Margaret Thatcher regarded greed and envy as sins

Opponents of the Conservatives have always sought to make out that the 1980s were a unique decade for greed and envy. They have sought to imply that it was deliberate policy of Mrs Thatcher to encourage and support greed.
I can assure you that as a sincere Christian Mrs Thatcher regarded greed and envy as sins. She wanted to encourage self reliance, self help and the protestant work ethic, not excess. Subsequent decades under other governments have had their fair share of the deadly sins as well.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

58 Comments

  1. Cheshire Girl
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always thought that Margaret Thatcher was misunderstood by many. Some of her words were deliberately twisted to make her seem cruel and heartless. I never believed this for a moment. She had a very tough task to do to try and turn this country around, and she showed much courage and commitment. Greed and envy are not very nice traits, I’m sure she tried to encourage people to aspire to a better life if they could and not just envy those who have more than they did. Saying that, I’m sure she tried to understand the plight of those who had little and did what she could to improve their lot. She believed in honesty and hard work and wasn’t always looking behind her to see if her policies were losing her votes! I can’t help wishing that she was still in power today

    • Hope
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree. Oh for a Margaret Thatcher today.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Lord Tebbit on radio 4 reflections program still sounded in very good form.

        Might we get him back or have him cloned perhaps?

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      I get the impression that Margaret Thatcher was naive .

      Dennis obviously wasn’t .

      I think she was probably badly let down by the much more worldly politicians who surrounded her who would have had a far less idealised view of the likely outcome and a better idea of unintended negative consequences .

      Looking at politicians today from Mr Hollande in France and the majority of those sitting in the commons . They all seem to think that it is a given that companies will make money . None of them have done a real job or understand just how delicate a system like an economy is and how easy it is to damage it .

      For a start their pensions are divorced from the stockmarket and performance of companies so it doesn’t matter if they make irresponsible unproven allegations about energy companies .

      How much investment in UK energy infrastructure has now been delayed until after the next general election as a result of Mr Millibands comments ?

      Or the election after that if Labour win .

  2. Robert Taggart
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Indeed Johnny.
    Alas, her message was all too easily if not deliberately misconstrued – whether by her ideological opponents (including those ‘behind her’ !) or other more simple minded ‘numpties’ (Church of Scotland elders ’88).

  3. Bert Young
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    In my living room I have a baseball cap given to me by one of her staff , on it is the inscription ” I love Maggie ” . Whenever I hear some unfounded criticism of the person whom I consider to be the most outstanding leader we have had since Winston Churchill , I put it on . Her judgements and her determination to press on regardless , were attributes most political leaders would have given their right hand for ; of course there were weaknesses in some of the policies she adopted , and , as a result , she was not always popular . She led this country out of the most appalling mess and restored a dignity and pride in being British .

  4. Atlas
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    John, She may not have been greedy, but if so then she did seem to surround herself with some of a spivvy nature shall we say.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be too hard on that nice Mr Heseltine, Atlas.

  5. Antisthenes
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    One of the major legacies of Margaret Thatcher was to take a sick and ailing country and nurse it back to health. This involved at times major surgery to remove parts that were decaying and threatening the rest of the country. It is those decaying parts that then and later so besmirched her because then could and still cannot accept that they should not be allowed to fester.

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Greed is different then personal growth, although some cannot differentiate.I see greed as a shopping trolley overflowing with more and more food which will be wasted or new clothes because they are cheap . I see greed as throwing once worn clothes on the floor and never wearing them again because they need washing. I see greed as gluttony. I see greed as disrespect for the food we eat and then disrespect for the public places as food wrappers are thrown away. I see greed as smokers who smoke one after the other. I see greed as having too many children . I see greed as wanting more of the share of the NHS than any other because of a request for specialist intervention for recurrent colds. I see greed as alcohol binging and threatening public places with drunken behaviour.
    I also see greed as taking more and more loans out which will make others suffer when not paid back and regard these people who have no intention of paying back loans as social parasites.
    I do not regard Mr Thatcher as a heroine , but am conservative in my distaste for greed.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      ‘from’ personal growth or ‘than’ .. oooh

  7. John Eustace
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    She was the last Prime Minister that felt the duty and had the ability to think and act for the long term instead of focusing on the next election all the time.

  8. JoeSoap
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, one could construe greed (and she did, I think) as those who are able to work and contribute not doing so, and taking instead.
    Brown was far more supporting greed than Thatcher, in every direction.

