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Europe's Thatcher Clones Reap What She Sowed

Politics / European Union Apr 14, 2013 - 07:01 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


The European press and media has given massive attention to the death of Thatcher, her funeral arrangements and who pays for them, the outbreak of a lot less than respect for her memory in Britain, and the supposed "like her or loathe her" game-change that Thatcher's brand of liberal economic policies produced in Britan and Europe. This past week, you could often tell the political slant of a newspaper from its treatment of the issue, and even the choice of Thatcher's picture that editors made for their front page. UK paper ommitted to exalting Thatcher, like the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail carried pictures of Thatcher against a dark backdrop with what looked like a halo around her head.

France was relatively slow to crank up the for-and-against copy and content, but the French Hollande-supporting daily Liberation, owned by the Rothschild family gave a full front page to Thatcher's picture with the title 'La Grande Faucheuse' followed by the word play "de Sauveuse en Faucheuse". The Grim Reaper who tricked the Brits into thinking she was their Saviour.

To be sure and certain, Thatcher was never an ally of their 14-year president Francois Mitterand, despite his application of every Thatcher trick in the book, when it concerned de-industrializing and financializing the economy of France under his Parti Socialiste regime.

The so-called Iron Lady forced through the same set of economic and social policies as other Europeans did, a safe time after she cleared the way. The British public was sufficiently apathetic and divided, its middle classes were sufficiently egoist and greedy for "the bitter pill" to be pushed through with ramrod force. Today's downsized, de-industrialized British economy - vastly behind still-industrial Germany in economic output - is what the British voting public got. One rarely mentioned additional spinoff from the Thatcher years, in Britain, was that Scottish Nationalism became a major force simply because public opinion in Scotland was always violently opposed to Thatcher and all she stood for. When or if Scotland fully separates from England and breaks the Union, as is likely, this will be yet another "feat" or legacy of what many Scottish called the Bent Metal Lady.

Ironically, this brings us to the heart of the matter - the reason why Thatcher's "new service sector economy" could give apparent signs of being a success, and why Thatcher could, with joy, completely destroy the coal industry and its unionized labour. North Sea oil and gas, and its tax spinoff for the UK Exchequer enabled the ever-growing trade gap to be financed, and drove the GB pound to extreme "petromoney" highs, making the ever-growing imports cheaper. Coal was finished - on a highly provisional basis. The UK is now one of the largest coal-importers in Europe.

Thatcher's de facto social economic policy was to make the rich richer, and the poor porer, the cult of "creative inequality", envy, and greed. Called "deregulation and privatization" this started as crony capitalism, and got worse. By endlessly chanting the "amrket mantra", by instilling the idea of the all-powerful and disembodied market, Thatcher was far ahead of the ratpack in allowing the banks to do just exactly what their rogue traders wanted: play the casino tables all day, lose, and then whine and threaten to get government bailouts of taxpayers's funds. Cash from the Common People to feed the casino tables and one-armed bandits of the phony finance racket.

The unhealthy, to say the least, BBC disc jockey and "celebrity person" was lightning quick to sniff Thatcher as his Soul Sister for wreaking longterm mischief. Starting with his celebrated Open Love Letter to Thatcher of 1980, which was only finally made public 30 years later by application of the UK Freedom of information Act, Savile was a permanent fixture at every one of Thatcher's 11 official New Years Eve celebrations and was beknighted by Thatcher's chosen clone prime minister, John Major for his "wonderful services" to Britain. Germany's Der Spiegel commented from London this week that Thatcher was the U.K.’s “uber-mother figure,” who “reveled in her role as the island’s unbending dominatrix.” With Savile in tow, this had excitingly perverse and immoral meanings!

Germans, unlike the French who have used the event of Thatcher's death to examinine their own slide into Thatcher's World of Crazy-Nomics, a de-industrialization rout on the back of ever-growing income inequality, have taken a skeptical view. Die Zeit brushed her aside as "certainly no Feminist", but above all an eccentric revolutionary. Her pleasure in parroting "No, no, no" anytime she was in Brussels was for Germans especially tasteless when she extended the "No Mantra" to any idea of German reunification - only motivated by her petty English jealousy and fear of a bigger Germany.

The Irish Times with little surprise focused Thatcher’s role in Northern Ireland and the dark years of conflict and terrorism that preceded the peace process, which was impossible in her time in power, and only began only after Thatcher departed from power. Thatcher's supposed "Churchilian" stance on Northern Ireland and Irish reunification - No, No, No - resulted in her losing a close friend, Airey Neave to IRA terrorists in 1979. She herself narrowly escaped death at the hands of the IRA in the 1984 bombing of her Brighton hotel. This only hardened her virulent anti-Irish line, leading to Thatcher’s refusal to bend to public pressure when IRA prisoners starved themselves to death in hunger strikes in 1980 and 1981, making the IRA itself more intransigent and rejecting any “political alternative” to their campaign of violence. Thatcher prolonged the Ulster conflict for years.

The Irish Times wrote this week: “While it took too long for the republican movement to accept the logic of politics over paramilitarism there is no gainsaying that Mrs Thatcher’s obduracy over the hunger strikes –  – provided them with that political opportunity which they grasped so well". To be sure, only when she had quit power - thrown out by her own Conservative clones and favourites.

Spain's El Pais carried a report from its correspondent in Argentina. Reactions to the death of the woman who defeated the Argentines in the Falkands War of 1982 are with little surprise rarely of sadness or respect - and one key decision of Thatcher in the war still surfaces. El Pais discusses the sinking of the Argentinian ship the Belgrano, with the loss of 323 lives. Thatcher's decision to order the attack remains controversial today because the ship appeared to be sailing away from the Falklands at the time. “She killed a lot of innocent people,” the paper quotes Argentine radio journalist Victor Hugo Morales as saying. “That is why we are not going to shed a tear for that woman.”

