Wider ownership and Margaret Thatcher (first published in House magazine)

Everyone an owner was the central slogan I put to Margaret Thatcher when I became her principal policy adviser. She liked the idea. I worked up ways to promote home ownership, small business ownership, share participation in larger companies, employee share schemes, popular shareholdings from nationalised industry sales, more identification of an individual with their pension or insurance savings, portable pension plans and strengthened shareholder democracy. It was an exciting time. We wanted many more people to have a stake in the country, to own their own piece of land, their own home, a share in larger enterprises or their own business. Whilst the socialists worried about the concentration of ownership and wealth with a view to taxing the few that did enjoy the benefits of ownership, we wanted to do something positive to empower the millions in the economic life of the country and to spread wealth much more widely.

I wrote about the revolution in” Popular Capitalism” and in pamphlets on promoting wider ownership. Each privatisation sale of a nationalised business contained special provisions for free and discounted shares for employees. My favourite government asset sale was National Freight. This nationalised road freight business was sold to its employees who immediately set about transforming it into a more modern more profitable and successful logistics company. As one of the lorry drivers explained to me when I interviewed him for a film about it, becoming a shareholder changed his approach. Where before if the lorry did not work in the morning the driver might give it a kick and decide he could not take it out, as a co-owner he helped coax the vehicle back into life so it could generate revenue again that day. The truck driver owners opted for professional management on the grounds they wanted their investment looked after by people who knew how to do it. Later I was able to help the miners of Tower Colliery in Wales buy out their pit which the Coal Board said was no longer economic and wanted closed. The miners proved the Coal Board wrong and kept it going for many years afterwards successfully.

The movement needed lower taxes to make it cheaper to acquire assets and to hold and enjoy them. Income taxes were lowered generally, leading to a big overall boost in revenue, whilst savings were given special treatment to boost them further. Council house sales were developed with bigger discounts to make them more affordable. Labour argued strongly against it on the bogus grounds that it reduced the supply of housing. We pointed out the same person lived in the home after sale as before, but the state had a capital receipt it could use to build another home. Soon we found Labour party members and Councillors buying their own Council home, undermining their party’s statement of principle against the idea.

Some Unions wanted to oppose employee shareholdings in former nationalised industries, as they opposed privatisation. They found most of their members wanted to take up the free shares on offer to employees, and many wanted to buy discounted shares on top. Why wouldn’t you want to have a share in the profits of the business you worked for? How did the employee share schemes for former nationalised industry staff differ from the co-op approach to ownership which the Labour party supported?

We encountered opposition from unlikely quarters in business and the Conservative party. Harold Macmillan, a former Conservative Prime Minister complained in a very patrician way we were selling the family silver. I countered we were returning the silver the family members. Some in the nationalised industries did not like the way we introduced competition into unresponsive monopolies when we sold off telecoms or energy businesses. It was giving customers choice and allowing challengers to emerge to the traditional businesses we sold that added much of the economic gain and helped fuel the UK economy to better performance.

Privatisation solved the bedevilling problem of capital shortage that nationalised industries faced. All their investment counted as public spending and it often got cut to give priority to the NHS or schools. Once out in the market they could raise much larger sums based on the need and the prospective returns. In the case of electricity generation it allowed the change from fuel inefficient and dirty coal driven power stations to much more thermally efficient and cleaner gas stations. It was the greenest policy any UK government has followed.

Our telephone system was modernised rapidly once out of state hands. It moved from electro mechanical old fashioned equipment to electronic and digital. It moved from copper cable to fibre optics. It moved from only allowing a handful of phones and add on equipment from the monopolist to a profusion of choice from worldwide suppliers. Out went rationing of phone capacity by delay in installing a line and line sharing through so called party lines, to modern levels of service and availability. The mobile phone revolution became possible thanks to privatisation and the end of the monopoly. It would have been very difficult for the UK to build the amazing success in financial and business services which followed if we had continued with a monopoly phone supply with rationing and out of date equipment.

Popular capitalism did create many more homeowners, share owners, business owners and employee share holders. It did transform whole industries from phones to electricity. It was part of Margaret Thatcher’s great success and enduring legacy.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Good morning and thank you.

    The most powerful word that Lady Thatcher used was, CHOICE. To have the power to chose is have power over once life. From where one lives to what services one likes and who provides them.

    When given a free choice people generally make the right decisions. And when they get them wrong they are usually very quick to change them as it is they that are affected and it us they that have the power to make the changes needed.

    When the State makes the choices it usually makes those that are in its own interests with little need or desire to change them. We are witnessing this over BREXIT where, the State is choosing to ignore the people’s choice in favour of one that suits it.

    • Dominic
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      Absolutely spot on.

      • Hope
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Nostalgic as your blog is its sentiment has no foundation in your current self declared left wing/liberal remain party. Furthermore, MT did not have mass immigration as a policy.

        Your dishonest remain party is now a busted flush. There is no policy that your party could believe or be trusted to implement. Brexit, law and disorder, criminal justice system, overseas aid, health, economy, highest taxation in forty years, immigration, N. Ireland, foreign policy under EU, trade. There is not one major policy that your party has failed to deliver on. More state regulation, state interference, curtail free speech and free press, snooping on people’s computers, thought crime. The list is endless. I am convinced MT would have none of it.

        We read today how health tourism measures like proof of entitlement have been quietly dropped against left wingers calling it racist! While millions have to wait weeks to see a doctor and sadly others literally die waiting treatment!

        Traitor May today in reply to A Jenkins made it clear the loss last week was not because of her it was because you lot never voted for her servitude plan! Hammond, Rudd Gauke, Mendall sitting behind her all nodding in agreement! Your remain party will not get rid of her. It has been obvious for three years.

        Watch BBC4 tonight where EU negotiators ridicule Traitor May and our country.

        Farage today repeats on TV not just the worse PM but the most dishonest.

        General election please.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          That is all about right, the May Government is truly appalling in all respects.

          Plus if the NHS do not bump you off by long delays or general incompetence they “shorten” your life at somewhere like the Gosport War Memorial hospital along with 500+ other people.

          • Hope
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

            Staffordshire as well as Gosport.

      • Hope
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        May stated at PMQs today ..”the loss last week was not about me”! Good grief JR you lot are in deep shit with a pèrson like that and a cabinet nodding and cheering in agreement.

        Halfron is right in his article today, but the above response shows the cabinet are not listening. The EU is more important than our country or your party.

        Move aside. Time is up.

    • GilesB
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      Socialists don’t like choice.

      They want everything to be either mandatory or prohibited. That way they can control outcomes.

      • Ginty
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Except choice for themselves. Emma Thompson case in point. Comes here, tells us we’ve all got to cut back and then flies home First Class with steak and champagne.

        “Chin chin, little people !”

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink


          What was she supposed to have done? Swim?

          It is her livelihood and I bet she pays more taxes than you do.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 6:43 am | Permalink

            Video conference? Isn’t that what young Greta would have us all do?

            Do you use the taxes defence when attacking “fat cats” Margaret or is that reserved for those of whom you approve?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

            Well fly economy halving her CO2 output for a start. Then perhaps use the financial saving to fund nuclear power research or plant some trees if she is really concerned about CO2 concentrations. The science however shows clearly that the earth is not at all as sensitive to CO2 as the soothsayer, alarmists and the BBC endlessly claim.

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink


            ” that she cannot even suffer the minor discomfort of economy class, even for a few hours, so saving about half of CO2 emissions”

            “Thompson is also an active environmentalist. She is a supporter of Greenpeace, and in January 2009, as part of her campaign against climate change, she and three other members of the organisation bought land near the village of Sipson to deter the building of a third runway for Heathrow Airport”

            What is your contribution to improve our environment?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 2:01 am | Permalink

          So concerned about “man made global warming” that she cannot even suffer the minor discomfort of economy class, even for a few hours, so saving about half of CO2 emissions (and thousands of pounds she could have given to a suitable cause).

      • Julie Dyson
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Indeed. They also don’t seem to have a clue. Right now prospective Labour MEPs are campaigning all over the north (and doubtless elsewhere) on a firmly Remain / second ref ticket, despite the fact that these former Labour heartlands voted overwhelmingly to Leave. They may as well be directly campaigning for the Brexit Party, since the resulting effect will be exactly the same…

        It’s amusing ironic that I was “too stupid to know what I was voting for”, then became “too stupid to even realise just how stupid I was”, and yet despite my absolute and total ignorance I am still not quite stupid enough to vote for a Remain party!

        Clearly, ignorance is bliss.

      • Ian McDougall
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        So does Mrs May and her EU friends, and by all accounts 75% of the UK Parliment

        I would love to suggest, they are closet Socialists, but they came out some time ago.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Control outcomes to ensure they produce a UK version of Venezuela.