  9. Edward2
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Greed is good, as the man said in that famous film.
    In a way it is good, you need a great deal of ambition and determination to drive yourself forward.
    That motivating factor can be greed. A greed to better yourself and provide for your family.
    But Baroness Thatcher never struck me as someone for whom money was an important factor in what she did.
    I thank her for taking this nation back from the brink of chaos.
    I know what is was like just before 1979, I was there.
    I never felt the eighties was a decade driven by greed.
    But I do feel a rising level of envy in this decade.

    • Bazman
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Concern about massive and rising inequality of the rich profiting at the expense of the poor is not envy. Thatcher caused misery for millions and destroyed a large number of communities. Putting in place and backed by Labour governments in later years a banking system built on greed which in the end collapsed. A culture of big business interests being more important than the populations needs and interests caught exactly in the utility companies and their dealings such as selling energy to themselves at above wholesale prices and blaming everyone and every policy for their excesses. Her mess and legacy live on to this day in the form of broken communities and the problems associated with them. This why greed is good and just envy? Ram it.

      Reply Completely untrue.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        I’ve read some ridiculous extreme left wing posts from you Baz but this nonsense is by far the worst ever.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          Ask the mining communities ravaged by her policies to this day and the large number of northern blue collar jobs destroyed for idealogical purposes.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            Ruined by useless Unions more keen to bring down an elected Government instead of looking after their members.
            Lions led by donkeys as Neil Kinnock once said.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        Bazman

        Total cobblers from start to finish. Some of us were actually at work in the 70’s when Labour destroyed the country, whole industries. More mines and shipyards were closed by Labour than Thatcher ever closed.

        Before you leftists trot out any more of your made up tripe I can tell you my factory that I worked in was forcibly closed and we all lost our jobs when your beloved miners went on strike in 1972 for a 43% pay rise and you have the nerve and effrontery to talk about greed. The miners didn’t give much thought or concern to destroying our communities and our industries comrade. Your (wrong headed ed)posts show you to be completely unaware of reality.

        You just trot out the same old propaganda whilst some of us were actually there and actually experienced the reality. Under Labour dead bodies were left unburied, garbage was piled in the streets, in the early 70’s we have power rationing and a national 3 day week. You have the utter front to post the drivel you just posted. Yes Thatcher has left a legacy …. a far far better country than she inherited from Labour and that legacy once again has been undone by the ignorant incompetent con men of the Labour left

        • Bazman
          Posted December 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          The union where fighting against the employment law situation we have now and probably saw the future as it is now. Old wine in new bottles. 200 years of employment laws circumvented by agencies. How good is that for the economy? No work and when there is work zero hours paying six quid something. Sounds an expensive way to run an economy to me.

  10. Tad Davison
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    This may have come about because of a speech given by Boris. I haven’t heard the speech first-hand, but I did hear Ian Dale say on television that he thought Boris’ words had been totally taken out of context and misconstrued.

    I am deeply suspicious of the media. They have to create, distort, and sensationalise to sell their wares. That a lot of it is sheer bilge seems to escape those who routinely swallow it.

    I think some people need to be more considerate and not jump to conclusions simply because a version of events is written, or aired by a so-called ‘trusted’ broadcaster. Humanity has suffered far too much in the past because people allowed themselves to be manipulated and lied to without first considering all the available evidence.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  11. Anonymous
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    In no period in history was there more greed and avarice than the Blair/Brown era.

    Bankers gone wild, politicians milking expenses, the nation addicted to credit – an obesity ‘epidemic’.

    Yet Labour get away with it Scot free.

    How DO they do it ?

  12. lifelogic
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Well Envy and the “politics of envy” are clearly the thinking and politics of the left or “BBC think” not Mrs Thatcher at all. The left want to help themselves to others money and not have to make it themselves and then try to buy votes with it. In the 98% tax Dennis Healey, pips squeak manner.

    Greed – well I do not think I am greedy nor do I find many of the self made wealthy to be greedy either. Surely the morality is what you do with the money and how you made it. If you just use it to show off or waste it on expensive cars and conspicuous consumption perhaps it is a little unpleasant. Made legally, making money is usually a fairly moral thing to do and of benefit to all. Tax borrow and waste on renewable energy, CAP and HS2 is however highly immoral.

    When Mrs Thatcher said (or did not say) “there is no such thing as society” surely it is encouraging people to help others directly, rather than rely on the state and other taxes for everything.

