Category Archives: Politics

Going Underground

Today saw the publication of the Conservative and Unionist Party’s election manifesto. That followed the Lib Dems yesterday and Labour’s on Tuesday, although most of it was leaked a week before. And in exactly three weeks time, those who are registered to vote and want to vote, will vote. As a betting man, I would not back against the Conservative and Unionist Party winning by a landslide, currently you can get 25/1 with Paddy Power for Labour to win an outright majority and the same odds reversed for a majority Conservative and Unionist win. In plain English £1 on Labour winning will get you £25 back plus your original stake. £1 on the Conservative and Unionists will get you 4p back  plus your original stake.

 

Theresa May has clearly decided, or been advised, to focus on herself as the ‘strong and stable’ leader who will ‘take the difficult decisions’ in order to deliver a successful Brexit. Her rhetoric is all about how big the challenge ahead is and how ‘her’ plan will deliver a ‘stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain’ which ‘seizes the opportunities ahead and to build a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call their home.’ That bit is interesting, given I for one am actually proud to call Britain my home.  But hey, I am just one person and maybe Mrs May is not proud to call Britain her home, just yet? But what I did find interesting was her  aim to build ‘a Great Meritocracy here in Britain’ (note this is not my use of random capital letters, that’s her speech writer – you can read the whole speech here https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/conservative-party/news/86027/read-theresa-mays-full-speech-conservatives  }. I for one like the idea of a meritocracy, but am always cautious about those who the ‘meritocracy’ leaves behind. If Brexit taught anyone anything, it was that plenty of people feel, rightly, that they have been left behind in a globalised world. Add to that the definition of meritocracy that I found is ‘a ruling or influential class of educated or skilled people’ (experts anyone?) and I wonder if this comes to pass, whether it will actually improves things for the vast majority of ‘hard working people’ in this new, much heralded ‘Global Britain’?

 

Theresa May’s speech did come across all Winstonian. No, not that Winston, not the Winston Smith of George Orwell’s 1984 fame, no no, the other Winston, Mr Churchill. It felt like we were being pitched back to 1939. Great Britain was up against the dark foes in Europe and we had our collective backs against the proverbial wall. We have nowhere to go except, forward, together and face down the enemy. The road ahead will be tough, but we have no choice, but to grin and bear it and fight our way out of the EU. Our only chance is to back Mrs May’s strong and stable leadership, in the national interest.

 

Meanwhile over at Labour towers, it felt all very 1945.It’s a scenario whereby the people have come through several years of suffering, public services are rationed, real wages are falling and yet there had been record employment. What Labour was offering was in effect a New Deal, again. This would see the people take control of national assets, power, water, railways, and build loads of new low cost housing for all. The new Prime Minister would be an unassuming, intellectual man and generally less than brilliant at public relations but would pursue our foreign policy with a quiet manner, ensuring we make friends and try to keep them honest, rather than going in with a big stick.

 

Keep your money in your pockets. Some of the people of Britain love a fight, love to feel that we are the underdog and that we can once again be ‘great’.  That plays into Theresa May’s hands and will deliver her a massive majority in three weeks time.  The only hope for an alternative vision is for the young who have never voted to actually vote. Even then, and despite so many broken promises on immigration levels, deficit and therefore debt reduction, the Winstonian rhetoric will win the day. George Orwell was right. Right back then, right now. Get ready for many, many years of broken promises and lack of hope. We get the politicians we deserve and the public gets what the public wants. Me? I’m Going Underground.

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Filed under EU Referendum, General Election 2017, Politics

So what did we learn from the General Election 2015?

Have any of us actually learned anything from the results of the General Election? There is much talk of who has won, and who has lost. It does seems like there will be a load of introspection and reflection amongst Labour and the LibDems who in their own ways suffered devastating defeats in the early hours of Friday morning.   For those voters who voted for UKIP and the Greens, however, there is probably a fair amount of confusion, if not utter dis. And for those who voted Conservative, Green, UKIP  and LibDem in Scotland & Wales, you too probably feel pretty confused also. Put simply, votes don’t match seats, they never have and never will, unless of course there is reform to the system.

