Quick question: if corporations are “people”, and entitled to all the privileges of being people, then why don’t they pay tax at the same rate as the rest of us?
Something Wonky, a podcast.
Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.
Agreed. Everyone should be able to pay tax at the lower corporate rate.
Because lots of people pay different tax rates?
Shabs, I don’t think we pay enough tax to fund decent public services now. It shouldn’t be reduced – but the corporations that want equal rights should have to pay the same progressive tax rates we pay now.
Wilful – what do you mean? Who gets to pay different tax rates to someone else? I thought the tax scale applied to everyone.
Under tax law corporations are entities. Individuals are also entities. Superannuation funds are entities, but they get taxed at a much lower rate than companies.
The ultimate goal is to tax individuals, who lie behind the entities. Taxing corporations is an interim step, a withholding if you like. When a company distributes its profits, the benefit of the tax paid by the corporation on those profits is passed on to the recipient.
In setting the company tax rate the government balances the need to promote economic activity and to attract foreign capital with the need to raise revenue.
The art of taxation has been described as extracting the feathers from the goose with the least amount of hissing. Ultimately if too many feathers are extracted the goose stops laying its golden eggs.
The really interesting question is what sort of pervert sits around dreaming of ways to increase taxes?
Someone who sees the inequities of inadequately funded (or indefensibly nonexistent) public services on a daily basis, perhaps?
As for corporations as “entities” separate from people, that’d be fine – if they didn’t then want the privileges. But they want it both ways. I don’t see why we flesh and blood people should give it to them.
What privileges? Do you think that society would be better off without companies?
It’d be better off if corporate influence over government was reduced. We’re not quite at the US level – where they’ve now got free reign to control elections – but as soon as you’ve got companies that are “too big to (be allowed to) fail” you’ve got a problem.
Because they employ the rest of us and if they had to pay 48 cents in the dollar they would employ Indians in India instead?
Company tax rate is around 30% which on the current income rates for people is around 8% less than what I pay.
“Because they employ the rest of us and if they had to pay 48 cents in the dollar they would employ Indians in India instead?”
They do that anyway.
So – your approach to corporate regulation or taxation is BETTER GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT OR THEY’LL ABANDON US!111!
Glad you’re not negotiating on behalf of the rest of us.
I thought you said you were unemployed and on a disability pension Leo?
Free reign to control elections? Was Obama the corporate candidate?
Both US major parties are the corporate candidates. They slightly prefer the republicans, but they don’t mind the dems. Anyone seriously advocating actual change would be ruled out in the primary process, and their broken electoral system means that you can’t effectively vote for anyone but the two corporate parties.
Also, corporate influence has just been let off the leash with the recent Supreme Court decision about the corporations’ right to “free speech”.
In the early 70s the UK was every leftist’s wet dream. Taxes of up to 98% and a powerful trade union movement. It was also referred to as the “sick man of Europe”. That was until Thatcher rescued it and restored economic prosperity.
The more you spread wealth around, the less of it there is to go around. Fortunately Treasury, who designs the tax system, understands this even if you don’t.
Companies are merely a form of collective investment. The accumulation of capital by a company is a good thing.
As to a company being “too big to fail”, this is a stupid concept. I agree with you on this. If a company fails, its businesses will be sold off and continue under new ownership. If they need restructuring, the new owner will do this, or meet the same fate as the old owner.
Rescuing GM and continuing it as a welfare organisation for its workers is contemptible, given that a large part of its problems arose from the burden placed on it by avaricious unions.
Providing temporary finance is one thing. Forcing the public to rescue AIG, one of the Democrat’s biggest supporters, is the sort of corrupt cronyism one expects from Obama and his incompetent stooge, Geitner.
AIG should have been allowed to fail. It’s successful businesses would have been sold off and carried on by someone else. Shareholders and counterparties to its swaps would have to bear the losses that came home on their risky investments, and massive bonuses would not have been paid out. Precisely because this has not happened, the nature of corporate risk-taking has been changed in favour of even more risk. This is utterly insane.
“That was until Thatcher rescued it and restored economic prosperity.”
She ran an economy for the sake of the economy, she presided over 10% unemployment and it was quite shit for the working person, fact is the rich got richer even quicker under Thatcher, the rest of us……..
From Wiki (an article on Thatcherism):
“While credited with reviving Britain’s economy, Mrs. Thatcher also was blamed for spurring a doubling in the poverty rate. Britain’s childhood-poverty rate in 1997 was the highest in Europe”
That’s pretty much how I remembered it. Shit times!
Not surprised RobJ. In 1997 Tony Blair was PM. Thatcher quit in 1990. Wikipedia also notes:
Blair was elected in 1997. Population level declines in rates of poverty don’t just happen over night or even in one year but over a sustained period. RobJ is absolutely right to ping that on Thatcher and the Tories.
“Not surprised RobJ. In 1997 Tony Blair was PM. Thatcher quit in 1990. Wikipedia also notes”
LOL Yeah, she set the poor on a downward spiral.
Are you really claiming that Thatchers policies had no impact immediately after she was deposed? really, truly?
SB – There is no doubt that the UK was shit under the Callaghan but what that doesn’t make Thatchers Govt good
“During her government Britain’s Gini coefficient reflected this growing inequality, going from 0.25 in 1979 to 0.34 in 1990.“
They looked great on paper SB (the Thatcher Regime) , you know with their low inflation, I can assure you that in real life it was quite shit!
The fact is that Labour and the unions totally ruined the UK. If had kept on that path it would have been the dead man of Europe, rather than merely sick. This is why most Britons saw her as having been good for the country when she left office in 1990, and why she is regarded as the greatest PM.
In the end people like a balance. Every Labor government leaves the country with more debt than when it gained power. The voters then install the Coalition to restore economic rectitude. When they feel this has been done, They elect Labor to improve welfare.
No doubt there are some here who would like a return of the excesses of the Whitlamite spending spree. Certainly Kevin is trying his best, and if he succeeds he may well be a one-term wonder.
SB: what on earth do your rants about UK politics have to do with company tax in Australia? Aside from being hysterically innaccurrate that is?
“This is why most Britons saw her as having been good for the country when she left office in 1990, and why she is regarded as the greatest PM.”
You’re aware that the UK doesn’t have compulsory voting? I say your speaking shit, the VAST majority of Britons are working class. Show me the polling that says most Britons thought Thatcher was good for the country? Maybe you’re getting your info from the British press of which there are a total of two left of centre national newspapers.
“and why she is regarded as the greatest PM”
What happened to Churchill, Attlee and MacMillan?
“The voters then install the Coalition to restore economic rectitude.”
WTF – coalition? wrong country SB!
“No doubt there are some here who would like a return of the excesses of the Whitlamite spending spree.”
Mate – you’re ranting, I was talking about the UK, you’re getting confused, unless of course you’re responding to someone else????
Anyway, according to the BBC:
The results in full
1. Winston Churchill (Con)
2. David Lloyd George (Lib)
3. Clement Attlee (Lab)
4. Herbert Asquith (Lib)
5. Margaret Thatcher (Con)
6. Harold Macmillan (Con)
7. Marquess of Salisbury (Con)
8. Stanley Baldwin (Con)
9. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Lib)
10. Harold Wilson (Lab)
11. Edward Heath (Con)
12. James Callaghan (Lab)
13. Andrew Bonar Law (Con)
14. Ramsey MacDonald (Lab)
15. Sir Alec Douglas-Home (Con)
16. Arthur Balfour (Con)
17. John Major (Con)
18. Neville Chamberlain (Con)
19. Sir Anthony Eden (Con)
Bugger me, James Callaghan made number 12..
Oh Yeah, Michael Foot – RIP!
“This is why most Britons saw her as having been good for the country when she left office in 1990”
Heh – We were calling for her head – can you say Poll Tax? I don’t know where you get your info from, Bolt maybe?
“Shabs, I don’t think we pay enough tax to fund decent public services now. ”
Well, if we operated on a hierachy of needs, we could divert some existing tax funds from the niceties to the essentials. How much goes towards sports, subsidies to corporations, the ABC, the arts etc? Would you be willing to trade the ABC for mental health services? Sports for education? I anticipate that people will want to say that we need them all, but then you get shortfalls in those which really count. Governments should fund those things that individuals and private entities can not do, do that well, and if there’s anything left over, then allocate that to “culture” or “entertainment”. Every time government gets involved in any area of life in Australia, a bureaucracy is needed to administer it, which chews up funds even before it can achieve anything.
If you find youself in a position with a need and not enough funds to fund the need, you can increase your income or decrease your expenditure. Why is decreasing expenditure on niceties always discounted here?
BTW – I think the highest tax rate should be the current corporate rate as well. It would stop a lot of the “structuring” undertaken by highly paid accountants in order to minimise individuals tax.
RobJ, I thought you would be able to recognise the same Wikipedia article you quoted from above. Oh dear.
Also, I apologise for confusing you by referring to two countries in the same comment. I thought that by starting a new paragraph you might get a clue. Obviously a forlorn hope. You may want to consider the general point though. If you can.
SB – when you say ” when she left office in 1990″ You actually mean – booted out by her own party. And as far as popularity goes :
” Despite having the longest continuous period of office of any prime minister in the twentieth century, Thatcher had, on average during her premiership, the second-lowest approval rating of any post-war prime minister, at 40%”
I’m convinced you’re getting your info from Bolt or some other rightard!
“RobJ, I thought you would be able to recognise the same Wikipedia article you quoted from above. Oh dear.”
I do, your point? What have I falsified?
“Also, I apologise for confusing you by referring to two countries in the same comment. I thought that by starting a new paragraph you might get a clue.”
LOL – you changed the subject and started ranting, where did you get the info that Thatcher was the greatest UK PM?
Cemil – how about we cut the Military budget?
RobJ, you say you do recognise the Wikipedia article I got my information from when I pointed it out to you. But a short while ago you asked me: ” Show me the polling that says most Britons thought Thatcher was good for the country? “ Oh dearie dear.
Now, consider this. There is always a balance to be struck between welfare and generation of wealth. Only rarely, as in the Hawke/Keating government, is there an appropriate balance in one government. Usually people go for one type of government, then when it has gone too far, the put the other mob in.
Thatcher was necessary because of the economic shambles the UK was in prior to her election. Blair was necessary to soften the hard edges of society. Modern democracy is like that. There is broad agreement about the basic type of society we want. Changing government is basically of little moment. Parties proposing more radical change are marginalised by voters because they don’t want radical change.
Short summary of the 1980s:
Thatcher was reviled, Reagan was mocked, and Hawke was … aaarrrhhhhhh …
I think Gorbachev was the only leader with any sense during that era.
“you asked me: ” Show me the polling that says most Britons thought Thatcher was good for the country? “ ”
And you pasted:
“Throughout the 1970s, the United Kingdom was sometimes known as the “sick man of Europe” because of industrial strife and poor economic performance compared to other European countries, culminating with the Winter of Discontent of 1978-1979. After a painful period of reform and restructuring, Britain experienced tremendous economic growth during the 1980s, the 1990s and 2000s as well; the greatest period of growth of any European country. “
What kind of polling is that SB – oh dearie me indeed… As you would be aware the rest of the article (not polling) is hardly glowing.
“Now, consider this.”
Nah – I couldn’t be bothered, you claim she was the greatest PM, show me the polling. I showed you a poll, Thatcher came in at 5.
“Thatcher was necessary because of the economic shambles the UK was in prior to her election. ”
FFS – at the risk of invoking Godwin’s……
The reference is in the Wikipedia article you have already quoted from. Read it.
“That was until Thatcher rescued it and restored economic prosperity.”
Don’t make me sick. You want someone like Thatcher coming in and closing down every fucking mine in this country? Telling you the price of coal would go down and then admitting she knew the price wouldn’t go down one fucking penny and she screwed over an entire generation over a pissing contest with the Trade Unions? Consigning an entire generation of working men to unemployment because there were no other jobs, no union protection and no fucking hope?
Why do you think I live here, SB? Why do think we sat on a waiting list for five years to get the hell out of there? Why do you think we live on the other side of the fucking world from our family? Because Thatcher made life a fucking picnic? Or because she stripped a country of the ability to make the most of it’s resources for the benefit of it’s own people to line the pockets of her mates who already had too fucking much?
Poverty in some towns – the mining towns particularly – is still rife. Particularly in the north of England. The town I grew up in had one of the highest rates of unemployment and THE highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the EU. It’s also home to the largest Housing Estate in the EU.