      • Hope
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Nothing is being done to achieve Brexit. Nothing. Nothing has happened or changed since last November. Six months of fake pretending to make some form of progress to keep her party at bay. Lots of new fake dates. A few fake letters, promises of backstop replacement, then changes to backstop then nothing. No talks with the EU, no change in the U.K. whatsoever.

        Traitor May and co are only giving the impression of doing something while everything is on hold to fatigue the party and public into caving in to her demands for her servitude plan. Three votes all defeated, one historic failure so she wants to come back for a fourth, how absurd is that!

        Fear and force did not work now fatigue is the order for the day.

        The good news this is better than her plan and giving time for the Brexit Party to take hold across the country. Thousands of excited people attending rallies, donating money and joining the true Democratic Party to enact the will for the people.

        • Alan jutson
          Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          She will try to get her deal through before the EU elections with some labour support thinking all those who oppose it will give up

          • Timaction
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

            Indeed. She actually signed the Treaty last year, so nothing can or will change as she thought the vote was a shoe in! She is a dictator and has secretly been signing us up to all sorts of EU military alignment without any accountability.

    • jerry
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; “The most powerful word that Lady Thatcher used was, CHOICE. To have the power to chose is have power over once life.”

      My father had the CHOICE to move from the north of England to the South, he had the CHOICE to save for a deposit, obtain a mortgage and buy a house rather than continue to live in a Council flat/house with is young family, he had the CHOICE as to were he worked, he had the CHOICE -like many- whether to join a trade union (he did not), he did some of the above before Margaret Thatcher was even a MP, and all before she held Ministerial position – just saying…

      I might add, what choice do I have, like the majority, about using the privatised BT infrastructure, needing a fixed telecoms line as I do, what choice do I have of using my regional privatised water company needing my fresh water provided and my waste water removed, what choice do I have in having to use the infrastructure of the privatised energy transmission networks even those I might well have a choice as to who I use to collect payment.

      What is choice when the only choices are both faux?!

      • Edward2
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        You have forgotten just how bad things were.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 9, 2019 at 5:04 am | Permalink


        My experiences and that of my parents was somewhat different. I will not go into a long diatribe but to say that my point regards choice stands. Just because post Thatcher governments did not mind the shop after she’d had gone is not the fault of her.

        • jerry
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

          @Edward2; At least I remember -good or bad- how things were, unlike some who either were not old enough or choose not to remember!

          @Mark B; Nice attempt to switch blame…

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            Oh and you can have choice on your phone line Jerry.

          • jerry
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Read what I said, not reply to what you think I said or what might be the case in other areas.

            Like so many areas, we do not have any other fixed line IP/telecom providers (be it copper or Fibre), we do have LLU [1] but that uses BT infrastructure – meaning if their infrastructure is blighted by underinvestment so are all other service providers.

            [1] hence why BT were forced to hive off their their infrastructure into a Wholesale division away from their retail & B2B sectors.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            You said what choice do I have about using the privatised BT network needing a fixed telecoms line as I do.

            Do some research Jerry there are several alternative companies offering you a service.

          • jerry
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “You said…”

            No I did not! What I actually said, in full, was this; “I might add, what choice do I have, like the majority, about using the privatised BT infrastructure, needing a fixed telecoms line as I do”.

            I was very careful to use those specific (now highlighted) words, because yes I could pay any number of other providers, some would be mobile 4G -which I do not want- whilst all those that are fixed use the same BT infrastructure.

            It is you Eddie who needs to do some basic research, such as the term “LLU”, or to give its full name, Local Loop Unbundling, and FTTC compared to FTTP etc. In most areas there is no option other than to use the pre existing BT copper infrastructure, be it the ‘last mile’ of FTTC or ADSL from the exchange.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            Your original post was about choice.
            There is plenty of choice now compared with pre Thatcher days of monopoly state industries.
            Especially in the telecoms sector.
            Try VOIP if you cant get the Virgin Media or Sky or Post Office or many of the other phone lines nearly everyone in the UK has as a choice.
            No need for highlighted text Jerry

          • jerry
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

            @Edward; Oh for goodness sake! Apologies to our host & others for having to now shout, never mind reply yet again.

            The issue is not that of a reliable telephone service, for most people (and many a SOHO) copper wire still serves then well, the issue is a poor/slow IP service.

            Thus your suggestion of VOIP as a ‘solution’ is not only irrelevant but shows your limited comprehension (yet again). How can someone with poor IP connectivity reliably access VOIP if the only available INFRASTRUCTURE will not allow, infrastructure that’s basically the same as was installed under or above the streets before the telecoms industry was privatised.

            FTTP should be the norm today, yet even new build is not always provided with it, never mind pre-existing buildings, at best they get FTTC (very reliant on that ‘last mile’ of copper wire), hence why ISPs ask to do a line speed check before accepting new business or have disclaimers regarding expected up/down load data rates.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 11, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

            You have the last word Jerry
            I realise it makes you happy.

    • Peter
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      The ‘very patrician’ Harold MacMillan also famously said ‘you have never had it so good’. He was correct too. This was long before Thatcher.

      As regards the family silver, we now live in a country where key assets like water, rail, energy etc, as well as many of our famous industrial companies, are now owned by foreigners. These same foreigners are happy to price gouge in monopoly situations or shift production abroad to a cheaper workforce. They do so with impunity too. So MacMillan made a very good point. He was also describing the greedy nature of the elite and their advisors who will sell anything if they themselves make a profit.

      • Peter
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        “Privatisation solved the bedevilling problem of capital shortage that nationalised industries faced.”

        Another accounting trick from that era was PFI. Simply a clever way of concealing spend. Unfortunately the country ended up paying a small fortune for this sleight of hand. Conservative and Labour are both guilty of adopting it.

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:32 pm | Permalink


        Is there anything they haven’t flogged off to (American owned) hedge funds?

      • Mark B
        Posted May 9, 2019 at 5:10 am | Permalink

        The Family Silver once belonged to someone else before the State took it. E.g. Rail. It had to be sold because the rest of the estate had been left to decay. Or did you not live through the Winter of Discontent?

        People like Super Mac lived a very different life to ordinary people. The sneered at the Grocers Daughter because of her background. No silver spoon in her mouth unlike her detractors.


        • jerry
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

          @Mark B; The reasons why the Railways were nationalised in 1948 are complex, it didn’t happen simply because of the Labour Party dogma.

          I strongly suspect that had the Tories won in 1945, whilst not resorting to nationalisation, the railway system would have remained under the same direct control of the DoT (as they had been since the 1st Sept 1939), whilst in effect receiving direct state funding. In the main, the big four railway companies in the UK, by mid 1945, were either technically bankrupt and/or owed very significant amounts of money for war work undertaken whilst also having six years of necessarily postponed repairs or investments to catch up on.

          As for silver spoons, it is all relative, the young Margaret Hilda Roberts may well have “lived over the shop”, a very comfortable flat compared to the two room tied cottage, tin bath in front of the fire, many grew up in… MacMillan might well have been born in Chelsea with a silver spoon in his mouth, but being MP for Stockton-on-Tees during the depressed 1930s humbled him, I’m not saying that MT and those who served with her were/are not humble people, just in a different way – they are form a different generation and thus hold different childhood and adult experiences.

        • Peter
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

          Yes the state often took over loss making enterprises like coal mines and ensured they survived, continuing to contribute to the economy and provide employment.

          The latest philosophy is ‘privatise profit and nationalise losses’. So when a rail franchise gets tired of their business they just walk away and the state has to step in to maintain the service for the travelling public.

          This is also very nice work for assorted government advisors who have made a fortune on various privatisation wheezes over the years.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          Mark B

          “People like Super Mac lived a very different life to ordinary people. The sneered at the Grocers Daughter because of her background”


          Harold Macmillan:

          “His paternal grandfather, Daniel MacMillan (1813–1857) was the son of a Scottish crofter from the Isle of Arran. He considered himself a Scot.”

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            Come off it Margaret, look him up on the internet.
            He was a decent man but plainly aristocratic.
            Born into a wealthy family who lived in Cadogan Place Chelsea, educated at Eton and Balliol then became an officer in the Guards, then married Lady Dorothy Cavandish daughter of the Duke of. Devonshire.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink


      Freedom to choose how one spends ones own money. This rather than having the highest taxes for 70 years and then watch government wasting it endless lunacies that few want. Giving a little back (if you are lucky) in the form of usually dire and often rationed services like the NHS.

  2. agricola
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Giving employees a stake in the enterprise they help to build makes sense. It transforms committment. It defines the difference between good conservatism and the negative attitude of Labour who prefer people as dependants because this gives them control of said dependants. Conservativism began to wither when the party slid to the left and opted for more control of the individual which we see in taxes and PC. We even have laws against the way we are allowed to think and Mr Plod, at the behest of government,pays more attention to this than real crime.

    • jerry
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      @agricola; “Giving employees a stake in the enterprise they help to build makes sense.”

      Mr Attlee, as would Mr Lenin would have agreed…! 🙂

      • agricola
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        I would like to think so, but as they are not around to comment I really don’t know what their wishes might be.

        • jerry
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

          @agricola; Their written words my friend, no different from reading what our host says!

  3. stred
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Good luck to Mr Elphike with his bill to enable house owners to escape from extortionate mortgages. I see that a replacement for Roger Scruton has been found and Mrs Truss is keen to build beautiful new houses over the countryside in order to accommodate the increasing population. Vote Tory. Destroy England.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      In the East Midlands on our largely middle class develoment practically every house put up for sale is bought by an immigrant. Mainly doctors and NHS staff from a nearby hospital. This has ramped up the prices on these desirable homes and every bit of green belt is being developed with (un)unaffordable houses. Uninspiring boxes costing a fortune.
      Importing 300.000 people (probably an underestimate) is bound to have a negative impact on the community.
      I don’t think when you suggested to Maggie that council houses should be sold to the tennant that 25% of them would be occupied by immigrants.

      • Maggie's disciple
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Which bit of free trade don’t you get? Open markets for people as well as goods and services. If you don’t like immigrants simply because they are immigrants, you are no Conservative

      • agricola
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Most of us are immigrants in the UK and especially those who are contributing deserve a good home over their heads. The Blair government forced an unprecedented number of immigrants on the UK for their own misconceived political gain. May in the Home Office failed to control it where she was free to. This is what caused many problems in many areas of our infrastructure. It was a failure to invest in the infrastructure to cope with the numbers.

        Having said the above, we still need to get it under control because we are importing people to service those already imported. A bit like a ponzi scheme.

        Perhaps we need to totally re-think mortgages to allow more people to buy. It is a challenge that requires some original thinking.

        To reduce unit house prices I have suggested factory building. It would also improve quality if subjected to the rigours of ISO9000. Thoughts for a future government free of Brexit.

    • bigneil
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I live a few miles outside the official Peak District border. A few days ago I got talking to a Southern chap ( moved up here about 25 yr ago) who told me he’d had a place virtually identical in size/plan/land area in a local village, worth £300k. The same one down South was valued at £750k.

  4. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    It caused me and my husband to return home – we had left and taken the ‘white heat of technology’ with us when Wilson tried to fool us that devaluation made no difference to ‘the £ in your pocket’. Mrs Thatchers interlude was a huge success, but from Major on the trauma has been unrelenting and I have regretted returning home and witnessing at first hand the destruction of my beloved homeland and people.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      I understand what you say. The same happened to my late Husband and I. We escaped the trauma of the 70s, with the continual strikes and upheaval.

      When Margaret Thatchers name is mentioned, even today, it makes me sigh wistfully, and wish She was here to sweep away all the ‘Political Correctness’ and the destruction of our Country and culture, imposed upon us by the present Leadership. I fear for the future, if there are not some changes soon.

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink


        “We escaped the trauma of the 70s, with the continual strikes and upheaval”

        So along with Lynn Atkinson you left your ‘beloved country’ at the first sign of trouble instead of having a hand in its rescue?

        If you had done then perhaps “the destruction of our Country and culture, imposed upon us by the present Leadership” might not have happened.

        Personally, I wouldn’t feel I had the right to criticise others if I had done the same.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          Margaret, the way you slag off the UK you may as well go

        • Cheshire Girl
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 3:37 am | Permalink

          I did no such thing! My Late Husbands company gave him the opportunity to set up an office in the USA. We took it – you might have even done the same, had you been in our position. I was very reluctant to leave the UK, and only agreed to do so after being assured we would come back after a few years.

          May I suggest that you dont make assumptions about other people’s motives, without knowing all the facts.

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

            Cheshire Girl

            My ‘assumptions’ were about your posting that you:

            “escaped the trauma of the 70s, with the continual strikes and upheaval”


            As for Fedup – the fact is – WE WERE THERE AND WE STAYED”

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            How brave you are Margaret.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      We felt the same. I left in 77 after the 3 day week debacle and exchange controls.
      We came back over 20 years later and watched the destruction of this once proud and independent country starting with Bliar and his open door policy happily continued by May and the Tory Party.
      We really do need someone of Thatchers ilk (Farage,) to get the country on track again.

      • Ian wragg
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        I’ve just had a flier delivered for the Euro elections
        It says vote Conservative if you want Brexit delivered quick.
        The party should be prosecuted under the trades description act.

  5. javelin
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink


    May given till lunchtime today to set out her leaving date by 1922.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      She should be gone by lunchtime today. One cannot trust a word she utters. The worse PM in living memory (with very stiff competition) and not just on the Brexit betrayal. Everything she says and does is for higher taxation, more government, more interference and damaging red tape. She is socialist warm up act for Corbyn/SNP breaking the Conservative Party in the process.

      • Timaction
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        I see that Hammond has given the replacement for the Bank of England Governor role to a “diversity” experts company! Cherie Blair has involvement with this company. Doesn’t he realise that people expect the best person for the job not one politically correct appointment to satisfy leftards. The Tory Party is no longer conservative but blue Labour. We are witnessing the death of this Party by its own leadership.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 2:08 am | Permalink

          Indeed do you want “diversity” or the best person for the job? It is one or the other. Cressida Dick to being interviewed recently said she wanted to recruit the best of the best, but for it to reflect the London population in diversity. Logic dictates you have one or the other…….The best candidates or you reflect the population you cannot do both.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      What do you reackon ? 2022 ?

    • Al
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      And yet we heard yesterday that she and her advisers were threatening legal action to stop the 1922 commitee giving the party the right dismiss her. “Let me be PM or I will sue you” is hardly behaviour befitting the office.

      • DaveM
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        That fits perfectly with the EU dictatorship – we all know she’s merely one of their stooges. However….she’s making peaceful revolution impossible.

        • jane4brexit
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          Do they have an “EU Employee of the Year” award? Juncker just got the EU Leader award so if they have an Employee one too, May should just be about be eligible to get her third one so far…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Nothing she has done has been befitting her office she was an appalling Home Secretary too. She is a lying, traitor and not a Conservative. She is an idiotic, tax to death, Government knows best, red tape spewing socialist.

        Even today in PM questions she still seems to think her rancid deal is Brexit. It is nothing of the sorts, it is even worse than remain, a £ 39 billion pair of handcuffs for the nation, the people and future governments.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Good news..I hope!
      Actually I’ve nearly given up hoping.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        leaving today? you have to be joking. Not a chance. We won’t even get a date, maybe not even a year.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Probably 2022 after a wipe out at the next election.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Or what?

    • DaveM
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Like she promised we were leaving the EU on 29 March? She’ll set a date…..then ignore it. Meanwhile, another £55m to Brussels and another few hundred thousand to the Brexit Party.

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        I love Brendan O Neill’s comment in the Spectator today re EU Brexit Co-ordinator,Guy Verhofstadt,remonstrating about Turkey’s President Erdogan demand for the electors of Istanbul to vote again for making the wrong choice……

    • KMILLS
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Don’t hold your breath…….better to nip next door and ask their parrot for a more truthful response.

  6. Dominic
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    We need more of this, a lot more. Re-empower the private person by weakening the grip of the State over almost every aspect of our lives

    Collectivist culture is once again finding its feet and that spells danger for us all. Collectivism is a mirage and a deception. It suggests the public interest promotion but is in effect a massive transfer of political and financial power to the State and those who rule over us

    There is a role for public provision but the end-user must be put in charge. In today’s public sector construct those in charge are the unions who see it as a source of power and funding and the political class who see it as a conduit to control who we are, how we think and what we do.

    Lower taxes also limit’s the ability of Labour to construct further and finance the expansion of their client state which I believe is the biggest danger to democracy for generations. Labour is able to govern when in power and assert huge influence when they’re not in power due to placemen in positions of political importance

    Blair’s destruction of Thatcher’s legacy and his surreptitious infection of the State using Quangos is another building block of Labour’s client state that will need to be dismantled if we ever have the opportunity to do so

    We need to reassert the reality of the individual human being. References to the oblique, evasive nature as expressed through the idea of society is human engineering and smacks of a political agenda designed to construct a sheep-herding mindset.

    Self-reliance must be promoted to counter Labour’s attempts to turn people in State clientele. Labour’s disgusting, deceitful plan is nothing less than the creation of people who think and act like political robots. The use of propaganda and political psychological techniques to trigger voters is deeply destructive on independent thought. They must be countered

    May’s plan is to maintain Labour’s client state in good order. The next non-Labour PM must be attack and reform all levels of Labour’s client state. If Labour achieve power they will literally crush the taxpayer to finance a Marxist client state and make it in a manner that is beyond reform

    • piglet
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely right in every respect.

    • Steve
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:50 pm | Permalink


      “Re-empower the private person by weakening the grip of the State over almost every aspect of our lives”

      Honest idea Dominic, however it isn’t so honest in practice. Many aspects of our lives as consumers are adversely affected by big business.

