Fintan O'Toole: Are the English ready for self-government?
Let’s just say that if Theresa May were the head of a newly liberated African colony in the 1950s, British conservatives would have been pointing, half-ruefully, half-gleefully, in her direction and saying “See? Told you so — they just weren’t ready to rule themselves. Needed at least another generation of tutelage by the Mother Country.”
Brexit is a fabulous form of displacement – it acknowledges a profound and genuine unhappiness about how the British are governed but deflects it on to Europe.
It has merely marked out in bright red ink the fault-lines that have long been less vividly present – the drifting apart of England and Scotland; the economic and cultural divide between what Anthony Barnett calls “England-without-London” and the rest of the UK (Wales being the obvious anomaly); the social and geographic rifts between the winners and losers of the long Thatcherite revolution. Brexit, in a worst-of-all-worlds moment, brings all of these divisions to a head while doing absolutely nothing to address them.
Fightback against the billionaires: the radicals taking on the global elite
When Rutger Bregman and Winnie Byanyima spoke out about taxes at Davos they went viral. They talk with Winners Take All author Anand Giridharadas about why change is coming.
Margaret Thatcher's Last Performance as PM Part 4 - YouTube
Twitter thread for anyone foolish enough still to think Thatcher's economics (and Cameron's, and to some extent Blair's) were anything other than catastrophically bad for Britain or that Brexit is even slightly a good idea.
Margaret Thatcher's Last Performance as PM Part 3 - YouTube
The EU has put forward an idea which would keep Northern Ireland in the bloc’s customs territory, while the rest of the U.K. leaves. This would mean there’s no need for checks on goods crossing the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.Theresa May’s government says this will never be acceptable to any British prime minister because it would compromise the constitutional integrity of the U.K. Separating the British mainland from Northern Ireland in this way would be impossible for the Democratic Unionist Party — which props up May’s minority government — to sign up to.But — the counter argument goes — even China doesn’t think a bespoke customs deal undermines a country’s constitution. Beijing agreed to allow Hong Kong to operate by its own economic and customs rules even after Britain handed over power after 156 years in 1997. And this was in a deal negotiated by the famously tough “Iron Lady” of British politics: Margaret Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher's Last Performance as PM Part 2 - YouTube
A pomyśleć, że wcale nie tak dawno światem rządzili politycy tak wielkiego formatu.#MargaretThatcher #RonaldReagan
Margaret Thatcher's Last Performance as PM Part 1 - YouTube
Work by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University points out that old industrial Britain is still suffering from the consequences of the closure of factories and pits three or four decades ago. These communities have higher levels of unemployment and higher concentrations of people on disability benefit, and have suffered much more grievously from government welfare cuts. Unsurprisingly, they were also strongly in favour of leave.
North of the line that runs from the Severn estuary to the Wash, Brexit was the culmination of a 40-year process of de-industrialisation and casualisation of work. It was a protest about dead-end jobs, and about run-down communities being lorded over by London, talked down to and bossed around.
Imagine that the remainers have their way: a second referendum is held, and there is a different result, say 52%–48% the other way round. The clock is turned back to the Britain of 22 June 2016, life goes on as normal in London and the prosperous university towns, and the problems of the precariat are quietly forgotten. …
The same challenge, of course, faces the leave camp. It has promised the people of Stoke, Hartlepool, Doncaster and all the other places that voted to leave that life will get better. So far, the only alternatives have come from the right: either a low-tax, low-regulation Singapore-on-Thames model, or Theresa May’s empty promises to those “just about managing”. It is time for the left to come up with some ideas.
Thatcher's Last Stand Against Socialism - YouTube
Across the UK there are more than 700 PFI projects with a capital value of around £55bn. It is estimated that they will cost the public more than £300bn.These are all examples of the public losing control – over our bills, over our taxes, over our water and trains and schools. Will freeing ourselves of the shackles of the European court of justice or EU state aid rules or any other Brexiteer hobbyhorse allow us to “take back control”? On the basics that govern our lives we have lost sovereignty. Brussels didn’t sell us down the river: Thatcher, Blair and Cameron did.
The contexts of Thatcher’s Bruges speech of 1988
If any episode sums up the collapse of our own neoliberal era, it is surely Grenfell Tower. The right decry the “politicisation” of this human-made disaster, but to avoid talking about the politics of this calamity is like trying to understand rain without discussing weather, or illness without biology.The Tories are desperately attempting to shore up a system that has engineered the longest squeeze in wages since the Napoleonic wars, with deteriorating public services, mediocre privatised utilities, a NHS plunged into “humanitarian crisis”, and exploding debt. It can’t even provide affordable, comfortable and safe housing for millions of its own citizens. It is incapable of meeting the needs and aspirations of the majority. The right, therefore, is left with a dilemma. It can either double down and make the ideological case for its failings and increasingly rejected system, or it can concede ground.
