent list of statistics that should have been shouted from the roof tops all the way through the 1980s. Perhaps those details would have calmed those terrible confrontations.

    That was and still remains a failing within the Conservatives. They appear to be too modest to brag about their achievements and too British to denigrate their opposition. Blair did quite the opposite and was elected 3 times for his performances.

    Lessons should have been learned but nothing has changed in Downing Street despite the PM being a PR guru. Dave, the salesman, should listen to his customers and provide them with what THEY want. NOT! What he thinks is right for them. And he must tell us more of what he is going to do for us. Regularly. Communications is a Conservative Government shortcoming.

    Never mind Blair’s duplicitous “education, education, education”, let’s have more sound Conservative “explanation, explanation, explanation”! Good communications are essential to great PR!

  24. Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    FullFact, the slightly left-biased fact checkers are less generous to Labour than you John in respect of manufacturing.

    http://fullfact.org/factchecks/Growth_Labour_manufacturing-28817

    Reply My figures were for total output – these figures are for share of economy – manufacturing’s share fell under Conservative and Labour governments because services grew so quickly.

  25. Posted April 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I think what the post-war consensus revealed, and Thatcherism didn’t resolve, was the breakdown of what is called “organic solidarity” amongst the British people of all classes, whether managerial or workers. This is the real reason that British industry failed, and had to be resurrected by foreigners.

    Organic solidarity is what the Germans and Japanese possess in abundance. They may have industrial and political disputes, but they also have a sense of where the line should be drawn on how far they take them. There is an implicit agreement not to damage the national interest.

    Attempting to attach blame to any particular group within British society, whether workers, Union members, managers, and so forth is simply to demonstrate that far from understanding the problem, you are in fact a part of the problem.

    The problems of Britain since the war are not economic in origin; they express themselves economically in various ways – in strikes, in the preference for foreign-made goods, in shrill partisan hatreds. But the challenge remains, and neither party has yet been able to address it: the need to construct a strong enough social consensus to enable the long-term re-establishment of an indigenous industrial base that provides stable if unspectacular growth, without being the arena of political power-grabs from any one section of society.

    The first step in this process will be to stop the blame game.

  26. Posted April 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    After the 1980’s recession, industrial output recovered well from a lower base. This was not sustained under the Labour years however as I seem to recall that manufacturing output fell as a percentage overall, and then of course we had the credit boom and financial services expansion which Labour courted for the extra tax revenues.

    zorro

  27. Posted April 11, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Of course the main reason for the decline in employment on the railways was the move from labour intensive steam traction to diesel and electric. This actually probably took longer in Britain than in other countries, BR’s last steam loco entered service as late as 1960, long after other countries had stopped building them. This also had major implication for the coal industry but the move away from coal had started in the 1950’s after the Great Smog, the problem was that we didn’t move quickly enough to create new industries and establish our own Mittelstand primarily because of the commitment to full employment at all costs. Had we faced up to reality earlier the subsequent transition could have been a lot less painful, the people mainly responsible are Atlee, Churchill, Macmillan, Wilson and Heath.

  28. Posted April 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    JR thank you for the facts. I shall have pleasure ramming them down the throats of some of my Labour voting and anti Mrs Thatcher friends! Mrs Thatcher was a remarkable politician who definitely gave us back our pride.

    I had been so used to our governments Labour and Conservative giving in to pressure that when the Argentines invaded the Falklands I thought we were going to let them have the islands. I was delighted when Mrs Thatcher sent the task force which to me was a major policy change from all that had happened post Suez. I realised how different the USA viewed the UK while on a business trip to America in early 1983 when several US business associates made comments such as “I didn’t think you Brits would actually even attempt to take back the Falklands” and “I’m glad you’re on our side” which brought home to me what we had actually achieved as a nation in the eyes of the outside World.

  29. Posted April 12, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    There is a chart showing numbers employed in mining 1900-2000 on p.19 here:
    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp99/rp99-111.pdf

  30. Posted April 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m broadly supportive of MT but I tried to put some perspective on it from one who was there in the heart of the coalfields and had family and friends caught up within the dispute. Unfortunately on here because someone provides a statistic its seems to be taken as the final word. Unfortunately what was happening on the ground was more nuanced.

    Scargill and his ilk were of the far left ideology and as someone pointed out they had their supporters amongst middle class marxist intellectuals who were in positions to influence such as in the media. They had a different agenda and this drove the dispute also.

    However, I can tell you that there were a significant number of miners who did not want to strike, but were scared into supporting Scargill through threats and coercion. I know I was there. So all this idiot talk about miners being troublemakers etc is tosh. If you live next door to people – so called “union men”- who are perpared to threaten you and your family – what would you do ?

    Like every industry techology is often a barrier to success and this was the case with mining. The coal was there (and still is !!) but the technology was not there to reach geologically difficult places. If you look at the oil industry we now see advances in drilling technology which means that reserves discovered in the seventies which were classified as unobtainable are now being recovered. As I said previously the mining industry needed a complete overhaul and investment in R&D.However MT was focused on “winning” with little thought beyond the victory.

    There was also a culture of laziness in the industry where people would go on long term sickness for little or no reason, people who turned up for work and did nothing – many of these people were at the heart of the strike. Productivity figures per miner jumped dramatically when these elements were paid off and honest hard working people were given the opportunity to work.

    So where are we now as a country? We have governments left and right who have swallowed the green pressure group agenda where it will be lights out pretty soon and we will all be back to power cuts. The ministers at DECC and their supporting scientists are in essence green activists and Cameron seems content with this. Labour would further enhance our energy decline with even more peverted policies.

    But you know what ? We are sat on billions of tonnes of coal and one day someone might realise amongst all this talk of energy security we have the answer under our feet.

  31. Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    With the negative publicity being attracted by the government using the public purse to fund Lady Thatcher’s funeral, I think they have missed a trick here.

    They should have started some kind of fund and asked for donations.

    If the cost of the funeral is likely to be £8-10million then I do believe that this amount would have been reached with ease from voluntary contributions from those who would want her to have a “sending off” more in fitting with her contribution to the UK.

    I suspect there’d even be enough left over to have a 100ft statue of her plonked somewhere appropriate.

    Reply The cost we are told by the Minister responsible will be nothing like £8m. The family is paying for the funeral proper. The state provides the security and military personnel for the parade, as the state has decided to invote a large number of prestigious guests from around the world and has to look after them. Much of the cost to the state is the cost of police and military personnel, a cost we would be paying anyway for other duties if they were not at the funeral.

    • Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your reply and for clarifying the matter.

      I still think it’s a missed opportunity, though.

      There will be a number of idiots out there today (many of whom weren’t even born during Thatcher’s government) protesting about how the public purse is being “abused” here.

      There will also be a number of sad and sick individuals who will just be celebrating her death.

      What a message it would have sent to these people if it could have been revealed that not one penny of the public purse was being used and, far from being “the wicked witch who was hated by all”, there are actually many people in the UK who remember her with great fondness, respect and admiration and were quite happy to voluntarily contribute to her funeral.

  32. Posted April 19, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Here are some coal mine stats based on an argument I have been having on Twitter recently.

    Hope you don’t mind me pasting the link here. I produced 3 graphs for 3 decades based on data from govt sources (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/historical-coal-data-coal-production-availability-and-consumption-1853-to-2011)

    The lions share on pit closures were in the 60s (365), 70s (80) 80s (148) – so “Thatcher closed all the mines” is a lie.

    1

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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