      Here’s how it works; a manufacturer wants to give us less for more money, by – say for example squeezing another 1p profit out of every tin of paint. The only way they can do this is to remove one of the components, in this example Xylene. So, they simply lobby the corrupt EU, which then bans Xylene and issues directive to the UK government, who being the wet rags they are, do as their EU masters say.

      Same with creosote….the industry got the EU to ban Naphtha which is why you can’t buy real creosote anymore. Think of all those fences and sheds rotting out prematurely, thus increasing the demand for more wood. Clever or what.

      It is not always the solely the state, a lot of the time it’s EU lobbying by the private sector.

  7. margaret
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    I know , but our population is changing and has changed. My family have always owned their own homes and have had respect for every bit of effort required to keep a roof over our heads. The population we have now have more support structures where male dominance and cash in hand markets find their way into our small towns.I used to write about small groups of made it in business locals becoming lynch mob types who bully their way and use connections to keep others down . It is happening.Business ethics are something I studied at UCLAN and we cannot infuse standards where individuals do not have an initial sense of respect for the customers they are supplying ( or some may call it serving)
    Downsides of the slow destruction of the NHS will also come as a shock to many.I worked at BUPA for a very short time in the offices and was shocked by the objective approach to money and health. If you are unlucky to have heart failure, genetic disease, diabetes mellitus etc and cannot work ,policies are loaded.The ill suffer. The training of staff for private sectors gives large incentives for a few and not always based on acumen.
    Too many educational bigots who haven’t been through appropriate systems to enable them to think analytically about problems have been let loose ; all loose cannons; they shout , repeat rubbish and influence the more vulnerable into wrong decisions.Yes all exciting democratic ownership , without the responsibility which is concomitant to ownership and power.
    This split in medicine between sciences and arts is manufactured by the minds of those who think everyone should be like them . This is not so. It is an art to use medicine and people based science and needs much philosophical and ethical ability. Widespread ownership means wide spread power and the potential for the unsavoury who operate on a self indulgent power trip to dominate.
    I have seen it , these little minds blow each other out of existence , by their complaints , counter complaints, getting dirt on one another ,colluding to bring firms down.It’s the people in it John , not the structures , the people ,who are certainly not great.

  8. Adam
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    The intelligence & high quality performance Margaret Thatcher enabled & promoted contrast revealingly with Theresa May’s worthless limitations. We need to be freed from both her and the EU.

  9. Maggie's disciple
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Mrs Thatcher. Architect of the single market. Determined to lead Europe, not to leave us whining on the sidelines. So sad to see the modern (!!) Conservative party unlearn every lesson St Margaret taught them about the need to pursue international co-operation rather than unilateral footstamping and tantrumthrowing

  10. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Today, if you try to give your employees shares, HMRC call it “disguised remuneration”. For the employee, it’s not a benefit, it’s a tax liability.
    The government approved schemes all have their drawbacks.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    It was indeed part of Margaret Thatcher’s great success and enduring legacy. But Thatcher did not go far enough at all. Since then the misguided Blair, Brown, Cameron and May have idiotically rowed backwards. Taxes should be circa 20% of GDP not nearly double that. It would however be 20% of a far larger GDP.

    Freedom and choice so people can earn, spend and invest their own money as they choose is what is needed and much, much lower and simpler levels of taxation. Hammond has given us the highest and most complex for 70 years combined with dire & declining public services to boot.

    The government has given us (take it or leave it) near state monopolies at the NHS, schools and universities. They also interfere causing huge harm in the energy markets, housing, wage levels, banking, planning and very many other areas. They have created millions of pointless parasitic jobs in government, the law, red tape compliance, energy lunacy, health and safety, employment laws, tax collection and compliance and very many other areas.

    Lumbering people with £50K of student debt for mainly worthless degrees (and three years loss of earnings) is perhaps one of the most idiotic government policies.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      I see that twenty years back Gordon Brown sold 401 tons of the UK’s holding of gold at an average price of $275 an ounce current value nearly $1300. Then largely used the money to waste hand over fist. Well done economic incompetent dope Gordon Brown. Or perhaps rather well done too to Blair, Brown, Major, Cameron and May for devaluing the pound (in gold terms) to about a quarter of what is was 20 years ago.

      Let us hope the next PM believes on low taxes, real UK democracy, economic competence and a sound currency. The opposite of all the above PMs.

  12. oldtimer
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    It was the defining revolution for the Thatcher government. Thank you for your role in it.

  13. jerry
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    No, Margaret Thatcher was (and still is) popular because she was a strong leader [1], many approved of her, NOT her policies.

    Many voters had doubt then, and have even more doubt today, now that the built-in flaws within those polices are becoming apparent, or the rational for such decisions made are being placed within the public domain.

    [1] after 10 years of utterly weak or infective leadership from both main parties when in Govt, nor since, hence why her personal standing remains.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Stalin’s approval rating is back to 70% in Russia too!

  14. Nigl
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Empowerment/involvement. Two key words in any treatise on managing a business. Unfortunately this results in a reduction in a politicians role who don’t trust the people/think they know better anyway, so they are ignored.

    The resulting poor/shoddy/lack of choice/money wasting services we have to endure is the direct result.

    Politicians should be the servants of the people. Unfortunately many seek and get into power thinking the opposite.

    Ps 10 years after the expense scandal it is alleged 100s of MPs including prominent names have had their corporate credit cards withdrawn because of abuse and many others have interest free loans paying back wrongly claimed expenses with attempts to cover it all up. It stinks.

  15. Julie Dyson
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Stirring stuff, and in striking contrast to this wet dishrag of a PM under which we are suffering at present. This should have been another period of renewed hope and revitalization; an embracing of a bright future beyond the life-sucking clutches of the EU, in much the same way as Maggie freed the country from abysmal and crippling years under Labour rule. What a sad state of affairs indeed.

    The most striking contrast? The comparative ease with which Maggie was pushed out of office, while this one clings on like a barnacle, doing incalculable long-term damage to her party, her country, and its reputation and respect around the world. Shameful.

    • Chris
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Maggie Thatcher was removed with ease by the powers that be, with Heseltine et al the operatives, and those PTB are the same ones that we are up against now, ferociously and relentlessly trying to destroy Brexit. This time however it is the PM herself, her “cell” (Prof Prins terminology) of mandarins/advisers/Brussels eurocrats, and her Remainer MPs who have aligned themselves against the people to deny them their Brexit victory. Very dangerous and very unwise.

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink


      ” an embracing of a bright future beyond the life-sucking clutches of the EU, in much the same way as Maggie freed the country from abysmal and crippling years under Labour rule”

      Oh really? I remember her enthusiastically campaigning for membership during the 1975 EU referendum even wearing a specially knitted jumper denoting the then EU countries flags.

      Rather than ” Maggie freed the country from abysmal and crippling years under Labour rule” to defeat the unions she shut down our industry and caused untold hardship.

      The Falklands war rescued her from ignominity.

      • mancunius
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        You seem not to have noticed that the 1975 vote was to join the EEC.
        The EEC was abolished and superseded by the EU when the Treaty of Maastricht was ratified.
        A step stoutly opposed by Margaret Thatcher, who saw where the unelected euro-fanatics were taking us.

      • Julie Dyson
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        Are you seriously trying to suggest that the EEC of 1975 is the same thing we are living under now, especially following Maastricht in 1993 and Lisbon in 2009? If so, there is only one reply to that —

        “No, no, no.”

        Indeed, two years before those famous words, in 1988 she made her views perfectly clear —

        “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level with a European superstate exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”

        What it was, and what it would become, are two entirely different things.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        The referendum was about a Common Market of 6 or 7 members.
        Our industry is now far more powerful.
        It hasn’t been shut down.
        And living standards improved.
        Not everything you read in the Guardian history book is correct Margaret.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          All because of our EU membership which rescued us from being the ‘sick man of Europe’.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            Total nonsense.
            Look up the economic data.
            43 years of payments greater than anything we received back out.
            Your original post was nonsense too.
            I note you had no counter to it so you descended to your oft repeated cliché

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Heseltine on Newsnight last night totally was deluded as ever. He thinks the Conservative Party can only recover by going fully over to remain! How can he be so out of touch with reality, the party members and the voters?

    If they do so they will lose even more heavily than John Major did with his pro EU agenda, gross economic incompetence and a failure even to apoligise:- Labour 418 Conservative 165 it was. May if anything is worse but then Corbyn is less electable than smiley socialist Blair was. Indeed May is well to the left of Blair already.

    • jerry
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      @LL; “How can [Heseltine] be so out of touch with reality, the party members and the voters?”