Margaret Thatcher : "I want my money back"
Margaret Thatcher: "I Smoked So Much Ecstasy I Thought I Was A Ferret" #MargaretThatcher
Thread by @tfoale: "Adam, let me present you with some comparative economics, and then you tell me whether ANY Tory (and […]"
The Germans have a word for it: Geschichtsmüdigkeit, a weariness of history. The British were weary enough when Theresa May called a surprise general election on April 18th. It is just two years since the country’s previous general election, and less than a year since the divisive referendum that saw it decide to quit the EU; in 2014 a referendum in Scotland also put the future of the United Kingdom to the vote. A monumentally dispiriting campaign has only deepened the weariness. Tedious as it all is, though, history is being made.Brexit is the obvious reason. Whether it is Theresa May, the Conservative incumbent, who started from a position of strength but has campaigned poorly, or Jeremy Corbyn, the left-wing Labour leader, the winner will be forced to reshape Britain’s place in the world in highly adverse circumstances. The next government will also have to re-examine domestic policies on everything from financial regulation to fisheries as Brussels’ writ comes to its end.n has been dominated by neoliberalism, a creed that sought to adapt some of the tenets of classical 19th-century liberalism to a world in which the role of the state had grown much larger. It emphasised the virtues of rolling back that state through privatisation, deregulation and the reduction of taxes, particularly on the rich; of embracing globalisation, particularly the globalisation of finance; of controlling inflation and balancing budgets; and of allowing creative destruction full rein.At this election, for the first time since the 1970s, that philosophy has no standard-bearer.
Margaret Thatcher’s government drew up a secret blacklist of its own civil servants thought to be “subversives” in order to keep them under observation and block their promotion
All-night raves known as Acid House parties were spreading across the UK in 1989, ‘the Second Summer of Love.’ But it took a letter from an MP’s irritated uncle in the shires to get Mrs. Thatcher involved in the debate.
Why Not Treat Northern Ireland Like Hong Kong, EU Suggests to U.K.
"Gallup has released a report called, No Recovery: An Analysis of Long-Term U.S. Productivity Decline that explains that even with modest job and productivity growth post-recession, the productivity of the country is down overall. A big part of the reason for this stagnation and decline is because of the disproportionate growth in costs and decline in value in education, health care, and housing. The Gallup report tells the story that many of us have been repeating for years: we need more housing options. But local governments in fast growing cities have resisted housing production with zoning regulations.What’s happening with housing that’s affecting productivity? The Gallup report argues makes the case that Americans are paying more for less, spending an average of 28 percent on housing costs compared to 19 percent over thirty years ago. Part of this is the size of units is getting smaller, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Many people are choosing to live in smaller spaces with higher per square foot costs. The Urban Land Institute produced a report on micro housing, A Macro View on Micro Housing, that found many people chose smaller space because while the square foot cost of housing for smaller units is higher, over all rent is less.But the Gallup report lays the real blame squarely on local elected officials and the influence of incumbent homeowners that constrain supply with aggressive zoning.
The core problem with the housing market is that it is not allowed to function as a market at all. In a healthy market, an increase in demand for a product leads to a greater supply and prices stay the same. In housing markets, demand increases as new households are formed, which results from natural population growth and immigration. The problem is that new supply is massively restricted, leading to inflation (Page 98).
Americans are facing, especially in cities, is housing scarcity that is pushing up prices and consuming their incomes. The money lost to higher prices is money not saved, not invested in new ventures, or education, or meeting other needs. People want to live and work and cities because that’s where the opportunity is; but the report found that zoning is making it harder for new people to live in cities. Here’s a devastating indictment of zoning (emphasis mine):
Local zoning boards and planning agencies have almost complete discretion over what gets built where, and they are under intense political pressure from homeowners’ associations and other groups to block development in high-priced, low-density areas for cultural and economic reasons. Culturally, homeowners clamor to preserve what they regard as the “character” of their communities, by which they mean things like traffic, the race and social status of their neighbors, and environmental amenities like green space and scenic views. Additionally, homeowners have strong economic interests in restricting the supply of housing in their neighborhood for two reasons: having more people, especially people with young children, requires a higher tax rate on property, and even more fundamentally, greater housing supply in their neighborhood lowers the value of their unit relative to the prevailing scarcity. Thus, even as housing prices increased, U.S. population density actually fell from 2000 to 2010 for metropolitan area residents as newer housing units were pushed further out into the distant suburbs (Page 99).
