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The worse recession since records began...

Discussion in 'Personal' started by modelmaker, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    As the news media report that under the Johnson government British exceptionalism has enabled us to beat the world in having the poorest GDP and questions are being asked whether it was entirely due to the pandemic or how much a part Brexit is playing in it, I'd like us to consider whether the real reason we are faring worse than other nations actually lies in poor economic decisions made 40 years ago.

    I put it to you that we would never have have been as vulnerable to the 2008 financial crash as we were and wouldn't be in the situation that the pandemic has left us in if we hadn't been converted from a manufacturing economy to a service economy by the Wicked Witch of Westminster.

    The trouble with service industries is that are so reliant on face to face contact, which isn't possible during a lockdown. Had we remained a manufacturing nation, we would have been taking advantage by now of computerised manufacture, which isn't affected by Covid-19.

  2. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I suspect that we'd have had a choice of low wages or high prices and could not have compered with many other manufacturers in the global market.
  3. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    Why would you think that? Britain once led the world in manufacturing and but for the damage done by two world wars, which incidentally our manufacturing and capability to invent, helped us to defeat Hitler, would have remained a key player.

    We were being told in the 70s that once computers and robots took over, nobody would ever need to work. It seemed unlikely at the time, but it's actually now a reality that factories that don't require a human to work inside them exist and production takes place 24/7, 365. We had the technology to be pioneers in that, before the daft cow and her even dafter party took over and turned us into a nation of spivs.
  4. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    Any evidence for that rather than a feeling? Much of the decline started in the 1950s
    needabreak likes this.
  5. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    There's plenty of evidence out there for the failures made by successive British governments from the post war period up to the modern day, but I don't think you can cite the 1950s as the precice monent when decline set in, without getting into context the notion of decline you are relying on for your assertion.

    Let's remember it was in the 50s that Harold MacMillan was able to claim without criticism, that the British had never had it so good.

    The big whammy came when OPEC unexpectedly hiked up the price of oil in the early 70s and no western government had a clue how to cope with it before North Sea oil and gas came online. If you want to find out why OPEC did what they did, when they did, you'd need to study the relationship Britain had with the Arab world in the immediate post war era. This might be a fair place to start. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/9347905.pdf.

    The problem is that those who rely solely on statistics without the historical context usually miss the point of why nations rise and fall.

    It might also be worth reflecting on how supermarkets were able to take over. I can remember the days when Sainsbury's had a cheese counter, a bacon counter and a biscuit counter. These days the shop sells clothes and televisions to increase its profits, but interestingly never stopped selling cheese bacon and biscuits in favour of the new products it added to its range.

    For some weird reason, the daft government we elected in 1979 didn't comprehend how valuable the thing that made Britain great was and opted to back the fast buck products that can't be sustained for the long-term.
  6. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Britain once had an empire too that no doubt facilitated their dominant power... via access to materials etc... after all that was the point of it... some of those former colonies are among the fastest growing economies in the world in recent years... let's just consider that for a moment...

    This is key... why did they get into power?

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing but seldom changes anything.
    Thisistheone likes this.
  7. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Selling off council houses was a masterstroke by Maggie Thatcher. She turned the working class into property speculators. UK society, which Maggie denied the existence of, never recovered and now we have property speculators running the government.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Given the ‘Winter of Discontent’ perhaps fast bucks were needed to be fair:

    ‘ The Winter of Discontent took place during 1978–79 in the United Kingdom. It was characterised by widespread strikes by private, and later public, sector trade unions demanding pay rises greater than the limits Prime Minister James Callaghan and his Labour Party government had been imposing, against Trades Union Congress (TUC) opposition, to control inflation. Some of these industrial disputes caused great public inconvenience, exacerbated by the coldest winter for 16 years, in which severe storms isolated many remote areas of the country.[1]