The raw data is fascinating.  And data never lies.

In the UK as a whole the Conservatives  had 11,334,920 votes for them, namely 36.9% of the total votes cast. Labour were almost 2 million votes behind, which is a huge margin, with 9,347,326, representing 30.4% of the total votes cast. The 3rd biggest party was UKIP who recorded 3,881, 129 votes, i.e 12.6% of the votes cast. UKIP also got more votes in Scotland than the Greens – 47,078 vs 39,205, and in Northern Ireland 18.324 vs 6,822. In Wales 204,360 voted UKIP  more than Plaid Cymru who got 181.694, the LibDems 97,383 and the Greens with 38,344. For all the date see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results

All of these voters voting for UKIP and yet they only got 1 seat in the House of Commons? How can this be right in a modern democracy?  Maybe the word ‘modern’ is a little misplaced?

Well we are told that the electoral system we have, called First Past The Post (FPTP), delivers strong government and therefore it is the right system for the United Kingdom. That is certainly debateable, but if we want a democracy to represent and importantly include the people, we need a system that actually represents those who cast their vote.  In so many constituencies, unless you vote for the incumbent MP, your vote will be wasted.

If you live in an inner city in England, good luck voting Conservative, Labour always get in. Similarly, if you live in the suburban and rural South or South West, if you vote Labour it will make no difference.   Millions of votes are in effect wasted. That is why the 2 big parties focus on these so called ‘marginals’. Those ‘marginals’ decide which colour of Government sitting in Parliament we actually get.  So the system gets even more undemocratic and unrepresentative.  Indeed, many MPs can be elected without being the majority candidate in their seat!

One of the key reasons why so many people voted in the Scottish Referendum, 84.5% of voters turned out to vote, versus 66.1% in this General Election, was because their vote actually counted.

Right now, I believe we have a divided Britain, where whole parts of the country feel totally unrepresented despite having real support. The General Election result has actually made things worse.

Put simply, based on the proportions of votes cast, we would be looking at a Parliament made up of the following.

Conservatives = 240 seats (versus 331 seats now)

Labour = 198 seats (versus 232 seats now)

UKIP = 82 seats (versus 1 seat now)

LibDems –  51 seats (versus 8 seats now)

SNP = 30 seats (versus 56 seats now)

Greens – 24 seats (versus 1 seat now)

And then to each of Plaid Cymru in Wales, Sinn Fein and Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland would get 4 seats.  The rest would be made up of all the really small parties.

From that Parliamentary make up, it would be up to the parties to try and form a Government. This is the tricky bit and it would have to be a coalition of parties of course, as no one party would command over half (i.e 326) seats to make absolutely certain that they could form a Government of one colour.

But fear not, there will be reform to the system and it is coming in 2018. It is called boundary changes, something that is called for variously by Labour or the latterly the Conservatives, in order to retain the status quo. They both know the current system is unfair, undemocratic and unrepresentative of the votes cast. But they just don’t care enough to call for review and reform. Have a look at Owen Patterson who was interview today, around 5 mins 20 secs in. He believes passionately in electoral reform, just not really the reform many voters actually need.

So what is the real lesson learnt from this election? Same as it ever was, voting for so many people has proven to be fruitless and a waste of time. Unless you vote Conservative or Labour, you won’t get heard. Unless of course if you live in Scotland, where the SNP have ‘won’ this election.

So there you have it. Don’t bother voting Green, unless you live in Brighton, or UKIP, the system laughs in your face.  Be a good citizen and decide if you want to go red or blue, Labour or Conservative, because they really are the only choices. As both leaders told us so many times, you only have 2 choices of who will be Prime Minister.  At least we got David Cameron, I suppose.

