NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

Thatcher Forged an Alliance Between Neo-liberalism and Neo-conservatism


Thatcher used her popularity from the Falklands war to push right-wing economic reform, leading to increased inequality -   October 3, 14
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



TRNN has... made its mark with amazing original reporting on the Middle East and international protest movements. - Caroline Lewis
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

Transcript

Thatcher Forged an Alliance Between Neo-liberalism and Neo-conservatismSHIR HEVER, ECONOMIST, ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER: On April 8, Margaret Thatcher died of a stroke at the age of 87.

Thatcher was the first woman prime minister of Britain, and presided between the years 1979 and 1990. She was nicknamed ?the Iron Lady,? and held the title of baroness. The term ?Thatcherism? was coined with her name to describe a version of public policy.

Margaret Thatcher won the leadership of the Conservative Party in the U.K. in 1975 and assumed a hard-line right-wing approach, with which she won the 1979 elections and kept her position as prime minister for 11 years.

Thatcher'?s rise to power signified a historic change which was paralleled in other parts of the world, for example, by Ronald Reagan's presidency in the U.S. It signified an overt effort to scale down the benefits offered by the welfare state, using the argument that welfare discourages people from working hard to improve their lot. It was an effort to repress unions in the name of making the labor market more ?flexible,? and privatizing state assets in the belief that private corporations would be more efficient in managing these assets than the government.

Thatcher pushed for legislation to restrict unions, and passed employment acts and a trade union act in 1980, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1989, and 1990. This legislation weakened the bargaining power of unions, and unemployment has increased during her reign by more than half a million unemployed. Unemployment increased especially in Northern Ireland and in industrial areas of northern England and Scotland.

Thatcher pushed hard for large-scale privatization, a policy which she helped make commonplace and legitimate throughout the world. She promoted the privatization of British Aerospace and Cable & Wireless, Jaguar, British Telecom, Britoil, and British Gas. After 1987 she proceeded to privatize British Steel, British Petroleum, Rolls Royce, British Airways, and water and electricity utilities. The massive privatization has brought short-term revenue to the British treasury, but the long-term income that these companies have generated over the years reached the pockets of private-capital owners.

These policies had immediate and strong consequences for the British economy. The income levels of the richest 10 percent have increased rapidly, while the average income of the rest of the population remained stagnant.

During Thatcher's reign, inequality has risen sharply. The number of children living in poverty has more than doubled.

~~~

MARGARET THATCHER, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Now, once you compress the incentives from the top down and say, it doesn't matter how much you earn, I'm going to take the lion's share away from you, then they say, alright, I'm no longer going to do the lion's part. And then they stop creating the extra wealth, which would both benefit them and benefit society as a whole.

~~~

HEVER: These policies, which have become known as ?Thatcherism,? stem from the neoliberal ideology. When Thatcher said ?there is no such thing as society,? she demonstrated the extreme individualism promoted by the neoliberal economic school.

This ideology enshrines liberty, and sees economic freedom (and the right to own property) as one of the most basic human rights.

But despite the seeming liberal morals of neoliberalism, Thatcher's politics were very conservative. While cutting public expenditure on welfare, she increased military spending to arm the British army for the Cold War.

But these arms were not used against the Soviet Union, but rather against Argentina. When in 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, which Britain considered ?British dependent territory.? Britain retook these islands by military actions. Hundreds of soldiers have died (most of them Argentinian), and Argentina surrendered after 74 days of fighting.

The military victory earned Thatcher her nickname ?the Iron Lady? and boosted her popularity just when protest against her economic policies peaked, allowing her to win the 1983 elections and continue with her policies.

Thatcher opposed sanctions against South Africa during the days of apartheid. She referred to the African National Congress (ANC) as a ?typical terrorist organization? and said it was ?cloud cuckoo-land? to suggest that Nelson Mandela would ever rule the country.

She supported Israel, and was the first British prime minister to visit Israel, in 1986.

~~~

THATCHER: Of course the chairman or the president of the Commission, Mr. Delors, said at a press conference the other day that he wanted the European parliament to be the democratic body of the community, he wanted the Commission to be the executive, and he wanted the Council of Ministers to be the senate. No, no, no.

Or perhaps the Labour Party would give all those things up easily. Perhaps they would agree to a single currency, to total abolition of the pound sterling. Perhaps being totally incompetent with monetary matters, they'd be only too delighted to hand over the full responsibility, as they did to the IMF, to a central bank.

~~~

HEVER: Therefore, Margaret Thatcher's legacy is not only one of right-wing economic policies in the name of individualism, but she was also one of those who forged the alliance between neoliberalism and neoconservatism, an emphasis on security, conservative values, and domination through force of arms, with an economic system that claims to be free but contributes to increasing social gaps.

Thatcher passed away this week, but the alliance of neoliberals and neoconservatives that she helped forge remains strong to this day, not only in the U.K., but throughout the capitalist world.

This is Shir Hever for the Real News.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

Comments


Latest Stories


Police Violence Not Merely the Product of Police with Racist Attitudes
In Freddie Gray's Neighborhood, Residents Say Police Harassment is Constant
Houthi Arms Came from Saleh, not Iran
Washington State Teachers On Strike
Civil Disobedience Necessary to Protect Victims of Police Brutality, Says Activist
Michelle Alexander: Baltimore Must Organize to Stop Police Brutality
Town Hall Recap: Should the Community Control the Police?
2016 Presidential Candidates Test the Waters in New Hampshire
How a Protest Against Money in Politics was Spun as a Story on Terrorism
A Look at Failed Police Reform Efforts in the Wake of Freddie Gray's Death
The True Toll of Policing in Baltimore - The Arrest of a 7-Year-Old
Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Prevent 9/11? - John Kiriakou on Reality Asserts Itself (5/8)
Investigative Report Finds World Bank Displaced 3.4 Million People (1/2)
President Obama Makes Earth Day Proclamation in the Everglades
Analysts say Wall Street Fees Costing Baltimore Water Bureau Millions
In Their Own Voices: Protestors Speak Out as Feds Start Probe of Freddie Gray's Death
Chevron Back in Court for Worst Case of Oil Pollution on the Planet
UN Target of 2 Degree Limit for Temperature Rise 'Utterly Inadequate'
A Walk Through The Neighborhood Where Freddie Gray Lived and Died
TRNN Town Hall: In Conversation with Michelle Alexander
The Iraqi Pissing Match - John Kiriakou on RAI (4/8)
Syriza's Choice: Bail on the People or the Troika
Searing Testimony in Favor of Black Control of Police
Immigrants of African Origin Face Systemic Employment Discrimination
Baltimore Man Dies From Injuries Sustained While In Police Detention
Seattle Activists Fight Building of New Youth Jail
Iraqi Prime Minister Seeking More Funding to Fight ISIS
Five Year Anniversary of BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
My Reports on 1995 Human Rights Abuses in Bahrain Ignored by State Department - John Kiriakou on Reality Asserts Itself (3/8)
Eduardo Galeano Ruptured the Veins of Imperialism in Latin America

RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting