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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: The legacy of Thatcherism?
Hawk

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Likewise, there's the allegation that she destroyed communities - usually meaning villages or towns where virtually everyone worked in the same mine or factory. Community my arse! If you were a working class lad who wanted to go to university instead of straight to work in the local plastics factory, you could forget getting served in the local pub. You could forget most of your former friends even acknowledging you in the street. You call that a community? Places like that needed breaking - it was 1979, not 1926. And Britain was eventually the better for it, except in those pathetic places where such "communities" are still living off a generation of resentment.

Indeed. I think staunch anti-Thatcherites need to take a long, hard look at the stagnated and entrenched social situation of pre-Thatcher Britain and it might help remove some of the rose-tint from their glasses.

Britain needed to change, it wasn't working. The workers were kept down, unable to think about any social mobility. Yes there was cohesion, unity, community spirit. But at what price? Thatcher gave hope that poverty and grinding labour could be left behind if you worked hard enough. That anyone could be a millionaire, not just the elites. People mourn the loss of the pits, but were they so great? Would anyone nowadays want to live in a town where the only job you could ever dream of was such filthy, dangerous, back-breaking labour? If the pits reopened today the only workers would be Poles.

Thatcher fought for the power of the individual, and against the entrenchment of privileged groups. The entitlements and perks of established groups were swept away and personal ability was raised up to be the governing factor. Some embraced the new way, succeeded and became rich. Others fought for the old ways and lost and drowned their resentment in hate and bitterness, mourning the loss of what they felt they were entitled to.

Many became unemployed, but the welfare system was a net that stopped them starving, and after the crisis of the economic revolution passed, many got better jobs, safer, cleaner, better paid jobs. They weren't tied to the pit or the mill, they weren't slaves to the unions. Personal choice, equal opportunity, and free competition. This is the evil 'individualism' that many see as the curse of the modern world. Suddenly university, once out of reach of the ordinary man on the street, was now open to everyone. Any company now takes anyone, no matter their background, if they have the talent. Social mobility is a good thing.

Boogie provided the quote “She glorified both individualism and the nation state, but lacked much feeling for the communities and bonds that knit them together.” This is perhaps true. I think she saw individualism as a powerful tool for bettering people’s lives, and the nation state as a means to bind them together. She may have seen the bonds of certain communities as selfish, short-sighted and parochial chains that people needed to be freed from to allow them to grow and succeed. The caricature that Thatcher hated poor people and wanted them to suffer is of course entirely ridiculous. Everything she did, she did because she thought it was best for the people, and would improve the country.

Could Thatcher have reformed things without causing so much division and damage? Perhaps. But we have to remember the context. Scargill and his comrades refused to allow reform, refused to even consider it. They threatened to destroy the economy and break the country rather than allow reform. The country was almost bankrupt and their response was to strike for higher wages and even more benefits and entitlements. The culture of 'me and mine' was certainly in existence before Thatcher, just in a different form.

It was a social war long before Thatcher came to power. She didn’t start the conflict, she only won it. If Scargill wasn’t so powerful, if the Unions had been willing to compromise and accept reform then the damage would have been lesser, the changes wouldn’t have had to be forced through against an entrenched opposition, and the shock of change wouldn’t have caused so much pain to the communities.

[ 09. April 2013, 13:40: Message edited by: Hawk ]

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L'organist
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quote:
posted by Fletcher Christian

She didn't need to totally decimate the unions and would have been far better served to limit powers to a degree rather than try a head on breaking exercise.

She only decimated the brothers? Well - good news, surely? And there was me thinking they'd lost more than 10% of their members.
[Biased]

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Marvin the Martian

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That was a very good post, Hawk.

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Justinian
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Indeed. Thatcher knew what she was fighting against, and won most of the battles she fought - many of which needed winning. What she didn't have a clue about was where she was going because the future is an undiscovered country. And after more than ten years in power she was still crushing opposition that no longer needed it, and supporting people she didn't understand and was surprised weren't like her or her father.

And the current lot of Tories are trying to emulate her despite the fact she'd succeded enough in her own term that she became a liability. I can't blame her for that - no one's sight is perfect and it's harder to see from the centre especially when you came in fighting a battle that needed it.

As I said on the first page, she was in power far too long.

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I believe the full title of the Tory Party is 'The Conservative and Unionist Party'. In other words, they are (theoretically) about keeping the UK together.

Pre-Thatcher, there were many Tory MPs in Scotland, now there is one. When I was a young man, the City of Manchester - the City of Manchester! - was controlled by the Conservatives. Now they do not have a single seat on the Council. Stockport, a town I know well, was completely dominated by the Tories. Now, although relatively prosperous in Northern terms, it is run by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are nowhere near power. This sort of thing is replicated across much of the country.

In my view, they key legacy of Thatcherism is that the UK is a much more divided country than it used to be, and the splits in it are actually dangerous, politically speaking. There is already a fair chance that Scotland will split off, something that would have been unthinkable 40 years ago.

I consider that this destruction of national cohesion more than outweighs any good Thatcherism may have done. Moreover, it is bad even for the Conservative Party. They have lost their local organisation in large swathes of England, Wales and Scotland, and are utterly reliant on their South Eastern heartland. It is significant that their share of the vote at general elections has dropped significantly over the years, to the point where they could not even get a majority against Gordon Brown, one of the most detested and reviled PMs since 1945. It is worth adding that it is practically unknown for *any* government to increase its vote share at second and subsequent general elections. The long term damage is obvious, and will come home to roost.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Sighthound:
It is significant that their share of the vote at general elections has dropped significantly over the years,

Here is the actual share of the popular vote held by the winning party since 1970. The trend you claim does not in fact exist. The only trend that persists for more than a couple of elections is the slow-but-steady increase in the share of the vote that goes to third parties, at the expense of both Labour and the Conservatives.

