Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thatcher and the triumph of finance capitalism

Now that the Thatcher funeral / Tory PR stunt is behind us, it would be wonderful if we could just bury that nasty woman's memory and move on.   But we cannot because there was a good reason why the British robber classes wanted to have a final celebration in her honor.  Thatcher represented a major shift in the thinking of what capitalism was all about.  She not only was the sworn enemy of whatever she believed to be "socialism," she was a "post-industrialist" who was willing to destroy industrialization itself.  And because GB was home to the industrial revolution, the shift from the strategies of industrial capitalism to the sheer goofiness and criminality of finance capitalism was a very big deal indeed.

Like all successful "revolutions," Thatcher was mostly kicking in a very rotten door.  By 1979, British industry was mostly uncompetitive in damn near every field of endeavor—from bicycles to aircraft, from steel to ship-building, and from automobiles to electronics.  It couldn't compete on the low end because of labor costs and it couldn't compete on the high end because British industrial organization was nowhere nearly as sophisticated as Germany's, Japan's, or USA's.

So someone made a decision to throw industry over the side and concentrate the economy on the financial shenanigans of The City.  The question is, WHO?  In the attached article, there is a long list of deregulations, privatizations, and other measures that paved the way between industrialized Britian and the new global model for Finance Capitalism.  The idea that Thatcher dreamed all this up beggars belief.  So even though I don't know if all these crackpot ideas came from her favorite advisor who is identified here as Victor Rothschild, it makes a lot more sense than the notion that Thatcher dreamed them up herself.

The British de-industrialization of the 1980s was followed by the de-industialization of the Russia after the breakup of the USSR and the dissolution of the Warsaw pact in the 1990s.  The fact that these two nations stuck to almost identical plot-lines suggests that both de-industrialization schemes were hatched by the same minds.

So now we have a Britain whose economy is totally and absolutely reliant on financial maneuver.  This is proving to be a VERY bad choice as replicating financial centers is proving to be a great deal easier that replicating industry.  And so as every little drinkwater country opens a financial center, London can only maintain its competitive advantage by resorting to ever more brazen acts of criminal behavior.  Yet, there will be no crackdown on the crimes of The City because if Britain had to compete legally anymore, she could not.

And so today, the Church of England and the British establishment tried to pray this truly evil human being into heaven.  The money quote:
Conservative MPs have showered praise on the bishop of LondonRichard Chartres, for "a terrific address" that humanised Lady Thatcher and challenged the perennial claim that she believed there was no such thing as society.

Some Conservatives said his address, focusing on her faith and personal kindness, would do more to strengthen her political legacy than many of the more divisive, political eulogies delivered in the past week by her former colleagues. more
And there are those who wonder what the clergy do to earn their pay.  Defending a woman associated with an historic shift that has turned into a never-ending series of disasters for Britain and the planet is harder than it looks.

Margaret Thatcher, and the man in the shadows

Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist.  April 16, 2013

Eyebrows have been raised around the world to see Brits in their thousands dancing through the night in spontaneous street parties following the death of 1980s Prime Minister 'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher.

As the nickname suggests, she had a fearsome reputation round the world for hitting hard for Britain, but at home it was a different story. In the industrial North most knew several families who lost their livelihood on her watch. Londoners saw ominous shifting sands, homeless youngsters begging on the streets whom her regime had turned it's back on.

The taboo not a single commentator has broached though is the shadowy 'advisory' role played throughout her premiership by European banking fraternity's Labour peer Lord Victor Rothschild. He was revealed in the book the Thatcher government tried to suppress, Peter Wright's Spycatcher, to be behind London's top secret service appointments. In 1986 Rothschild penned 'Paying for Local Government' the policy paper that led to the notorious Poll Tax that fell hardest on the poorest, and which brought Britons onto the streets of London in their hundreds of thousands in 1990, riots echoing London's Poll Tax revolt of 1381.

And according to the then BBC Chairman Marmaduke Hussey, Lord Victor also initiated the sacking in 1987 of the last independent-minded Director General of the BBC, a castration from which the corporation never quite recovered.

One word captures the essence of the Thatcher legacy; 'privatisation'. As an exasperated former Tory Prime Minster Harold Macmillan put it "she's selling off the family silver!". And so tens of mind-boggling billions of pounds of silver were auctioned off to the highest bidders, mostly to Rothschild's kith and kin. From shipyards and public housing to telephones, steel, oil, gas and water, anyone in the world was free to own the infrastructure and manufacturing heart of Britain that was once collectively 'ours'.

