Friday, April 12, 2013

Thatcher's legacy? Getting away with it is not a strategy

Had the Labour Government that preceded Margaret Thatcher’s first election win had access to accurate data they would never have needed to go cap in hand to the IMF, to devalue the pound and accept swingeing cuts demanded of them for getting the loan. They were operating on a false premise – that the economy was in a far more parlous state than it actually was. This miscalculation changed the way Britain was governed

Mrs Thatcher was lucky. She got away with it.

Had a few more Argentine bombs been correctly fused, a few more Exocet missiles supplied, a few less brave men acted a little less heroicly, The US been less generous with its clandestine support, Britain would have slumped to ignoble defeat in The Falklands. It was very touch and go.

Mrs Thatcher was lucky. She got away with it.

Had the technology and the will to access and surface Britain’s biggest ever bag of gold – black gold from the North Sea – not coincided with her Premiership  she would not have been able to tilt the electoral playing field with the massive privatisation share price give-away that the oil funded, or the cut-price transfer of council housing to private ownership that followed.

Many got lucky, cashed in, took the money and ran. And thought they’d got away with it.

But far from her dream of giving more people a stake in a capitalist economy, she’d succeeded only in creating a society ever more fixated on and dominated by consumerism. Mrs T thought we aspired to prudent stewardship through ownership - but what she actually created were the conditions for rampant consumerism.

Still she believed she was right – and kept ploughing on with unpopular cut after unpopular policy because..? She kept on getting away with it.

What did we learn? Belief is important. But in the end it won’t out run the truth.

Getting away with it is not a strategy. Lucky generals don’t always win.

Gather the evidence. Act on the data.
Make a better fit with reality.

I'm a big believer in belief - but never at the cost of reality.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?