thatcher’s dead, next capitalism!

9 04 2013

Thatcher was a product of her time, says duvinrouge. Capitalism was in crisis in the 1970’s. To avoid a major recession Bretton Woods was ditched. There was no longer a direct link to gold & fiat money launched financialisation. What finance capital needed above all else was the abolition of capital controls. This, alongside the defeat of the trade unions & privatisation, was Thatcher’s significant achievement. With the free movement of capital banks were able to begin ‘globalisation’. Imperial colonies were no longer needed to plunder the world. Finance capital directing the multi-national corporations were able to further discipline & enslave the workers of the world. But all this was built upon the dodgy foundations of excessive credit/debt which has ultimately led to the crisis capitalism faces today. Hence Thatcher’s wins were battles won that only postponed, & importantly magnified, the crisis of capitalism. Capitalism will still lose the war.

Thatcher's Dead

in/out: cameron’s false choice

23 01 2013

By duvinrouge.

The British people will vote whether to remain part of the European Union or not by 2018. Cameron’s promise of a referendum suits the Tories electorally. It should defuse the threat from UKIP & damage Labour’s chances of winning the next general election by appearing too pro-European. But behind this short-term electoral positioning lies a split in the capitalist class.

EU In Out

Politics is largely a reflection of the underlying economic power. After WWII Britain was no longer the power it was. The break-up of the empire posed two options for Britain’s political class to savage some of their influence. One was by trying to turn the ex-colonies into an economic sphere of influence under the banner of a Commonwealth. The other option was to join with continental Europe in a project leading to economic & political union. As an island nation the second option was always going to be problematic, hence the promises that this was just a ‘common market’. It then became the EEC (European Economic Community). Then in 1993 the European Union, launching it’s own currency at the turn of the century. Now with the latest economic crisis threatening it’s break-up, political union & eventual fiscal union is forcing deeper integration & taking further powers away from nation states. Most in Britain don’t want this, but until recently the masses have been fed the line that it’s in ‘our’ economic interest. What they have really meant is it has been in the interest of the rich to stay in the EU. Much of Britain’s trade is with the EU. To lose access to the internal EU market will hurt. But industrial capitalists do not have the upper hand. As the financial crisis of 2008 showed, it is the financial capitalists of the City of London who have the most power. When the banks got into trouble the government came running with their cheque-book. We are all now expected to pay for this bailout with austerity. But it is probably the European financial transaction tax that has upset the City & so given Cameron the green light for Britain’s eventual withdrawal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Owen Jones, cringing in the shadow of Margaret Thatcher

26 10 2012

Barry Biddulph says the political  pessimism of Owen Jones has resurfaced again, in the Independent, There out to get Cameron, but lets not laugh to Soon (20/10/12) focused on his fear of Boris Johnson. The political knives are out for Cameron in the conservative party, but for Owen, he is a lesser evil. Boris might seem to be a joke, but he is a natural right wing popular leader and “the best salesman for right wing populism that Britain has” Mass working class activity outside safe parliamentary channels is a particular worry for Owen. Any working class hatred and class war is likely to provoke a right wing populism, which is likely to repeat the defeats inflicted on the working class by Margaret Thatcher. But more to the constitutional point, if Boris became Conservative leader the “polls point to Boris providing a Tory boost, which at the very least, could deprive labour of a majority at the next election”

So Boris might play the fool, but he might wipe the smile off our faces and follow Thatcher’s footsteps as the hammer on the working class.  The shadow of Margaret Thatcher haunts Owen Jones; he  respects and fears Thatcher. In his article, Not all socialists want to Dance on Margaret Thatcher’s Grave ( Independent 16/09/12)  he warns against the mass expression of class hate for Thatcher by football fans and a face book campaigns. He will not be in the party mood when Thatcher dies. He cautions that Thatchers death will be a “nightmarish blend of the hysteria that followed princess Diana’s tragic accident and a month long political broadcast for the Conservative Party” Owen’s overestimation of the influence of Thatcher is clear in this comparison with Diana who was seen as a vulnerable person mistreated by the Royal Family and the state who died in tragic circumstances. He is even scared of Conservative political broadcasts.   Read the rest of this entry »

the iron lady: not the war horse she’s cracked up to be

7 01 2012

David Broder went to see The Iron Lady, with Meryl Streep starring as Margaret Thatcher