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The high street, where next?

This was the follow up blog I wrote almost a year ago…

February 4, 2012

I have been thinking about where next for our beleagured High Streets, you know the town centres that are no longer the centre of much for many people nowadays. There is no pushing back the tide of the supermarkets, the internet and the fact that people are spread out more geographically, there are more of them and everyone seemingly needs to use cars. But I reckon there are some things that could be done at the policy level of local and national Government.

I am yet to read Mary Portas’s report commissioned by BIS, but I intend to do so. Meantime here is my ten point plan for a revival:-

  1. Increase business rates on all out of town shopping centres. Levy charges on cube footage including car parks.
  2. Reduce all business rates on inner city/town commercial buildings. For all start ups give a rate free period measured in years. .
  3. Increase public transport into town and city centres – start with buses, minbuses and then trams when budgets allow. Make them all free to use.
  4. Deregulate parking, make it all free. Build more car parks.
  5.  Repair all broken windows on empty properties and municipal buildings. This should be the local council’s job and it will create jobs. Spend money on the fabric of existing buildings rather than creating new ones whilst money is tight.
  6.  Cut red tape and allow unused shops to be turned back into housing.
  7. Encourage all social enterprise and services to locate in the centre by waiving all rates. Definitions are needed, but work something out that says if you are putting back, giving or supplying services for old or young, you don’t pay extra tax.
  8. Make all businesses responsible for their own waste collection. Let them self manage and change car parking wardens for recycling officers.
  9. Aquire land/buildings from the private sector and re-let at aggressive rates to social enterprise businesses.

10.Levy council funds as a direct proportion of profits. If a store cannoty prove its turnover and is therefore part of a chain, it should pay rates at standard tariff if it is a single site business then it only pays rates if it makes a profit. The more successful the business, the more that business pays. Allow businesses to take risk and take time to build.

Above all, encourage enterprise and the public to understand what is best served on the High Street. Anything that is sold easily via the internet is not going to work. Equally commodoties that are sold by supermarkets don’t work either. Keep it social and keep it niche. Ensure that older people and young people have a reason to travel and make it free to travel to and from the city/town centre. Strike proper partnerships between small to medium size enterprises and local authorities, geared around mutual success and long term shared goals. Encourage small traders, young and old. Create a feeling of civic pride and renewal.

I am sure it could happen, if everyone did their bit. But we need leadership from the national Government and councils and we need that to be decisive and to happen now. We don’t want wishy woshy ideas, we need firm policies that encourage small organisations to grow. Get younger people, with fresh ideas and energy into elected councils and let’s make the centres exciting morning, noon and night.

Napoleon called the English ‘ a nation of shopkeepers’, we should remember that and celebrate our heritage through innovative and creative use of our High Streets.

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High noon for the high street

This is a blog post I wrote last February originally on fivehombres.com

Posted on February 3, 2012 by Andy

I have been worried about the state of the UK High Streets for some time. I reckon it was about 15 years ago, maybe 20 at a push that things noticeably changed and they all started to become the same everywhere you went.

I thought it would be helpful to do some quick research into the origins of the phrase ‘High Street’. Apparently ‘high’ has evolved to mean something excellent or of superior rank,  and is at least a thousand years old in terms of its use. “High Street” began to be used to describe the thoroughfares containing the main retail areas in villages and towns. Trading points evolved along these routes and gradually the concept of the modern shop and High Street came to pass.

Whilst many High Streets from the 80′s had branded chain stores like WH Smith,Boots, Woolworths, supermarket stores (rather than the retail park sheds of today) many also had a good mix of independent stores, which sold goods such as electrical goods, food, shoes, music, films, clothes, toys, hardware, newsagents and more. Many other shops actually sold services, such as barbers/hairdressers, opticians, vets, doctors, shoe repairs, cinemas, pubs, restaurants, libraries, dry cleaners and so on. Today you are lucky to find anyone other than charity shops, coffee shops, nail bars, take away food, the odd women’s clothing store, hairdressers and a major ‘express’ version of a supermarket.