1970: Heath: 46.4%
Feb 1974: Wilson: 37.2%
Oct 1974: Wilson: 39.2%
1979, Thatcher: 43.9%
1983, Thatcher: 42.4%
1987, Thatcher: 42.2%
1992, Major: 41.9%
1997, Blair: 43.2%
2001, Blair: 40.7%
2005, Blair: 35.2%
2010: Cameron: 36.1% (no outright majority, coalition with Clegg (23.0 %))

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Gamaliel
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It would be a good post Hawk, if it were true. But it isn't.

Thatcher or no Thatcher the UK, like the US, is towards the bottom of the scale for social mobility among OPEC countries.

The rise in university applications happened under Blair, not Thatcher. I went to university in 1979 at a time when only about 8% of youngsters did so - and I had a full grant and so on as I came from a 'broken home'.

It wasn't the Tories who got me to university.

Anyway, it's arguable whether Blair's 50% participation target was ever realistic anyway, but that's another story ...

I'd agree that there's a lot of rose-tinted sentiment about the pits and heavy-industry in general - but what have we ended up with? No industry.

We are a nation of financial services where nobody makes anything any more.

Some of you mewling and puking infants here who were barely alive when Thatcher came to power don't come from areas that were struck by the - perhaps inevitable - decline of the UK's industrial base.

That's not to suggest that the unions weren't corrupt and overly powerful in places - that was certainly the case - but it is to acknowledge the political reality of what the Thatcher revolution was all about. Sure, some benefitted, but there was a human cost.

Some days I can concede that one term of Thatcherism was a necessary evil, a short, sharp shock ... and yes, perhaps it was a nettle that needed to be grasped.

But three terms were two steps too far ...

We've got a divided society and whilst things are bright, light and flexible for some, they're certainly not universal panaceas for all.

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lilBuddha
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Originally posted by Hawk:
quote:
The workers were kept down, unable to think about any social mobility.
Now they can think about it. Cannot accomplish it, but they now pretend.

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Gamaliel
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Thanks lilBuddha, I think those were the stats I had in mind ... my brother-in-law is an economist and told me all about them ...

Social mobility for the workers under Thatcher, what a joke ...

[Killing me]

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by dv:
]Surely that was more to do with massive uncontrolled immigration - especially under Labour but still, sadly, continuing to a large extent with the ConDems.

No. Firstlyu because there wasn no "massive uncontrolled immigration" and we have stronger immigration controlks than most coutries do now or than we ever had before.

Secondly because immigrants tend not to qualify for or complete for social housing anyway.

Thirdly because loads of those immigrants were working in construction trades and actually buiulding more houses - for somebody. And it was the bankers and estgate agents and property devlopers - and the government - who decided who they were being built for. Blame them if you muist blame somebody. The British government decided that we needed to buiold more houses for the rich and fewer for the poor. And the property developers were glad to oblige.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:

Britain needed to change, it wasn't working. The workers were kept down, unable to think about any social mobility.

Where the fuck were you living in 1979? Different planet from the one I was on by the sound of it. Who were all these workers who were unable even to think about bettering themselves until some Tories came and showed them the way? I never met any, or hardly any. Then or since then. The miner who doesn't want his son to go down the pit and is desperate to get him a good education was already a cliche in the 1970s, it probably was in the 1920s.

And what sort of cloud-cuckoo-land are you living in now? Economic mobility got HARDER during Thatchers' period and has never since recovered to whre it used to be in the 60s and 70s. People are on the whole MORE stuck in the station in life to which they were born than they were in my parents time. I'll not neccessarily blame Thatcher for that - the same is true of the USA where she never ruled, and possibly for Australia and even France as well - but its simple untruth to say that the problem was fixed in her time.

Economic mobility is one thing we have good data on, we're able to tell what the chances are that someone whose parents were in, say, one stratum of income will remain there when they are adult, or what the chances are of moving a certain distance along an income or status scale from where your parents were. And as far as I know in pretty much all the rich countries social mobility increased in the 1950s and 60s, and has been decreasing since the 80s. And it seems that nowadays Britain is rather less mobile than Germany (up to the 1950s they were less moblile than us) and we are all less mobile than Sweden. On the other hand income stratification in the USA is now more rigid than in the UK.

So what actually happened is the oppostie of what you seem to think happened. And the chances are that Thatcher didn't have much to do with it either way, though the policies of all British governments since then have done little or nothing to make things better.

Look, we actually have data on this. Facts Stuff we know. At least about richu industrial or post-industrial countries. Not to tell whether or not socialism would or would not be better than capitalism, becauyse we have no socialist economies to compare with the capitalist ones. But between the different styles of government we have, we can see which leads to greater social mobility or not. And the evidence is pretty conclusive that a more comprehensive welfare state with higher taxation tends to make a country more socially mobile, not less. We don't really actually know much about th elikely effect of government poilicies but that is one thing we do know. Oh, and we know that a fully funded natoinal health system is cheaper for everyone and more effective on average than private health insurance is. (We also know that higher unemplyment benefit makes it slightly more likely that unemployed people will get a job quickly, not less, but don't tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer)

Hmmm... I think we know that free trade cuts prices and and leads to economic growth. And I think we know that immigration is almost always of economic benefit to the coutries that the migrants leave asd well as the ones they go to. (If freely chosen - refugees and so on are different) And we know now (though I didn;t believe it until it ha[ppened here because it sounds so counter--intuitive) that a legally enforceable minimum wage can actually increase the number of people employed in low-wage jobs. I suppose we know quite a lot really.