Thatcher didn’t give a fuck about people. She didn’t give a fuck if they had enough money to feed themselves or their kids. She didn’t give a fuck about anything but making a short-term profit for her and her mates.
Cemil – I doubt very much that closing the ABC would fund even a dental scheme. It would also leave all primary sources of news and information in the hands of the corporate media – hardly a reassuring balance. I’m sure it would thrill Rupert, but that’s not necessarily a good sign.
This thread has certainly brought the free market fundies out from their caves. And well said Keri – I too found SB’s rose-tinted historical revisioning of Thatcher’s record somewhat perplexing.
I wouldn’t mind closing the mines so much, if it were for a good reason and the government was committing to finding the people so unemployed decent new jobs, retraining them etc. Ideally I’d like the government to get freight off the highways and onto the rails, which would be devastating for truckies – so it would be the government’s duty, were it to do that, to help find them new jobs (eg on the railways). Or we might need to replace the coal fired plants with more sustainable ones – government should be able to do this, it’s just a matter of making sure it remembers its responsibilities to the people directly affected.
In contrast, of course, Thatcher’s main reason for shutting the mines was to crush the unions, and she didn’t give a damn what happened to the people affected.
“So – your approach to corporate regulation or taxation is BETTER GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT OR THEY’LL ABANDON US!111!”
No. Again you seek to misrepresent what I said.
I never said that we were giving them what they want at all.
I said that if – and I’ll quote so there is no error – “…they pay tax at the same rate as the rest of us…” that they would be forced to pay 48% of their income as tax. Now you might not want me negotiate for you, but if I was to, I would expect the corporation i was negotiating with to crack the sads if I said he had to pay 48% tax.
In which case I might need to be aware that if they are forced to pay that that they might not do business here.
Not sure about you, but I think that since they employ millions of Australian workers, I would, were I “tha guvment” consider letting them of paying tax at the marginal rate “…. at the same rate as the rest of us…” pay.
Just a though.
And remember Thatcher was secretly in favour of retaining de-unified Germany, and spoke highly of the communist leader of Poland.
When Thatcher took over inflation was running at about 28%, the UK was reduced to borrowing from the IMF like the third-world country it was fast becoming. Thatcher earned the unending hatred of the left because she destroyed the communist unions. Good on her for that.
The quasi-socialist economic policies of the era created the need for economic reform. That reform was carried out irrespective of party brand. The US and UK got Reagan and Thatcher to do it. In Australia and New Zealand Labor governments implemented similar economic reforms. If it wasn’t Thatcher in the UK it would have been someone else implementing them. The consequences of reform were harsh in the UK precisely because of the intransigence of the unions and the parlous starting point.
The real problem was too much welfare and too little productivity. That never works.
“The real problem was too much welfare and too little productivity. That never works”
Can you explain to me how ensuring that an entire generation of men would never work again cuts down the amount of people who need welfare?
Can you address ANY of the points I made? Can you think of a single defence for LYING to people about the reason for destroying an entire industry that swathes of people relied on for work? Can you tell me if she was such a fucking great economic manager why the price of coal didn’t drop one damn penny?
Leo, my summary of your point was entirely correct. You’re saying if we don’t give them what they want they’ll leave and MILLIONS WILL BE UNEMPLOYED!11!!!1!1!!!
Better keep ’em happy, regardless of whether that’s in an way fair, eh?
Oh, and if you bother to fact-check rather than hero-worship, SB, you’ll find that welfare recipients dropped 20% during the years 1993-1997. Three years after Thatcher left power. They did not decrease during the Thacher years.
Keri you’ve given a personal narrative, and I’m not going to attack that. I like you.
As a general point, when a country has 28% inflation it is in line for a ‘recession we had to have’, in the words of a great leader. Britain’s case was more dire with intransigent unions led by communist dead-enders like Arthur Scargill, president for life of the NUM.
My point is that someone would have had to do something similar to what Thatcher did. If you overspend on welfare, if you let unions create inflation by driving up wages, then the time will come when the piper must be paid.
The voters are not stupid. They elected Thatcher to 3 terms. Only when Labour gave them a responsible alternative in Tony Blair did they even seriously consider ditching the Tories.
At least part of the blame for the union wars goes to the greed and intransigence of the unions.
Thatcher was an extremist idealogue. Reading her record in government is not pretty – horrifying is a word that comes to mind. Imagine living through that?
The only thing I’m grateful for is that we had the Rudd government to shield us through the global recession without inflicting such harm on ordinary Australians. Shame on you SB, a self-described centrist for defending such a Far Right fundamentalist.
Aww, SB. You getting soft in your old age? :p
Seriously though, is it really any justification to say “Well, the unions needed to go” when talking about deceptively destroying the livelihoods of millions of men and families? Of an entire countries (Not to mention the North of England, which still hasn’t recovered) main industry because of what largely became a personal vendetta?
I don’t. No economic consideration is worth that. Not to mention the fact that she bare-faced lied about it.
I must confess to a general state of ignorance concerning Thatcher and Britain’s recent economic record, but this comment from Keri has me interested:
“Consigning an entire generation of working men to unemployment because there were no other jobs, no union protection and no fucking hope?”
Ignoring the hyperbole, there is an interesting concept there. I can’t defend Thatcher’s particular policy in that instance, but I believe Keri’s sentiment is similar to many leftist arguments in that it is based on short-term, local/parochial concerns rather than long-term, national/international ones.
Economic changes will always create winners and losers. No-one wants to be a loser, or force others to become losers, but when a certain economic state of affairs is unsustainable (as SB has pointed out), then changes must be made. Indeed, delaying the changes will only exacerbate the eventual pain.
There are always good reasons not to change. People lose their jobs, industries wither, certain people or groups fall into poverty, etc. This pattern of reluctance (political cowardice?) has been repeated over and over again for hundreds of years. However it always turns out to be the wrong decision. Protecting this set of employees, or that industry, saves them strife, but it invariably means that everyone else suffers (and therefore they do too in the long run).
Again, I’m not defending Thatcher’s ideological war against the unions, but I can see where she was coming from.
“Thatcher’s job approval rating recovered to 32%. By 1983, overall economic growth was stronger and inflation and mortgage rates were at their lowest levels since 1970, though manufacturing output had dropped 30% from 1978 and unemployment had more than doubled to 3.6 million”
” By 1983, overall economic growth was stronger and inflation and mortgage rates were at their lowest levels since 1970, though manufacturing output had dropped 30% from 1978 and unemployment had more than doubled to 3.6 million”
Excuse me for being dim, but can someone explain to me how doubling unemployment to 3.6 million is the “right”decision? Can someone explain to me why on earth Thatcher couldn’t have introduced a program of job creation alongside her war with the Unions? Can someone explain to me why she couldn’t have tackled the unions in a way that didn’t double unemployment?
What economic reforms now could be said to be successful if they doubled the rate of unemployment?
My “sentiment”, Jarrah, is directly related to the fact that Thatcher saw fit to close 97 mines, double the unemployment rate because she was too short-sighted to find another way to deal with the Unions. It might be rooted in emotional language, but its basis is in facts and figures.
Oh, and as for “when a certain economic state of affairs is unsustainable”, can you explain the economic sense to me of closing mines that were still profitable? Creating unemployment by shutting down an economically viable business is getting rid of something “unsustainable”, is it?
There might be personal experience behind my words, and I might be far, far more heated in my hatred for that woman than someone who wasn’t forced to uproot to the other side of the world for a better chance of life, but here’s the rub: I know my facts, I’m very well versed on the numbers. I’m not ignoring the fact that the stupid cow was dead-on with her Financial Services Reform, and that those measures were largely responsible for the economic recovery Britian experienced in the mid eighties. Apart from the fact that she was a heartless bitch, I could admire her for that if she hadn’t done what she’d done to the mining industry.
But she had no justification for shutting down the mines. She shut down mines that were still profitable. There is still one mine operating run by workers who bought it off the government and are still turning a profit today How many others might there be today if she hadn’t pulled the plug?. She consigned thousands upon thousands to the scrap-heap of long-term unemployment, and doubled the jobless rate because she couldn’t think of a different way to deal with the Unions
If she was such a fucking visionary, why the hell couldn’t she think of another way around it?
“Three years after Thatcher left power.”
Interestingly, earlier in the thread Confessions felt comfortable in blaming negative outcomes on Thatcher seven years after she left power. So Thatcher had both positive and negative long-term effects, or didn’t have either, or by some magical property her negative effects lagged and her positive effects didn’t (or didn’t exist).
No Jeremy. I suspect what they want is to pay no tax. I’m not suggesting that they pay no tax at all.
On the other hand you are suggesting that any corporation that does business in Australia pays 48%, (my bad, it is actually 45) since that’s the rate that kicks in at 180k or so and all of the corporations make well north of that.
Since, for example, BHP made $10 billion US profit last fin year, you would slug them with a bill for 4.5 billion tax bill.
That’s why the Greens don’t get enough senators in the house to get the votes for gay marriage Jeremy. Because that’s how you think and people wwon’t risk their futures to allow you to make decissions on important stuff like tax.
Interestingly, earlier in the thread Confessions felt comfortable in blaming negative outcomes on Thatcher seven years after she left power.
Population level poverty levels take years to eventuate. The number of welfare recipients however can turn on a dime.
Uh, dear? You are aware that confessions and I are different people, yes?
Thatchers policies had both short and long-term effects. For example, some economists are blaming Thatcher for the recent collapse of the banking sector in the UK due to her deregulation of the banking sector. Which is patent bullshit, if you ask me, and if you ask most leading economists. She was many, many things, but she had that much right.
But she started her industrial de-evolution in the early eighties. I’m willing to give her some influence, but thirteen years? By the late eighties she was concentrating on taxation reform, particularly what we’d call here land rates.
Major, although he was a weirdo and his cabinet was full of pervs, presided over the rise back to stable levels of employment in the UK, Blair somewhat screwing that with his New Deal.
C, that’s a big claim. Do you have any evidence for it?
K, yes, I’m aware, as indicated by my use of “Confessions” rather than “you”. Were you not aware of this? 😉
In other news, my earlier long and substantial response to you has disappeared into the aether.
Jarrah: you obviously don’t understand epidemiology.
So… no evidence. OK.
No, just the assumption of informed commentary. And failing that, common sense.
My days of pandering to internet ignoramuses who can’t be bothered doing their own research are long gone. If you expect me to jump through hoops in order to equip you with what is basice knowledge and understanding, you are sadly mistaken Jarrah. The internet is your friend. I shouldn’t need to make the introductions.
Again, I’m not defending Thatcher’s ideological war against the unions, but I can see where she was coming from.
Jarrah, it’s true that Britain was in economic crisis at the time of Thatcher becoming leader. It’s also true that British unions were a factor in that crisis. None of this, however, can defend Thatcher’s lamentable record, or the poor economic outcomes caused by her economic ‘reforms’.
SB, the ‘parlous’ situation may have had something to do with some UK unions of the day, but it had nothing to do with socialism, quasi or otherwise, and rule since Thatcher has been essentially Thatcherite. Neither Major, nor Blair, nor Brown has changed the fundamentals of economic policy in the UK. Little wonder the country is in great debt, suffers great unemployment, and is now pointing an angry finger at migrants to take responsibility for its troubles.
“Cemil – how about we cut the Military budget?”
That’s certainly one area – but thats also an area that private corporations can’t fill the gap (and I suspect that no one would want them too either considering the behaviour of private contractors in recent conflicts).
I simply make the point that it always seems to be about lifting taxes to get the services we want rather than cutting the non-essential services to ensure that the essential services get funded.
For example: “For the three years to 2009, Government funding to the ABC will total nearly $2.5 billion.”
“$175.3 million in total grant and project funding to artists and arts organisations (FY 08/09)
Couldn’t find the sports one easily. Just the figures above could fund some great services. As I said, heirachy of needs. If I only have enough dosh left over to either buy food for the family for a week or have a night out, there is no question of where my available funds go. Why does it seem to be different at the national level with public funds? There ain’t nothing “free market ideologue” about this issue.
Keri what were you about seven or eight when Thatcher left power?
Yeh I am sure you have a deep understanding.
And stop playing the whoa is me ‘we had to leave the motherland and come to Australia’ crap. You are not the only imigrant to have ever come here.
“Keri what were you about seven or eight when Thatcher left power?”
She’s from South Wales, as am I, it’s not difficult for a seven year old to notice the social catastrophe caused by Thatcherism, her older siblings (assuming she had some) would have been leaving school with no prospects, she would have seen families and communities shattered during the miners strike (they had to ship in cops from the other end of the UK to police picket lines)
“It’s also true that British unions were a factor in that crisis. None of this, however, can defend Thatcher’s lamentable record, or the poor economic outcomes caused by her economic ‘reforms’.”
