After reading Tim's suggested article by David Marquand, I decided to respond in a short blog about the article. Admittedly it's the first time I've heard of Marquand, but I was suitably impressed with his account and itÂ basically refreshes what I'd learnt in History.
Â However, now thinking about the separate financial calamities in Britain's history, which is actually the worst since the Wall Street Crash and the global implications?Â
Obviously, people would say the current recession is the worst witnessed since 1929. Interestingly, Marquand judges with great balance the differing degrees of financial disaster and their implications. Globally, the current crisis is the worst. Although, it is interesting that the Margaret Thatcher era which saw privatisation and capitalism rise simulatenously is not commented on. Perhaps, because this 1980s era provided the country's economy with lots of outside capital and gave a great boost to the financial and technological sectors (including the London Docklands development area), it deserves good credit and has bolstered trade pacts to the present day through hi-tech sectors and encouraged successfulÂ developments including the M4 corridor.
But negatively, as with previous financial negativity, there were implications and most of all for the miners and those working in the staple industries. In truth, to an extent, materials including steel and cotton were not as valuable as they once were and work was needed down south in the financial and hi-tech industries rather than a decaying north including Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Today's crisis sees a lot of pensionersÂ losing out onÂ electricity and gasÂ and it is they whoÂ probably became unemployed from theirÂ previousÂ mining jobs in the 80s. Although Thatcher controlled the unions and Scargill which was necessary as they wanted too much power, in a sense the ones who will now suffer are those who have been left hung out to dry by the capitalist economy.Â Despite bringing great benefits to the successful bankers in the City of the 80s, it left numerous people without jobs in lesser industriesÂ and looks as bad as those in the Jarrow March did.
My point is, although the bankers of today are effected by the job losses at Lehman Brothers and the number of jobs lost will increase as the markets slide, the greedy culture of the bonus-hunting banker partly stems from the greedyÂ group which eliminated and alienated people in the 1980s. Although redevelopment and global trade was necessary, bonuses and people being humiliated by Thatcher wasn't, with people including Nigel Lawson (Nigella's father, who was famous for positively reducing income tax, but introducing the "Poll Tax") not anticipating the after-effects of capitalism. That is why I don't feel particularly sorry for those who are losing jobs in financial sectors with six figure wages. Yes, they are an instrument of our economy, but at the same time (like those from Lehman Brothers in the US this week who were found to have taken unnecessary bonuses between 2000-2008) they deserve little sympathy for losing their jobs. Short-selling and not trading resources has cost them. But personally, who it has cost the most are the ordinary men and women on the street who were and are, continuing to be brutalised by this capitalist extremism.
Labour's policy under John Smith which followed under Blair to form the "New Labour" regime, very similar to the Conservative's 1979-1997 policies, has helped deteriorate this country for the working classes. I'm not saying there will ever be equality, but at the same time as with Jim Callaghan and the "Winter of Discontent" and Norman Lamont'sÂ "Black Wednesday", there are idiots running our government who although deliver on occasion, fail to learn their lessons. However I still believe Maggie'sÂ influence reflects the era we are in now, in both a positive sense (a rejuvenated financial sector in the City - fromÂ the 80s till justÂ before 2008) and a negative sense (numerous jobs lost in old industries and those who did lose their jobs continue to be punished as pensioners and through mega-taxation) through lavish private spendingÂ and governmental toffs with no conscience.Â Although the Brixton riots (due to mass immigration under Thatcher, meaning natives lost their jobs often because those from abroad were prepared to work more gruelling hours, like today) and those which followed were a disgrace, it was the minority of the unions in the 80s which let the side down. But as ever, with political power comes abuse of control over the unfortunate masses who suffer. Not all are unfortunate and some deserved the criticism received (those particularly under Scargill's National Union of Mineworkers, who were often labelled "fascist"), but many were unfairly punished for earning, or trying to, earn a decent living, like those of today.
You don't have to agree with me either...