Over the past week or so I have listened respectfully without making comment about the death of a certain neoliberal. I have restricted my criticisms of Margaret Thatcher to her actions, her beliefs, her opinions, her motivations and her existence.
But I shall not hold my tongue any more.
One of the excuses for Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberalism that I am sick of hearing is that she came into a mess in the UK.
Well that is a lie.
I remember the “Winter of Discontent” as it was ironically known at the time, as a lovely period of the UK’s history. As a fresh-faced expert of tax ethics I have fond memories of a low tax gap, morally high rates of tax and the workers enjoying appropriate levels of perquisites (regular long weekends, extended holidays from work, that sort of thing).
I also remember workers being looked after. So well looked after, in fact, that the number of funerals in industrial areas like Manchester and Liverpool would drop off for weeks on end and the gravediggers would have no work to do.
But what they did, they must have done well because they were rewarded with a healthy pay rise.
Ok, Denis Healey had been tricked by a Treasury official into asking the IMF for a bit of cash, but this was not down to any real problem whatsoever.
Then Margaret Thatcher fooled the electorate into thinking she was a socialist like them and they accidentally voted her in.
As young and inexperienced as I was then, I remember saying to a colleague “Mark my words, in 29 years time this woman will cause a global financial crisis. When are us men going to get the chance to be Prime Minister or get to go on Newsnight?”
I had hoped that the electorate would get rid of her but our unrepresentative electoral system meant that the people were unable to unelect her. And then when the neoliberals of her own party out-neoliberaled her at her own game, the electorate still couldn’t unelect her because she wasn’t up for unelection.
Finally, the fascist sleeper agent Tony Blair succeeded in gaining control over the Labour party and there was a staged hand over.
Blair, of course, successfully discredited leftwing politics. The rest is history
And now, the neoliberal agenda makes Thatcher seem like she was actually some sort of human being, in particular the overtly rightwing BBC which just panders to the government of the day. History has been rewritten.
Even poor deluded Denis Healey has been duped into thinking that times were bad before Thatcher destroyed the country:
In those days the unions had far too much influence. They could really veto anything they didn’t like. And that time has gone.”
It has gone and that is a shame.