    A strike by workers at Ford in late 1978 was settled with a pay increase of 17 per cent, well above the 5 per cent limit the government was holding its own workers to with the intent of setting an example for the private sector to follow, after a resolution at the Labour Party's annual conference urging the government not to intervene passed overwhelmingly. At the end of the year a road hauliers' strike began, coupled with a severe storm as 1979 began. Later in the month many public workers followed suit as well. These actions included an unofficial strike by gravediggers working in Liverpool and Tameside, and strikes by refuse collectors, leaving uncollected trash in London's Leicester Square. Additionally, NHS ancillary workers formed picket lines to blockade hospital entrances with the result that many hospitals were reduced to taking emergency patients only.[2]

    The unrest had deeper causes besides resentment of the caps on pay rises. Labour's internal divisions over its commitment to socialism, manifested in disputes over labour law reform and macroeconomic strategy during the 1960s and early 1970s, pitted constituency members against the party's establishment. Many of the strikes were initiated at the local level, with national union leaders largely unable to stop them. Union membership, particularly in the public sector, had grown more female and less white, and the growth of the public sector unions had not brung them a commensurate share of power within the TUC.

    After Callaghan returned from a summit conference in the tropics at a time when the hauliers' strike and the weather had seriously disrupted the economy, leading thousands to apply for unemployment benefits, his denial that there was "mounting chaos" in the country was paraphrased in a famous Sun headline as "Crisis? What Crisis?" Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher's acknowledgement of the severity of the situation in a Party Political Broadcast a week later was seen as instrumental to her victory in the general election held four months later after Callaghan's government fell to a no-confidence vote. Once in power, the Conservatives, who under Thatcher's leadership had begun criticising the unions as too powerful, passed legislation, similar to that proposed in a Labour white paper a decade earlier, that barred many practices, such as secondary picketing, that had magnified the effects of the strikes. Thatcher, and later other Tories like Boris Johnson, have continued to invoke the Winter of Discontent in election campaigns; it would be 18 years until another Labour government took power. In recent years, with the more radical Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader, some British leftists have begun to disseminate a counternarrative, positing the era as a height of union power whose aftereffects have been detrimental.’
  9. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Good historical summary, but it does not explain why the Tory policies since 2010 have impoverished ordinary people while the rich got ever richer, and continue to do so, and Brexit is their plan to get even richer. There has to come a point where huge measures are needed to drag millions out of poverty and we may have reached it.
  10. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    It' was never à plan to make people richer. as there was never any liklihood that it would do so.
  11. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    It should have remained the privilege of the middle - class. Working class people should know their place and be renting corporation housing.
    needabreak likes this.
  12. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    Like the 2008 recession this one isn’t the fault of the government. It was Covid. However both governments at the time were making policy that helped make it worse. Labours pfi snd lack of regulation of the banks and this lots austerity drive makes things worse. Yet people voted them back in 2019...:eek:
  13. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I'm guessing that's tongue in cheek.
    LondonCanary likes this.
  14. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    Which bit?
  15. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Global lack of financial regulation remember... its what the mice do with with loopholes when the cat does not even realise the consequences of the loopholes, or even that there are any. To start with few people knew what was actually in those A rated debts/sub prime mortgages that were being traded.
  16. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    All of it. I await LC's response.
  17. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    All of it. I don't like people saying the working class should know their place.
    needabreak likes this.
  18. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Anyone interested in UK/Saudi relations, and/or the arab/muslim region in general, would do well to read "Secret Affairs" by Mark Curtis.

    Whilst not agreeing with @modelmaker on many things, many of the points so far made in this thread seem fair and I respect the way they have been expressed (though the expected Thatcher-bashing is shortsighted and fails to take in some other important factors IMO.)

    The Aldamer thesis is known to be an excellent piece of work.
  19. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    No it’s my view on it.
  20. install

    install Star commenter

    Agree- the divide between rich and poor is getting bigger. I don’t blame one political party for that though. Don’t get me wrong I don’t like the Tories being in power, but they are the best of a bad bunch.

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