[ 09. April 2013, 14:51: Message edited by: ken ]

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Ken

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Albertus
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quote:
The miner who doesn't want his son to go down the pit and is desperate to get him a good education was already a cliche in the 1970s, it probably was in the 1920s.
Be fair, ken, Thatch (and Major after her) went quite a long way to helping that miner achieve at least the first part of his wish.

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Where the fuck were you living in 1979? Different planet from the one I was on by the sound of it. Who were all these workers who were unable even to think about bettering themselves until some Tories came and showed them the way? I never met any, or hardly any. Then or since then. The miner who doesn't want his son to go down the pit and is desperate to get him a good education was already a cliche in the 1970s, it probably was in the 1920s.

The planet where I was living was called County Durham, which I left in 1980. I haven't lived there since.

When I was at the local comprehensive in the late 70s, our "careers advice" was pretty simple: you decided which of three local factories you wanted to work in. If you wanted manual work, you did this at age 16; if you wanted clerical work you stayed on till you were 18. If you wanted to go to university, you were a problem. "And don't even think about Oxford or Cambridge - this school doesn't do that."

What passed for community cohesion in that town consisted of the people in whose company you walked out of the school gates, and in through the factory gates. It was inward-looking, parochial, and unambitious. The term "inverted snobbery" could have been invented for it.

And don't forget that "I'm all right, Jack" wasn't a catchphrase invented in the Thatcher years - it had been around at least since the Second World War, and had become the caricature of the British trades union by the end of the 1950s. Anybody who thinks the unions were about gaining a better society has rose-tined glasses on: some of them were about getting a bigger slice of the cake for their members regardless of the cost to anybody else; the rest were about wrecking British society in the hope of provoking a revolution.

Does anybody remember the Not the Nine O'Clock News sketch about union "democracy"? Four people sitting in a meeting room. The question is, shall we have tea or coffee? Three of them decide they want tea. The fourth is the union rep, who says, "Well I've got three million votes for coffee." That is what the unions called democracy.

I'm no great fan of Thatcher. I think she did great harm in all sorts of ways. But I'll certainly praise her for that one thing she achieved: she broke the old-style unions, and not before time.

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L'organist
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quote:
posted by Gamaliel
Thatcher or no Thatcher the UK, like the US, is towards the bottom of the scale for social mobility among OPEC countries.

The greatest driver of social mobility is education - good education with near-as-dammit everyone achieving a good enough level of literacy, etc, so that they can participate in, if they wish, or at least appreciate, all activities that make-up the cultural heritage of the country they live in.

We have accepted a state where no historic time-line is taught - thus depriving many of a framework with which to visit castles, museums, etc.

The English syllabus makes it possible to emerge from school at the age of 18 without ever having been exposed to a full Shakespeare play or having the faintest idea of the plotlines of any Dickens novel; and learning by rote is out so the best way to appreciate great poetry (Wordsworth or Keats anyone?) is denied to children when their minds are most receptive.

Music is in danger of disappearing completely - but even now that it is (supposedly) taught you can emerge from a school rated "excellent" for music having never been exposed to the works of Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, etc, etc - but you've done a project on steelbands and written your own rap.

Visual art is something you do, not something that you appreciate - so a friend of my children thought Van Gogh was a cousin of Van Morrison (really). Monet, of course, used to play at left back for Marseilles.

And what do the US and UK have in common? A comprehensive education system which is not standard across the country, a "praise" culture from Kindergarten to A-level, and - final nail in the coffin - a hugely expensive tertiary education system that will increasingly deprive all but the richest of the best university level teaching. In the UK we have a National Curriculum which would be hugely improved if it aimed to get every child by age 18 to the level of a successful 1950s 11+ candidate in English, History and Geography.

And if you think I'm some out-of-touch crypto fascist in an ivory tower, I have children who have only just completed secondary school and with whom I verified the above about English, Music and Art. My children are well aware of the opportunities denied to pupils at a state school but enjoyed by those educated at public school and realise they are fortunate to have parents who could fill in the gaps left by the so-calld National Curriculum. The Duke of Edinburgh Award covers some of the ground previously dealt with by schools - map-reading, for example - but the cost of equipping a child for DofE can be prohibitive - and many schools don't do it.

And it doesn't all come down to money: how much, really, does it cost for a teacher to "do" a Shakespeare play once a term, rehearsing at lunchtime or after school? What does it cost to read To Autumn to pupils, rather than giving out a photocopied verse by Ogden Nash for them to make notes on?

Of course, it used to be that teachers saw it as their job to fill in a lot of these cultural gaps through extra-curricular activities but, in my very recent experience - at said "excellent (andCofE !) school - this doesn't happen.

... my youngest having just read this made the following comment: "Basically, if your parents didn't go to Public School, if they couldn't afford or wouldn't take you to museums and galleries, if they didn't know about and listen to classical music and take you to concerts, specially if they're under 50 when you're born, you're fucked." Not elegant but eloquent and heartfelt.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
When I was at the local comprehensive in the late 70s, our "careers advice" was pretty simple: you decided which of three local factories you wanted to work in. If you wanted manual work, you did this at age 16; if you wanted clerical work you stayed on till you were 18. If you wanted to go to university, you were a problem. "And don't even think about Oxford or Cambridge - this school doesn't do that."

