Tag Archive: Great Depression

Thatcher’s Recession, and Now?

How Bad was Thatcher’s Recession compared to the Current Economic Slump?

Q. Well, how would you find out, exactly?

Slump's Progress

Slump's Progress

A. Surprisingly easily.  This graph here compares historical economic slumps with the current one, on a month by month basis.  It’s taken from the “National Institute of Economic and Social Research” (NIESR) website here.  Notionally, it’s an academic institution, but on examining it’s staff and management you’ll see that it’s a collection of vested interest groups, supplying a “knowledge base”.

But There’s No Denying their Facts!

Rig IIThe current slump is in black and the fall seems to have plateaued out a bit.  It’s tracking something like the red line and the green line.  So what you see is the Green Line, which is Thatcher’s Slump, being nearly as bad as the depression in the 1930s (the red line)!

However, in Thatcher’s time, Britain was awash with North Sea oil wealth!  Coal mines were still producing horrendous quantities of fuel and North Sea Gas had been on-stream for years.

In short, the country was sound with it’s own supplies of energy, dependant on no-one.  And yet, it had the worst economic state since the great depression!

So much for Thatcher’s miracle!

The current labour government has not been blessed with such good fortune during the current slump.  Britain is now a huge energy importer and is vulnerable to the vagaries of the market in oil as we saw last year.

Where Did the Money Go in Thatcher’s Time?

Thatcher Explains All

Thatcher Explains All

The legacy of Thatcher’s time in office was leaking schools everywhere, a crumbling rail network, hived off bus services that redefined “service”, a crumbling road system, paid-for medical treatment…. an almost endless list!

  • So where did the money go?
  • Where did the strategic national energy reserves of oil, coal and gas go?
  • Where did Britain’s manufacturing industry go?
  • Well the energy was burnt to get money to pay people on the dole.
  • Britain’s manufacturing (and most of the Western world’s) went to China and would have happened anyway

That leaves the money.  Where did the money go?

A. Tax havens, that’s where.

Thatcher and all conservatives of that ilk whine on about making a country fit for the entrepreneurial spirit.  But their actions, both now and historically, for the most part, go soundly against that spirit. (I’m thinking particularly of Ashcroft here who may be entrepreneurial but whose contributions to UK PLC as opposed to Tory Ltd have been minimal…)

It’s in their name – conservative.

Their gut reaction is to hoard wealth, and if they can’t do it at home, they’ll do it abroad (like Shirley Porter).  Remember, the wealth of “The City” is not derived from the re-invested wealth of landowning Tories suddenly looking for a home for their money once local industries had gone.  It comes from abroad.  There’s no way they’d invest their own money in infrastructure or development.  Sheesh!

Their other modus operandi is to do as little as possible for the country while maintaining the status quo.  Hence, this is why all large companies and financial institutions are full of the same old people, having the same background and speaking the same language.  The banks and other institutions behind the economic collapse are headed by these people, who flit from government to the military, to law, ‘business’ and finance with impunity.  Anywhere that’ll keep them busy, keep them wealthy and keep them pulling strings.

True, many do ‘charitable’ activities and are on the controlling side of many charities.  But that’s purely dressage.  Being involved with charity does not make you a good person.  You just look good.  In a truly civilised society there should be no need whatsoever for charity.  It’s a definition of civilised, or being civil, in my book.

Worms from Woodwork

Now, with the piss-poor Labour government and their own side’s resurgence all the old tories are all coming out of the woodwork again.  The odious slimery is oozing forth like the dark stain from history that it is.  The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is one such place.

Thatcher-Cameron

Thatcher-Cameron

The CPS, created by… Thatcher!… in 1974, proclaims it’s freedom credentials from it’s lofty privileged position.  Among it’s luminaries is Thatcher’s advertiser (Saatchi) and the European gaffer of Goldmann Sachs, one of the companies internationally bailed out with public funds and one of those businesses at the forefront of the whole current economic mess!  Most of the rest seem to have had various Tory positions over the last two decades.  So much for independent think tank!  (By the way, the CPS is a pseudo-charity – a non-profit-making organisation which relies on the donations of individuals and companies to carry out its work!!)

Part of the CPS’s ‘current thinking’ is to roll back the surveillance culture that has developed under Labour.  Personally, I can’t see it happening…

The trouble is, as has just been revealed in a book supposedly derived from recently released archive material from MI5, (The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5), like all power-grabbers, Thatcher used MI5 for her own ends.  She used MI5 to discredit Red Robbo the Trades Union Leader and had tabs on Scargill.  Prime Minister Wilson even had the tabs on him and ordered tabs on others….  and so it goes. (see Book tells of MI5’s secret pastthe fact is that Margaret Thatcher demanded action from MI5 to deal with “wreckers” in British industry and yet it was herself that wrecked that same industry!.)

That’s why I see it as highly unlikely that Cameron, if the Tories get in, will roll back the shutters on our increasingly closeted and shuttered state apparatus.  He’s there purely to re-instate the old status quo….

  • To keep jobs for the boys
  • Re-exert the dominant power structures of the state and the wealthy, bolstering their unhealthy connections to their former pre-eminence
  • Say that all the new hospitals and schools which have replaced all the leaking and collapsing ones, would have happened anyway…
  • Say that the new fast rail links would have happened anyway without government sponsorship
  • Ensure that money stashed abroad by the wealthy remains unreachable by the state
  • Bring back smoking in pubs
  • Tax the poor to pay for the rich’s mistakes
  • Kill foxes ritually
  • Say that they’d have fixed the credit-crunch anyway..