But here’s what Gallup doesn’t say: progressive political rhetoric and policies blaming developers and building owners for higher prices provides the political cover to enact these kinds of measures that actually hurt poor people. And this is truly the scandal of the last three decades, that incumbent single-family homeowners have used the suffering of poor people to argue for policies that benefit their own financial interests while making life worse for people with the fewest dollars to spend on housing in the city, the very people that they claim to be worried about.Gallup says it isn’t done but will be producing more detailed ideas on solutions. The housing solution will have to require that local politicians and officials stop implementing policies that appear redistributive at the expense of developers and landlords, but that only make things worse for people seeking housing (see Seattle Mayor Murray's Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning scheme). Ironically the fees and taxes wrung out of the production of much needed housing will only raise its price, funneling the money raised into a manifestly inefficient system of housing production. As Margaret Thatcher famously pointed out, all these apparently socialist policies using taxes, fees, and zoning do is make the “poor poorer” while ensuring current homeowners see themselves get richer and richer.[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdR7WW3XR9c ]"
How Thatcher fucked up buses in Britain for decades and it still harms us.
No wonder the north is angry. Here’s a plan to bridge the bitter Brexit divide
The story of the past 30 years has been the relentless hollowing-out of industrial Britain, the single biggest change to the British economy in the postwar era. It is a continuing saga that was still in its early stages when Margaret Thatcher sent in the cavalry to deal with the striking colliers.That there will be no public inquiry into what happened that day in 1984 at least shows some consistency. Why? Because there has never been a satisfactory explanation for why Britain’s industrial heartlands were allowed to rot in the subsequent three decades either.¶¶The deleterious consequences of this profound change in the economy were kept hidden for a surprisingly long time. First, the windfall from North Sea oil disguised a growing manufacturing trade deficit and allowed governments to massage the jobless figures by shifting people off unemployment benefit and into long-term sickness.Labour had a different approach between 1997 and 2010. It took the tax receipts from asset-price booms in the south and recycled them into higher public spending in the north. Then the bubbles went pop, the money ran out and the cuts began.
The lie that poverty is a moral failing was buried a century ago. Now it’s back
The report’s co-author, Prof Steve Fothergill, said: “The long-term effect of job destruction in older industrial Britain has been to park vast numbers out of the labour market on incapacity benefits, these days employment and support allowance (ESA). The cost to the Treasury is immense, especially if all the top-up benefits are included.“Added to this, low wages in these weaker local economies have jacked up spending on in-work benefits such as tax credits and reduced income tax revenue. None of these impacts have diminished over the years, despite the recent upturn and efforts to cut claimant numbers.“We estimate that the ongoing cost to the exchequer, in extra benefit spending and lost tax revenue, is at least £20bn a year, and possibly nearer £30bn. To put this another way, approaching half the current budget deficit is the result of job destruction in Britain’s older industrial areas.”
Britain is still a world-beater at one thing: ripping off its own citizens
It is hard to exaggerate the scale of the disaster the British people have inflicted upon themselves with their decision to leave the European Union, taken in the referendum last June. More than three and a half months since the vote, some of this damage is difficult to quantify, including loss of influence with the US, Europe, and the wider world, the flourishing of insular nationalism, especially in England, and growing hostility toward immigrants—a tendency that had been already visible during the referendum campaign and was disgracefully exploited by the Leave campaigners. But in recent weeks, there have also been stark indications of a kind of damage that is readily quantifiable and severe: the damage that Brexit has and will continue to inflict on the UK economy—an economy that, after decades of mismanagement, is overwhelmingly dependent on foreign enterprise and foreign capital.
The old Tory order is crumbling – it’s taken Grenfell for us to really see it
"We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now."…"It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan “there is no alternative”. But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – “my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism”. The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty."…"Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement. We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that “in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised”.The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. “The market” sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations. What “the market wants” tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want. “Investment”, as Sayer notes, means two quite different things. One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities, the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains. Using the same word for different activities “camouflages the sources of wealth”, leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entre preneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.These anonymities and confusions mesh with the namelessness and placelessness of modern capitalism: the franchise model which ensures that workers do not know for whom they toil; the companies registered through a network of offshore secrecy regimes so complex that even the police cannot discover the beneficial owners; the tax arrangements that bamboozle governments; the financial products no one understands.The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively. But they offer us no substitute. Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom, Bureaucracy or Friedman’s classic work, Capitalism and Freedom."
Thatcher won in 1983 because of the Falklands War. The ‘Falklands factor’ could not be clearer from opinion polls. Prior to the war of April-June 1982, the Conservative Party was slumped at a consistent 27 per cent throughout late 1981, with a slight recovery in early 1982. But the Tories’ popularity shot up spectacularly with the war, hitting 51 per cent in May and remaining above 40 per cent right through to the general election. Labour under Michael Foot supported the government’s Falklands action; the Tory boost was not because Labour was anti-war.