That’s pretty much what I’ve been saying along with dismissing the ridiculous, baseless claim that she was the UK’s greatest PM and laughing at those who seem to think that her legacy (11 years) simply evaporated the millisecond that prick Tony Blair took office.
“But she had no justification for shutting down the mines. She shut down mines that were still profitable. ”
Exactly, mines that reopened in private hands, they were profitable. Big Pit is a mining museum (I recommend anyone who ever visits S.Wales to take the tour) which has 15 years of accessible anthracite. (not that lignite shit we burn here)
“Yeh I am sure you have a deep understanding.”
Do you even have a counter argument or did you just come here to insul….troll?
the reason people lost their jobs in the mines had nothing to do with the destruction of the unions. If anything that helped. The problem was that the mines were uneconomic to run.
The problem was inflation. New Deal policies which might be apt for a depression are counter-productive in inflationary times. It was precisely the spiraling wages and increased public spending that caused the problem.
Maybe if Llabour adopted saner policies it would have been elected to carry them out. They didn’t, and thatcher won three elections in a row, so people understood the necessity of what she was doing. Only when Labour stopped serving up tired old leftist fossils did it win power again.
Unemployment is not something that can be controlled at the drop of a hat. It would have gone up under any scenario.
Thatcher was the only option given that the dinosaurs of the left couldn’t even see there was a problem. She saved her country from even worse destruction. They didn’t get to the point of bringing wheelbarrows of worthless cash to buy a loaf of bread. She gave them what is turning into a great new source of oil by defending the Falklands from invasion (this war also produced the immortal song “Shipbuilding”) and she was instrumental, (along with Reagan and Pope John-Paul The Great) in the destruction of communism.
“Unemployment is not something that can be controlled at the drop of a hat. It would have gone up under any scenario..”
Thing is if you close down an industry then unemployment will sky rocket – oh, that’s right it was purely economic, at a MASSIVE social cost. You’re similar to Thatcher, in that you cannot see the big picture, economies need to be run for the sake of people, not for the sake of the economy itself.
“(this war also produced the immortal song “Shipbuilding”) ”
And the song “How does it feel?”….to be the mother of a thousand dead. (Crass)
BTW SB – she didn’t do it for oil, she did it because she was in the shit with the electorate, where on earth are you getting your warped view of modern British history? Bolt??? Seriously!
“Keri what were you about seven or eight when Thatcher left power?
Yeh I am sure you have a deep understanding.
And stop playing the whoa is me ‘we had to leave the motherland and come to Australia’ crap. You are not the only imigrant to have ever come here.”
Nope, I’m, not. But I’m the only one who can talk about MY experience and MY reasons for coming here. Nor is it “woe”, apart from being away from my family. That does suck, as much as I love living here.
I was eight, for the record. As Rob said, it wasn’t hard to see the effect, and it certainly wasn’t hard, given I’ve been travelling back and forth to see my family since, to know exactly what damage was done with the closures. Nor is it hard – there having been twenty years between 1990 and now – to hear plenty, have read plenty and researched plenty to know exactly what the effect on my town and many other towns like it are. Nor what the effect on my own family was.
It’s funny. I don’t see any of you actually able to refute the plain facts. Unemployment doubled on Thatchers watch? tick. Mines were closed that were still profitable? tick.
Seriously, can someone address any of those points?
SB, there’s a problem with that logic. And it’s very, very simple, and I’ve said it at least three times now.
The bitch closed mines that were profitable. She even tried to close a mine that is still running profitably today when the workers and the union that backed them bought the mine and continued to run it.
What possible excuse could she have for closing mines that were turning a profit?
“What possible excuse could she have for closing mines that were turning a profit?”
Even some of Thatchers most ardent supporters acknowledge that it was about smashing the unions, some of them even concede she went too far, rubbing the miners noses in it. SB however has a different viewpoint, i want to know where he gets it.
The coal industry was heavily subsidised by government power stations paying above market wages. The miners were screwing the country through extortionist communist unions. The country was sick to death of being stood over and screwed by these militants. That is why Thatcher had the popular support to take them on.
“Quick question: if corporations are “people”, and entitled to all the privileges of being people, then why don’t they pay tax at the same rate as the rest of us?”
going further down that line of thought, i wonder if corporations are allowed to marry now that they’re “people”?
I predict the 2020 election, Pantene Pro V will be elected President of the United States, narrowly defeating Garnier Fructis
however, anyone acting like a corporation would be put into an asylum..
SB: Facts don’t accord with your view of history. I’m with Rob: where are you getting this stuff from, the HR Nicholls Society?
To say that the mines were running at a profit does not resolve the matter. Especially in the light of the fact that the profit arose because of above market prices being paid by another arm of the government.
Thatcher’s goal of crushing extortionate unions was laudable and supported by the majority. People recognised that they were being dicked over by greedy unions with a communist agenda. More power to them for electing a government that had the guts to deal with them.
And my views on this are centrist the ideas Thatcher implemented were implemented here and in New Zealand by labour governments. England’s problem was worse than ours and they had to take a bigger dose of the medicine. In Australia a lot of the treasonous union elements had been dealt with during WWII.
SB, After the closures, the few mines that had been bought by the workers were not receiving subsidies were (and are) still turning a profit.
Can you explain how that is if they were only profitable because of subsidies?
[And my views on this are centrist ]
[treasonous union elements]
Cemil – do we really need to spend $20+ billion on the military?
Government or Private?
That seems like the biggest “want” sector that could be cut down on to me
And my views on this are centrist the ideas Thatcher implemented were implemented here and in New Zealand by labour governments.
I can’t speak about NZ, but that isn’t the case with Australia, and certainly not with the Hawke government. Read my link above your comment.
“Cemil – do we really need to spend $20+ billion on the military?”
We do if we want to maintain our tradition of following the US anywhere, regardless. We need compatible equipment to fight alongside the US.
Confessions, Hawke implemented an anti-inflationary policy. He dealt with the unions with the Accord, which limited wage inflation. H He was branded a class traitor by the leftist unions for his troubles.
I remember a satirical song from the time called “The New Politics of Bob Hawke”, lambasting him for selling out the working class.
It may have been easier if the economic medicine had been administered by Labour in the UK, but Labour did not offer that option. In any event the UK was in a more dire predicament than Australia and needed more economic reform.
Hawke implemented an anti-inflationary policy
Which did not result in swathes of people left unemployed, nor did it result in the deliberate shutting down of profitable and sustainable industries.
He dealt with the unions with the Accord
Again, vastly different to Thatcherism.
Anything else SB?
The miners strike cost the UK economy 1.5 billion quid, resulted in profitable mines being closed down and massive unemployment, There’s a song about it SB, 1 in 10 – UB40.
It shattered communities too, not that that would bother an economic rationalist, one who just cannot see above the bottom line.
By contrast John Howard continued protectionist policies to protect crappy sweat shop jobs in the textiles industry! Can Tories ever get it right?
I’m with Keri, Rob and Confessions – Thatcher’s pure evil.
I think this debate however is just an excuse for SB to go ranting about the Left, the Commies and organised Labour.
Nothing more to say confessions, except that the Brits owe a debt of gratitude to Baroness Thatcher. It may have been painful, but there is nothing they enjoy more then a goodspanking.
You can argue that she went too far, but that was immeasurably better the alternative offered by the left, who had created a much worse problem in the UK than existed elsewhere.
RobJ – “We do if we want to maintain our tradition of following the US anywhere, regardless. We need compatible equipment to fight alongside the US.”
Indeed, but hardly a necessity 😉
“Nothing more to say”
I realise your ignoring me SB but that’s because you just can’t back your bullshit claim that Thatcher was the greatest PM! Or rebut my points. Then there’s your ridiculous claim that you take a centrist view of the situation and to save you the bother, yes, I realise my view is leftist. Have a nice weekend..
“Indeed, but hardly a necessity”
Yeah I know but I do actually concede that if we expect the US to jump to our defence then we probably have to help them in their shitty wars of choice, the UK refused to go to Vietnam before they got their nuclear deterrent but were in a much better position to defend themselves against, well pretty much anyone. Au doesn’t have that luxury, they probably have to suck up to a power and you could actually do worse than the US.
…It would be no good to suck up to the UK because they’re just going along with the US these days, I suggest France – they have nukes 🙂
Forgive me RobJ, but I do not know how to respond to the truly penetrating analysis you present, such as “Hmmmm” and “Riiiiight”. I’ve explained my views and you have had your say. Let’s leave it there until the next time.
SB: And yet you claim that the Hawke government adopted her policies! When Hawke came into office he had to abandon his election promises because of the fiscal irresponsibilities of the Fraser govt (guess who was Treasurer?) which had left a budget deficit – which Fraser concealed btw. Yet in returning the budget to surplus Hawke did not embark on a systematic campaign of economic fundamentalism causing unecessary unemployment and the closure of profitable, sustainable industries.
I will argue she went too far, because that is what history has documented. And I can not accept your position that Brits “owe a debt of gratitude” to the woman while the lived experiences of Keri and Rob says otherwise – their experiences are also substantiated by historical record too btw.
Put simply, the woman’s record in government is one of a fundamentalist extremist, who was willing to send millions into unemployment, raise interest rates, and set inflation soaring for the sake of her crusade against the union movement. I’m surprised that you can bring yourself to defend such a person.
“Forgive me RobJ, but I do not know how to respond to the truly penetrating analysis you present, such as “Hmmmm” and “Riiiiight”. ”
Yeah that was a sarcastic one, but it did highlight your ridiculous claim that you have a centrist view on the matter.
I have made other posts.. Maybe you haven’t read them?
RobJ – Who are we expecting to invade us so as to require the US to jump to our defense?
Also kinda selfish to join in the slaughter of Afghans and Iraqis just on the off chance that we may require the US to help us.
What, are we like the two stooges Nelson used to hang out with when the Simpsons first started???
Confessions – “I’m surprised that you can bring yourself to defend such a person.”
You’re surprised by anything SB says?
“When England was a kingdom, we had a king. When we were an empire, we had an emperor. Now we’re a country … and we have Margaret Thatcher”.
– Kenny Everett
another interesting post hijacked. i thought cointelpro stopped in the 70s…
“Margaret Thatcher Margaret Thatcher
See the way she’s looking at ‘cha
She can see inside your head
She can see inside your head
Prices rising, mortgage squeeze
Soon you will be on your knees
But you will vote for her again
‘Cause who the hell wants Tony Benn?”
– Kenny Everett. Again.
“RobJ – Who are we expecting to invade us so as to require the US to jump to our defense?”
I’m not sure anyone will but I thought that was the rationale for our ‘defence’ actions. Personally if it were up to me I’d be buying the subs, the aircraft and wouldn’t be buying tanks, we just don’t need tanks to defend the seas and air around Au (if there was a threat).
“Also kinda selfish to join in the slaughter of Afghans and Iraqis just on the off chance that we may require the US to help us.”
No argument there.
“What, are we like the two stooges Nelson used to hang out with when the Simpsons first started???”
Yeah – the smaller one, Tony Blair reasserted the UK as number one stooge.
You’re surprised by anything SB says?
LOL. Maybe I shouldn’t be. 😀
SB is fond of identifying as a ‘centrist’. On that basis I’m surprised a centrist would bother defending rampant free market fundamentalism.
Confessiosn, Thatchers policies of containing wage growth, reducing public expenditure, limiting union power and tightening the money supply were substantially the same as Hawke’s. The details may differ, not least because the UK was in deeper shit, but both did the opposite of leftist crap that caused the problem in the first place. the world is a better place for it. No doubt the economically illiterate would prefer to swagger down the road to hyperinflation, but that would have resulted only in more misery.
Also, if a country doesn’t have the resources to defend itself it needs to make alliances with stronger countries. These alliances come at a price. I don’t think the left, in opposing military expenditure or calling for foreign policy independence from our allies, really wants to see the country invaded. But they do not seem to understand military security is a condition of peace. Nor do they understand the consequences of Australia not having the security of sound alliances.
So SB, who would invade us without the US? Those Kiwis who are itching to take over? The Papuans?
You’re half-right about Hawke, however. His government did implement reforms analogous (though milder) to those of Thatcher and Reagan. Where you’ve gone wrong is this assumption that ‘the world is a better place for it’. The evidence is against you. Real wages in the US, for instance, have stagnated since the Reagan era. Manufacturing has gone into decline, with the corollary being a massive explosion in the financialisation of the economy (see Sept 2008). The fight against inflation (i.e. monetarist or neoliberal economics) has eroded workers’ rights and pay in many instances. Essentially, Workchoices was from this school of thought, whereby you fight inflation through ‘wage restraint’ (i.e. by getting workers to take a paycut so that profits can continue).
