Remember the 1970s when voting today

#1
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/...0501.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2005/05/05/ixop.html

Back in the Conservative fold - because I recall the 1970s
By Stephen Robinson
(Filed: 05/05/2005)

A few months ago, I made an idiot of myself on this page. Enraged by the Tories' craven decision to go along with David Blunkett's multi-billion-pound ID card racket, I was foolish enough to write one of those pieces that announce themselves with a headline writer's toe-curling flourish: "Why I, as a life-long Conservative, am going to vote for the Liberal Democrats." The appropriate response to all articles of this type is for readers to shrug their shoulders and ask: "Who the hell does he think he is?" But I was surprised by the vehement response from readers, many of whom wrote to say that, though they absolutely agreed with my diagnosis of the Conservatives' feebleness, they deplored the intellectual dishonesty of my intention to vote Lib Dem.

The letters set me thinking, not so much about the embarrassing Lib Dem aspect of my argument, but why I might regard myself as "a life-long Conservative". And the reason, I realise now, is that I am a child of that most unglamorous decade, the 1970s. I became a teenager just as the post-war economic consensus came apart, and the governments of Edward Heath and Harold Wilson found themselves equally incapable of governing.

For those too young to remember that decade, it is difficult to overstate the awful sense then of the inevitability of our national decline. For people of my parents' generation, the 1970s hold no particular dread, but that is because they lived through the Second World War and therefore remember far greater horrors.

A friend mused over lunch the other day that she was voting Labour because she wanted to go back to an era when the trains ran properly and post offices were not shutting down. But that is not my memory of the 1970s. My childhood recollections are of my English teacher - admittedly a BMW-driving bachelor with a private income - urging us all to emigrate before it was too late. My teenage years coincided with miners' strikes and three-day weeks, sugar shortages and power cuts, visits to my father's bank to get my passport stamped so I could take my measly £20 of foreign exchange on a school trip to France, and broken-down Jaguars on the hard shoulder of the M1. To those who recall the golden age of pre-privatised rail travel, I offer memories of unspeakable objects slopping around in British Rail lavatories, which I never flushed while the train was in the station, but others clearly did judging by the stink as I waited forlornly on Platform 3.

This was an age when it was assumed that governments knew best how to order our lives, an age of industrial policy, of one nationalised airline fixing exorbitant fares with another, of waiting three months for a telephone to be installed, and then being grateful.

Let us for a moment ignore all the background noise of this election campaign about immigration and asylum, Michael Howard's personality and "Blair's lies" over Iraq. Let us concentrate instead on one indisputable consequence of a Labour victory today.

A Blair government will lead this country further away from the Thatcher reforms, further even than it has already done over the past eight years, and back to the 1970s. It will do this by raising levels of taxation on all of us, and by reinforcing Labour's burgeoning client state of standards officers and best practice enforcers and by enslaving more and more of us into various means-tested tax credit regimes.

It will pick off more and more potential supplicants for its client state - our children with incomprehensible "baby bonds", our parents with "free" television licences even as they denude their pension funds. And before we know it, and within three years by the Treasury's own reckoning, we will have returned to an economic order we last experienced before the Thatcher tax reforms of the early 1980s, when the state consumed more than 40 per cent of our gross domestic product. As Gordon Brown enthuses in public about the American way of doing business, he imposes on all of us European levels of taxation and bureaucratic oversight that will throttle the economic growth we now take for granted.

A Brown government - which will surely come much sooner than the Prime Minister thinks - will increase the pace of this reactionary counter-attack on Britain's economic and national revival. Economies are wobbling on both sides of the Atlantic, there is a hole in our public finances, and nearly one million manufacturing jobs have vanished in the past eight years, almost unnoticed in this election campaign. The Brown "economic miracle" has been sustained by his spending on an expansion of the public sector, and by our spending in the high street. This cannot go on indefinitely, and very soon after a Labour victory, virtually everyone who is reading this page, and their parents if they are still alive, and their children if they are old enough to have jobs, will be paying more in tax.

Even if basic rates of taxation do not go up immediately, more cash will be fiscally dragged from you by a freeze on thresholds, and if you think your council tax is already high, just wait until you are re-banded and a man with a clipboard finds you have increased your mortgage to build a new conservatory.

New Labour ministers would laugh at the notion that they are taking the country back to the 1970s. Certainly, no government would now seriously contemplate renationalising BT or British Airways, not least because they couldn't afford to. But if you doubt that the Clause 4 controlling instinct remains at the heart of Labour's governing credo, look at the evidence presented in The Daily Telegraph's City pages over the past few days about how Stephen Byers and the Cabinet allegedly engineered the collapse of Railtrack and seized the assets of tens of thousands of small shareholders, dismissively referred to in internal e-mails as "grannies".