The summer of discontent: Britain’s election offers little respite for its woes
While the focus was on the ridiculous argument about whether motherhood made Leadsom a better candidate for prime minister than May, less attention was given to Leadsom’s opposition to mandatory paid maternity leave for small businesses, or May’s previous opposition to various human rights legislation. Every column devoted to May’s hairstyle or suits is a missed opportunity to scrutinise the treatment of refugee women detained, on her watch, in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Centre.
margaret thatcher addressing the un on climate change - Google Search
"How like the Middle Ages, if it were so. Behind the twisted rhetoric of a hardworking majority oppressed by a welfare-mad government, a modern version of the medieval world has been constructed, one where the real poor are taxed more heavily than the rich; where most of those who are not rich are burdened by an onerous roster of fees and monopolies levied by remote, unaccountable private landlords; and where many of us live out our lives shackled to an endless chain of private debt.Since the Thatcher revolution in 1979, British governments have boasted of how they’ve lowered taxes. And they have, except for one section of society: the poorest 20 per cent. In 1977, the least well-off fifth of households paid 37 per cent of their gross income in direct taxes (like income tax) and indirect taxes (like VAT), against 38 per cent for the richest fifth. In 2014, the tax take from the poorest group had gone up to 37.8 per cent, while the taxes paid by the richest had gone down to less than 35 per cent.Not only does this understate the extent of tax cuts for the top 1 per cent; it shows only part of the burden borne by the least well off. Piketty writes that ‘modern redistribution does not consist in transferring income from the rich to the poor, at least not in so explicit a way. It consists rather in financing public services and replacement incomes that are more or less equal for everyone, especially in the areas of health, education and pensions.’ This is a very cautious definition of the modern social state. Health, education and social security make up the lion’s share of public spending, but they’re intimately linked to a wider set of networks that includes energy, water and transport and, some would argue, should include housing. What these networks have in common is that society has decided they’re essential, and therefore should be universal – that is, we think everyone should have access to them, all the time. The significance of this is that, on the one hand, society takes on itself the obligation to give its poorest members access to these networks, which they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford; and, on the other, payment to use these networks, if it isn’t funded out of general taxation, becomes in itself a tax, particularly when that network is a monopoly. In Britain, many of these universal networks, such as electricity and water, have been privatised, often twice – once to put them on the stock market, once to put them into the hands of overseas owners. Bills for these services have increased faster than inflation, and take little account of people’s ability to pay. It is the poorest, then, who as well as paying the heaviest combination of indirect and direct taxation bear the brunt of such hybrid public-private taxes as the water tax and the electricity tax.Other universal networks, such as health and education, haven’t been privatised, but have been through another process that makes them ripe for the introduction of flat fees for usage in future. This process really got going under Labour, and it is a sign of the liberal left’s failure to recognise what it has done that there isn’t a name for it. One word to describe it might be ‘autonomisation’ – the process by which state-run bodies continue to be funded by the state but are run autonomously on a non-profit basis. So state secondary schools become academies, NHS hospitals become NHS foundation trusts, and council estates are transferred to housing associations. The British state is in a condition of rolling abdication, leaving behind a partly privatised, partly autonomised set of universal networks, increasingly run by absentee landlords in the form of global companies and overseas corporate investors, that is disproportionately funded by the poorest payers of taxes, fees and duties, many of whom are also deep in debt.There is a cynical view which says that as long as the majority of the population feel they’re doing all right, a democratically elected government is safe to squeeze the poor and pamper the rich. But cynicism is a risky thing to rely on when a government is simultaneously cutting spending and shedding control of the universal networks on which its entire population relies. As Hobsbawm writes in Bandits, ‘concentration of power in the modern territorial state is what eventually eliminated rural banditry, endemic or epidemic. At the end of the 20th century it looks as though this situation might be coming to an end, and the consequences of this regression of state power cannot yet be foreseen.’ We’re a long way from the return of the literal outlaw to Nottinghamshire. But we need to remember the insight given our ancestors when they saw through the illusion of the Robin Hood myth, when they saw that the strongbox of silver coins wasn’t just money stolen from each of them individually, but power robbed from them collectively, and that they needed to wield that power collectively as much as they needed their money back. For sure, freedom to choose is a grand thing, and the market will try to help you exercise it. With a bit of money in the bank, a middle-class family might choose to send their child to private school, provided by the market; but that same family can’t choose to build and maintain a universal education network by itself, and the market won’t provide it. With money, you can choose to buy a car, and the market will provide it; but you can’t choose, all by yourself, to build and maintain a universal road network, and the market won’t provide it. To make and keep universal networks requires the authority of the state, an authority that has been absent; and it’s hard to see where that authority might come from if the people don’t find a way to assert their kingship."