“Also, if a country doesn’t have the resources to defend itself”
Defending yourself and fighting wars based on lies in other countries are two totally different things. I think Australia could easily defend itself if they concentrated on defence rather than offence.
“But they do not seem to understand military security is a condition of peace.”
Can you identify the threat?
“Nor do they understand the consequences of Australia not having the security of sound alliances.”
I’d tell you something Mondale told ex PM Fraser the recently but as a ‘centrist’ you’d likely dismiss Fraser!
Also on Thatcher, it’s the 25th anniversary of the miner’s strike. The Beeb has a special that’s well worth a listen:
Confessions – A centrist? I thought SB was a pragmatist 😉
Personally i find “crack pot” to be the most apt description.
Rob – There was a smaller one? i thought they were both the same size.
Those Abrams sure were a waste. Not sure what the current latest model we have now.
$24 billion for this fiscal year apparently for “defense” from an imaginary enemy.
Whilst our hospitals and schools are underfunded, our teachers and nurses underpaid.
People jump to the defense of CEO salaries and bonuses by saying they’re needed to lure the “best and the brightest”. So why do we pay nurses and teachers so much less? Do we want to lure the worst and the dumbest to teach our kids and look after us in hospital???
I also find it strange we live in a society where more than half the worlds scientists are employed in the creation of new ways of killing and maiming people, where billions of dollars from even a minor nation like ours is pumped into buying these weapons.
Yet there’s so many adds on TV asking for money for underfunded cancer research, childrens hospitals, third world food programs etc etc.
Like seriously, what are our priorities here?
The details may differ, not least because the UK was in deeper shit
No SB. The details substantially differ because Hawke wasn’t on some idealogical crusade against the union movement more generally, and propagating economic rationalist policies in an effort to drive down the wages of the low paid more specifically.
And in addition to what THR says about wages in the US, add the tax cut obsession, specifically tax cuts for wealthy and for corporations.
*segues back on topic 😀 *
“Those Abrams sure were a waste. Not sure what the current latest model we have now.”
I’m pretty sure there our latest and greatest, they’re surplus to US requirements, they have a different, better, newer model. I reckon we were doing the US a favour buying their old tanks.
Yep – we bought the M1A1s, the US uses M1A2s, Saudi have M1A2s, they must be more important to the US than us… After all they have more oil.
“$24 billion for this fiscal year apparently for “defense” from an imaginary enemy.”
I would have saved 1/2 billion on tanks, god knows how much by staying out of Afghanistan and Iraq.
E.Timor was a good thing IMO but we hardly need tanks for that, the tanks are an obscene waste of money and I contend we bought them because of Howard’s sycophancy toward Bush.
Oh, and the other lasting legacy of Thatcherism is this madness that ‘Teh Market’ can more efficiently deliver social and some infrastructure services so governments don’t need to intervene. I don’t live in Melbourne, but I understand from Jeremy’s blog that you guys are having some…err…difficulties with your rail network? It’s privatised, isn’t it?
Australia doesn’t have the ability to defend itself from say China now any more than it had the ability to defend itself from Japan 70 years ago. The US alliance makes sense. Good luck to any government that tries to abolish it.
I can live with ‘crackpot’ EvShow, even if it is somewhat ironic coming from you!
Confessions, thatcher focussed on the commo unions. Plenty of others were prepared to cross the picket lines the miners set up. Hawke also had his enemies in the trade union movement, because he was also keen to tame the ratbag commos.
I asked if you could identify a threat. I can’t recall China threatening us, are you claiming that china is a threat? As as I can tell China won’t kill us if we don’t fuck with the nations that border them, that’s reasonable.
“The US alliance makes sense.”
Doesn’t mean we should follow them when they are WRONG, in fact a good ally would try and dissuade them if they think they’re wrong, a good ally doesn’t blindly follow. That’s pretty much the crux of what Mondale was telling Fraser, that a bad ally not only follows there worst president in living memory but actually eggs them on, John Howard was a bad ally to a bad president, do you disagree? After all you know yourself that Howard is a lying rodent.
“Rob – There was a smaller one? i thought they were both the same size.”
I suppose they’re the same size in their sycophancy it’s just that one ally is more useful than the other, ie one of them has the ability to project military power and the other doesn’t.
Rob – Oh yeah, totally agree about the tanks and Howard being a sycophant.
I dunno about East Timor though.
We’re robbing them off their natural resources whilst continuing to occupy their country and hand out heaps of cash to NGO’s.
I mean clearly we didn’t want Indonesia to invade again and slaughter a bunch more people but there were other ways that could have been stopped IMO.
I mean, where does Indonesia get all their weapons from? BAe which is based in an allied nation.
Where do they get the funds from? They were and still are a huge recipient of aid, no aid = no weapons and no invasion i reckon.
Adding to that is the fact that a bunch of their head generals had most of their assets tied up in Australia’s financial sector. We could have told them if they invade we’ll confiscate their cash.
And anybody who thinks Howard invaded Timor because of protests by the left is a little misguided. The protests against Work Choices and the Iraq war where much larger and also ignored. Why would the protests against a Timor invasion have had any more effect on Howard?
Hahaha gold. Rob – i meant in the Simpons!
Some people here are being very unfair to SB. They are wilfully misunderstanding the subtlety of his self-definition. SB is a centrist in a very particular sense: that is, in the same way that Fox News is fair and balanced, or Andrew Bolt is even-handed. He is a centrist in the same way that an ideologue is reasonable and pragmatic.
“I dunno about East Timor though.
We’re robbing them off their natural resources whilst continuing to occupy their country and hand out heaps of cash to NGO’s.”
There is that and I hope that wasn’t the motivation
“And anybody who thinks Howard invaded Timor because of protests by the left is a little misguided.”
Look, at the start I believed his motivations were honest, I was even happy when we told Indonesia to fuck off with regards to the gas, I was pissed off when we decided to keep the lions share for ourselves and with Howard’s track record of lying I am suspicious of his original motivation.
As far as allies go, I reckon the only nation we could count on would be NZ and vice versa. If Japan decided they hated us and wanted to kill us I wouldn’t put money on the US jumping to our defence.
RobJ: I can’t recall China threatening us
Just because China hasn’t threatened us doesn’t mean it is not a threat. You do get that, right? Or do you think we should only decide on a strategy of military preparedness after someone has threatened to declare war on us?
And who gives a crap about that leftist also-ran, Mondale? What a Wally!
“Can you identify the threat?”
Although there may not be any clear threat to Australia today, who knows what the future may hold — that’s why we need to keep strong alliances.
Having said that, I agree with you that being a good ally doesn’t have to mean always blindly following, often friendly advice is a far wiser option.
ah SB, it always comes back to the Commos doesn’t it.
“The commos where extorting the rest of briton”, “The commos where treasonous in the war effort” and now we need to spend $24 billion a year on so called defense because those sneaky Chinese “Communists” are planning to invade Australia if we dont!
I’m pretty sure there’s a few resource rich countries in Africa and South America that don’t have the same sort of defense budget as we do. Yet strangely enough, the red menace that is China has not invaded them.
“Having said that, I agree with you that being a good ally doesn’t have to mean always blindly following, often friendly advice is a far wiser option.”
And strong alliances aren’t necessarilly born out of blind alligences, something that goes straight over your head.
“And who gives a crap about that leftist also-ran, Mondale? What a Wally!”
Ahh the centrist speaks, a wally is somebody who thinks a US Democrat is left of centre.. I’m a leftist SB, most people are to the right of me and the US democrats are firmly right of centre. You are further to the right, it was nailed earlier, you’re a centrist in the same sense that Fox is fair and balanced, ie you’re not but that’s not the only bullshit you’ve peddled in this thread that i have exposed (sorry, I shouldn’t make such a claim, everybody else spotted your BS too).
“Although there may not be any clear threat to Australia today, who knows what the future may hold — that’s why we need to keep strong alliances.
Having said that, I agree with you that being a good ally doesn’t have to mean always blindly following, often friendly advice is a far wiser option.”
Heh – we are in agreement yet again, thing is kowtowing to Bush may have a longer term negative effect, France and Germany are still US allies. Japan is another.
Also, if we have an alliance we are less likely to actually receive a threat. That is precisely why Taiwan still has its independence.
Rob – I don’t think there is any real credible threat from China, Japan or anybody else within near and not so near future.
As long as the US could put up a fight they wouldn’t allow Australia to be invaded anyway.
They came to the “rescue” of Kuwait, and then tossed out Saddam, yet without the need for the Kuwaitis or the Iraqi’s having massive contracts with US contractors (although Iraq is spending big now on US integrated defense equipment) because those countries have precious resources.
The last thing the US would want is for resource rich Australia to fall into the hands of an economic rival like China or Japan.
a wally is somebody who thinks a US Democrat is left of centre.
Rob: You would be proud of me! 😀
Why. The. Hell. Would. China. Invade. Australia?
It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
I very much doubt the Japanese invasion of Australia in WWII would have amounted to anything, either, had it been left to take its course. A Nipponised South East Asia, yes, but doubtful that anything much would have happened here.
China’s “invasion” behaviour amounts to takeovers / annexations of Taiwan and Tibet (which they justify – wrongly – as being somehow “theirs” because of Imperial history) and disputes over border regions such as with India. Nasty behaviour but absolutely nowhere near a precedent for invasions on the scale that, say, the USA is notorious for.
If I were a country I’d be more worried about an invasion by the US or the UK than I would by China, based on their track record over the past two centuries.
Fox is fair and balanced, and a majority of people think it is the most trustworthy news organisation.
Of course, out of touch leftists living in their own la-la-land do not agree. But then not much else they say makes sense anyway.
Are poking the bear in the cage, SB? Even Murdoch admitted he told staff to try and influence opinion in favor of Bush.
“Fox is fair and balanced, and a majority of people think it is the most trustworthy news organisation.”
More centrism from SB. Fuck. Just fuck. I’ve lived on this planet for a long time, but I’ve never encountered stupidity as brazen as that before. You’re giving the Catholic Church a bad name, SB.
I’m a centrist, because I define the center as “what I believe”. After all, I’m not a partisan ideologue, I’m just a regular joe, and my views are entirely reasonable and balanced – I don’t know anyone whose views I think are more sensible. There are people to the right of me and people to the left; ergo, I am in the centre.
Returned Man – you never know. They’ve got a lot of people crammed into a very crowded space, their government is increasingly belligerent, and powerful, and we’ve got plentiful natural resources they’d quite like to control. I can’t see it happening in the near future, but things change.
Of course, I don’t think the US would go to war with China over us anyway…
That’s right, just ignore the polling data and swan along in your flatulent little fart bubbles convincing yourselves that the fragrant air you breathe is the very essence of spring flowers.
Okay SB, if you say so. Besides, I prefer the smell of my own flatulence to the turgid stench that is your unconvincing observations about Fox News. 😆
“Yep – we bought the M1A1s, the US uses M1A2s, Saudi have M1A2s, they must be more important to the US than us… After all they have more oil.”
The M1A2’s were a monumental failure which neccesitated the SEP (systems enhancement program) to enable them to be combat ready. The M1 AIM is their stock standard model that we have. Funnily enough, it works and gives us an edge on the regions armoured forces.
I would love to spend less on Defence, but I view defence as an expensive insurance policy – you can’t buy it when you need it. The days of issuing .303’s en masse and cranking up the biplanes are over. War is a massive technological investment and the loser loses their freedom. Yeah there might be no credible threats now, but you can’t pull a 21st century defence force from your arse and expect it to defend your country and lifestyle. The lead time to develop a modern Defence force is now at least 25-30 years. Would you bank your freedom on anything else??
“That’s right, just ignore the polling data and swan along in your flatulent little fart bubbles convincing yourselves that the fragrant air you breathe is the very essence of spring flowers.”
Whereas when you ignore the direct questions people put to you – profitability of mines after subsidies ceased, Murdoch admitting he directed staff to favorably report Bush policies in an effort to get him re-elected, it’s…. what, exactly?
RobJ and Keri thank you for the insight into your early live in Wales.
It has been fascinating. I am planning on going to Wales next year.
“It has been fascinating. I am planning on going to Wales next year.”
Good on ya confessions. Visit The Big Pit mining museum and St Fagans if you’re visiting the south.