I wish the Conservatives had put the freedom of the individual at the heart of their election campaign. I wish they had taken aim not just at our broken asylum and immigration system, but also at idle police forces that prefer to enter into speed limit partnerships with the private sector than to catch criminals. I wish, too, that the Tories had recanted their earlier support for ID cards totally, rather than merely abstain in the third reading of the Bill.

Fortunately for me, the Liberal Democrats have made it easy for their fickle supporters to defect at this late stage. They plan even more absurdly retrograde redistributive tax increases; they have learnt nothing from the past 25 years.

I appreciate that I have forfeited all authority with my earlier rashness, but, for what it is worth, I shall be voting Conservative today, because I remember the 1970s - and they didn't work.
 
#2
Good find stoatman.

I think i need a beer :(
 
#3
John remembers the 70's. Inflation you wouldn't beleive it.
In mid 60s I could buy 16 pints of bitter for £1.
Ah and the along came Maggei. Not a nice lady but a needed lady.
Blur/Brown inherited maggeis legacy now bruin wants to give it all away, Africa why what did he do wrong?
john
 

Goatman

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Book Reviewer
#4
Good post....I too remember the 70's ( when I had hair)....but I won't be voting Tory today because I also remember the bitterness and polarization caused by Thatcher and more importantly by the rag-bag of sleazy trough-snouting Alan B'staad clones she surrounded herself with.

I voted Tory in 1979 'cos I was sick to death of the Union block vote running my country.

I voted Labour in 1997 'cos I was sick of arrogant First-Class compartment chauffeur-driven real-world insulated Tories telling me that the State had no part to play in people's lives and there was 'no such thing as Society' and the devil take the hindmost.

I will vote Lib Dem today because even though there is no chance of them forming a government, I will at least be voting for an outfit that believes in more than share prices and headlines.

<< Aux armes les citoyens! Formez vos Battailons! >>

Le Chevre
 
#6
Goatman said:
...
I will vote Lib Dem today because even though there is no chance of them forming a government, I will at least be voting for an outfit that believes in more than share prices and headlines.

<< Aux armes les citoyens! Formez vos Battailons! >>

Le Chevre
With a moniker like that I take it that you don't worry too much about a French run USofEurope then. :wink:
 
#7
I remember the 80's when Thatcher was in charge. Watching traditional industries Shutdown, Coalfields closed, Families broken up through strife, estates sent on the downward spiral to urban decay. All for the common good that is.
Send thousands of skilled workers to re-train as burger flippers, Kids who wanted to follow fathers footsteps through apprenticeships didn't have a cat in hells chance, No sonny you can go on a YOP scheme.
This country couldn't Manufacture a bean can.
F.uck fu.cking that
Sorry I and millions of others don't think so.
 
#8
Cpl_ripper said:
I remember the 80's when Thatcher was in charge. Watching traditional industries Shutdown, Coalfields closed, Families broken up through strife, estates sent on the downward spiral to urban decay. All for the common good that is.
Send thousands of skilled workers to re-train as burger flippers, Kids who wanted to follow fathers footsteps through apprenticeships didn't have a cat in hells chance, No sonny you can go on a YOP scheme.
This country couldn't Manufacture a bean can.
F.uck fu.cking that
Sorry I and millions of others don't think so.
Ripper, your quite right. It was a shame that so many had to lose their jobs and that industries had to be closed down and sold off, but without the foresight of Thatcher et al, we would still be producing 'bean cans' at costs way over the actual selling price and as such would be state subsiding certain sections of the community. But hey, the way labour love to dish out benefits, it seems as if we are anyway! :twisted:
 
#9
I remember sitting in a dark and cold house on the Isle of Dogs for three days because the miners were on strike and the power was turned off - my dad was laid off as his factory was shut down coz of no power and my mum had to get a job as a cleaner just so we could eat - I would glady kick the shite out of ANY miner I see for putting my family through that and listening to that marxist c~nt Scargill !

I live abroad now and will not be voting - but for that I could not vote Labour, I don't trust the Tories so I guess it would have been the Lib Dems

(Lib Dems - is that more than enough to blow the bridge? :wink: )
 

Goatman

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Book Reviewer
#10
MikeMcc said:
Goatman said:
...
I will vote Lib Dem today because even though there is no chance of them forming a government, I will at least be voting for an outfit that believes in more than share prices and headlines.

<< Aux armes les citoyens! Formez vos Battailons! >>

Le Chevre
With a moniker like that I take it that you don't worry too much about a French run USofEurope then. :wink:
ah oui, bien sur :lol:

The way Chirac is ducking and diving on the probability that mes amis en France look set with characteristic rudeness to tell him to shove his European Constitution where le singe hid his noix is most encouraging !