That sort of school still exists, though. Mine wasn't like that, but I've met enough people who in the period 1995-2005 went to a school that simply had nothing to offer pupils who wanted to go to university, to be under any illusions that Thatcherism put paid to that mentality.

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Saul the Apostle
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Thatcher was divisive.

Coming from Liverpool I know that and many people have very strong views about her divisiveness. With hindsight I see her as a more divisive figure than when I lived among it in the early 1980s.

Cameron said she ''saved this country'' in his post mortem statement. I think some of us would robustly challenge that sentiment.

My view is that her legacy was incredibly divisive at home in particular - and by a strange twist of fate - she strode the world stage and was part of that era when great changes were happening (the end of the cold war etc.).

She took that world stage as a gift with both hands and as stated had a good working relationship with both Reagan and Gorbachev.

Overall I would tend to agree with Gamaliel with his take on things. The GDP for the economy may have been going up, but I certainly don't think we can just use economic measures to measure a countries well being.

In many ways we have become less of a society, less cohesive and more venal and shallow in some respects. It would be churlish to say there have been no markers of progress in our country from Thatcher onwards, but it is noticeable that the urban North of England, Scotland and Wales are virtually no go areas for Conservatives these days.

That must say something about her legacy and the lack of Conservative blue in a large area of these islands?

Saul

[ 09. April 2013, 15:33: Message edited by: Saul the Apostle ]

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lowlands_boy
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
quote:
posted by Gamaliel
Thatcher or no Thatcher the UK, like the US, is towards the bottom of the scale for social mobility among OPEC countries.

The greatest driver of social mobility is education - good education with near-as-dammit everyone achieving a good enough level of literacy, etc, so that they can participate in, if they wish, or at least appreciate, all activities that make-up the cultural heritage of the country they live in.

<SNIP LOTS OF STUFF>

... my youngest having just read this made the following comment: "Basically, if your parents didn't go to Public School, if they couldn't afford or wouldn't take you to museums and galleries, if they didn't know about and listen to classical music and take you to concerts, specially if they're under 50 when you're born, you're fucked." Not elegant but eloquent and heartfelt.

In what way does a lack of exposure to classical music result in your life prospects being "fucked"? I think we conclude from most of the posts on this thread that a bit of Beethoven or whatever is not what's been missing from all the people who think Mrs Thatcher "fucked" them.

Assuming we mean severely impaired in some way, I would think they would be more impaired by not being able to read, write, perform arithmetic etc etc. My parents didn't go to public school and neither did I. Nor did my daughter. I'm not into classical music, she is. But I struggle to see any way in which that has negatively impacted my life.

ETA

And how many people have both parents over fifty when they are born? I would imagine pretty much everyone has parents who are under fifty when they are born

[ 09. April 2013, 15:45: Message edited by: lowlands_boy ]

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
Many became unemployed, but the welfare system was a net that stopped them starving

But Thatcher massaged the unemployment figures by getting many of them recategorised into incapacity benefit - which legacy we now suffer.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I loathed her - but I don't think it is her 'fault' that things turned out the way they did.

If it hadn't been her, someone else would have been elected to take the line she did. The electorate wanted a strong leader who would turn the country around'. They were fed up with Edward Heath's seeming weakness.

Surely Leo, even you can remember that wasn't a choice the electorate ever got the chance to make. Mrs Thatcher won a leadership election against Edward Heath on a franchise of Conservative party MPs. The only choice the electorate got was between a Labour Party led by Jim Callaghan and a Conservative one led by Mrs Thatcher.
I didn't remember it - i forgot that there was a gap between Heath's downfall and Thatchers election.

My abiding memory was of the 3 day week disrupting my exams and lectures.

Believe it or not, i was an idealistic supported of Ted heath and a Conservative Party member then. The folly of youth!

Mind you, I still strongly dislike Jim Callaghan.

--------------------
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Stetson
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Gamaliel wrote:

quote:
Thatcher or no Thatcher the UK, like the US, is towards the bottom of the scale for social mobility among OPEC countries.


Aw c'mon. Ya gotta be doing better than Iran and Nigeria!
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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
The greatest driver of social mobility is education -

It would be nice to belive that. If you have any statistical ev idence for it please tell us. No-ones really been able to find any for some decades.

In practice the greatest driver for social mobility in developed countries seems to be the availability of decent jobs.

Improving general standards of education might well contribute towards the general trend to economic development and increasing prosperity - I'm almost sure it does, it sounds very plausible, it really ought to, I want it to, though I have no real evidence that it does other than that it seems likely - but after we've got to near-universal secondry education - which in this country was some time between 1870 and the Great War - then further increases in the general standard of education won;t have an effect on social mobility as such. "A rising tide lifts all boats".

quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
When I was at the local comprehensive in the late 70s, our "careers advice" was pretty simple: you decided which of three local factories you wanted to work in. If you wanted manual work, you did this at age 16; if you wanted clerical work you stayed on till you were 18. If you wanted to go to university, you were a problem. "And don't even think about Oxford or Cambridge - this school doesn't do that."

That sort of school still exists, though. Mine wasn't like that, but I've met enough people who in the period 1995-2005 went to a school that simply had nothing to offer pupils who wanted to go to university, to be under any illusions that Thatcherism put paid to that mentality.
Well, yes. And the changes made to education by the Tory governments of the 80s & 90s, and continued by the nearly-Labour government that followed, have made that situation WORSE not better. Not particularly Thatchers fault, IIRC it was under Major that OFSTED and the National Curriculum and the target-driven league-table payment-by-results culture were imposed on schools, and the following Labour government did nothing to change that.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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L'organist
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lowlands boys:

I was commenting on a post referring to social mobility in the UK and the US.

It could be argued that the UK is riven by "class" and one of the causes for this may be a lack of shared enjoyments and experiences.

I was NOT saying that a lack of Beethoven is either going to "f**k" someone or that it is in any way down to Mrs Thatcher.

What I AM saying is that shared cultural experiences and values should be across the board and that this should start (must start) at school. If we accept that you can appreciate and value football whether you're a miner, manager or marquis, why no similar acceptance that child of the miner, manager and marquis have an equal right to be given a chance to appreciate Shakespeare as well as Die Hard, Van Dyke as well as Van Morrison, etc, etc.

Shared experience/culture/folk memory - call it what you will - can only be cohesive: people are marginalised if they don't have the tools to appreciate the same things. That is not saying that all must be forced to enjoy everything, just that they should be given a chance to that is not reliant on where they go to school and how much money the family has. Verdi for all YES, but not at gunpoint.

As for what this has to do with Thatcherism: it has been stated that her policies damaged or destroyed social mobility: but in reality the policy that did the most damage was that which decided that a "good enough" education was sufficient - because that's what we have in the UK in our comprehensives. Her government's introduction of a national curriculum should have reversed this but it failed miserably because, instead of being a bare minimum, it was swiftly changed into a gold-standard.

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lilBuddha
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Um, I do not think so. Educate the hell out of a group and it does no good if there are no opportunities for them.

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George Spigot

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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
Thatcher gave hope that poverty and grinding labour could be left behind if you worked hard enough. That anyone could be a millionaire, not just the elites.

I think I'll just leave this here.
Like it was an obscure piece of modern art.
People can come and stare at it.
Maybe poke it with a stick.

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South Coast Kevin
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Suck it up, George Spigot - some people view Thatcher's legacy in a far more positive light that you. It isn't self-evident to everyone that she had a grotesquely negative impact on the UK.

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Justinian
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quote:
Originally posted by George Spigot:
quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
Thatcher gave hope that poverty and grinding labour could be left behind if you worked hard enough. That anyone could be a millionaire, not just the elites.

I think I'll just leave this here.
Like it was an obscure piece of modern art.
People can come and stare at it.
Maybe poke it with a stick.

Oh, it's perfectly true. Thatcher gave hope to some who wanted to be millionares. That it's illusionary and Britain's social mobility is, after her reforms, about as bad as the US (which too has a mythology about being a "Land of Opportunity" despite having a social mobility lower than anywhere in Western Europe).

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
No-one has mentioned Niel Kinnock's appearance on the BBC retrospective.

He is still clearly filled with a passionate _loathing_ for...Arthur Scargill. ....

He has a lot of reason to be. It isn't only Scargill's contribution to a deeply polarised society. It was the way he repeatedly exploited, manipulated and abused the Labour Party's reluctance to disagree publically with Scargill or the NUM.

quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht
Here is the actual share of the popular vote held by the winning party since 1970. The trend you claim does not in fact exist. The only trend that persists for more than a couple of elections is the slow-but-steady increase in the share of the vote that goes to third parties, at the expense of both Labour and the Conservatives.

1970: Heath: 46.4%
Feb 1974: Wilson: 37.2%
Oct 1974: Wilson: 39.2%
1979, Thatcher: 43.9%
1983, Thatcher: 42.4%
1987, Thatcher: 42.2%
1992, Major: 41.9%
1997, Blair: 43.2%
2001, Blair: 40.7%
2005, Blair: 35.2%
2010: Cameron: 36.1% (no outright majority, coalition with Clegg (23.0 %))

I've said it before and doubtless will again. The most disgraceful feature about those figures is that a party could get a healthy overall majority with only 35% of the vote.
quote:
Originally posted by Ken
... Economic mobility got HARDER during Thatchers' period and has never since recovered to where it used to be in the 60s and 70s. People are on the whole MORE stuck in the station in life to which they were born than they were in my parents time. ...

A lot of that is attributable to the post 1945 Education Act generation climbing the ladder and then pulling it up behind them in the interests of their own children.

quote:
Originally posted by Leo
My abiding memory was of the 3 day week disrupting my exams and lectures.

Believe it or not, I was an idealistic supported of Ted Heath and a Conservative Party member then. The folly of youth!

Absolvamus te Leo. Who wasn't? It was a very reasonable reaction at the time, particularly the three day week.
quote:
ditto
Mind you, I still strongly dislike Jim Callaghan.

Not very likeable, but you've got to have a certain admiration for a man who managed to keep his own show on the road for at least a year longer than anyone should have got away with.

--------------------
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:

Anybody who thinks the unions were about gaining a better society has rose-tined glasses on: some of them were about getting a bigger slice of the cake for their members regardless of the cost to anybody else; the rest were about wrecking British society in the hope of provoking a revolution.

The trouble is that whilst a large part of problem was generated by the unions - the root of those problems was essentially a division based on class, and the grievances based out of that (or unions wouldn't have got any support to start with).

Thatcher suppressed the symptoms, without dealing with the root cause and indeed - as the social mobility figures demonstrate - succeeded in making things worse in many ways.

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George Spigot

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Oh I really like this quote:
quote:
Fury as news of her death is democratised on Twitter and newspaper columnists are denied their natural right to control her legacy.


--------------------
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Sighthound
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Sighthound:
It is significant that their share of the vote at general elections has dropped significantly over the years,

Here is the actual share of the popular vote held by the winning party since 1970. The trend you claim does not in fact exist. The only trend that persists for more than a couple of elections is the slow-but-steady increase in the share of the vote that goes to third parties, at the expense of both Labour and the Conservatives.

1970: Heath: 46.4%
Feb 1974: Wilson: 37.2%
Oct 1974: Wilson: 39.2%
1979, Thatcher: 43.9%
1983, Thatcher: 42.4%
1987, Thatcher: 42.2%
1992, Major: 41.9%
1997, Blair: 43.2%
2001, Blair: 40.7%
2005, Blair: 35.2%
2010: Cameron: 36.1% (no outright majority, coalition with Clegg (23.0 %))

Sorry, I am obviously missing something as by my reading those figures show a steady decline in the Conservative vote from 46.4% in 1970, to 36.1% in 2010, when frankly any remotely electable opposition should have won a clear majority. They also show that no government of any colour increases its vote share in a second or subsequent general election.

Therefore, unless hell freezes over, the Conservative share of the vote in 2015 will be lower still.

Now of course, it may be that the Labour share of the vote will go down too, but the figures for that party do not (IMHO) demonstrate a clear and steady decline. Two of Blair's vote shares were, for example, better than either of Wilson's.

The only sensible solution for such a deeply divided country is to introduce PR. That would give northern and Scottish Tories and southern Labourites some representation which they currently lack almost entirely. OK, it would probably mean endless coalition, but eventually the political wounds might heal.

--------------------
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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
The trouble is that whilst a large part of problem was generated by the unions - the root of those problems was essentially a division based on class, and the grievances based out of that (or unions wouldn't have got any support to start with). ...

It was more fundamental than that. No state can function with power bases within it that are of comparable weight to the core that is supposed to be the fount of law and justice, whether they be the Praetorian guard, union barons or medieval ones. That was the same problem as Henry VII faced in 1485. The fifteenth century might make great theatre, but one can tell from the Paston letters that it must have been dreadful to live in.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Sighthound:
... The only sensible solution for such a deeply divided country is to introduce PR. ...

Hear, hear. It might even give us a more mature political class, or is that too much to hope for.

I hope you at least voted the right way in the referendum - even though what was proposed wasn't the best option.

Another bizarre effect of our infantile system - according to the figure above, there was a 2½% shift in the figures between 1997 and 2001, but in 2001, hardly any seats changed hands.

--------------------
Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Gamaliel
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l'organist, I went to a bog-standard comprehensive in South Wales, I came out with three straight A's at A Level, went to university, got a First Class degree and went straight on the dole.

That was Thatcher's Britain.

Sure, the South Wales I grew up in resembled the County Durham that Adeodatus left in 1980.

The country is a lot brighter and more interesting now than it was back then, certainly.

But there are gains and losses on both sides.

I'm not a fan of the National Curriculum and my wife's a school-teacher and is seeing at first hand the damage that Gove is doing to our education system. The guy needs stringing up. If anyone could provoke me to violent revolution it would be him.

And Boris Johnson.

And Cameron and the toffee-nosed Eton twerps ...

And ding-a-lings like Hawk who haven't the first idea what they're talking about.

I'll let you off ... why, I don't know ...

But Hawk's up against the wall, Marvin's up against the wall ...


[Biased] [Razz]

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Gamaliel
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I don't see the pre-Thatcher era through rose-tinted spectacles, the '70s were a dreadful decade ... although things got quite creative and sparky towards the end ... Thatcher gave the yoof something to rebel against (although it'd started before that, of course ... 76/77 with punk) ...

Sure, the unions could be sinister and corrupt and there was something very stultefying about the heavy industry culture. I remember my uncle taking me down the steel works to show me round, obviously thinking that I'd be impressed and want to work there when I left school ... I was petrified ...

So yes, they'd sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind. But when it came it was chilling in its intensity.

I knew a chap who was on the picket-lines during the steel strike ... one of the first confrontations between Thatcher and the unions. He was all talk really, and pretty harmless. He wouldn't have hurt a fly.

In the initial weeks of the strike there was banter between the pickets and the local bobbies. They shared braziers, mugs of tea.

Then, one day, without warning, a line of coaches pulled up. They'd bussed extra police in from Bristol. The local lads weren't there that day, they'd been sent on other duties. As soon as the coppers got off the coaches the blokes on the picket-line knew that something was different, something was wrong ...

The Bristol police lined up and began to turn over their lapels and arrange/button them upside down so that their identification numbers could not be read and recorded. Then they drew their truncheons ...

It was planned, premeditated. It was class-war.

That was Thatcherism, Hawk. That was how humane her vicious regime was.

That is who you are allying yourself with. Can you square that with your conscience?

Can you? can you?

She presided over the must vicious, divisive, wicked regime since the days of Castlereagh.

Withdraw your comments, withdraw your ignorant comments. For I defy you.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Sighthound:
Sorry, I am obviously missing something as by my reading those figures show a steady decline in the Conservative vote from 46.4% in 1970, to 36.1% in 2010

Now of course, it may be that the Labour share of the vote will go down too, but the figures for that party do not (IMHO) demonstrate a clear and steady decline. Two of Blair's vote shares were, for example, better than either of Wilson's.

Perhaps it would be clearer to look at the first plot at this page, which shows the vote share since the war. You'll see that the Labour and Conservative vote share follows the same downward trend, mostly in favour of the Lib Dems, with some going to the other parties (nationalists, mostly, I think). The Conservative years after Blair's victory don't really look any worse than Labour under Foot and Kinnock, before John Smith made them electable.

quote:


The only sensible solution for such a deeply divided country is to introduce PR. That would give northern and Scottish Tories and southern Labourites some representation which they currently lack almost entirely. OK, it would probably mean endless coalition, but eventually the political wounds might heal.

Unfortunately, every time somebody mentions PR in the UK, it turns into some evil party list system (cf. European Parliament elections), which is just about the worst of all possible electoral systems.

If you want PR (and there's a reasonable case for it) you need to have large multi-seat constituencies with some kind of sensible voting scheme. 'Sensible' here means something like CPO-STV, with Warren's method for surplus transfer.

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George Spigot

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Then there was the time that the BBC were pressured into reversing the order of footage so it looked as if miners had charged at police instead of the reality that the police had charged at the miners. Seriously! We are not making it up. This shit happened.

--------------------
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Albertus
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Yup. STV is a solid product of C19 British Liberalism, designed for Westminster systems (and AFAIK only actually used in them). Keeps the constituency link and is broadly proportional (depending on how many members to a constituency of course). When I was an impertinent undergraduate I asked Michael Howard why he was opposed to STV, since as a Conservative he presumably believed in competition and under STV voters would be able to compare his performance with that of their other MPs and vote accordingly. He didn't even try to give me a reasoned answer- just went 'hmph' and sipped his wine. But I still think that Conservatives who claim to believe in competition shouldn't support a system like First Past the Post which gives a constituency MP a monopoly, so to speak, of his or her constituents' representation.
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Gamaliel
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Yes, it did. It happened with official sanction.

In the interests of balance, of course, I'd be the first to point to instances of aggression, dodgy tactics and pressure put on moderates and so on by the unions ... that was shit and that happened too.

But I dunno what it is, there are certain things that make my blood boil. I grew up in a solidly Labour South Wales and the local Labour Parties were as corrupt as could be. The local Freemasons were corrupt too. Nepotism and corruption were everywhere.

I'm not under any illusions about these things. British industry was almost Eastern European in its inefficiency back then. Something had to be done and I can see why it had to happen ...

And yet, and yet ... something in me baulks against the whole Tory establishment. It's visceral. I can't stand public schools and thick rich kids. Some of my best friends from university days were from public school so I don't have anything against them as people. It's a gut thing. It's visceral. It's under my skin.

I hate old Etonians. I hate the toffee-nosed English Rugby Union establishment. It's got bugger all to do with this debate but I can't abide it just the same. I can't stand UKIP, Little Englanders and the Daily Mail. I loathe the Torygraph.

I don't have any time for the hard Left either. A plague on both their houses ...

I don't know what it is. Call it the politics of envy, the politics of hate (now, steady on ...) but there's something about the elitist upper echelons of the Tory Party that brings me out in spots.

I have a less visceral reaction to the softer, milder, more human-faced old school pre-Thatcherite Tories ... guys like Kenneth Clarke. I've known Tory councillors in some places who've been the salt of the earth. I've known plenty of working-class Tories, my grand-dad was one. He grew up in a two-up/two-down slum dwelling as one of 12 kids and had to wear one of his sister's cast-off clothes until he went to school ... and then he was clothed on parish-relief in a uniform that made you stand out as a pauper ...

And yet he voted Tory all his life, he never threw a sickie, he never went on strike. I didn't agree with his politics but I admired him for all of that.

But it's when ignoramuses like Hawk come along saying that Thatcherism liberated the working-class and all that guff ... it just makes my blood boil.

I knew two girls who were both pretty moderate (and neither of whom knew the other) who were in London on that famous student demonstration when the police charged peaceful demonstrators on horseback and also drove land-rovers recklessly into the crowds ... as they were actually dispersing. It's a wonder no-one was killed.

They were both radicalised by the experience.

I fully accept that a lot of things were crap back in the 70s. I understand that.

But when Thatcher and her minions brought the full weight of the state to bear in order to oppress and stifle dissent ... when they stopped at nothing, when they used violence and brutality ...

Stuff the Tories. I defy them. I'm in my '50s back I'm reverting to my teens. Why? Because of mewling, puking, acne-faced spoilt-brats like Marvin and Hawk who pontificate about things they know sod all about.

Angry? You bet I'm angry. I'm angry despite myself. I don't like it but I am.

Stuff you. Stuff you. Stuff the lot of you.


[Mad]

--------------------
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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
Thatcher gave hope that poverty and grinding labour could be left behind if you worked hard enough.

Working hard has never been enough to escape poverty and grinding labour. Hard work was the lot of the poor, and the reward, now as then, is for the owners not the workers.
quote:


That anyone could be a millionaire, not just the elites.

Especially if you do what Thatcher did, and marry a millionaire.
quote:


People mourn the loss of the pits, but were they so great? Would anyone nowadays want to live in a town where the only job you could ever dream of was such filthy, dangerous, back-breaking labour? If the pits reopened today the only workers would be Poles.