We can be sure ex-Communist European media was broadly pro-Thatcher, as for example the comment of a former Italian leftist intellectual published by La Stampa.  Gianni Rotta, now a columnist for La Stampa noted his personal recollection of a visit she made to Italy after leaving power, to launch the translation of her memoirs, of which he was the translator. Later, she thanked him and said: "It is very nice to talk about liberty here in Italy with you, because as soon as you have freed your economy from bureaucracy and subsidies no one in Europe will know how to compete with your talent.” The Italian economy and state finances since Berlusconi, who loudly proclaimed how Thatcher "inspired", show the real meaning of Thatcher was saying in the early 1990s. After the subsidies - crony capitalism, the casino economy, and runaway meltdown of public finances.

Some non-British persons affect surprise that huge crowds in the UK are celebrating Thatcher's death with open pleasure. Hated persons, when they die, excite that reaction.

By a fatal progression of events, the anarchic rout of deregulation, privatization, de-industrialization and wealth inequality, social envy, and crowd violence that Thatcher decided or her policies sparked, have since 2008 created Britain's sombre prospect of No Future. To a large extent this was "not her fault", she had to deal with the 1979 emergency situation, in the UK produced by the apparatchiks of the English Labour Party. This economic management was at least as bad as anything Thatcher could throw at the UK economy, which was a lot.

Her policies swept away the sometimes-Fabian paternalist aspects of the Labour Party philosophy which by the late 1970s was in any case clinically dead. Thathcer simply reverse-videoed the British economic and social mess - and with no surprise the result was another mess. Admitting this today is a difficult process for the Brits, but their Street Celebrations of Thatcher's death are we can hope a part of the healing process

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

Andrew McKillop Archive

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


15 Apr 13, 14:47
Managed socialism and social justice are not the solution

I write this piece in response to the articles written by Mr McKillop. While I have the utmost respect for Mr McKillops views for the world and the energy articles he is

writing I just have to say that I disagree with his socio-economic views. I use the term socio-economic instead of simply economic views because his theory is as much

social as economic (he gets out from the realm of economics).

Today's society can be divided into 3 categories - the superrich+people in high government positions that can influence the state, the productive class that actually produce stuff and the consumer class that consumes what the others produce. According to McKillop free markets and/or "liberal economic policies" only enrich the superrich while the other two classes - productive class and consumer class get crused. The sad truth is that the current system enriches the superrich (this is how they got there) and keep the consumer class afloat.

McKillop makes a confusion between free markets and the socialist system he and me are currently living in. What we have now in Europe is in no way a free market as the barriers for a company to entry in the market are sky high, markets are heavily regulated, work relationships are heavily regulated. More than that, the goverments control a big chunk of the aspects of the citizens life starting with the education.

There are some parts of the "free market" that clearly are not working properly and they are the salary / price corrections. In the world we live in (EU) salaries never decrease. In Romania where I live, by law you can not simply decrease the salary of an individual (I own several companies so I know what I am talking) and you need to do a lot of paperwork, because the government thinks that you want to punish the employee if you decrease the salary. Inflation takes care of the increase part even if the productivity remains the same... Ohh, and you can not fire someone if you do not like his face or attitude, he has rights!!! Consequently a lot of businesses get relocated to Asia where wages are lower and you can actually can fire someone, or if you do not like what is happening you can basically leave and not feel sorry. The most perverse effect of this is that a lot of the workforce gets priced out from the market and those people end into the consumer class.

We live in a fast evolving world where things are changing pretty fast - for example 3 years ago tablets did not exist, now everyone has one, but according to the government the jobs are for life!!!! Same job, doing the same thing over and over for 40 years with an ever increasing salary! Isn't this madness? In the current world most of the jobs are going to be obsolete in 10 years and the skills of those people are no longer needed. But hey, no problem, now the socialists came and gave the magic solution: social justice!!

Social justice mean that the rich that make obscene money by doing nothing productive should pay for exploiting the poor. But who are those rich and who are the poor? This idea sounds so 1890... Are the ones that should pay the superrich class? Or are they the productive class? Just take a wild guess... Always the person giving the solution never pays with his money, or he is not directly involved with the free markets to be hurt by his decision. And this is how the productive people get crushed and this is why now we are where we are.

I do live in the real world and I realize that the "free markets" do not exist, they are just another construct at the other end of the spectrum than socialism, but the practice show us that the systems that get closer to these principles are the ones that generate the most wealth for their members. Do some of the people suffer? Yes they do, but in theory they have the chances to success if they acquire the skills that the market needs. So if we let the markets free who will benefit and who will loose? Well, here the answer is simple: the superrich people will benefit most, then the productive class will benefit and last the consumer class will be crushed. With one small addendum: the consumer class will be greatly reduced because liberal economic policies actually create jobs. They create jobs because the government policies will not destroy them in the first place.

Social justice, as far as I am concerned, it is the alliance between the superrich and the consumer class at the expense of the productive class. We got at a stage in the human development where approximately 30% of the workforce (identified in this article as the productive class) can provide for the entire humanity. And here comes democracy that says that the vote is universal and that the voice of each of the 70% consuming class is equal with the voice of the 30% productive class. Everything of course managed by the superrich + people in the high government positions. I think we all know how this will end...

To conclude: managed socialism and social justice are not the solution solution to our problems, in fact they are the causes of them. The solution is liberal economic policies and replacement of democracy with another system that treat people based on their importance to the economic system.

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