Sick man of Europe
[Re: I was wrong to criticise Thatcher in 1981 – but she didn’t go far enough, yesterday]
In the 1970s, Britain was called “the sick man of Europe” because our economy was in such a dire state – the unions were on strike constantly, with rubbish piled up on the streets, dead bodies not buried, and power cuts to homes. If someone had not managed to change things, where would the UK be now? We would likely have jumped into the euro as soon as possible, and maybe ended up another Greece. Our economy would have been far weaker, and the City would be nothing. Yes, if I were a union leader or miner, I would be upset. But the UK as a whole has benefited enormously from Margaret Thatcher’s legacy.
Nick Bosanquet asserts Thatcher inherited the Maxi economy, so-called after the notorious final product of the Austin-Morris empire. I owned three Maxis over a period of 17 years, including during Thatcher’s time in office, and they were solid, reliable and economical. If more economies were like the Maxi, perhaps the UK and Europe would not be in such dire straits.
Gordon Brown had to stay away from the euro. While the French turned a blind eye to Greece’s dodgy figures, they would have exposed our entry figures, with our soaring public sector pension liabilities, madcap PFI schemes and the like, as unacceptable.
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Some people are cross about the cost of Thatcher’s funeral: it’s roughly what the government spends every 90 seconds.
Extraordinary that Labour opposes capping benefits. They want some households to be able to claim more than £26,000 a year.
Plans to build a museum as a permanent memorial are a fitting tribute to Margaret Thatcher.
UK rebalancing? Little evidence in balance of payments. 2012 deficit was 3.7 per cent of GDP. Only 1974 and 1988-89 were higher.