How Margaret Thatcher Took On Acid House - The Daily Beast
"I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.leadershipserviceintegritycreativity
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.A spatial structure, the sentence also suggests a temporal sequence. Thinking clearly, it wants us to recognize, leads to thinking independently. Thinking independently leads to living confidently. Living confidently leads to living courageously. Living courageously leads to living hopefully. And the entire chain begins with a college that recognizes it has an obligation to its students, an obligation to develop their abilities to think and live.Finally, the sentence is attributed to an individual. It expresses her convictions and ideals. It announces that she is prepared to hold herself accountable for certain responsibilities.The second text is not a sentence. It is four words floating in space, unconnected to one another or to any other concept. Four words — four slogans, really — whose meaning and function are left undefined, open to whatever interpretation the reader cares to project on them.Four words, three of which — “leadership,” “service,” and “creativity” — are the loudest buzzwords in contemporary higher education. (“Integrity” is presumably intended as a synonym for the more familiar “character,” which for colleges at this point means nothing more than not cheating.) The text is not the statement of an individual; it is the emanation of a bureaucracy. In this case, a literally anonymous bureaucracy: no one could tell me when this version of the institution’s mission statement was formulated, or by whom. No one could even tell me who had decided to hang those banners all over campus. The sentence from the founder has also long been mounted on the college walls. The other words had just appeared, as if enunciated by the zeitgeist.But the most important thing to note about the second text is what it doesn’t talk about: thinking or learning. In what it both does and doesn’t say, it therefore constitutes an apt reflection of the current state of higher education. College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what it is about. So far, they have come up with buzzwords, mainly those three.This is education in the age of neoliberalism. Call it Reaganism or Thatcherism, economism or market fundamentalism, neoliberalism is an ideology that reduces all values to money values. The worth of a thing is the price of the thing. The worth of a person is the wealth of the person. Neoliberalism tells you that you are valuable exclusively in terms of your activity in the marketplace — in Wordsworth’s phrase, your getting and spending.The purpose of education in a neoliberal age is to produce producers. I published a book last year that said that, by and large, elite American universities no longer provide their students with a real education, one that addresses them as complete human beings rather than as future specialists — that enables them, as I put it, to build a self or (following Keats) to become a soul. Of all the responses the book aroused, the most dismaying was this: that so many individuals associated with those institutions said not, “Of course we provide our students with a real education,” but rather, “What is this ‘real education’ nonsense, anyway?”"…"So what’s so bad about leadership, service, and creativity? What’s bad about them is that, as they’re understood on campus and beyond, they are all encased in neoliberal assumptions. Neoliberalism, which dovetails perfectly with meritocracy, has generated a caste system: “winners and losers,” “makers and takers,” “the best and the brightest,” the whole gospel of Ayn Rand and her Übermenschen. That’s what “leadership” is finally about. There are leaders, and then there is everyone else: the led, presumably — the followers, the little people. Leaders get things done; leaders take command. When colleges promise to make their students leaders, they’re telling them they’re going to be in charge.“Service” is what the winners engage in when they find themselves in a benevolent mood. Call it Clintonism, by analogy with Reaganism. Bill Clinton not only ratified the neoliberal consensus as president, he has extended its logic as a former president. Reaganism means the affluent have all the money, as well as all the power. Clintonism means they use their money and power, or a bit of it, to help the less fortunate — because the less fortunate (i.e., the losers) can’t help themselves. Hence the Clinton Foundation, hence every philanthropic or altruistic endeavor on the part of highly privileged, highly credentialed, highly resourced elites, including all those nonprofits or socially conscious for-profits that college students start or dream of starting.“Creativity,” meanwhile, is basically a business concept, aligned with the other clichés that have come to us from the management schools by way of Silicon Valley: “disruption,” “innovation,” “transformation.” “Creativity” is not about becoming an artist. No one wants you to become an artist. It’s about devising “innovative” products, services, and techniques — “solutions,” which imply that you already know the problem. “Creativity” means design thinking, in the terms articulated by the writer Amy Whitaker, not art thinking: getting from A to a predetermined B, not engaging in an open-ended exploratory process in the course of which you discover the B.Leadership, service, and creativity do not seek fundamental change (remember, fundamental change is out in neoliberalism); they seek technological or technocratic change within a static social framework, within a market framework. Which is really too bad, because the biggest challenges we face — climate change, resource depletion, the disappearance of work in the face of automation — will require nothing less than fundamental change, a new organization of society. If there was ever a time that we needed young people to imagine a different world, that time is now.We have always been, in the United States, what Lionel Trilling called a business civilization. But we have also always had a range of counterbalancing institutions, countercultural institutions, to advance a different set of values: the churches, the arts, the democratic tradition itself. When the pendulum has swung too far in one direction (and it’s always the same direction), new institutions