After the adverts for the merits of cinema advertising, and the adverts for the cinema itself, came a trailer for War Horse. Based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel, this is a film about a horse from a humble farm who is deployed for use in World War I, runs around a lot through battlefields as carnage rages all around him, and ultimately saves the day and warms all our hearts. This plot is more-or-less identical to about half of The Iron Lady, although seeing Maggie Thatcher rise from grocer’s daughter to Prime Minister and obstinately press ahead with austerity as rioting and mass unemployment wreak havoc on all around her… it’s just not as uplifting

Indeed, the message of The Iron Lady is rather curious. Structured as a series of flashbacks by the now seriously mentally ill Baroness Thatcher,  she repeatedly recalls people giving her saccharine nuggets of advice: ‘Be yourself’, ‘Don’t let anyone tell you what to do’, ‘You can achieve anything’, and so on. Thatcher’s children Mark and Carol apparently considered the film a ‘Left-wing fantasy’; while they are wrong insofar as the film portrays its hero largely sympathetically, it is nonetheless a sort of liberal mystification of who Thatcher was: her fight against class and gender prejudice is pushed to the fore, and through her determination she manages to overcome these barriers and thus forces the establishment to accept her. Read the rest of this entry »

thatcher and liverpool – thirty years on

2 01 2012

Adam Ford writes on revelations that the Thatcher government discussed a ‘managed decline’ of Liverpool.

Ah, the summer of 1981! The spectacle of a ‘fairytale’ royal wedding was a distraction for some as a Conservative PM led a ruling class offensive and unemployment skyrocketed, while riots shook the inner cities. ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’, some have commented today, as government documents from those days are released under the thirty year rule.

toxteth riots, 1981

Amongst revelations that the government lied about negotiations with the IRA during the hunger strikes and that Thatcher – shock! horror! – paid for her own Prime Ministerial ironing board, we are given a glimpse of the Thatcher cabinet’s reaction to rioting in London, Bristol and – in particular – Liverpool. It turns out that Thatcher played referee in a policy battle between then Chancellor Geoffrey Howe and then Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine. Read the rest of this entry »

big society: all that is holy is profaned…

18 02 2011

With the ‘Big Society’ project apparently on the rocks, Adam Ford asks what’s really behind the initiative

The political fraud that is David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ has been grabbing a lot of mainstream media attention over the last couple of weeks. The frenzy was kicked off when ‘Big Society Tsar’ Lord Wei cut his hours, after discovering that working for free on three days each weeks was not compatible with “having a life”. But what is the class significance of the Coalition’s crusade?

Wei – a ‘social entrepreneur’ – was ‘created’ a Tory peer by Cameron in May last year. He started work advising on the ‘Big Society’, but “at the last moment it turned out to be unpaid”. He committed himself to first two and then three days per week, but “in the autumn I asked to go back to two days”. Apparently, he had to balance “…making a living, seeing my family, and helping to change society.” Read the rest of this entry »

no choice on may 6th

3 05 2010

by Danny Ryan-Smith

With an election with less choice than ever shambling across the horizon, most of our time not spent working seems to be dominated by the question of elections, or specifically- who should we vote for?

With even capitalist media and the introduction of presidential style debates unable to drum up excitement among the general public for a contest that most of us see as largely a race between three identical parties, the time has come that we face the reality that nobody can be a substitute to represent our own needs and interests but ourselves. Read the rest of this entry »

book review of phillip blond’s ‘red tory’

23 04 2010

by Sebastian Wright

Two events intervened just prior to my reading of Phillip Blond’s ‘Red Tory‘, which made me doubt the necessity of the exercise. The first was the publication of Jonathan Raban’s wonderfully enjoyable lampooning of it in the London Review of Books, under the title of ‘Cameron’s Crank‘. Whilst Raban is a bit hard on Blond’s writing skills (personally, I think the book is pretty well written; its more the dubious intellectualism at fault) he does a great job of cutting to heart of the parochial, nostalgic sentiment that prevails throughout. In the same issue of the LRB, John Gray reviews a book by Tim Bale on the Conservatives from Thatcher to Cameron, and concurs with Bale’s assessment that, in regard to the Red Tory retreat to socially conservative anti-liberalism, ‘Conservatism of this kind spells potential disaster for Cameron and his party.’