    It is surely fairly obvious to everyone other than rather dim cornflakes “Spirit Level/BBC thinkers” that if you take money off people who invest and use it well and transfer it to drug addicts, alcoholics, fools and spend thrifts then the wealth of the country on average will decline and the successful with leave or give up.

    There are however some limits to this and we do need basic safely net for those who are in real need.

    • Bazman
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      The most envious are the rich of the supper rich who in some way think they are hard done by.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Given that it’s the rich who keep getting richer, rather than the left, it’s clear who is helping themselves to other people’s money.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Strange assumption from you Uni, that there is only a finite amount of wealth so if someone gets wealthy it makes someone else poorer.

        Also it isn’t so much the rich are getting richer its just that there are many more of them in the UK
        Mainly non doms from China Russia France Middle East etc
        Add into the figures a few million new arrivals at the bottom end of the labour market and its no wonder the figures show an increase in inequality.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        No replies to yours or my post uanime5. I wonder why. There apologist fantasies don’t stretch that far it seems..?

        • Edward2
          Posted December 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          If you made some valid political points Baz, rather than just resorting to personal attacks you might get more replies perhaps.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5

        The economy isn’t a zero sum game so no one is helping themselves to anyone elses money. If you bothered to stop playing computer games and got yourself a job you would learn than anyone can be rich, its really easy you just work hard

        • Bazman
          Posted December 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          LOL! No one is helping themselves to our money? Banking, utility companies, transport, landlords to name just a few of an elite within these organisations getting fat at our expanse for little skill or work.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 5, 2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink

            You say “our money” Baz.
            How do you manage to claim its yours and mine?

  13. arschloch
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    God help the UK if Boris replaces Cameron and all these rumours about a seat being kept “warm” for him are correct . We know he is not into traditional family values and today we learn that he thinks people who have the characteristics of Gordon Gekko are somewhat to be admired. If I remember correctly in the first “Wall St” movie Gekko was a crook who ended up in jail for insider dealing.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      …. ‘in the first “Wall St” movie Gekko was a crook who ended up in jail for insider dealing.’

      In real life nobody has been held to account for their culpability for the GFC , not politicians and certainly no bankers or doyens of the financial community will go near a jail .

      Instead Governments did the complete opposite and recapitalised them with money borrowed from other miscreants who will get paid interest for the privilege .

      • Edward2
        Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        If you were to hold two top people responsible then I would choose the saintly Bill Clinton in the USA and our very own, save the world Gordon Brown.

  14. arschloch
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Greed? The only greed Mrs Thatcher was into furthering was that of the state helping itself to more of my money which was the case by the time she left No 10 after entering it in 1979. Would it not also be nice if we had a sovereign wealth fund like Norway has with its oil money? Remember Mrs T extended the realm of the welfare state by paying benefits to those made redundant from clapped out manufacturing and extractive industries instead of having them retrained to have skills that were in demand. With her attempts to massage the unemployment figures, by putting claimants on to disability benefits instead, she also managed to corrupt the working class and sow the seeds of the problems that we have today with so many people believing they are unfit to work.

  15. Kenneth
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I have often heard how the Thatcher era was associated with greed. That association was – and still is – promoted by the BBC and like-minded media.

    However I believe this to be the opposite of what really happens.

    The more the state does the less we do for ourselves; the more responsibility the state takes for our children, our siblings, our parents and other relations and our neighbours and friends, the less we do.

    With the expansion of the public sector during the Blair/Brown years and with no serious attempt to reduce its size, we are in a much more self centred era than ever before.

    I do not agree with socialism for many reasons, but the selfishness and unhappiness it brings is one of the greatest reasons of all.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      To a degree , the public sector has always acted as a form of workfare .

      In itself expanding it to give people jobs (even makework tasks) rather than having them sit at home being paid for nothing and the effects that has on their families does not seem bad .

      Where it went wrong with Labour was trying to pay them 40% more than their private sector equivalents , where equivalents exists , and hiding the costs by borrowing the money to do so rather than take the honest route of raising the money to do so through taxation .

    • uanime5
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      The flaw with your argument Kenneth is that not everyone is able to take responsibility for others due to the cost of doing this (especially when companies are trying to keep wages low). That’s why people keep voting for parties that will help them, rather than leave them to flounder because the wealthy can look after themselves.