The pits were becoming cleaner, safer, heavily mechanised and believe it or not more productive all the time. If you could see some of the former colliery towns in South Wales

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
When I was an impertinent undergraduate I asked Michael Howard why he was opposed to STV, since as a Conservative he presumably believed in competition and under STV voters would be able to compare his performance with that of their other MPs and vote accordingly.

You do want to go with something like CPO-STV, though. Straight STV is a little too easy for political parties to try to game with tactical rankings.
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
The trouble is that whilst a large part of problem was generated by the unions - the root of those problems was essentially a division based on class, and the grievances based out of that (or unions wouldn't have got any support to start with). ...

It was more fundamental than that. No state can function with power bases within it that are of comparable weight to the core that is supposed to be the fount of law and justice.
I don't know Enoch, I think your point is slightly orthogonal to the one I'm making. Of course a state that doesn't have a functional core will collapse, and plenty of states have done, and plenty haven't been founts of law and justice and survived largely due to their ability to wield raw power. I don't think there's some kind of natural law that states 'deserve' to survive necessarily.

The reason unions got the support that they did is because people had a set of class based grievances - some justifiable, others less so - and saw the unions as the better of a whole set of evils.

The prosperity that we have had since has been largely driven in this country by subsequent waves of speculative lending enabled by a liberalised financial industry - Thatcher's vision was of a property-owning democracy of savers with moral restraint. She got indebted spendthrifts.

Now that it's run out, the governing classes appear to have successfully turned the middle classes against the poor (mostly former working class) and managed to distract them from the fact that they too are gradually being emiserated.

Posts: 4035 | From: Berkshire | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
dv
Shipmate
# 15714

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by dv:
]Surely that was more to do with massive uncontrolled immigration - especially under Labour but still, sadly, continuing to a large extent with the ConDems.

No. Firstlyu because there wasn no "massive uncontrolled immigration" and we have stronger immigration controlks than most coutries do now or than we ever had before.

Secondly because immigrants tend not to qualify for or complete for social housing anyway.

Thirdly because loads of those immigrants were working in construction trades and actually buiulding more houses - for somebody. And it was the bankers and estgate agents and property devlopers - and the government - who decided who they were being built for. Blame them if you muist blame somebody. The British government decided that we needed to buiold more houses for the rich and fewer for the poor. And the property developers were glad to oblige.

Firstly: Over 200,000 net immigrants per year is mass immigration by any historical standard. That must have an impact on housing need.

Secondly: Immigrants with children DO qualify for social housing and other housing benefits.

Thirdly: It is inaccurate to suggest that "loads" of the permanent immigrants came here to be involved in construction during this period. I haven't seen many South Asian or West African builders, for example.

(More data at migrationwatchuk.org for those with eyes to see.)

Posts: 70 | From: Lancs UK | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged
Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
# 3200

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
...Economic mobility is one thing we have good data on, we're able to tell what the chances are that someone whose parents were in, say, one stratum of income will remain there when they are adult, or what the chances are of moving a certain distance along an income or status scale from where your parents were...

Yes but that maybe beside the point.

What stratum of income or status does not indicate is quality of life. The assumption that having less money then others means your quality of life drops is false. With advances in health care and communications,for example, all of us in the West are living better lives then the equivalent strata 40 years ago.

Where Hawk is wrong is that Thatcher had nothing to do with the rise of technology.

Yes, there is still a lot of poverty. But, the ability to access information provides a huge boost to mortality and quality of life. Life is getting better (if you live in a place where such things are affordable).

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

Posts: 5025 | From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Saul the Apostle
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# 13808

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For many of us (be it for good or ill) Thatcher was the soundtrack to our lives.

The strong statement by Prime Minister David Cameron about Thatcher was:

quote:
"Margaret Thatcher didn't just lead our country – she saved our country,"
This is debatable of course and we've been knocking that around on this thread.

I came across an article in today's 'Independent' which examines the claim.

Makes interesting reading.....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/did-margaret-thatcher-really-save-britain-8566596.html

Saul the Apostle

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"I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest."

Posts: 1772 | From: unsure | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged
Barnabas62
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# 9110

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quote:
Originally posted by Banner Lady:
I overheard an intriguing statement this morning: That Annette Funnicello (who died at the age of 70, this week from Multiple Sclerosis) arguably had more of an impact on our world's societies than Margaret Thatcher. Hmmmmm.....

Originally posted in a new thread now closed.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Enoch
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# 14322

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by Banner Lady:
I overheard an intriguing statement this morning: That Annette Funnicello (who died at the age of 70, this week from Multiple Sclerosis) arguably had more of an impact on our world's societies than Margaret Thatcher. Hmmmmm.....

Originally posted in a new thread now closed.
Who was Annette Funnicello? I think she's unknown over here.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7610 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
Yes, there is still a lot of poverty.

And there always will be, so long as the ludicrous definition of poverty as "earning less than half the national average" is being used. It's ridiculous - everybody in the country could have a yacht in the Mediterranean and still some of them would count as poverty-stricken.

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Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Enoch
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# 14322

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
Yes, there is still a lot of poverty.

And there always will be, so long as the ludicrous definition of poverty as "earning less than half the national average" is being used. It's ridiculous - everybody in the country could have a yacht in the Mediterranean and still some of them would count as poverty-stricken.
As in 'every school must be in the highest quartile'.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7610 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Kaplan Corday
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# 16119

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Who was Annette Funnicello?

M-I-C

See you real soon!

K-E-Y

Why? Because we like you!

M-O-U-S-E

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Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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Annette Funicello info.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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