“The M1A2’s were a monumental failure which neccesitated the SEP (systems enhancement program) to enable them to be combat ready. The M1 AIM is their stock standard model that we have. Funnily enough, it works and gives us an edge on the regions armoured forces.”
cemil, My argument is that tanks aren’t much use when it comes to defending Australia, and that the purchase was a waste of money and an act of sycophancy between two crappy admins, yes you can argue that we need them to fight alongside the US in Iraq (Though I don’t think the ADF were involved in many combat ops let alone tank battles) but I would contend that we could have said that we aren’t going to Iraq and still remained allies, if the US decided that they wouldn’t be our allies anymore then I’d suggest that they were a bad ally.
“John Howard was a bad ally to a bad president, do you disagree? After all you know yourself that Howard is a lying rodent.”
You forgot to respond to this.
SB, I will ignore polling data that claims Fox is is the most trustworthy news source, any rational person would, after all the claim is absurd!
Utterly irrelevant i know, but this is just too much!
“‘Lone wolf’ anti-government extremist opens fire at the Pentagon. But let’s not call it terrorism.”
(BTW Jeremy, any chance of an open thread for weekends and off topic comments like this one?)
hmmmm all i can say is pig iron bob
In Australia a lot of the treasonous union elements had been dealt with during WWII.
And for the record I have no intention moving to Wales – there’s that troll again Jeremy.
Keri, irrespective of what murdoch is alleged to have said, Fox is seen as trustworthy by more people than the other news organisations. Far more objectionable are the ABC and BBC which use public money to pursue their leftist agenda, which is why nobody takes them particularly seriously.
Thatcher unquestionably did the right thing in breaking a radical union holding the country to ransom. She did the right thing in closing down mines. There is no doubt that the industry as a whole was unprofitable, and needed cleaning up. That a particular mine might have later proved profitable is neither here nor there. Ultimately extortioinist political radicals like NUM president for life Scargill are responsible for the outcome.
RobJ as far as the US alliance is concerned, the worst thing Howard did was the FTA. Otherwise, I don’t think he was a bad ally, and I don’t think Bush was a particularly bad president, as the great hivemind would have us believe.
“Fox is seen as trustworthy by more people than the other news organisations. “
Only by partisans – and only because it never challenges their prejudices. It tells them what they want to hear and reinforces what they think they know.
Sorry I’m late to return, I’m busy replacing broken computers, moving house, starting a new semester…
“If you expect me to jump through hoops in order to equip you with what is basice knowledge and understanding, you are sadly mistaken Jarrah.”
Not at all. I was trying to short-circuit the typical blog pattern of assertion and counter-assertion by going straight to the reasons why you believe your claim to be true. If you can make it, you can back it up, otherwise it’s just a waste of space. Incidentally, it would have been less of a hoop-jumping to simply tell me your reasoning than to complain about reasonably being asked for evidence.
Let the record note you declined to support your claim, and so rendered your assertion pointless and irrelevant to the discussion.
“None of this, however, can defend Thatcher’s lamentable record, or the poor economic outcomes caused by her economic ‘reforms’.”
THR, her record could be described as ‘mixed’, but not ‘lamentable’ or ‘poor’. There is an argument to be made that the short-term pain she inflicted set the scene for some long-term gain (as shown, for example, by Confessions’ wiki link), and also that attempting to avoid that pain would have merely postponed it and made it worse. It’s also worth noting that she can’t take all the credit and blame on her own – there was an actual government at the time, not a one-woman show – and that international economic factors muddy the picture (for example, on one hand oil prices having a hand in unemployment growth, and on the other global recession having a hand in reducing inflation).
“RobJ as far as the US alliance is concerned, the worst thing Howard did was the FTA. Otherwise, I don’t think he was a bad ally, and I don’t think Bush was a particularly bad president, as the great hivemind would have us believe.
Yeah, but you claim you’re centrist and you rate Fox news!!! LOL… I just can’t take you seriously SB.
RobJ more people trust Fox News than any of its rivals. That would put me in the centre. On the fringe are those who think Keith Olberman has ever spoken a word of sense.
“RobJ more people trust Fox News than any of its rivals.”
I repeat – “Only by partisans – and only because it never challenges their prejudices. It tells them what they want to hear and reinforces what they think they know.”
And what rivals are you talking about? I wouldn’t trust ANY of the US news networks.
I posted a link above which shows the polling data. It seems that many non-partisan types trust Fox.
So who do you trust for your nes? The government funded organs of leftism like ABC and BBC?
I read a variety of sites. I don’t just “trust” any one site – I want to know what both sides of an argument are actually saying.
Me too! I just don’t think Fox is any worse than the rest. In fact in many ways it is better, because it regularly puts up opposing views. This is far less likely to occur on say the BBC or CNN.
Oh, come on. “Opposing views”? It presents at most a brief strawman version of the opposing argument and then batters it into submission, shouts over it, abuses it, lies about it – it’s “balanced” in the sense that the Republican Party is “balanced”.
1. The others don’t even try to balance their views.
2. Fox regulars Juan Williams, Alan Colmes and Ellis Henican are all articulate, and get their point across.
3. The fact that the Obama administration publicly criticises Fox shows they are doing a good job talking truth to power! On the other stations you get tools like Chris Matthews who report they feel a thrill running up their leg when Obama speaks.
“1. The others don’t even try to balance their views.”
They’re certainly a hell of a lot more balanced than Fox.
“2. Fox regulars Juan Williams, Alan Colmes and Ellis Henican are all articulate, and get their point across.”
Oh, come on. Have you WATCHED Fox?
“3. The fact that the Obama administration publicly criticises Fox shows they are doing a good job talking truth to power! “
No, it shows that they’re a relentless attack dog on behalf of the Republicans.
“On the other stations you get tools like Chris Matthews who report they feel a thrill running up their leg when Obama speaks.”
Let me guess – he said this about one particular inspiring speech, not about Obama’s speech in general.
Yes, but is indicative of the critical scrutiny Obama is subjected to by the MSM.
“She did the right thing in closing down mines. There is no doubt that the industry as a whole was unprofitable, and needed cleaning up. That a particular mine might have later proved profitable is neither here nor there. Ultimately extortioinist political radicals like NUM president for life Scargill are responsible for the outcome.”
No, no, no, SB. Let’s get one thing straight. She didn’t close down mines that “have since proved profitable”, she closed down mines that were profitable at the time, and remained profitable. Not only that – and another point you keep ignoring – she lied about the reason she was doing it.
And tell me, SB.If the industry was so unprofitable, and the price of coal so inflated, why didn’t it drop?
The mining industry “as a whole” (As if it’s that simplistic!) was not unprofitable. Certain sectors were, and I would have had no problem with THOSE sectors closing. But to close down a mine that was profitable because she was too dim to come with another way of dealing with the Unions?
Contemptible, Short-sighted, Deceptive, how else could you describe the measures she took?
Fox News with its slogan “fair and balanced” reminds me of the Commonwealth Banks’s “determined to be different”, or Obama’s “change you can believe in”, utter nonsense. Marketing phrases designed to attract the gullible, which as a strategy is quite smart since, and as SB is the classic example at hand, there are plenty of people naïve enough to fall for this schmonz.
Look at Fox’s list of studio guests and the imbalance towards conservatives is blatantly obvious. Even the choice of topics to be discussed in the first place seems to suggest a largely republican agenda. Which is fine by me, just like the Green Left Weekly is trying to sway public opinion, so is Fox News. The difference is that GLW does so without pretentiousness, Fox News rather lies about it, feigning balance so that conservatives and right wingers can watch telly feeling they are on middle ground.
Keri, which ‘profitable’ mines did she close? The NUM brought this upon themselves. Ultimately the industry had to be rationalised.
Juan, look at Philip Adam’s guests – wall to wall leftist excrement. Actually most of them are interesting, but they are uniformly of the left.
Are you seriously trying to deny that she closed profitable mines, SB?
Given it’s right there in the Wikipedia article you’ve quoted, I have to wonder why.
Also, why in the name of arse couldn’t Thatcher have done what had been done in the 1960s with the gradual closure of unprofitable mines? That wouldn’t have resulted in a strike, and the ten to thirty billion pounds the strike cost could have gone towards modernisation of the still-profitable mines.
Scargill was a tool, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean you can foisture all the blame on him. Thatcher had no reason to double unemployment, shut down profitable mines and not put in place any schemes for re-employment of the tens of thousands of mens she put out of work because she didn’t know how to deal effectively with a too-powerful Union.
You can talk economic rationalisation all you want, but doubling unemployment and shutting down profitable mines makes no sense at all. She did it out of spite to crush the Unions. She could have found another way – just like they had already done in the 1960s, but she wanted to be seen as a hardarse. That’s no justification for putting tens of thousands of men out of a job with no prospect of re-employment.
Oh, as for specifics, Here’s a few mines that were still profitable at closure, and remained profitable for years after:
*Tower (Bought by workers and run profitably until 2008)
*Abercynon Profitable at the time of its closure (And still has 50 years worth of top-grade coal left)
*Aberpergwm – Bought by a private concern in 1995, with recoverable reserves of 7.6 million tonnes, Anthracite quality.
*Nantgarw Colliery – Profitable at the time of its closure in 1986.
That’s just the ones I know about in Wales.
Tower was closed long after Thatcher was gone. Funnily enough mines were closed before and after Thatcher, (including by Tony Benn in the 60s). The Tower employees bought the mine back from the government, and after struggling early on made some money when the coal price increased in the late 90s.
Nantgarw had a history of losses in the early 80s.
In the end, most of the mines closed, so that an industry once employing a couple of hundred thousand workers now employs a few thousand. The fact is that the radicals in the NUM used it as an excuse to further their socialist ambitions and to try to bring down the government, as they had done previously with Ted Heath.
The mining industry needed restructuring, and instead of trying to arrange for an orderly wind-down of the industry, the NUM went to war. Scargill started with a big union and a small house, and finished the strike with a small union and a big house.
Thatcher was obviously harsh, but in the end, the people supported her, electing her three times. If you are dealing with radicals happy to paralyse the country to get their own way it is hardly surprising that you would use tough measures against them, including closing marginal mines.
The problem was a powerful union not realising that times were changing and that they could not hold the country to ransom any more. Unfortunately for them they ran into someone with enough grit to stand up to them on behalf of the rest of society.
This lady’s not for turning!
Tower was bought out so STOP it from closing, in 1986.
“Nantgarw had a history of losses in the early 80s” And was at the time of it’s closure? Say it with me, SB – PROFITABLE.
You asked for a list of profitable mines, I provided them. I’m going to ask one more time, SB, what the hell economic sense it makes to close a profitable mine, consigning it’s workers to ongoing unemployment benefits, when they could clearly, demonstrably in many cases, be run at a profit and keep those men employed? When two decades before it had been shown that you could effect a slow-closure, upgrading and expanding profitable mines, transferring employees or providing early-retirement bonus’ and keep strikes at bay?
And can you tell me, if the industry needed to be restructured, why Maggie also wanted a quick wind-up? Because, as you’ve said, she wanted to break the power of the unions. That wouldn’t have happened if there’d been a slow wind-up, would it?
As for the people’s support, her arse was saved by the Falklands. Before that, in 82, she had the lowest approval rating of any PM in history at the time. I believe they called it a “Khaki Election”
Additionally, care to hazard a guess as to where the imported coal was coming from and whether THAT coal was subsidized, pushing the price up to what it was for the local product?
Tower closed 22 April 1994. The workers bought it back and started work 3 January 1995. It was closed again in 2008.
Breaking the power of the NUM was a very great social good. Their aim was to screw society.
Funnily enough, the Greens now want to close Australia’s profitable coal mines.
And the other three?
Care to answer the questions I directly put to you? I answered yours and provided you with a few examples of mines that were profitable at closure. Can you answer mine?
By “Breaking the power of the NUM”, I assume you mean “Getting rid of Scargill”, since the NUM had been fundamental in the transition of many workers to alternate sites when Thatcher left them high and dry.
There is no “social good” in destroying the livelihood of tens of thousands of men, doubling unemployment and having NO strategy to fix that up. The example was there from the sixites, and Thatcher refused to follow it. You cannot excuse her closing profitable mines, you cannot excuse her not having a program in place for redeployment of the men she deprived of a living, and you cannot excuse that in several cases, private enterprise or the workers themselves proved her wrong.
Again, what possible excuse did she have for not following the example of two decades before and going with a slow closure? What “social good” came of her outright lies that it was about the price of coal? (Which never dropped, and was sourced from countries that subsidised their own industries, so was the same cost for lesser quality!)