      Whilst I obviously disagree with him on the the issue of Remain, have you ever considered that you might be the one more out of touch with reality and the voters, even if you might well reflect the majority of party members – do remind me what the swing to Labour, and its very left wing manifesto, was just two years ago…

      “If they do [as Heseltine suggests] they will lose even more heavily than John Major did with his pro EU agenda”

      John Major won a working majority in its own right of 21 in 1992, it was party indiscipline between 1992 and the GE of 1997 that cost the party dear, not Major’s pro EU stance. Blair’s pro EU credentials were even stronger and he won a line-slide!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 9, 2019 at 2:14 am | Permalink

        He won the first election as voters believed he was continuation Thatcher with a slightly softer feel. Once they worked out Major was a pro EU, tax to death, 17% mortgage rates, economic incompetent (after his ERM fiasco). They rightly buried the party for 3+ terms.

        • jerry
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          @LL; Nonsense! John Major went out of his way to prove he was not ‘continuation Thatcher’, had he done what you claim Kinnock would have walked it, do you not remember Labour lead in the opinion polls and Major responding by getting on his soapbox – quite literally?

          Also, let me get this correct, you are saying that after 1992 GE voters worked out that Major was “pro EU, tax to death” so they chose to -err- elect by a landslide Mr Blair who was even more pro EU, & tax to death! Hmm… 🙂

          As for the ERM fiasco, and the resultant rise in interest rates (savers were very pleased by the way, whilst those who rented were nonplussed…), that wans’t all Major’s doing, speculators that you seem to approve of held a lot of the blame too.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 9, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

        Being pro EU meant Major wanted to drop the pound and take us into the Euro.
        The first part of that process was the Exchange Rate Mechanism.
        Which brought finsncial disaster for many good businesses and home owners.
        It caused a dreadful recession great unemployment and destroyed the Conservatives popularity.
        So in my opinion it was the pro EU stance John Major had that caused his downfall.

        • jerry
          Posted May 10, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

          @Edward2; “So in my opinion it was the pro EU stance John Major had that caused his downfall.”

          That would be why voters then chose to elected a certain Tony Blair as PM, who was even more pro EU, wanting to join the Euro etc? Come off it!

          The electorate voted against what the Tory party had become, and the arrogance of some within, not so much its polices under Major.

          Thank goodness for Mr Brown and his “6 tests”, although you would never guess the debt he is owed judging from the vitriol on this site towards him at times, otherwise the UK would have adopted the Euro during Blair’s premiership, quite possibly during his first landslide term

          • Edward2
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            It was the ERM that created Major’s downfall by creating a really dreadful recession with high unemployment, home reposessions, high interest rates and business failures.
            They were disliked for other failures but that was the key reason voters in their millions refused to vote Tory in 1997.
            Not sure what relevance Brown has to pre 97 politics of the Tories.

          • jerry
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; The ERM crisis was all but a full five years before the 1997 GE, I bet average Joe had forgotten what the letters ERM even meant by then. On the other hand I bet all but a hermit holed-up half way up a mountain knew what the word “Sleaze” mean in 1997…

            The relevance to Blair/Brown is, you claim people voted against Major because of the ERM, yet the ERM was still very much in existence in 1997 as a precursor to the Euro, yet you claim the electorate voted by a landslide for Blair and his expressed policy of joining the ERM/Euro – would that not have been a whopping oxymoron?!

            As for “creating a really dreadful recession with high unemployment, home reposessions, high interest rates and business failures”, you might wish to withdraw that rant, other wise how come Mrs Thatcher won three elections in a row during the 1980s, OK, two if you discount Labours own goal of a ‘suicide note’ manifesto in ’83.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            Its OK Jerry you can have the final word on this.
            You have a different take on history to me and I suspect many others, but that is fine.

          • jerry
            Posted May 10, 2019 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; No doubt, but then I do not have a political ideology to defend…

          • Edward2
            Posted May 11, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            Unlike you of course.

    • Steve
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink


      “Heseltine on Newsnight last night………”

      Oh my God, I wondered when his head would pop up.

  17. Richard1
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Many great and triumphant Conservative policy success recalled there. It’s important to remember the extent of opposition. As you say Harold Macmillan made his last – rather absurd – political intervention to criticise privatisation. Odd for a Conservative, but it showed how far Conservatives had simply gone along with socialist paradigms in the post war decades. So it took a determined radical to set a new course. The President of the CBI in the early 80s promised a “near knuckled fight” with the Conservative Govt. in other words, on behalf of big business, he was opposing those policies which re-established the UK as a viable and competitive place for entrepreneurship and investment. Those big business voices simply couldn’t visualise a different future, and like most establishment incumbents, opposed change.

    We should remember this in the context of debates re the EU, where membership and ever greater integration has become received wisdom in recent decades.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      “bear knuckled fight”!

  18. Everhopeful
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    We’re all these assets the govt’s to redistribute?
    Council houses were a means of relieving employers of the burden of housing workers and were tax funded.
    The railways had their roots in private money and the war was used as an excuse to requisition them?
    How about those who for the best motives had joined the civil service, NHS, police.
    At ground level the carve -up was not pretty. And it was let’s say…exploited.
    All of a sudden cousins, uncles were the delighted recipients of largess beyond the dreams of those who had not been in the right place at the right time!!
    The time to do the 2 acre thing was when Lord Torrington suggested it ..not 150 years later in an acquisitive and corrupt society.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Is it true that Mrs May has decided to remain until Autumn??
      And is being allowed to??
      Surely we witnessed enough blatant rule changing in both Lords and Commons to know that the rules are there to be broken?
      WHY is the Tory party happy to self destruct?
      What on earth is going on?

      • Chris
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Everhopeful, as I said in a comment yesterday, I think the Tory Party has gone mad. Collective insanity, willing destruction on themselves.

        It seems to me that it was the Cons Brexiter MPs who were forever giving May the benefit of the doubt that she wouldn’t betray Brexit (they were wrong but refused to see it until too late) and now they are apparently unwilling to acknowledge that May is actually destroying their Party, and is succeeding. Again they are behind the times, it seems. They are apparently refusing to take the radical action that is needed, but I believe it is now too late for the Party. I do not think it will recover.

      • DaveM
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        She said today that the problems with Brexit and last week’s LEs weren’t an issue about her.

        Surely that is the final sign that she is totally in denial and absolutely unsuitable to hold the office of Prime Minister? I was lost for words when she said that.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      everhopeful…railways were underfunded and not maintained properly for years prior to the WW2. Then it got worse over the war years, effort and manpower diverted elsewhere. By the time it was over other countries had to rebuild and modernise, we ‘had no money’ and stuck with outdated steam….you know the rest?

  19. Al
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    “We pointed out the same person lived in the home after sale as before, but the state had a capital receipt it could use to build another home.” This is the problem – at least with our then-Labour Council the funds weren’t used for building new homes or restoring other derelict council houses to habitability. There is an affordable homes housing crisis in our area, and yet today you can walk passed rows of derelict council homes by the parks, other buildings that were homes being used for ‘storage’ by ground maintenance teams and so on. I’ve seen inside and they are largely empty.

    It is another case of the legislation being meant one way and implemented another by an opposing faction – in this case to cause the problem it was meant to solve.

    The “John Lewis model” works in a number of businesses. It should be obvious that giving workers a stake in their industries would result in greater commitment, but so many people can’t make that leap.

  20. Kevin
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    The miners of Tower Colliery may have proved the Coal Board wrong, but what was the
    outcome for them when we switched from dirty coal-driven power stations to
    much cleaner gas stations? Not that this isn’t an impressive read overall. What is
    more, the revolutionary spirit documented in this post makes me wonder if, ironically,
    your efforts have resulted in a wealth-centred reluctance to embrace Brexit change?

  21. Gareth Warren
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    We need agan a PM who can not only enthuse the people, but has a solid grounding in logic.

    Your desire to spread ownership reflects a truth highlight in Enoch’s book “Truth and reality”, there he noted it was the capitalist state where everyone was involved in the process of price discovery while in a socialist state it was the few.

    When Corbyn calls “for the many and not the few” I did not hear one voice of dissent from conservative leadership, just a babble of vapid slogans and meaningless statistics.

    We have the greatest problem today with regulation, no matter how the approach can be shown to have failed the same solution is trundled out again and again – today’s worst current example is knife crime where people are honestly calling for knives to be banned!

    The next genuinely conservative government cannot come soon enough, one privatization that has been long overdue should be the BBC, an organization that nigh on engages in political indoctrination, in today’s streaming society we should ask the people what price they want to pay for that.

  22. Everhopeful
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    The mass sale of council houses was INCREDIBLY unfair.
    Some people scrimped and saved for their deposit and bought what they could afford.
    Others decided to rely on social housing..subsidised by the scrimpers and savers.
    Council house dwellers were offered their houses at huge discounts, sold up quickly and ( since the market had been thus stimulated) had massive deposits for the next house.
    Such things lead to family rifts and broken friendships.
    Very divisive…like the incredible benefits available to non workers today.
    Social engineering is a dangerous game!