Was this to pay the USA Lend-Lease second world war debts? To repay Britain's humiliating 1976 IMF loan? Or simply to fill the hole left in the national accounts after Thatcher dropped income tax on Britain's richest by more than half from 83% to 40%? Or was it just daylight robbery? When she refused to join the EMU, the forerunner to the vice-like Euro, she was promptly knifed in the back by those who sing her praises today.

Since Thatcher, City institutions have bought up much of our politics and mass media, leaving a post-industrial wasteland 'museum' of a nation where the Joseph Rowntree Foundation recently estimated six-and-a-half million British adults are being cruelly blamed, punished and made destitute for 'not wanting' full-time jobs, that don't exist.

Today the cracks that Margaret and Victor's turbo-charged crowbar opened up have become a chasm which is reawakening this nation's anger at injustice. The £10 million of taxpayers money being spent on Lady Thatcher's state funeral, by the millionaires for the millionaires, is rubbing salt in the wounds. Hundreds of thousands of Britons who know right from wrong will turn away and raise a solemn glass to the damnation of Margaret Thatcher and her 'rehabilitation of greed' this week, demanding better. The sleeping giant of the British public is rousing from its slumber.

As millionaire Prime Minister David Cameron reads the Christian eulogy at Lady Thatcher's lavish funeral, those of Britain's ruling class who still have something resembling a conscience will do well to heed them.

Britain's first woman Prime Minister - the Margaret Thatcher timeline
  • 1925 October 13 - Margaret Thatcher is born in the market town of Grantham, Lincolnshire
  • 1947 - Thatcher graduates from Oxford with a Chemistry degree
  • 1954 June 1 - Qualifies as a lawyer
  • 1970 - Enters the Cabinet as Education Secretary
  • 1975 February 11 - Elected Conservative Party leader, beating Edward Heath.
  • 1975-9 - Leader of the Opposition
  • 1979 May 4 - The Conservative Party wins the general election, Thatcher succeeds James Callaghan as PM
  • 1979 December 13 - Abolition of Exchange Controls
  • 1980 - Buses deregulated and bus routes privatised
  • 1980 - British Aerospace partly privatised
  • 1980 - April - Local Government stopped from building council homes and tenants given the right to buy
  • 1981 - March Prisoners at Northern Ireland's Maze Prison go on hunger strike to regain status as political prisoners
  • 1981 - April-July Urban rioting in Brixton in London, Toxteth in Liverpool and St. Pauls in Bristol.
  • 1982 - January Unemployment tops 3 million
  • 1982 - April-June Falklands War
  • 1983 - Associated British Ports (ABP) privatised
  • 1983 - British Shipbuilding privatised
  • 1983 June 9 - Second term as PM begins; the Conservatives secure a landslide election victory
  • 1984-5 - Miners strike, amid the closure and privatisation of coal mines
  • 1984 - British Leyland car manufacturers privatised
  • 1984 October 12 - Narrowly escapes death after the IRA bombs the Conservative party conference in Brighton, killing 5
  • 1984 November - British Telecom (BT) the old Post Office Telecommunications is privatised
  • 1985 - Attempted suppression of former MI5 officer Peter Wright's autobiography 'Spycatcher' which is then published in Australia & Scotland.
  • 1985 June 1 - Battle Of The Beanfield, Britain's traveller peace convoy destroyed near Stonehenge, Wiltshire by violent police action as recorded in the 'Operation Solstice' documentary
  • 1986 - January Wapping dispute as Rupert Murdoch embraces electronic publishing and breaks the power of print unions, depicted in the documentary 'Despite The Sun'
  • 1986 - British Airports Authority (BAA) privatised
  • 1986 - March Abolition of Ken Livingstone's opposition Labour controlled Greater London Council or GLC
  • 1986 October 27 - Big Bang deregulation of the City of London financial sector which many believe contributed to the 2008 financial crisis
  • 1986 December - British Gas privatised
  • 1987 January - After several TV and radio programmes critical of the Thatcher government Victor Rothschild & Marmaduke Hussey sack BBC Director General Alasdair Milne
  • 1987 February - British Airways privatised
  • 1987 - Majority share in British Petroleum (BP) privatised
  • 1987 - Rolls Royce aero engines privatised
  • 1987 June 11 - Wins third term as Prime Minister
  • 1988 - British Steel privatised
  • 1989 - British Aerospace fully privatised
  • 1989 - Water Boards privatised
  • 1990 - The Electricity Act began the complex privatisation of electricity (except nuclear)
  • 1990 March 31 - Poll tax riots culminate in a 200,000 strong march on central London, as portrayed in The Battle Of Trafalgar documentary
  • 1990 October 30 - Thatcher No!, No!, No! speech in Commons makes it clear she is set against European Monetary and Political Union
  • 1990 November 13 - Geoffrey Howe resigns in protest at Thatcher's refusal to agree a timetable for European Monetary Union
  • 1990 November 14 - Former cabinet minister Michael Heseltine challenges Margaret Thatcher for the party leadership
  • 1990 November 28 - Thatcher resigns, despite having won the first ballot. She is succeeded by John Major
  • 1992 - Thatcher leaves the House of Commons, joins the Lords as Baroness Thatcher
  • 1994 - Praises Tony Blair and New Labour as her proudest achievement
  • 2013 April 8 - Lady Thatcher dies in The Ritz hotel owned by Daily Telegraph proprietors the Barclay twins. More