You’ve consistently been unable to answer simple questions, or outright ignored them. Without actually looking into either the history of mining closures, the history of the towns she destroyed or looking at the mining industry since, I’m sure you COULD say she’d done a good thing.
Looking into it, you couldn’t. She ignored the good example of the 1960 slow-closures that lead to high re-deployment or voluntary early-retirements with no strike and higher efficiencies by using equipment from closed mines on mines that needed expansion to run at full capacity, or using existing facilities as ventilation for close-by profitable ones. She closed profitable mines, meaning that men working at unprofitable ones had nowhere to seek re-employment. She did nothing to look for an alternate means of re-employment for these men. What POSSIBLE excuse could she have for not doing so?
She should have refused to deal with Scargill, gone to the mines that had held their own ballot and where it had failed and gotten their assistance in getting him replaced. She should have worked with the moderate wing of the NUM – which was big enough that Scargill knew he wouldn’t get a ballot for a strike if he asked for one – and with their assistance fostered a more moderate type of union. It was entirely within her power to do so, but as I said, she had her image to think about.
At the end of the day, she put her image and her personal whims ahead of the good of the people. It wasn’t until Major that we saw a concerted effort to get those men jobs. TEN YEARS those people had to wait for any assistance that wasn’t a dole cheque.
There is no excuse, there is no mitigation. There were other ways it could have been done, other ways it HAD been done previously. She chose to be heartless, she chose to treat those men with the contempt she thought the head of their Union deserved. She chose not to do anything for the men she had put out of work.
Why? Even “breaking the power of the unions”, which seems to be the cure-all to not answering questions on specifics in this debate doesn’t explain why she couldn’t have done anything for those men to get them re-employed.
It wasn’t her ‘image and personal whims’. It was war. The miners killed a taxi driver taking a scab to work. There were mass riots.
the softly softly approach was part of what made the UK an economic basket case.
No doubt Thatcher was harsh, and Tebbitt later regretted that a lot of damage was done to English workers.
I don’t believe that ‘profitability’ is a yes/no issue. If a mine has a history of unprofitably, the fact it finally makes a profit, or that it is making marginal profits may not be enough to save it in an industry wide restructuring. Therfore I don’t think you can make a generalisation about the closure of ‘profitable’ mines.
Thatcher didn’t plan the transition of the mine workers well. She was also harsh in denying them and their families benefits while they were on strike. (This didn’t affect Scargill who borrowed money from the Miners International Research Education and Support Fund to by a fancy new house).
Thatcher had to take strong measures to defeat the unions. She did seek support from moderate miners, who refused to strike. The debate about whether particular measures were warranted is now academic, and likely to be carried on along partisan lines. Ultimately the NUM and those that supported it are primarily to blame. She did what she thought was necessary to win. Thank heavens she did, and the UK escaped economic decimation, albeit at a heavy price. The alternative was even worse – hyperinflation and third world living standards for all in a socialist basket-case economy.
“It wasn’t her ‘image and personal whims’. It was war. The miners killed a taxi driver taking a scab to work.
It was a war WHEN there were strikes. If strikes had been avoided, no war.
“the softly softly approach was part of what made the UK an economic basket case.”
It was what had worked previously. Any evidence that it wouldn’t have worked here?
“If a mine has a history of unprofitably, the fact it finally makes a profit, or that it is making marginal profits may not be enough to save it in an industry wide restructuring. Therfore I don’t think you can make a generalisation about the closure of ‘profitable’ mines.”
I assume you’re referring to Nantgarw? You can certainly make a call on specific profitable mines. You can certainly make a call on mines that have 7.6 million tonne of Anthracite quality coal still sitting there waiting to be extracted. This is the thing. Thatcher made generalisations. Do you know that she didn’t even wait for the NCB profitability reports before choosing which mines were to be shut? She could have kept those mines open, but she wanted to make her mark NOW. It wasn’t about individual mines, and it wasn’t about which mines would be profitable in future. It wasn’t about restructuring the industry, it was about killing it, and the NMU with it.
“No doubt Thatcher was harsh, and Tebbitt later regretted that a lot of damage was done to English workers.”
English, SB? May I remind you that South Wales was first and hardest hit? That Scotland also paid a price? Have a care.
“The debate about whether particular measures were warranted is now academic, and likely to be carried on along partisan line”
You can always look at the history of an industry – and those that have proved her wrong since -and see what measures should have been taken. And which were suggested to her at the time and she dismissed.
“The alternative was even worse – hyperinflation and third world living standards for all in a socialist basket-case economy.”
The alternative was a smoother transition with her giving ONE MINUTES CONSIDERATION to the men and their families and entire DISTRICTS she consigned to decades-long poverty. You tell me why it couldn’t have been done differently, SB. You tell me why the 1960s model – which worked AGAIN in the 1990s with slow closures throughout the UK – wouldn’t have worked then. You tell me why the NMU, which voted AGAINST Scargill, was to blame. They had to go with the exec because Thatcher gave them no route to her, and the exec fucked them over. As Thatcher knew they would. As Thatcher even told her Energy Secretary they would.
If it was a war, she did nothing to limit the causalities. Civilians lives still now lie in tatters because she was too fucking stupid to listen to the advice she was given.
English, Welsh, Scots – they all look the same to me!
It is too late to go back now and second guess what was required to defeat the NUM. We do know that the people wanted to be ruled by an elected government, not radical unionists. We do know that the mining industry needed restructuring. We do know that in the end democracy won.
Hindsight is not the way to judge history. The real culprit is clear the NUM and its leadership. They tried to bring the elected government down. They misunderstood the times and they failed to understand that they had in Thatcher an implacable enemy who would stand firm against them.
I am concerned about the social dislocation that followed the dispute. It was disastrous for the miners, their families and for the country. It was obviously a very bad thing. However, there is no point blaming Thatcher. Her job was to win this war. It is the same in any war: you can almost always say that less force would have still won, but that is only after the event.
“However, there is no point blaming Thatcher. Her job was to win this war. It is the same in any war: you can almost always say that less force would have still won, but that is only after the event.”
SB, You can take the “war” rhetoric as far as you want, but you cannot erase the fact that she was the PRIME MINISTER of the people she was putting out of work. It was her job to run the country – not just the unions into the ground. It was her job to provide those men with not just a stable economy but an economy they could work in. It was her job to balance the power in such a way that she wasn’t destroying an industry that could be profitable just to achieve her own ends. It was her job to look after those men, and she failed in it. Not only did she fail in it, she failed to even attempt it. She dismissed those men as not worthy of her concern, when she had an obligation to make them her first priority. Her job as Prime Minister was not to smash the Unions, it was to run the country, and that means the whole country, not just London and its surrounds.
Regardless of who you blame for the “war”, she had an obligation to see that those men weren’t disadvantaged by it – just like successive governments managed in the 1960s.
“It is too late to go back now and second guess what was required to defeat the NUM. We do know that the people wanted to be ruled by an elected government, not radical unionists. We do know that the mining industry needed restructuring. We do know that in the end democracy won.”
And who lost, SB? TENS OF THOUSANDS of men, some of whom never worked again. Not the Unions. Do you think she did the right thing by those who worked through the strike? Do you think the miners who voted against the strike had their mines spared or were any better off? No. She treated them with exactly the same contempt she treated those she wished to crush.
“Hindsight is not the way to judge history.”
Say wut? How the fuck else are you supposed to judge it? You can ONLY judge it in hindsight because it happened in the past.
[“Hindsight is not the way to judge history.”]
Yeah, I know, it would be prudent NOT to shut a profitable mine, who needs hindsight?
Hindsight is how we inevitably view history, but it is the wrong tool for judging history. To make an appropriate judgment about the reasonableness of particular actions you need to look at the situation at the time, and the knowledge of the actors in the light of the surrounding circumstances.
In the big picture, Thatcher was right to take on the unions. Whether she should have been less aggressive in pursuing that strategy is matter reasonable people can agree to disagree on.
She was in the middle of an often violent campaign by radical unions who were conducting a year long strike in an essential services industry.
Thatcher’s first obligation was to break the NUM, and then to rationalise the coal industry. This is what she did.
I don’t know how she could have known that less action on her part was needed at any point in time. I do know that her general policy was right, and that previous governments in failing to keep the unions in check were in part responsible for the mess the UK was in at the time. She was right to avoid the mistakes they had made in the past.
It will take a lot more than a few early pit closures to convince me that Thatcher should be condemned. The charge you have made against her is that she was acting out of vindictive malice. All I see is a rock-solid determination to restore her country’s economic fortunes after it had become the sick man of Europe.
“It will take a lot more than a few early pit closures to convince me that Thatcher should be condemned.”
Well there’s the poll tax – her own party kicked her out because of it!
SB, above all else she had an obligation to do the right thing by the people of the United Kingdom. Including the members of a Union she happened to want to crush.
Points of fact: – She doubled unemployment, she did not wait for the NCB to present their report on which mines should be closed and which were still profitable (And you seemed to question that there even were profitable mines closed, without retraction when I presented examples), she provided no resources for those miners – even those who had demonstrably not supported the NUM in their strikes and kept working when she closed down mines. If she was “rationalising” the industry, give me one good reason she couldn’t have provided resources to find those men work.
“It will take a lot more than a few early pit closures to convince me that Thatcher should be condemned”
SB, a pit is a type of mine. The early closures weren’t all pits.
And she should be condemned not just for closing mines before they should have been closed, but for providing NO SUPPORT for in excess of 27,000 men who were out of work with very little real prospect of re-employment. THAT should be enough. Further, she fucked over those Union members who had shown themselves to be opposed to the NUM and the strike, and lied about the reason she was closing the mines. SHE LIED ABOUT IT.
She lied to her people, abandoned the people who most needed her help, rushed into something when she could have waited for the NCB profitabiliy report and you still can’t condemn her? What would it take? Verified footage of her eating children?
I’ve made many, many charges against her, and you’ve not been able to answer any of them. If she wasn’t spiteful, what possible reason could she have for not trying to find those men work? Why would she deny them family benefits during the strike if not out of spite? If she wasn’t hateful, why did she knowingly not wait until she had all the information she needed to make informed decisions?
What economic sense does it make to DOUBLE unemployment without prospect of re-employment? Why consign men to welfare payments long-term when you can keep them working in mines that make a profit? She was wrong to close those mines. She was told they were profitable, but wouldn’t wait for the NCB reports. Because it didn’t suit her purpose.
What else could you call that but spite?
What economic sense does it make to DOUBLE unemployment without prospect of re-employment?
And at a population level, the entrenched effects of sustained unemployment manifest in higher rates of poverty and child poverty in particular – legacies of her period in government. Yet these inconvenient facts continue to be ignored.
If Thatcher closed some mines because they were in the NUM heartland, and doing so would weaken union support and resolve, I don’t see that as being a bad thing. That wasn’t spiteful, it was good government. The UK benefited immeasurably from the weakening of militant unions.
It is not as though striking unionists gave a shit about jobs lost in other industries due to their actions, or about the damage their greed was doing to the economy as a whole.
No doubt miners and their families suffered during the strike, and no doubt Thatcher could have ensured than more benefits flowed to them. But that would only have prolonged the strike. The miners could have ended the strike, but they held out for a year. During that time their benefits were curtailed. Funnily enough during this period Scargill raised the funds for his fancy new house, while his members suffered. That is far more cynical than anything Thatcher did.
This is illustrative of the problems socialism brings – you keep avoiding making necessary changes for decades then it all comes unstuck at a great social cost. Strong unions will always screw you up. Strong unions are mainly in monopoly industries providing essential services. Their aim is to join in the monopolistic rorting of the rest of us.
It is not Thatcher’s fault she had to clean up this mess. She played to win, and might easily have lost. It is trite to say that she could have done this or that other thing. If you want to blame someone, blame the leftists who were happy to redistribute money that they had not a care nor a clue as to its earning.
“If Thatcher closed some mines because they were in the NUM heartland, and doing so would weaken union support and resolve, I don’t see that as being a bad thing”
On what basis are you now saying – after questioning that there even WERE profitable mine closures – that the profitable mines were in the NUM heartland? Where do you define this “heartland” as, SB?
“It is not as though striking unionists gave a shit about jobs lost in other industries due to their actions, or about the damage their greed was doing to the economy as a whole.”
And what did Thatcher do for the miners who didn’t strike?
“Funnily enough during this period Scargill raised the funds for his fancy new house, while his members suffered. That is far more cynical than anything Thatcher did.”