    • Fred H
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      everhopeful of a fairy tale ending…..oops it didn’t happen.
      As often is the case the devil is in the detail. I speak with some experience.
      If council homes were only available to tenants who had say greater than 15 years occupation, and the discount would be fully repayable up to 5 years should a profit be gained on resale, then it might be reasonable. Also the revenue gained was not restricted to be spent on building better modern homes, which could address the need of older couples left with a 3 or 4 bedroom council home when the children grew up and fled the nest. Often these people cannot afford a deposit and a mortgage would not be possible – so there they are living in a larger house than was necessary. In recent times single tenants on benefits are sold their house/flat at silly valuations and clearly cannot find the money to buy. Yet somebody offers them money to buy and sell to them, family or business people! I even know of a case where a small house was sold to tenant of 3 years at 50% discount, and sold back to the council 5 years later at 100% profit……madness. Moral – these good ideas are fine in principle, but the detail is what matters to execute.

    • Fed up with the bull
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Everhopeful. I agree. My friend lived on benefits in her 3 bed council house for over 10 years. She finally met someone and decided to buy the house for a fraction of the market value. Unfortunately he died and so the house was mortgage free and she has sold it and moved into a flat with a nice £60k in the bank to spend. How is this fair? The taxpayer pays for the rent while she is on benefits and then she managed to purchase the house and make a tidy profit out of it. We are crying out for social housing for those that genuinely cannot afford their own houses. These houses should be left for them and not sold off. If you want your own house then buy one in the private sector. There should be a wage cut off clause. When you and your partner earn enough to get a mortgage on a house you should have to move and free up that council house for another low paid person.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      I agree it was INCREDIBLY unfair to all those not in the right place at the right time.

      Women who had lived on housing benefits their entire lives able to buy their 3-bed semi for very very small amounts, previously big homes given to them freely to house their children after the fathers just walked away from their responsibilities, or born whilst fathers were absent over a decade who suddenly reappear to help them to buy the house.

      How does rewarding bad behaviour not encourage more of it and thus a lot of the problems continue that we have now in heavily occupied social housing areas with generational poverty, poor achievement and poor local schools whose principles have a difficult job encouraging children to work at school rather than skive off.

      I have two children that would love a social house with low-cost rent/rate combo, they would spend a decade or more on the social housing register getting overtaken by newcomers who become homeless.

  23. Monza 71
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    And what a terrific legacy it was !

    Anyone much under the age of 60 will have little or no idea of the state of the Country when Margaret Thatcher entered Downing Street. Great Britain was no longer Great and United the Kingdon certainly wasn’t.

    Margaret Thatcher was the right person at the right time. The alternative course of action to the one she chose was to give up and accept that the Unions ran the Country, as Ted Heath discovered. Where would we be now had a lesser leader been elected ?

    I believe we are at risk of entering a new period of introspection.

    17.4m people, possibly many more now, had the confidence in our country to vote to leave the EU. Contrast them with the Civil Service, big business and Remainer politicians, in a majority across all parties in Parliament, who certainly don’t share our faith in our country’s ability to manage itself and be successful.

    You only have to look at the likely candidates to replace May to realise that they are all pygmies compared with the towering figure of Margaret Thatcher. There is sadly no Conservative member of Parliament with a chance of winning the forthcoming election that is capable of providing the leadership the Country so desperately needs.

    We desperately need someone capable of restoring confidence and strength, rebuild our depleted Royal Navy, reduce taxes, encourage home-ownership and with a knowledge of business sufficient to get the Country moving forward.

    We are led to understand that a majority of Conservative Associations favour Boris Johnson, despite his disastrous period at the Foreign Office.

    Nigel Farage would be a far better bet.

  24. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    When I left the UK to work abroad because prospects were so dire in 1975, great factories stood idle, many people were out of work, and a dismal feeling of utter glumness had fallen over the land.
    I returned home in 1981 to a place where optimism was beginning to bloom, although we were not totally out of the woods – In 1984 I came back after my final stint abroad, to a country that was totally blooming… Talk about a contrast to what labour gave us. For me Conservatism had shown it’s true worth, and I was part of the happier time – ThankYou JR for your part in that. It was a wonderful experience.
    It is not conservatism that has gone wrong, here and now, it was allowing socialist dogma to flourish and take over conservatism.

  25. bigneil
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    On the radio earlier the presenter said that there was a lower number of doctors per patient. This was clearly blamed on more doctors leaving than new ones coming. A text pointed out that ” nothing to do with mass immigration of freeloaders from anywhere then?” – AND – -why were we repeatedly told that Calais was full of desperate to get here doctors. His answer to the lower doc/patient ratio – typical BBC – -was “We turned them away”. The BBC should be made to stand on its own – not paid for by threats of jail for no license.

    • Ginty
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      The concept of a health service *free at the point of use* is OK so long as there is a*point of use*. As it is my family are paying an awful lot of money to be kept on never ending waiting lists.

      Can’t get a GP appointment, go to A&E, wait eight hours to be seen – end up on a consultant waiting list, six months, my Mum. We went private to discover she’d had a mini stroke. Now on yet another waiting list.

      The tax I’m paying could be sorting out darn good private health care.

      • Ginty
        Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        It is true. After tens of millions in immigration since 1997 the NHS should be well stocked with staff – after all, this was what mass immigration was sold to us as. A recruitment bonanza for the NHS.

        Well where are the doctors then ? And where are the ones WE paid to train ?

        • Mark B
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

          MASS IMMIGRATION is population replacement. All those doctors and nurses we trained went to work in the USA and Australia. More money, better lifestyle and possibly weather.

          We on the other hand have to steal other countries doctors and nurses.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      bigneil….growing population, AND the new Dr pay deal !! So Drs in their 50s retiring early on inflated pensions, plus more and more females doing 6 sessions instead of 10 per week. There you have it.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      I wonder how many doctors we are training now in our universities compared to decades ago : per capita? I wonder why their training costs aren’t tied into working in our national health service for an agreed period of time of they have to be bought out of their contracts by the private sector, we don’t just train pilots and officers without payout clauses.

  26. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Indeed so. We need more in the Tory party to promote freedoms of this kind and of individual rights. We have moved away dangerously under May’s leadership.

    It is much to be regretted that since the days described governments have actively promoted the sale of home businesses to foreign ownership, often the very ones freed from the state. This runs counter to popular capitalism. How can it be stopped and reversed?
    There is limited incentive other than wages and bonuses.

    And where do the profits and surplus cash go, overseas to the shareholders, worse if the owner is in effect a foreign government.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Lenin was absolutely right in “Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism”;(unrestricted) capitalism inevitably leads to monopolies,imperialism and colonialism (and wars due competition for markets).Particularly when industrial capitalism morphs into finance capitalism Just look at the behaviour of the USA.

      It’s great when you’re on the right side of it -Britain in 19th century;not so much when you slip over to the other side-postwar Britain.

  27. Original Richard
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The maxim that when you’re in a hole you should stop digging never applies to politicians and political parties.

  28. Kenneth
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    That Thatcher government reversed decades of decline, a fact that has been largely ignored by much of our media.

    We will need to do it all again soon to free up private enterprise in order to challenge the inefficiencies brought about by protectionism.

    Government needs to shrink to allow room for the economy to thrive.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Indeed but Thatcher did not go anywhere near far enough. She failed to cut the state back to size, failed to tackle the dire death causing NHS, failed to give people more choices in education and the likes. Worst of all she appointed the (failed maths O level) dope John Major as Chancellor, allowed him to take us into the ERM (against the sensible advice of her advisor Alan Walters & P Minford ) and worse of all let John Major become PM and bury the party.

      Now we have Theresa May doing the same thing in spades!

    • Steve
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink


      “Government needs to shrink to allow room for the economy to thrive.”

      You could go further and say that because government simply takes it’s orders from the EU, we should do away with the middlemen as it were – all 650 of them, and spend the money saved on something worthy.

  29. Andy
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    The trouble is that everyone is not an owner.

    They may have been in the beginning – but quite quickly most former employees flogged off their shares. And they did this for the simple reason that when you do not earn much money, £500 or £1000 or whatever, was a significant windfall which makes an immediate – but temporary – difference to life. You wanted it fast. These shares were sold and very quickly utilities became owned by big shareholders and many, if not most, are now controlled by foreign companies.

    Macmillan was right. You have sold off the family silver and only the very rich have anything to show for it.

    Indeed one of the big objections I now hear about the economy from Brexit voters is how the EU made us sell everything off to foreigners. They usually then go on to call the EU a socialist organisation. I do not like to point out to them that it was Brexiteers who sold it all off and that then EU has a centre right majority. Bless.

    You should have sold utilities to workers – made them cooperatives or John Lewis style partnerships. Instead they made the rich richer and nobody else benefited in the long term.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      There was a revolution in ownership.
      People owned their own homes.
      SThey held shares in previously nationalised industries.
      And they bought shares in companies they worked for.
      I was there.
      When you was a toddler.