or movements have emerged, or old ones have renewed their mission. Education in general, and higher education in particular, has always been one of those institutions. But now the market has become so powerful that it’s swallowing the very things that are supposed to keep it in check. Artists are becoming “creatives.” Journalism has become “the media.” Government is bought and paid for. The prosperity gospel has arisen as one of the most prominent movements in American Christianity. And colleges and universities are acting like businesses, and in the service of businesses.What is to be done? Those very same WASP aristocrats — enough of them, at least, including several presidents of Harvard and Yale — when facing the failure of their own class in the form of the Great Depression, succeeded in superseding themselves and creating a new system, the meritocracy we live with now. But I’m not sure we possess the moral resources to do the same. The WASPs had been taught that leadership meant putting the collective good ahead of your own. But meritocracy means looking out for number one, and neoliberalism doesn’t believe in the collective. As Margaret Thatcher famously said about society, “There’s no such thing. There are individual men and women, and there are families.” As for elite university presidents, they are little more these days than lackeys of the plutocracy, with all the moral stature of the butler in a country house.Neoliberalism disarms us in another sense as well. For all its rhetoric of freedom and individual initiative, the culture of the market is exceptionally good at inculcating a sense of helplessness. So much of the language around college today, and so much of the negative response to my suggestion that students ought to worry less about pursuing wealth and more about constructing a sense of purpose for themselves, presumes that young people are the passive objects of economic forces. That they have no agency, no options. That they have to do what the market tells them. A Princeton student literally made this argument to me: If the market is incentivizing me to go to Wall Street, he said, then who am I to argue?I have also had the pleasure, over the past year, of hearing from a lot of people who are pushing back against the dictates of neoliberal education: starting high schools, starting colleges, creating alternatives to high school and college, making documentaries, launching nonprofits, parenting in different ways, conducting their lives in different ways. I welcome these efforts, but none of them address the fundamental problem, which is that we no longer believe in public solutions. We only believe in market solutions, or at least private-sector solutions: one-at-a-time solutions, individual solutions.The worst thing about “leadership,” the notion that society should be run by highly trained elites, is that it has usurped the place of “citizenship,” the notion that society should be run by everyone together. Not coincidentally, citizenship — the creation of an informed populace for the sake of maintaining a free society, a self-governing society — was long the guiding principle of education in the United States. To escape from neoliberal education, we must escape from neoliberalism. If that sounds impossible, bear in mind that neoliberalism itself would have sounded impossible as recently as the 1970s. As late as 1976, the prospect of a Reagan presidency was played for laughs on network television.Instead of treating higher education as a commodity, we need to treat it as a right. Instead of seeing it in terms of market purposes, we need to see it once again in terms of intellectual and moral purposes. That means resurrecting one of the great achievements of postwar American society: high-quality, low- or no-cost mass public higher education. An end to the artificial scarcity of educational resources. An end to the idea that students must compete for the privilege of going to a decent college, and that they then must pay for it.Already, improbably, we have begun to make that move: in the president’s call in January for free community college, in the plan introduced in April by a group of Democratic senators and representatives to enable students to graduate from college without debt, in a proposal put forth by Senator Bernie Sanders for a tax on Wall Street transactions that would make four-year public institutions free for all. Over the past several years, the minimum wage has been placed near the top of the nation’s agenda, already with some notable successes. Now the same is happening with college costs and college access.But it isn’t happening by itself. Young people, it turns out, are not helpless in the face of the market, especially not if they act together. Nor are they necessarily content to accept the place that neoliberalism has assigned them. We appear to have entered a renewed era of student activism, driven, as genuine political engagement always is, not by upper-class “concern” but by felt, concrete needs: for economic opportunity, for racial justice, for a habitable future. Educational institutions — reactive, defensive, often all but rudderless — are not offering much assistance with this project, and I don’t believe that students have much hope that they will. The real sense of helplessness, it seems, belongs to colleges and universities themselves."
Gallup: Zoning Is Reducing American Productivity And Making The Poor Poorer
By 1983 working families and communities had suffered the consequences of 4 years of Thatcherism. The country was mired in recession with unemployment a record 3.2m as Thatcher set about decimating the industrial base in favour of a deregulated banking and financial sector as the motor of the economy, in the process ensuring the transference of wealth from the poor to the rich. The result was a spike in inequality, crime & public spending on welfare as tax cuts added further downward pressure on public funds.¶ In this context, Labour with a manifesto pledging investment in industry, education, council housing, jobs, the NHS and an increase in child benefit and pensions presented a progressive and radical alternative. It would be funded by an increase in govt borrowing rather than tax increases, on the argument that borrowing to invest in the economy is more productive than borrowing to pay for an overinflated welfare budget given record unemployment.