All these and more will come under the banner of “freedom” and I’m quite sure that MI5 will be used to ensure they happen.  The media will naturally be roped in to lend a publicity hand to smooth the waters and ensure that the status quo has safe passage;  A media governed by;

  • a non-tax paying, non-resident Australian-American,
  • a non-resident Briton who prefers to pay French tax
  • and a brotherly twosome who threaten locals who don’t vote for “their man”.

Great?  Britain.

Thatcher’s Economic Legacy

  • Greed
  • Selfishness
  • The Channel Tunnel (economic disaster, multiple bankrupt)
  • M25, world’s biggest car park and fume cupboard
  • …er.  That’s it.

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A Military Way out of The Credit Crunch

Willie Sutton

Willie Sutton

Willie Sutton

In a curious parallel with the Great Depression when many millions lost their homes and money, I’m reminded about the phrase reputedly said by a USA bank robber of the time, and how it could equally well be applied to our current predicament….

When asked “Mr Sutton, why do you rob banks?”, he is supposed to have said;

…..because that’s where the money is.

More likely as a real attributed saying is this one, about his gun-toting while robbing banks;

You can’t rob a bank on charm and personality

Both quotes I’ll come to later…(SP)

Brown, Obama and the Western Dilemma about ‘Business as Usual’ (BAU)

The trouble with a return to the ‘BAU scenario is that all the old bad habits will return along with an even faster return to a fossil-carbon dominated society with all the climate problems in tow.  Today on the Number 10 website, toothless PM Brown of the UK is re-iterating his mantra of the past few months;

Banks must start lending again – PM

Of course, we own the banks and in reality there’s absolutely nothing to stop them.  The ideal solution out of the ‘lack of credit’ predicament has been passed over, unfortunately….

The best solution would have been to give every citizen of the UK, every man, woman and child, an equal share of the money that’s been used to bail out the corrupt and incompetent bankers.

  • Some people would have frittered it – just like the bankers!  But those people would stimulate the economy with their spending.  And the receivers of the cash all cash up, in banks!
  • Some would use it to pay off loans and mortgages – so the banks would get the money anyway and those people would have more to spend.
  • The parents of minors would have had to invest it in their name, in the banks… –  so the banks get the money again, ready to lend to businesses etc.

As I say, the point has passed, but it would have been a win-win situation, unlike now where we still have to pay, both in loans and in higher future taxes.  The only winners are the incompetent and crooked bankers and other money spivs.

Which brings me back to,

A Military Way out of The Credit Crunch

Because all of the missing money, the money that we’ve had to give to the banks to pay for their losses, it’s all had to have gone somewhere.  Like the Zimbabwe ladies in the news today or the wealthy Nigerians of my wife’s experience; like crooked Stanford and Madoff, the money has gone offshore.  To places like The Cayman’s, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Bermuda, Belize, Switzerland.

A much better, less bloodthirsty and legal use of our supposed military might in the West would be to retrieve all our stolen money (don’t forget the Enron billions, Lazards etc etc etc) and pay a nice visit to these offshore havens, packed to the gizzards with siphoned off tax and stolen drug money as well as the proceeds of the biggest frauds the world has ever seen.  As Willie Sutton said;

You can’t rob a bank on charm and personality

If Regan could manage Grenada I’m sure Obama and Brown have a mandate to pay a visit to some or preferably all of the above.  You know it makes sense and it’s the only sure way to inject some money into the system.

It’s certainly cheaper than alienating yet more Pakistanis pursuing the ghostly Taliban all over the world.

Conclusion

Of course, all the world’s leaders have probably got their stashes tied up in these places.  Berlesconi comes to mind…..   So I can’t see it happening although it’s an easy, do-able solution to the recent financial meltdown.

To re-quote Willie Sutton – why go and raid the Cayman Island banks and Lichtenstein etc?

because that’s where the money is!!!

And it’s OUR money!!!

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I Wonder What Alistair Cooke Would Have Made of it All?

Alistair Cooke, the journalist, writer and broadcaster, lived from 1908 to 2004.  For most of his life he lived in New York, and witnessed the great depression (and booms), almost countless changes in government and the causes and aftermath of WW2.  He was personal friends with many of the great and good of the century, both in the US and UK.  This vast knowledge helped him create the quaintly incisive, “Letter from America” which I’d listen to, lying in bed on a weekend morning.

I wonder what his comments on current affairs would be now?

I can imagine his purposeful meanderings through history, leading us to a killer comment or startling revelation on the current subjects of the moment – the election of a new president with the potential of a black man or female religious fanatic at the helm, the largest economic crisis for generations, a probable shift in the worldwide balance of power, two increasing stalemated foreign conflicts, an ineffectual presidency, and so on.

I would relish his comparisons between our current problems and events from the past.  Maybe he’d be right.  Even if he was wrong he was always thought provoking.

Letter from America

This is his last “Letter from America”.  Within a couple of days he’d announced his retirement and in only a few weeks he was dead and cremated, (although his bones had a scandalous extra adventure of their own).  Co-incidentally, it was on the lead up to G.W. Bush’s last election.  Oh if things had been different!

It’s not one of his best, but it was his last.

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