  16. zorro
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    There’s no accounting for human nature, and without doubt there was a lot of tasteless excess in the 1980’s. However, I have seen a lot more evidence of a grasping greedy culture in more recent years.

    MT was often capable of expressing genuine unsung acts of kindness, although she did not suffer fools gladly. Unfortunately, she was a little too trusting and forgiving of those who took advantage of her trust.

    zorro

  17. Bill
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Yes, that Methodist upbringing was deep in her soul. A great woman – it is just a pity that the whole poll tax debacle unfolded as it did. It must be difficult to remain in tune with the public and to be sensitive to the currents of political opinion when you have been in office so long and so successfully. And Michael Heseltine didn’t help either!

  18. TJS
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help thinking that in Margaret Thatcher we had a prime minister of conviction.
    Sadly the last one since Churchill.
    She was betrayed by Hurd Heseltine and Howe ,and many others who wanted and still want our country to become part of a federal state of Europe. I feel they are traitors.
    The people have never been asked.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Above all betrayed by the foolish, pro EU socialist – John Major. Even now no apology for the ERM disaster from this pathetic man. The BBC even use him as some sort of wise sage to pronounce on the World – usually coming out with even more idiotic drivel.

  19. Iain Gill
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    When she won an election and stood on those steps and said “lets not forget about the inner cities” I was impressed. Not many PM’s on the day they win are humble enough to remember those less fortunate and those not natural supporters.

  20. uanime5
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    The problem with trying to encourage self reliance, self help, and the protestant work ethic is that reducing welfare and demanding people fend for themselves won’t achieve this. It will just make it harder for the unfortunate to survive.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Her premiership coincided with a huge rise in living standards.
      I also don’t recall there being great reductions in benefits.
      There were however, many reductions in taxes leaving people with more money left in their pay packets.

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Give people access to reasonably priced accommodation and livable state pension and the rest should take care of itself and people can take responsibility for raising their living standards above the minimum .

      When Osborne should have been bold and introduced the location value tax called for by Churchill , he decided instead to implement an electioneering “Hel to Sell” scheme .

    • libertarian
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Uanime5

      And you know this based on what evidence?

  21. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    Are you implying that devout atheists regard greed and envy as virtues?

    Reply No!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Can one be a “devout atheist”? Surely atheists just look at real visible evidence and science and base their views on that?

      devout – having or showing deep religious feeling or commitment.

      I have no devout religious feelings as to there be no god, nor as to there being no dancing, purple, giant jelly fish at the bottom of my garden at full moon midnights. I just work on real evidence.

      • Bazman
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        You work on what you feel is right and then build up a pseudo scientific case based on these felling. All evidence points to reactionary nonsense from you.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Surely if one believes in a God then surely it is this God who decided that Envy and Greed (and indeed violence, cruelty and other evils) were qualities he needed inject into humans?

      • Edward2
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps LL they are symbols of mans weakness, as God gave man the freedom to choose.
        Or, if you read the Old Testament, its the work of the Devil.

  22. Bazman
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Thatcher has seen the Mayor of London be able to tell the poor that they are poor because they are stupid in some sort of Darwinian financial theory that does not apply to themselves. The most amazing think is that he is the Mayor and supposed to be for all people especially London, but he gets away with this retarded fantasy. What he is doing though, and very well too, is showing what the Tory party and their supporters are really about and who’s interests they serve. Whato! Keep up the good work Boris!

    • Edward2
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      A truly bizarre attempt to connect Baroness Thatcher to a recent speech by Boris Johnson.
      Is there anything the left disike that they don’t try to blame her for?

      • Bazman
        Posted December 1, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Agree with Boris do we edward? I’m sure you sympathise with his ideas. Remember this is the man who wants to be Prime minister.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          You will have the chance to vote as you see fit Baz same as everyone else.
          Our host is the Conservative who has policies and opinions that I agree with the most.
          Not at very keen on Boris nor his recent speech.

  23. gareth
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    She wanted to encourage self reliance, self help and the protestant work ethic, not excess

    This is why generations of her supporters feel so let down by the current government who have done all they can to impoverish the prudent who thought they were doing the right thing by seeking to be “self reliant, self helping and believing in the protestant work ethic, not excess”

    They have sought only to impoverish the above and their lifelong savings by keeping interest rates so low

  24. forthurst
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it was a tactical error by Mrs Thatcher to decree that the Arts Establishment became self-reliant like everyone else.

  • About John Redwood


    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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page