Phillip Blond, Red Tory-in-chief

Which leads to the second point. This ‘disaster’ seems to be unfolding in front of our very eyes. With the Blond-inspired ‘Big Society’ idea apparently falling flat on the election trail, and inverse rhetoric about the ‘broken society’ also not winning over many fans, Cameron has recently decided to adopt a tougher, more conventional Conservative message, evident in the Conservative party’s billboard promising to cut the benefits of those who refuse to work. Read the rest of this entry »

twenty years after we beat the poll tax

31 03 2010

by Allan Armstrong
former Chair of Lothians Anti-Poll Tax Federation and co-Chair of first Scottish Anti-Poll Tax Federation Conference

It is twenty years since Thatcher’s Tory government tried to impose the Poll Tax upon the people of England and Wales. The Poll Tax had been introduced a year earlier in Scotland as a test run for the abolition of Domestic Rates throughout Britain. (Even the Tories had more sense than to try to introduce the Poll Tax in Northern Ireland in the context of the ongoing Republican resistance there!) Read the rest of this entry »

the cuts consensus and the general election

22 03 2010

by Dave Spencer

The 2010 general election will be a watershed for the politics of the British left.  Business as usual will not be an option because of the scale of the attacks on the working class that are coming. No matter which party wins the election or even if there is a hung parliament, it is clear that the ruling class has decided to make the working class pay for the economic crisis and the bailing out of the banks.

The left groups have failed over 14 years to form a united alternative to New Labour. If they use the same methods and politics as in the past, they cannot possibly be up to the tasks ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

tory co-ops mean privatisation

19 03 2010

by Gregor Gall

The longstanding cross party consensus on cooperatives has taken a nasty turn. Traditionally, all the main parties have all supported – albeit a token way – the ideas of cooperatives.

For ‘old’, social democratic Labour, this has been about supporting workers and extending industrial democracy. Here the notion was that workers should be supported when they try to buck the outcomes of the market, even if cooperatives were a far from perfect means to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

the continuing assault on the unions

20 02 2010

by Bill Butlin

As the general election approaches both the Labour and Conservative parties aren’t saying much about what they plan to do to trade unions. Why is this?

The silence reflects a pro business consensus in the two main parties, that ‘disorderly’ and ‘illegitimate’ collective action by workers is a pathology that harms business, employees and the consumer. And was it not that son of Thatcher Tony Blair himself who boasted loudly that ‘The Labour Party is the party of modern business and industry in Britain’? Read the rest of this entry »

a class war in westminster?

13 01 2010

by Adam Ford

When Gordon Brown claimed the Conservative Party’s inheritance tax policy was “dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton”, he must have thought he was scoring an easy political point. However, he had touched off a storm which would fascinate politicians and commentators for days, by alluding to the great unmentionable: social class.

David Cameron responded by complaining that the “petty, spiteful, stupid” line marked the start of a Labour Party-led “class war” against the wealthiest in society, and pundits speculated that Chancellor Alistair Darling would use his pre-budget report to launch swingeing attacks on those at the top of the tree. In the event, he merely proposed a one-off tax on banker bonuses over £25,000. Considering the government has already spent £850 billion bailing out the banks, the £550 million he forecast this would bring in amounts to just a drop in the bucket. Even so, he provided sufficient loopholes to protect bankers from even this puny infringement on their enormous wealth, and increased VAT, which disproportionately hits the poorest. Normal service had resumed. Read the rest of this entry »

we’re not ‘all in it together’: no to austerity britain!

11 10 2009

editorial of The Commune

The message hammered home at the Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat conferences was clear: ‘we’ have been living beyond our means and now have to accept slashed public spending to steady the ship of state.


While a few months ago even the mainstream press railed against the excesses of the City of London and corrupt MPs, today their fire is directed almost solely against working-class living standards. The only questions on the papers’ and pollsters’ agenda are ‘what should be cut?’ and ‘who do you trust most to make the right cuts?’. Read the rest of this entry »


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