Scargill being a cock does not excuse the Prime Minister of the country behaving in the manner she did.
It’s so telling when you won’t answer direct questions put to you, SB. And even more telling when you start throwing “socialist!” and “leftist!” around like confetti.
I’ll try again.
What economic sense does it make to DOUBLE unemployment without prospect of re-employment? Why consign men to welfare payments long-term when you can keep them working in mines that make a profit? She was wrong to close those mines. She was told they were profitable, but wouldn’t wait for the NCB reports. Because it didn’t suit her purpose.
Profitability is an imprecise term. It may vary according to the coal price or the amount of industrial disputation. Further, when deciding whether to close a mine, long term profitability might be more important than profit in a particular year. the question of profitability is further bedeviled by the subsidy inherent in the coal price paid by the UK government electricity producer for coal.
What we do know is that the industry was being massively subsidised at the time to the tune of a billion pounds per year, and was in need of restructuring.
Any way, in attempt to get past that issue I thought, aha, why not assume that at least some mines which may be viewed as profitable were closed. Why would that have been? I read somewhere the allegation that Thatcher had closed some mines for tactical reasons. I was merely trying to point out that this may be a legitimate reason to close them if they were already slated for eventual closure. It certainly falls a long way short of spiteful and vindictive.
Other things being equal, it makes no sense to double unemployment. Other things weren’t equal.
Thatchers attempt to cure the ills of the UK economy were always going to have a consequence. Doubling unemployment wasn’t her goal any more than stabbing a patient is the goal of a surgeon.
The fact is that the number of miners now required by the UK is about 2% of the total employed in 1984. Something had to give. So, we are really talking about the timing.
The situation was compounded by unions insisting that no mines be closed except for cases of geological impossibility of extracting the coal. If closing a marginal mine earlier than absolutely necessary produced other benefits, like a quicker ending of the strike or less union militancy in future, then that would provide an economic incentive to make the closure.
“Further, when deciding whether to close a mine, long term profitability might be more important than profit in a particular year. the question of profitability is further bedeviled by the subsidy inherent in the coal price paid by the UK government electricity producer for coal.”
Which was why I went to the trouble of looking into the long-term geological studies and the amount of recoverable coal still left, in addition to perusing the reports from the NCB as to profitability both at the time and long term. Which is more, SB, than Thatcher did, not being content to wait for the reports from the NCB. Given that she did not have the material she needed to make an informed decision – a choice she made against the advice of both the NCB head – a man she had installed in the role – and her own Energy Secretary, it’s far more likely that she did not take into account the profitability of the mines, rather than having some “reason” for closing them that you can’t even speculate about.
“I was merely trying to point out that this may be a legitimate reason to close them if they were already slated for eventual closure”
And how do you explain mines like Abercynon and Aberpergwm? Both of which had in one case 50 years of top-quality coal, in the other, far more, and no geological problems apart from those always associated with mines? Both of which were profitable – according to the NCB, headed by a man installed by Thatcher – and have remained so since their takeover by private enterprise.
So there goes your “legitimate reason”, not that you actually gave a legitimate reason, just speculated that there might be one. And if there was, why wouldn’t she have revealed it?
” Doubling unemployment wasn’t her goal any more than stabbing a patient is the goal of a surgeon.”
The equivalent is the surgeon stabbing the patient then banning anyone in the hospital or neighboring hospital administering any aid. Remember, SB, she didn’t just close down profitable mines with long-term futures, she did NOTHING for those men afterwards, had no plan for re-deployment, and no aid for them when she realised they had little prospect of re-employment in other sectors.
“The fact is that the number of miners now required by the UK is about 2% of the total employed in 1984. Something had to give. So, we are really talking about the timing.”
So now we’re saying that any industry that requires less workers in two and a half decades might as well shut now? And bugger trying to put in place a slow closure that would provide the men put out of work alternate employment. What sense does that make? Why not just make them permanent recipients of state welfare? She could not have known what would happen in thirty years, and she didn’t even know which mines were best to close THEN. Again I’ll ask the question; why not go for a slow closure, offer early-retirement packages instead of just wholesale closures?
The only reason is tactics. Smashing the unions, and not caring who got in the way. She was the Prime Minister. She owed those tens of thousands of men far, far more than they got.
“The situation was compounded by unions insisting that no mines be closed except for cases of geological impossibility of extracting the coal. If closing a marginal mine earlier than absolutely necessary produced other benefits, like a quicker ending of the strike or less union militancy in future, then that would provide an economic incentive to make the closure.”
You’re conflating Scargill and the NMU with the workers again. And you STILL haven’t answered the question about those miners who refused to strike; What did she do for them? The only reason you’ve been able to come up with as to why the miners deserved it was they took part in a strike. Many miners DIDN’T strike. Did they keep their jobs? Did they receive anything more than the miners who took part? Did they fuck!
Given two of the examples I provided had in excess of five decades of top-quality coal, we’re not talking about “marginally earlier”, we’re talking about at least half a century, SB, not “marginally earlier”
Even if Thatcher closed mines purely for the purpose of defeating the NUM and ending the strike, that was entirely reasonable in the circumstances.
It is not as though she was acting out of malice. She was doing what she saw as necessary to end the turmoil and benefit the country.
The fact is that miners who were not on strike received benefits. There is no doubt that Thatcher played hard, and that was the right thing to do by the rest of the country. The tactic of the miners was to inflict pain on the rest of the country to advance their own interests. Agreement was almost reached, but Scargill was not satisfied, despite almost all of his terms being accepted.
The way you tell it, Thatcher acted purely for the pleasure of seeing people suffer. My view is that she acted for the good of her country, which included breaking the power of the NUM.
You seem to think that Thatcher should have behaved like a model socialist when her job was to wind back government spending and undo the damage wreaked on the British economy by the culture of bludging that arises as a natural consequence of powerful unions and too much welfare.
She did try to negotiate with the NUM, but Scargill was too intransigent. It wasn’t just about a few union radicals. The strike endured for a year because it was strongly supported by the membership. Miners who did not want to be part of it formed an alternative union.
I don’t want you to think I am indifferent to the suffereing of the miners and their families or the damage done to communities, the poverty and misery and the suicides.
Blaming the woman charged with restoring the British economy is easy, trite, and may accord with the received wisdom of the tribe.
A better analysis would look at the causes of the ‘British disease’, the impact of strong union power and the welfare state, and of notions of class war so prevalent at the time. It would also be wise to look at the way the union movement had been able to defeat all serious attempts at reform up to that point. Clearly any battle to overcome these entrenched causes of economic malaise would be painful. In fact it was. The vituperative attacks on Thatcher serve only to reinforce old hatreds and don’t represent a thoughtful analysis of the real causes of this bitter struggle.
“Even if Thatcher closed mines purely for the purpose of defeating the NUM and ending the strike, that was entirely reasonable in the circumstances”
SB, you get that my problem is with her lying about the reason she was closing the mines, her conduct in relation to those miners NOT striking and the fact that she closed profitable mines when she could have waited the short time it took the NCB to compile the reports? The fact that she was closing unprofitable mines doesn’t worry me. Unprofitable mines have always been closed, and the existing mines have benefited from additional manpower and equipment upgrades.
She ignored the history of slow-closures that had resulted in high-deployment, because her main aim was not to see an unprofitable industry become profitable, but to break the industry and the union with it. Because she was short-sighted and wouldn’t listen to advice. Because she hated Scargill and wanted to be the dragon slayer. Because she put her personal battle with him before the wellbeing and livelihood of 27,000 men and their families.
“The fact is that miners who were not on strike received benefits.”
They received their family benefits through the strike, which they should have done anyway, but they didn’t receive one penny more than any other miner, and no more assistance in job placement than anyone else either. Which is to say none. How do you defend that?
“The tactic of the miners was to inflict pain on the rest of the country to advance their own interests. Agreement was almost reached, but Scargill was not satisfied, despite almost all of his terms being accepted.”
Again, SB, you conflate Scargill with the NMU at large and the NMU with the workers, including those who balloted against the strike and those who did not strike.
And let me get this straight; Mining was a dying industry, irrelevant to the current economy and a drain on the Exchequer through subsidies. Right?
“Blaming the woman charged with restoring the British economy is easy, trite, and may accord with the received wisdom of the tribe.”
One flaw in that, SB. As you might have gathered from the fact that I’ve been able to give you information you didn’t have, I have researched this issue to hell and back. I even did a paper on it at one stage, comparing Thatchers response with the response of the 1960s and the long-term effects of both on the Cynon valley. Mine is not a one-eyed view. I know the things Thatcher did well, and I give her credit for them. What I cannot condone – what nobody should condone – is her treatment of miners as collateral in her war against the Unions. She had an obligation to those men, and she did not even attempt to meet it.
So how, may I ask, did the strikers have any effect on the rest of the country? If the coal wasn’t needed, why would it have mattered? If the coal was needed, and the price was going to remain the same because -as we all know, it did – what was the cost?
“A better analysis would look at the causes of the ‘British disease’, the impact of strong union power and the welfare state, and of notions of class war so prevalent at the time. It would also be wise to look at the way the union movement had been able to defeat all serious attempts at reform up to that point. Clearly any battle to overcome these entrenched causes of economic malaise would be painful. In fact it was. The vituperative attacks on Thatcher serve only to reinforce old hatreds and don’t represent a thoughtful analysis of the real causes of this bitter struggle.”
SB, I’ve forgotten more about economic and geological analysis pertaining to the 1960s-1990s mining industry in the UK – and not all of it under Thatcher – than you could hope to learn from all your studies of class wars and Union evils. You haven’t looked into the NCB reports (or the structure and remit of the NCB itself) and you haven’t looked into the long-term profitability and viability studies for mines closed and not-closed during the 1960-2000 period, and you clearly do not have an understanding of the long-term effects of Thatcherite policy on the Valleys in Wales and the Coal-fields in the North. You couldn’t, and still have that attitude. We are talking about the livelihood of 27,000 men and their families, and their towns, the long-term unemployment of so many men, and she could have done something. She SHOULD have done something. She had a duty to do something!
Not waiting for the NCB reports before making decisions was inexcusable. Abandoning the men who had refused to strike was inexcusable. Closing profitable mines was inexcusable. Not bothering her arse to try and find any of those men jobs was inexcusable. Put together and I don’t even know how to term it. Negligence to her duty is not a strong enough term.
I’ll tell you what a better analysis does. It takes into account the political considerations behind her choices -the only mitigation she has – the profitability of individual mines, the effect of their closure on the men, towns and communities they effected, looks at the structure of the regulatory body, its relationship to the Union and local and central governments, the prospect of re-employment of the men, whether individual mines could be made more efficient with technological upgrades and the economic viabilities of same, the power of the Unions and their long-term effect on the industry, the industries effect on other industry, the effect of subsidies and their effect on the economy. Then it examines which of the viable alternatives of the time – a slow closure without Union entanglement, a slow closure WITH Union entanglement, a rapid closure based on profitability long-term and a faster industry wind-up, a rapid closure with view to technology upgrades to industries adjacent – increasing chances of industry re-deployment – and a rapid closure based on incomplete information with no grants to adjacent industries and not based on profitability, and no strategy for re-employment of workforce.
Now which do you think, when you complete that analysis, comes out as the top three types of closures? And which do you think – given that the heads of the day knew these were all options – did Thatcher pick? Which had the potential for the best outcome – including a weakening of the Union powerbase? Which had the worst?
I might have the benefit – or curse – of very personal views on this subject, SB, but I’m also very well acquainted with the facts, the analysis , the factors at play and have the training to deal with all three. I KNOW the Unions – mainly Scargill were to blame for Thatcher bringing her might down on the mining sector. I know it needed restructuring. I don’t have an issue with either. My issue is entirely with Thatchers actions, what her responsibilities were, and the option she took given the options she had.
Keri, while the miners in North Wales did not support the strike in great numbers, the larger South Wales region overwhelmingly supported the strike. Over 90% of the miners were still on strike at the bitter end. South Wales was also where most of the damage was done, and where all of the mines you listed earlier were located.
Thatcher’s primary goal was to stop the country being held to ransom by the unions. It is wrong to limit the blame to the union leadership. As shown above the strike had overwhelming support among the miners. Thatcher’s decision that closing mines in areas of greatest militancy appears to be justified. Her first priority was to defeat the strike and diminish the p-ower of militant unions.
Many miners formed the alternative UDM and kept working. Most of the miners in North Wales kept working during the strike.
Your claim that she should have waited for the NCB report is beside the point given the circumstances of the national chaos created by the strike. Your implication that she was flying blind is not. The NCB had studied the issue and had a list of mines to be closed before the strike began.