At least Arrsers like me with a smattering of franglais will be able to order a beer, even if our verdammt Euro isn't worth offering up in payment.... 8)

Die Ziegemann

ps try telling Peter De La Billiere he's a damned un-English frog-lover...I'll hold your coat....
 
#11
Ah, as ever, labour supporters are quick to blame Margaret Thatcher for the downfall of the miners and British manufacturing. This is a gross distortion of the facts. Whilst the management were not blameless in the demise of British coal and manufacturing industries, it is mainly the unions who were at fault here.

How so? Protectionist, uncompetitive and unaffordable practices. Whilst the standards (and costs) of living were climbing over here, they were way behind in Asia. Add that to the above and the end result is industries whose products were are more expensive than the imported competition. In the case of manufacturing, it also involved making goods were technically inferior in almost every way to the competition. This argument might not be popular, but it is factually accurate.

The government before Margaret Thatcher were a guilty party in this affair in so far as they failed to deal with the growing problem of union militancy early enough that the problem could more easily be dealt with. Margaret Thatcher walked into a situation where the unions had become so accustomed to winning by simply threatening to strike, they felt invulnerable. They also had absolutely no comprehension of the concept of sound competitive and efficient business practice.

And, whilst the miners whom Ripper so lovingly refers to almost constantly called for 'British workers solidarity' when they walked for whatever reason they deemed sufficient, (and thus threw the country into darkness), they most certainly did not practice that solidarity. Do you think they were buying British Leyland cars when they were at the height of their economic power? They most certainly were not. They were buying Datsun cars (now known as Nissans) from D C Cook.

Maggie Thatcher IS guilty of preparing to face the miners down. She knew that at some point, the government would have to stop bank rolling the coal mining industry, so she prepared. She knew that when the government demanded the coal industry adopted more efficient practices (ie, 1 man, 1 job!), the NUM would refuse to do so. So, when she faced them, she had over a years coal supply in reserve. The leadership of the minining union knew this. So used were they having governments cave in to them, they could concieve there was a possibility of losing. So if you want to blame anyone for the demise of mining, blame the miners themselves, for being too greedy and refusing to modernise.

As for manufacturing, you will be hard pressed to find any labour politicians referring to the fall of grace which the British manufacturing industry has gone through. There are good reasons for this. Again, it was largely union intransigence which prevented the manufacturing industry from modernising and making goods which technically and financially competitive with imported goods. Additionally, this government, as is well documented, have presided over an economic era which has seen the loss of over 1 million jobs, versus an increase of 850,000 public servants. Hardly a record to boast about - and certainly not one which suggests this government is supportive of the manufacturing industry. Indeed, the governments handling of the MG Rover debacle in 2001 and this year show they are anything but economically savvy or capable!

Add to this the current gloom in the city over the economy, and it could be that losing this election might be to the Tories advantage in the long run. The city are expecting lean times, at best. Recession is on the cards. Consumer spending is down, the tax deficit looms large and that equals increased taxes - and even less consumer spending. Throw in the increasing bureaucracy and red tape bought in by Msr Bliar and his cronies and that pretty much equals a recession.

It will be very difficult, even for a liar of Mr Blairs ability, to blame the Tories for a recession, when the government has been in office for over 8 years. They will difficult and lean times for the man in the street without a lucrative bookdeal and legal income to fall back on. Be assured, Mr Blair will not go short! So much for his 'New Labour!' A labour so new, it doesn't even economically support the part of the population which elects it into power! But, rest assured, they will still spin, lie and tax your ass to death!

So much for economic competence. Those of you who know of reliable ways of emigrating are cordially invited to PM at your convenience with relevant information.
 
#12
Agent_Smith said:
Cpl_ripper said:
I remember the 80's when Thatcher was in charge. Watching traditional industries Shutdown, Coalfields closed, Families broken up through strife, estates sent on the downward spiral to urban decay. All for the common good that is.
Send thousands of skilled workers to re-train as burger flippers, Kids who wanted to follow fathers footsteps through apprenticeships didn't have a cat in hells chance, No sonny you can go on a YOP scheme.
This country couldn't Manufacture a bean can.
F.uck fu.cking that
Sorry I and millions of others don't think so.
Ripper, your quite right. It was a shame that so many had to lose their jobs and that industries had to be closed down and sold off, but without the foresight of Thatcher et al, we would still be producing 'bean cans' at costs way over the actual selling price and as such would be state subsiding certain sections of the community. But hey, the way labour love to dish out benefits, it seems as if we are anyway! :twisted:
Yes, and the reason all that happened to British Industry, and had to happen, was what came in the 70's with the Labour Party, and out of control Trade/labour Unions.
 

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