  30. Alan Joyce
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    A brilliant article. I particularly liked the one about the lorry driver.

    Is there any chance you could bring your focus to the way in which our railways are run so they can provide a service that the public want as opposed to what Network Rail and the franchised rail companies are prepared to deliver? Perhaps beginning with the scrapping of HS2?

    Would you also turn your attention to the state monolith that is the BBC. I am sure the BBC’s top brass and its employees would jump at the chance to own a stake in a company free to compete against others and to be able to broadcast whatever they liked without having to rely on billions of pounds in annual handouts from the UK taxpayer.

  31. Dominic
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    And please refrain from using the term Capitalism. It is part of the Marxist lexicon and is used as a pejorative.

    I always use the phrase ‘free market’.

    Political animals like Marxist Labour carefully choose their words to trigger their supporters into action whether it be activists or their army of robotic, unthinking automaton voters

    There are issues that need to be discussed that provide evidence to expose Labour to confirm exactly what they’ve morphed into but their attempts to politicise important human and moral issues has afforded them considerable ammunition against their detractors

    I want the truth out in the open. That won’t open until we stop this cozy relationship with this most vile of oppositions

  32. Ginty
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Sadly we ended up with privatisations on steroids. Major nationalised firms privatised and then renationalised by foreign governments. Home grown businesses bought by foreign owners and then closed down here.

    Of housing. The Maastricht/Major/Tory destruction of our borders heralded a Blair government which brought us uncontrolled immigration and the resulting buy-to-let fetish meaning that an average paid worker (to be distinguished from a welfare recipient) is now absolutely strapped paying someone else for the roof over their heads.

    “Build lots more houses !” Yay !

    Concrete over our country – lots of new, sub-standard houses “for local people, of course” and ship lots of new people into unsuspecting areas but no extra services, particularly police unused to the new urban ways they will be having to deal with.

    Suffocate the high street, whack up some warehouse out of town supermarkets. Make everyone have to drive.

    That all went well then, didn’t it !

  33. Geoff not Hoon
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    So very long ago I was employed by the state owned National Freight Corporation. It was floated on the LSE and I made a modest gain on my shares. With that money I started a very modest version of the NFC and 30 plus years later employed 2300 people across 3 continents.
    I agree with everything you say Sir John but ask where is the NFC today? As you know im sure a part of German owned DHL. If everything the state sells or floats off is eventually bought by foreign owned companies, as the case with NFC and so many more, do we not become in real terms the poorer for it?

  34. ukretired123
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Margaret Thatcher was a giant among pygmies, remember “Don’t go wobbly on me now!” .
    She had short shrift for snowflakes regarded as wets between the ears like new YTS apprentices.
    She understood the aspirations of ordinary people because unlike many politicians she had worked in her father’s shop and followed his Methodism in true spirit.
    She stood up for freedom and helped destroy the Berlin Wall and myth of collective communism. Don’t forget Corbin invited her deadly IRA supporters into Westminster just 2 weeks after nearly assassinating half the government at Brighton and bombing war hero Airey Neave directly at Westminster. Unbelievable he is given the opportunity to decrease choice of he gets to power.

  35. Fred H
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    JR. ‘Our telephone system was modernised rapidly once out of state hands. ‘ Really?

    Ask anybody with memory, and then the telecomms providers whether ‘rapidly’ is a fair description. Access to the exchanges and roadside cabinets happened at snails pace, plus the interminable arguments between the monopoly and the newcomers left the customer on the disgraceful end of zero customer service.

  36. Fred H
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Could we have your view on what lead to the relaxation on mortgage terms given by Building Societies and the Banks moving into the market in such a big way. Without the access to the loans, home ownership would never have expanded the way it did.

  37. acorn
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    There are quite a few anomalies from the Thatcher era. For instance she reduced income tax but maintained government spending at circa 40% of GDP. Big Bang deregulation and privatisation of Spiv City; and, removing restrictions on Bank mortgage lending and Building Society borrowing from money markets; led to the 1989 Crash and the phrase “negative equity”. The latter reprised several fold in 2007 Crash.

    Thatcher was no fan of Local Councils and wanted everything they did franchised to the private sector from Downing Street, including an NHS internal market. She took business rates away from Councils and gave it to the Treasury. She imposed the socio-economic madness that was Right-to-Buy but got severely damaged below the water line with the Poll Tax.

    Then on 8 October 1990, Mrs Thatcher entered the pound into the ERM mechanism at DM 2.95. JR can tell you that story. The Conservative Party Eurosceptics split the party; Brexit has shown it has never recovered from that moment.

    Another anomaly, I think Mrs Thatcher still holds the record for the most number of Grammar schools closed as an Education Secretary.

    • rose
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      The grammar schools were shut by their Councils not by the Education Secretary.

      When there was a Conservative government there tended to be socialist local government.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 9, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      subprime wasn’t a Tory failure – as I remember it in the Tory years we could only borrow 3 times the man’s annual income and 1.5 times the woman. Brown and Blair adopted a policy from Clinton’s American dream for 100% mortgages and affordability policies rather than annual multiples. I knew people during those years before the Crash who I knew would default on mortgages that didn’t get properly income checked, I also know a couple of people that got very wealthy in a short period of time as unqualified mortgage advisors who helped people to get these subprime loans with bs’ like Northern Rock. So again, in my opinion, there may have been a Tory loosening of money regulations (I don’t remember that) but it was Brown who completely let go of the reins when he abolished ‘bust’.

      In America, Fannie and Freddie were created by Congress to keep capital flowing to the housing market. They did so by buying mortgages from lenders, packaging them into securities and guaranteeing investors will be paid even if the underlying mortgages go bad. The UK shortly followed the bust.

  38. William Long
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The reaction from MacMillan is a graphic illustration of the radicalism of Mrs Thatcher. Util she came to power there was very little difference between Labour and Conservative leading to great frustration and a feeling of ‘What is the point?@ when elections came along – very similar to what we have today. Perhaps Mr Corbyn is a little to the left of Mrs may but we have not heard anything about the highest minimum wages from Labour.
    Mrs Thatcher was the most incredible breath of fresh air. Aided by Messrs Howe and Lawson she revolutionised this country and it is ironic that the rot that entered the souls of the second two and caused the subsequent decline, came from their support of the EU.

  39. KZB
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately it has all gone badly wrong since.
    The days of the customer being king are long gone.
    Does anyone seriously believe we are treated better by the privatised railways, bus companies, energy companies, BT and the rest of them? We’re treated like dirt !

  40. Hugh Rose
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    In principle these were all good ideas but there were some problems. With telephones for example, the private companies have to make a profit – this means they had little interest in extending mobile coverage to all and fast broadband into rural districts which became even more isolated as a result. There was no compulsion to share masts and other infrastructure.

    The same short-comings were seen to some extent in all the privatised industries – it takes a very clever politician to ensure that the interests of the minorities and rural dwellers are safeguarded and catered for properly.

    Sadly the current BREXIT fiasco has demonstrated too clearly what low calibre politicians and civil servants have become responsible for our negotiations and solving the problems as they are identified or arise.

    In the private sector, incompetents do not last long – in the public sector and politics, it seems that many consider lofty statements of principle and desire are a proper substitute for honesty, competence and efficiency. They are most certainly not!

  41. BR
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Spot on, this is the small-c conservatism I voted for all my life.

    Labour-style give-aways keep people poor since that’s the only reason to vote Labour – improving their lives – or sometimes the prospect of improvement – is what makes people vote for conservatism.

    The Conservative Party has moved away from this since Major (and even in Heath times) to the point where May is losing the core vote by proposing that people who word and contribute have their property taxed, while others who have contribute less – or nothing -get (another) free pass.

    I supported you for leader when you ran last time. it’s a pity that you gave up. If at first you don’t succeed… (no, I don’t mean ‘Skydiving is not for you’).

  42. R. E. Pay
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Along with re-regulation of the City, the right to buy were among the greatest achievements in regenerating the UK. Thanks for your role!

  43. John P McDonald
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    All my working life was spent providing Telecommunications in the GPO ,Oil and Gas industries. I would not give all the credit to Mrs Thatcher for the march of technology but she did shake up attitudes and probably enabled it to progress a bit faster than it was moving without too much union interference/restrictions. Electromechanical exchanges where being replaced by electronic ones before Mrs T. Fibre optic cables where at the research stage in Mrs T time. The major change was that customers had more phones to choose from. Should you run a power station on gas at peak time when it is peak time for domestic gas users. Why have we a shortage of houses – no council houses ?? The Government is now helping people to buy houses without a full mortgage- Not sure Mrs T would have liked this idea. People seem to forget that the Government has no money of its own. Tax payers supply the money, or Government borrows it and leaves us to payback plus interest.
    Mrs Thatcher idea that the individual had an ownership stake in the nation’s assets and could make choices for themselves was in theory not bad, But who owns the assets now ?
    And are we really paying less for our Gas, Water, Electricity, and Transport?
    Telecommunications is a product of the electronic/computer age and will develop based on public demand for services and speed.
    Gas, Electricity, Water and Public Transport are much the same as they where in the 19th Century, but a little faster and better controlled as a result of the electronic age.
    Mrs Thatcher’s experiment has failed in the long term. The nation has lost it’s assets to foreign business and they are charging a high price for us to use the assets in our daily lives.