By the time the strike ended there were 3 million unemployed (up from 700 thousand when she took office). This is a measure not only of the harshness of her policies, but of the previous decades of economic decadence that made them necessary.
Your argument that Thatcher could have done more for the miners overall is certainly open to be made. The argument that she was callously spiteful is not. There are sound political reasons and in many cases, economic reasons for what she did.
I don’t doubt that you know more about the details of these events than I do. That is not the point. Thatcher had to win the battle with the NUM. She did what she thought was necessary to do so. You haven’t made the case that she acted out of spite.
“As shown above the strike had overwhelming support among the miners”
Completely and utterly wrong, SB. Why did Scargill not hold a ballot? Because he knew that he wouldn’t get the numbers. He knew he didn’t have the support. That was born out by the mines that DID ballot voting down the strike.
“The NCB had studied the issue and had a list of mines to be closed before the strike began.”
Thatchers own energy secretary and the head of the NCB disagree with you. They had a list of mines to be closed, but they did NOT have the profitability studies and long-term assays completed when they made that list. It was a provisional list, not a final list, and it was provisional on the bases of the profitability reports of the NCB. She did not wait for them. She DID NOT have all the information she needed when making the decision.
“You haven’t made the case that she acted out of spite.”
I have made a very solid case that there could be no other reason, economic or political for her actions. You’ve not been able to give any other reason for her behaviour. Given the knowledge of the time, given that she was trying to reduce the “Welfare State”, she had no other reason for acting as she did other than spite. Her aim was achieved, and she didn’t care to mop up the mess. Even if there were other “economic” factors, keeping men on long-term welfare was never going to be as economically sound as making technological updates to adjacent industries for higher re-employment. She chose not to do so.
“Many miners formed the alternative UDM and kept working. Most of the miners in North Wales kept working during the strike.”
And what did she do for them? What did they bring on themselves? They kept the country ticking over, and what was their reward?
Nothing. No help. No assistance. No grants for alternate industry upgrades. Nothing.
You cannot excuse her that, SB. For that alone she should be thoroughly condemned, even by you.
“Better keep ‘em happy, regardless of whether that’s in an way fair, eh?”
Ok Jeremy we need to get this sorted out.
Are you suggesting that they pay 48% tax?
If you are then my point stands. If you are not then I have misunderstood you and I will need to apoogise for that.
Winding down the welfare state was not spite. It was a positive social good. The welfare state made the UK a basket case heading towards hyperinflation. It had to go cap in hand to the IMF to borrow money, like some third-world shemozzle of a country. Thatcher won a battle she could easily have lost, as leaders before her had lost, to the detriment of the country. She won that battle by decisive action. You say she could have been more humane about it. I think she did what she thought was necessary to win. I think she moved quickly to close some mines to gain a tactical advantage and to end the dispute more quickly. That is a completely different thing to acting out of pure malice.
Also arguing for special welfare programs for miners in an economy with 3m unemployed, and in circumstances where welfare cuts were necessary is far from convincing. The worst that can be said is that, with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps she could have done more.
Oh for God’s sake, will you two get a room!!
The point, Leo, is if they want the company tax discounts, they don’t get to pretend they’re people.
SB, I never suggested a “special welfare programme”. I suggested that rather than have the best part of 27,000 men on long-term benefits (Which is welfare, correct me if I’m wrong), she should have invested funds in adjacent industries or emerging industries to promote job-growth in those areas.
If you look at the example of the 1960s and 1990s, where slow closures occurred probably on a bigger scale than during the Thatcher era, you can see a great example of industry-adjacent grants resulting in high levels of re-employment. For example, there are several areas in South Wales seeing higher rates of employment in the mid to late nineties due to grants to develop and encourage companies to set up bases to increase local employment and foreign investment. What did Thacher do? Fuck all.
Thatcher had a bigger battle to fight, and the UK should be grateful that she fought it and won. When that was achieved there was scope to do more. In the 90s Thatcher was advocating against mine closures.
A lot of this is philosophical. For example this fellow, the world’s richest man, is obviously a lot more ethical than people like Gates and Buffitt.
[Thatcher had a bigger battle to fight, and the UK should be grateful that she fought it and won.]
You be grateful if you like but don’t tell us people who survived Thatcher to be grateful to the one that made 10% of us unemployed then tried to inflict a Poll Tax on a population where the poorer you were the more you were likely to pay! She didn’t have respect for the working class and you can try and deny it but her policies demonstrate such a fact!
RobJ, Thatcher’s battle wasn’t with the working class, it was with the radical unions, the ones funded by the Eastern Bloc and Libya – countries where the ‘working class’ was royally screwed. Her policies were designed to rescue the Brits from the economic malaise bought on by years of nanny-state nonsense and unions holding the country to ransom fueling massive wage inflation. The Greeks are facing up to the same type of debacle now, but it is the leftist government that is going to have to implement the harsh policies.
Powerful unions are just like any other monopoly in society, grabbing all they can get for themselves and dicking the country over in the process.
“RobJ, Thatcher’s battle wasn’t with the working class, ”
Collateral damage, a term Tory types love….
WTF did the Poll Tax have to do with the unions?
SB, you’re changing your tune every comment. She was too harsh, she was justified in what she did, it was the Unions fault, it was the miners fault, her battle wasn’t with the miners, the Union wasn’t the only one to blame she should have done more, she didn’t have to do more, she said things that contradicted her position in the 90s, she was trying to reduce welfare state, she didn’t have to do anything to keep people off welfare….
Here’s the issue in a nutshell: She wanted to crush the unions. The only way to do it was to break the back of the industry. She succeeded. Whether you agree with her tactics or not is irrelevant. What she SHOULD have done, what she had an obligation to do, was make sure it was done in a manner that disadvantaged the workers in the least way possible. Particularly since long term employment benefits is a drain on the whole country.
She was heartless. She gave no quarter to those who kept the country ticking over. She did not wait for all the relevant information, against the advice of the experts she had employed to give it to her. She closed mines that were profitable, she did nothing to make sure those men could at least have a chance of re-employment.
She could have done all of those things. Saying “Oh, the economics” doesn’t erase that, namely because you don’t seem to be able to be any more specific than that, and also because long-term unemployment benefits cost a nation far more than a one-off grants to an adjacent industry resulting in higher deployment. This had proven to be true in the 1960s, the 1970s and the 1990s. She had no excuse for not doing something, anything, for them.
You can’t excuse it because there isn’t an excuse. She had no reason not to try and do something for those miners. She had five years to do something, and she did nothing.
RobJ the idea of class is a ridiculous oversimplification. Only a complete moron like Marx would believe that it is a driver of history. Apart from being meaningless, it is wrong. Thatchers battle was against anti-social elements. Scargill himself was hardly working class. He rode on the backs of the miners to enrich himself, like so many wannabe revolutionaries before and since. Their first priority is to play the system to enrich themselves.
Keri, don’t bust my balls, I am trying to play nice here. We’ve been talking about Wales at length, and I haven’t mentioned sheep-shagging even once.
Now, as to my alleged inconsistencies:
She was too harsh, she was justified in what she did, Little pcture vs Big picture
it was the Unions fault, it was the miners fault, her battle wasn’t with the miners, the Union wasn’t the only one to blame
The unions would have not been able to conduct a year long strike without the support of miners. Equally clearly not all miners supported the NUM. Its all about context.
she should have done more, she didn’t have to do more
Those two aren’t even inconsistent; hindsight makes a difference, and getting the big job done doesn’t imply perfection.
she said things that contradicted her position in the 90s, she was trying to reduce welfare state, she didn’t have to do anything to keep people off welfare
There was a different context in the 90s. Again the welfare thing is a question of degree as well as a long term-short term issue. Even Thatcher was not trying to eliminate welfare. She was trying to reduce it to a sustainable level.m A better world is one where welfare is not required.
It seems the main thing we are now arguing about is whether she could have achieved her goals while doing more for people badly affected by the means she employed to achieve her wider goal. I am not as judgmental as you. I am more inclined to make allowances for the need for quick and decisive action in a time of chaos wrought by a year long strike aimed at bringing the country to its knees so that the NUM could get its way.
As much as anything our differences are philosophical and tempramental. Lefties prefer (in the words of Rousseau) what is not to what is. They are unconstrained by reality. Those of the right are prepared to put up with (in the words of Goethe) injustice rather than disorder. I am a pragmatist, somewhere in the middle. I dream of better things, but will put up with some injustice to avoid the greater injustice that may come with disorder.
“Only a complete moron like Marx ”
LOL – So those you don’t agree with, who possess intellects that eclipse your own are complete morons? You already know I don’t take you seriously (centrist- Fox) this latest ridiculous quote bolsters my position. I have to be honest SB I didn’t get past the sentence I quoted, I mean what’s the point?
“They are unconstrained by reality.”
Except on this issue, I’ve done a metric fuckload of research into the actual realities of the time. Whilst you’re basing your opinions on – what?Liking Thatcher? I’m fairly sure if my paper was based on some kind of fairyland, someone would have pointed it out to me, SB. Particularly to the rabidly anti-union Professor I submitted it to for double-checks.
The difference of opinion here tends to be that you will brook no fault with the beloved killer of the Union and champion of selling of assets she didn’t own, Thatcher. You’ll say she could have done more, but when someone goes one further and says “No, she had an obligation to do more”, you backpedal past your original position to “Her only responsibility was to kill the Union”, as if she wasn’t Prime Minister and was Minister for Crushing Unions and Doing Precisely Nothing Else.
She did have a responsibility to do the right thing not just by those miners who refused to strike (Who she did nothing for when she shut their mines), but to do the right thing to keep the best part of 27,000 men off of long-term unemployment not just for their own good, but for the countries good as well.
She failed in her obligations, and she failed because she was too eager to pull the trigger, and was too focused on her goal. Which, lets face it, was both her greatest strength and her biggest weakness. It saw a phenomenally successful reformation of the Financial Services landscape in the UK. It won her a third term in office when by all rights she should have been booted after sinking to a 25% approval rating, and it lost her the post when she refused to think twice about the land rate taxes.
But it also led to her turning her back on men who she had an obligation to do more for. And you still haven’t answered many of my questions, SB. Like why she couldn’t have at least attempted to find work for those men through industry-adjacent grants.
If it was an imperial fuckload I’d have been more impressed. Using metric units is just a copout to make it seem bigger.
Get with the times, man.
RobJ, Marx is the epitome of human degeneration. It is not surprising that his followers have killed an estimated 100 million people. Have you ever heard an idea more stupid than the labour theory of value – or maybe you measure your wealth in spilled semen. You seem to put a lot of effort into your wankery. Marx’s ideas are in the dustbin of history, where they belong. He may, in the nature of a stopped clock, have had a few good ideas, but essentially he was a grubby anti-semite with a large ego and a small mind.
Keri: I’ve done a metric fuckload of research into the actual realities of the time. Whilst you’re basing your opinions on – what?
If whoever has done the most research wins, then you win here. But then how do you deal with the people who have done more research than you and disagree with you.
I am not going to agree with you that Thatcher deserves damnation because, in your opinion, she should have done more. Thatcher would have been a failure if she didn’t break the radical unions and implement austerity measures, even if she had done those other things. She would have damaged a lot more people that way.
RobJ – haven’t you read the large tomes of work that SB has churned out?
Oh wait – he only has a crappy blog page that for each entry contains a big fat “0” next to the word “comments”.
In SB’s world however they probably just means there are no disagreements!
“RobJ, Marx is the epitome of human degeneration.”
In your opinion the same opinion that regards socialism as a dirty word (overlooking all the essential infrastructure it provides) Anyway, you called him a complete moron.
“You seem to put a lot of effort into your wankery.”
Though my posts are much shorter than yours 😉
“large ego and a small mind.”
Hmmm from wiki: “Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a German philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist, and revolutionary”
Hmmm small mind eh?
BTW SB after all your wankery you still forgot to tell me what the Poll tax had to do with the unions.
RobJ the wankery comment wasn’t meant to be personal, just a reference to the labour theory of value :).
The Poll Tax was a singularly stupid tax which was Thatcher’s undoing in the end.
The difference here, SB, is that you dispute something that’s been researched with your usual anti-left, anti-union propaganda, and nothing more.
Someone who knows more about the issue I would be grateful to talk to as a source of information, and take that into account when forming my own view. But someone who can’t even admit that Thatcher could have and had an obligation to do more to get those men jobs I can’t see as anything other than so partisan facts bounce off them.