Thatcher’s funeral ‘political stunt’ aimed at bolstering Tory party

April 17, 2013

The expensive funeral of former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, is not a burial of an individual, but a political stunt “to cover up” her “ill policies” and “bolster” the Tories, Charlie Kimber from Socialist Workers Party, told RT.

Security has been on high alert in London on Wednesday where the funeral of Margaret Thatcher took place. Britain's first and only female Prime Minister died last week at the age of 87, following a stroke.

The national secretary of the UK’s Socialist Workers Party, Charlie Kimber, believes Thatcher doesn’t deserve such honors, with the grand ceremony reminding him of a feast in time of plague.

RT: With Margaret Thatcher put to rest, what can you say about the political legacy she left for Britain and the whole world?

Charlie Kimber: Well, I think we’re seeing a turbo-charged version of Thatcher’s policies at the moment. And, in fact, the present conservative government under David Cameron is going much further that even Thatcher dared.

But we should recognize that what Thatcher represented was a big step backwards in British society. It meant an assault upon the conditions that working people in Britain have won since World War II. It represented friendship towards dictatorship and oppression across the world. We remember that she called Nelson Mandela of the African National Congress, for example, a terrorist. She was great friend of Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator. She was a good friend of Ronald Reagan, one of the most right-wing US leaders. And she represented a big step backwards, which we still haven’t recovered from.

Her foreign policies ramped up a vast increase in the nuclear arsenals of the West. They were prepared to use force together in the Falklands where a war was fought with over 900 deaths, both Argentinean and British. Not for any decent reason, but a war that was fought to save Thatcher’s face and to bolster British imperialism. And we should recognize that she was a warmonger, who found a blood brother in Ronald Reagan.

Protesters holding placards demonstrate against Thatcher in the streets during the ceremonial funeral of British former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in St Paul's Cathedral in central London on April 17, 2013.(AFP Photo / Justin Tallis)

RT: Thatcher’s funeral cost around £10 million. Do you think such cost was warranted taking the difficult economic situation in the UK into account?

CK:  I think it’s quite significant that in Britain itself and internationally there’s a growing sense that what this funeral was about was a political stunt. It wasn’t about a burial of an individual. It was a political stunt orchestrated in order to cover up the reality of what her policies meant and to canonize Thatcherism – the idea that working people must pay for the crisis that presently is engulfing the world. We remember her attack on the miners.

This is an orchestrated political event. £10 million spent on it at a time when the British people are being told that they must cut back on vital welfare services and must accept job losses; they must accept cuts. Disabled people are being told that they are no longer entitled to the benefits they formerly received. And instead money is lavished not on the funeral of an individual, but on a political event, which is designed to bolster the conservative party under David Cameron and that tradition, which, regrettably, Tony Blair and New Labor continued as well, of putting the market first in everything and peoples interests right at the back of the queue.

RT: All the comments you make about Thatcher are negative. Is there’s really nothing positive you can say about her reign?

CK:  I’m afraid you won’t find me saying positive things about Margaret Thatcher. What I will remember, I suppose, is the comradeship and the fellowship of those, who resisted Margaret Thatcher from when she came into from 1979 to when she was driven out in 1990. And I remember very well the Poll Tax rebellion, which saw 14 million people refuse to pay the tax that Thatcher had introduced, the riots in central London. And this was what brought Thatcher down. And what I’ll remember is that those of us, who fought against her and ultimately defeated Thatcher, and I hope we’ll be able to do the same thing to the present crop of Tories and the policies they represent. more

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