Margaret Thatcher's secret plans to dismantle welfare state almost prompted 'Cabinet riot'
Can we afford it? Where will the money come from? Are we not just making promises which cannot be fulfilled? ¶ You will find the detailed answers here. But let us emphasise a few of them at once. ¶ The first short, sharp answer is that what Britain cannot afford is the present policy of accepting mass unemployment. ¶ Mass unemployment on the scale Mrs Thatcher and her government have been prepared to tolerate—worse than we have ever known before and worse than any other industrial country has experienced—imposes a crushing burden on the whole community.
What Obama Sending Someone to Castro's Funeral Says
But [MI5 boss Sir Antony Duff] told Cabinet Secretary Sir Robert Armstrong he accepted the MP’s denials, adding: “At the present stage... the risks of political embarrassment to the Government is rather greater than the security danger.” In a letter released today, the Cabinet Office admitted: “The risk to children is not considered at all.”
Tap to Pay
In 1981, Mrs Thatcher needed a boost from the press. By supporting Rupert Murdoch’s bid for the Times and Sunday Times, she made sure she got it. Harold Evans, who led an unsuccessful staff takeover bid, reveals a historic carve-up
The legacy of leaving old industrial Britain to rot is becoming clear
What is the point of building new homes if only the well-off can buy them? You would never guess it but there isn't a housing shortage. Even London has more bedrooms than people. But the rich have gathered space and properties for themselves to enjoy or exploit. In 1981 the wealthiest 10th of households had three times as many rooms in their homes as the poorest 10th. By 2011 it had five times as many. We have seen nothing like it since the pre-Lloyd George Britain of 1901, Queen Victoria's last year.
Half UK budget deficit ‘is down to job destruction in older industrial areas’
The multi-millionaire son of a Tory minister who presided over the controversial “right-to -buy” scheme is a buy-to-let landlord owning scores of former council flats. A Daily Mirror investigation found a third of ex-council homes sold in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher were now owned by private landlords. In one London borough almost half of ex-council properties are now sub-let to tenants. Tycoon Charles Gow and his wife own at least 40 ex-council flats on one South London estate.
The Death of British Business
Last Wednesday, every single Norwegian became a millionaire – without having to lift a lillefinger. They owe the windfall to their coastline, and a huge dollop of good sense. Since 1990, Norway has been squirreling away its cash from North Sea oil and gas into a rainy-day fund. … Still, the oljefondet owns over 1% of the world's stocks, a big chunk of Regent Street and some of the most prime property in Paris: a pretty decent whipround for just five million people. Wish it could have been you with a hundred-grand bonus? Here's the really nauseating part: it should have been. Britain had its share of North Sea oil, described by one PM as "God's gift" to the economy. We pumped hundreds of billions out of the water off the coast of Scotland. Only unlike the Norwegians, we've got almost nothing to show for it. Our oil cash was magicked into tax cuts for the well-off, then micturated against the walls of a thousand pricey car dealerships and estate agents.
Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems | Books | The Guardian
On whether 1979 was the most significant year of the 20th century. Either way, an interesting look at a handful of people and occasions that had a profound effect. Suggests we don't know yet who our current era's most impactful people will be.
Tory! Tory! Tory! - Ep 1: Outsiders - BBC 2007 - YouTube
We assert that in this modern era, the skills of political science and practice are more pronounced and persuasive than they have ever been, but as information seeps out about the reign of Margaret Thatcher, the facts give lie to that. She was served by the most formidable spin machine we have seen and aided by outriders who were happy to overlook the ruinous effect of many of her policies because they admired her style and ideology.
1983: the biggest myth in Labour Party history
"Two of Thatcher's closest supporters, Norman Tebbit and Charles Moore, claimed on Mandela's death that as prime minister, she had put persistent pressure on Botha to release Mandela. Moore claimed that 'the release of Mandela was the strongest and most specific of all her demands'. "But there is little evidence in official papers to back this up. The Downing Street file on [PW Botha's 1984 visit] shows Thatcher did not raise Mandela's case at all during the four-hour official meeting at Chequers."
Handbags and kitten heels – how not to write about prime ministers
Norway, which goes to the polls on Monday, is an island of prosperity in Europe, with so much money that it literally doesn't know what to do with it. The Nordic country faces an embarrassment of riches as it tries to figure out how to spend its huge pile of oil money without damaging the economy in the long run.
Theresa May revealed as Margaret Thatcher’s final Horcrux
"You say still?" he thunders. "Still? What the hell are people going to do if they don't support Labour? Who else is there? I stand by the party absolutely. It doesn't mean you're an enthusiast for every action that the Prime Minister, the Cabinet or the party takes. But, fundamentally, it stands for what I believe is the most just kind of society we can have here. I lived under those 18 years of Conservatism, under that monster Thatcher." While Stewart's loyalty is impressive, his passion is unexpected, given his long absence from home. There are, however, plans to return to the UK permanently, if only he can convince his second wife, the American producer Wendy Neuss, that England is their future home.