  44. Doug Powell
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink


    I have just received the EU Election Communication for the Conservative Party entitled “How to Show you want a Brexit Deal Delivered as soon as Possible!”

    It is recommended reading for students of politics with an academic interest in ‘Attempts to pull the Wool over the Electorate’s Eyes’, or someone who just wants a good laugh!

    It is so pathetic that I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to have been written by someone in a Conservative kindergarten! On page 2 lavish praise is heaped upon the PM, from which the unwary would believe that this ‘saviour’ of our nation is nothing short of a living Saint!

    SJR, I think you will find this pamphlet alienates more people than it wins over! No one will be fooled by it! I am sure the reaction of most people will be the same as mine – !What a load of bollocks!”

    What a load of bollocks!

    • Doug Powell
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Sorry about the repetition – unintended sloppy writing.

      I should like to add that this pamphlet is an insult to Brexit voters – We don’t care about a deal – certainly not a surrender – we just want OUT!

    • Ian McDougall
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      I to read this communication thinking what-….. I had read it again. Obviously it was written by the blinkered Mrs May, with its dig at Sir John and few others who realise her treaty with the EU is a surrender document that keeps us under its control.

      As someone on tonight’s documentary on the EU’s side said, we have got rid of them(the UK) they are our colony now.

  45. margaret howard
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink


    ” It was an exciting time. We wanted many more people to have a stake in the country, to own their own piece of land”

    So why is more than a third of land still in the hands of aristocrats and traditional landed gentry?

    Why do the 36,000 members of the CLA own about 50% of the rural land in England and Wales?

    And why was the Government in 2001 forced to admit that the Land Registry did not possess information about the total acreage of land in England and Wales, nor records as to the ownership of at least 35% of the two countries?

    Where in the modern world do such feudal countries still exist?

    • Edward2
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      So two thirds isn’t in the the hands of…
      36,000 is a lot of people.
      It isn’t feudal Margaret.
      You just hate the nation you live in and plainly prefer a extreme socialist nation to live in like N Korea or Venezuela.
      Is there a nation you would prefer to live in?

      • hefner
        Posted May 9, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        England & Wales: 151,149 km^2, 50% of rural E&W is roughly 72,000 km^2, so statistically 2 km^2 for each of these 36,000 people.
        And I don’t doubt that each of these people have got possession of this amount of ground only by meritocratic means …
        Or do I?

        • Edward2
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          Biggest landowners are not aristocrats
          1 Forestry Commission
          2 National Trust
          3 Ministry of Defence
          4 Crown Estates
          5 RSPB

  46. BillM
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    And we desperately need as Mrs T clone right now,

  47. outsider
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John, In the 1970s Tony Benn said Labour should aim for “an irreversible shift in wealth and power to working people and their families”. A great idea in my view but the Left soon replaced “and their families” with “and their representatives” which really means the opposite.
    Sale of council houses to established tenants achieved by far the greatest shift in wealth and independence to working people and their families of recent times (whatever Everhopeful’s criticisms) .

    Privatisation has improved performance in the majority of cases. But the shareholding democracy was ultimately a glorious failure. The idea of ordinary people becoming the direct permanent owners of the companies they bought from or worked for did not suit the investment banks. After the flotation, there was no money in it. So in many cases, even the indirect or theoretical connexion offered by state ownership has been lost.

    Thames Water was first taken over by a German power utility and is now owned by an intermediate holding company for foreign institutional investors and an Australian bank infrastructure fund. London Electricity is controlled by the French Government. Most of the local electricity wires in the South East are controlled by a Hong Kong billionaire and have no relation to customers.

    Even National Freight, which you rightly hail as an outstanding success story, lasted only 15 years and is now part of Deutsche Post. TSB, which raised no money for the Treasury and was “privatised” for purely ideological reasons, was not a great success.

    In most cases, privatisations made short-term windfall gains for ordinary people but led to no long-term relationship. Overall, I suspect that far fewer people have direct holdings in listed companies than 30-35 years ago. Which suits the City just fine.

  48. Lee Taylor
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I have tried to get across to socialists just how revolutionary this approach was. When it’s not your home, but belongs to a landlord (or the State in most cases). You don’t care about it the same way that you do when you own it. When you don’t have a stake in society you have less incentive to contribute. The policy adopted by Margaret Thatcher (thank you Sir John) was truly revolutionary. It changed society for the better and improved peoples lives immeasurably. Naturally the socialists hate it. Sadly the Conservative party came under the spell of the great deceiver Blair and have been trying to ape that shyster ever since.

    • Andy
      Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      How ridiculous to claim that those who disagree with you politically do not have a stake in society.

      We all have a stake in society. From the entitled landed gentry who dominate the Conservative party, to the struggling single parent of a disabled child. All of us.

  49. Steve
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Off topic

    So now we have Mrs May denying any responsibility and blaming parliament.

    And MP’s are to make our objections illegal because the poor diddums feel abused. Well what about them abusing democracy and electorate for the last two years ?

    Bloody hypocrites.

  50. Newmania
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Mr Corbyn has an equally fossilised set of beliefs , albeit with much less merit.
    The idea of “Popular capitalism” is really little more than a few free gifts and a slogan Right to Buy , on the other hand ,was great success and the denationalisation of failing state business remains a wonderful achievement .
    I wonder myself if one should accept the dualism of Capitalism and Socialism .The word capitalist was only invented in the mid 19th century and its central place in thinking is a direct tribute to Karl Marx. It seems to imply the State has no positive contribution to wealth but this is not the case. In developing countries improved roads health education and so on are a necessary precondition to markets creating growth.

    I like Ed Millibands ideas about pre-equality , focusing the State not on progressive taxes but on levelling the playing field through access to opportunity . These and much more are ideas a modern Conservatries might inspire with . Instead of which we get … stupid stupid Brexit… and a Conservative Party which is set against experts intellectuals even rational thought itself .

    • Ginty
      Posted May 9, 2019 at 1:58 am | Permalink

      Well. The largest part of the Conservative Party has us stuck in the EU, so I suppose you are right about them being irrational.

      • Ginty
        Posted May 9, 2019 at 2:01 am | Permalink

        I’d beware of anything claiming to cure ‘inequality’. Combined with the green movement we are seeing Communism introduced into this country.

        You’re certainly no Tory, Newmania.

        • Newmania
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

          Funnily enough having left the Conservative Party I have allowed my involvement in the Lib Dems to wither .
          I like the Liberals but as I said to “Peter” …” Sadly I find I am neither especially Liberal or much impressed with democracy so its really not a good fit “…..Much of wider family have wondered about whether it would be better to leave the Conservatives or try to change it form within it has depended on who the MP is ( My own is appalling )

          I think of myself as a Conservative in despair …if that makes any sense

          • Fred H
            Posted May 9, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

            Newmania….’a Conservative in despair’ – you have joined the possibly millions out there.

  51. Iain Gill
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    PM Thatcher above all else transferred significant amounts of power from unaccountable mandarins of the state to individuals, to make their own choices. That above all else should be the Conservative mantra moving forward, free the individuals up. In all parts of our life.

    We need to empower individuals, free speech, control of their own healthcare, schooling, housing subsidy, etc spend. “Power to the people” is a powerful battle cry.

    We need to tear away the layers and layers of unaccountable state mandarins taking so many decisions about our life.

  52. Chris S
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just been watching a BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Brexit negotiations seen from the EU side.

    Even I was shocked at the breathtaking arrogance displayed by Verhoftsadt and Co from day one. Everyone we saw in the film was contemptuous of the UK. It was obvious that they were never prepared to concede on any issue whatsoever.

    It confirmed what I thought from the moment the referendum was won :

    We never has any chance of getting any kind of deal worth having. We should have gone full throttle with No Deal preparations and waited for them to come to us and talk about their trade surplus with us.

    They couldn’t have believed their luck when May appointed a Remainer like Robbins to conduct the negotiations.

  53. Simon Coleman
    Posted May 8, 2019 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Popular capitalism (there’s no such thing in reality) just created new boom and bust cycles. It temporarily created more homeowners etc. The word is ‘temporarily’.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 9, 2019 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      Not temporary if you check the figures.
      More owner occupied homes today than in Lady Thatcher’s time

  54. Chiming
    Posted May 9, 2019 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    A Cambridge University college has removed a historic bell for Hate Ring
    Oxford was definitely the better choice for you JR

  • 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.

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