Will London Elect its First Muslim Mayor? - The Atlantic
As a child in the Eighties, she hid from rioting men. As an adult, she was snubbed by David Cameron at a garden party. Caitlin Moran on outliving the past
James Meek · Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity · LRB 18 February 2016
"to end the age of cant"
Tony Abbott's demise like Margaret Thatcher's | Crikey
Regardless of the melodrama, it’s clear that Margaret Thatcher was a great prime minister, if by greatness is meant ‘historical importance’. She certainly led one of the three most radical governments of the century (the equal being Attlee’s, with Campbell-Bannerman/Asquith somewhat behind). And unlike Attlee or Asquith, she was the indisputable leader of that government. You probably have to go back to the dance between Gladstone and Disraeli to find a politician who has so personally dominated British society, and they at least bounced off each other; Thatcher dominated all on her own. Britain in 1990 was almost unrecognisable from the Britain in 1979. And – what is an even greater achievement – the Britain of 2013 still looks remarkably like the Britain of 1990. So a great prime minister, certainly. But a good one?
12 new things we learned from Margaret Thatcher's secret cabinet papers | UK Politics | News | The Independent
David Quantick's imagined mourners at Thatcher's funeral.
[Essay] | The Neoliberal Arts, by William Deresiewicz | Harper's Magazine
The reactions and tributes to Margaret Thatcher's death have, perhaps above all else, illustrated the way in which modern conservatives have emptied the words 'freedom' and 'liberty' of all meaning and import. I suspect, however, that the citizens of countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iraq, South Africa and Chile might disagree. The inconvenient truth for Thatcher fans is that the freedom-loving, democracy-defending British premier was a close friend and admirer of the thugs, thieves, despots and racists who ruled over those nations in the 1980s.
It is time to dispel the myth that Labour's 1983 manifesto was too Left Wing
The 1980s is increasingly being seen as deep history - 50% of the Datablog team were born in the late 1980s and were just toddling into school when she resigned in November 1990. If the past is a foreign country (they do things differently there), there is nowhere more foreign than May 1979, when the Conservatives entered Downing Street. In fact, it's getting increasingly difficult to tell - many of the datasets we rely on now weren't compiled until the early 1990s. So what kind of Britain did the country's first woman prime minister come to rule in 1979 - and how has it changed? These are some of the datasets which actually go back that far - mostly from the Office for National Statistics, and some from the excellent British Political Facts. She may or may not have caused it, but Britain under Thatcher saw huge economic, demographic and cultural change. These are just some of the facts.
British Labour Party election manifesto, 1983
MI5 'helped Margaret Thatcher cover-up pædophile Tory MP's activities' new documents reveal
How Thatcher and Murdoch made their secret deal | Harold Evans | UK news | The Guardian
How Thatcher’s Government Covered Up a VIP Pedophile Ring - The Daily Beast
All That Is Solid review – Danny Dorling's brilliant study of Britain's housing disaster | Nick Cohen | Books | The Guardian
The great Tory housing shame: Third of ex-council homes now owned by private landlords
Why is there so much hostility to immigrants in the UK? | Richard Seymour | Comment is free | theguardian.com
How Thatcher killed the UK's superfast broadband before it even existed | News | TechRadar
Dude, where's my North Sea oil money? | Aditya Chakrabortty
Counter-Counter-Revolution by David Runciman (London Review of Books)
Now there is no denying Margaret Thatcher's failings in 1984 and beyond | Hugh Muir
Margaret Thatcher 'made no case' for Mandela's release | UK news | The Guardian
Twitter / LouiseMensch: Margaret #Thatcher urging Botha ...
Fact-checking the Margaret Thatcher Museum petition
Why the 1% should pay tax at 80% | Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty | Comment is free | theguardian.com
Norway Has More Money Than It Knows What To Do With - Business Insider
Patrick Stewart: The spirit of Enterprise - Profiles, People - The Independent
chokka blog: The Brilliant Caitlin Moran on Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher and Little Jumps in Studios - Tim Challies
Dance on Thatcher's grave, but remember there has been a coup in Britain
I am, apparently, 20% Thatcherite. I can live with that :->
The Myth of Margaret Thatcher | REASON IN REVOLT
The Myth of Margaret Thatcher | REASON IN REVOLT
David Cameron can, as usual, fuck right off.
Exquisite Tweets from @quantick
The Quietus | Opinion | Black Sky Thinking | Margaret Thatcher: Still More Alive Than She Herself Dared To Dream
Mehdi Hasan: Was Thatcher A 'Champion of Freedom and Democracy'? Don't. Be. Silly.
The Myth of Margaret Thatcher (Fascinating piece on her economics)
Margaret Thatcher, Kermit Gosnell, & #DingDong | Edinburgh Eye
Margaret Thatcher is dead. But someone has reinvented her life | Comment is free | The Observer