It feels like there are some key factors that have accelerated the descent of most of the UK’s High Streets into drab, weary and potentially dying places.

Retail rents and rates – it seems that rents levied by private landlords only ever go up and rates levied by the local councils do likewise. Small businesses have less chance of getting started. This means that major chain stores, well financed and staffed with specialist retail site experts at central office, with bulk purchasing power are able to take all the prime locations, hence everything looks like everything else. We get less real choice and also less variety. In short we have clone towns.

Out of town shopping centres – the more we have moved out of towns and cities onto housing estates, the more we have come to rely on our cars, the more the population has increased, then we have tended to build big and bold on the outskirts of towns and cities. There is no room or ability for smaller traders to take space in these enormo parks. Instead we have the same stores, which are normally just bigger versions of the clone town stores, and super sized fast food places. Throw in a multi plex cinemas which are really a series of mini cinemas with poor sound and vision and a supermarket and you have a typical souless trading place.

Supermarkets – the inexorable rise of the supermarkets, mainly Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, has seen a massive choice of wares, products, produce and services availble to all of us. Unlike every other instance of ‘parasitic socio economic georgraphic theory’ whereby you used to get true competition on a High Street through similar stores being able to locate next to each other, supermarkets don’t play that game. They never locate anywhere near each other, they just tell you they are more competitive than their rivals and once you are in, they have you.

The Internet – It is no surprise that e-commerce has revolutionised our shopping. This has virtually killed off the music retailers and is having a damaging effect on books, films, video games and consumer electronics.

Time – this is a factor that is effecting everyone. With all the choices we have nowadays, we simply don’t have the time to invest in trawling around a number of shops looking for our wares. Under one roof and the illusion of value is far more appealing, hence the empires of WalMart and Tesco have risen to a position of absolute power in retailing.

These factors and more are unlikely to reverse anytime soon, so maybe it is best if there are some policies which Governement, local and national, can put in place to revive these places before they are lost forever?

I want to think about some simple ideas which could revive these High Streets and make them socially more relevant. Back soon.

 

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Video Games and Art

Here’s a speech I gave at London’s City Hall on Thursday 25th October 2012, during the London Games  Festival http://www.londongamesart.com .  It was about why I thought games and interactive entertainment were a key part of the growth in tech based business, what part they could play in the UK’s economic growth and importantly what the Mayor and the Government could do to kick start the much needed economic and social growth we need right now.

That night the assembled guests marveled at the fantastic examples of video game art hanging on the walls of City Hall. Now, anyone can buy these wonderful pieces in an exclusive auction running right now. The great thing is that EVERY SINGLE PENNY raised will go to the wonderful video games charity, SpecialEffect. You can see what’s on sale here http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/specialeffect2012/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

I would like to thank the Mayor and deputy of Mayor London for allowing the video games industry such a prestigious space to show some of our most creative visual art to the public. I would also like to thank Kirsty Payne, Nadia Lawlor and Adam Cooper who have worked tirelessly to bring these wonderful creations to you.  This exhibition showcases games that are now part of our culture from Mario to Sackboy to Sonic and beyond. This is a first for London and a first for the video games industry and shows that London can and will continue set the pace within the digitally connected global economy.

London’s games sector is part of a national success story that contributes over £3bn to the UK economy a number which is set to rise and rise in the coming years.

London is the home to gold standard business success stories such as Mind Candy, with their 60 million registered players, Rocksteady Studios, creators of BAFTA winning Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Sports Interactive creators of BAFTA winning Football Manager, Splash Damage and Mediatonic whose games have been played by over 300 million people. Add to this the vibrant indie PC mobile and social games and App developers based in London such as, AppyNation, Future Games of London, We are Interactive, Ustwo, Hoopla, Honey Slug, Hotgen, Hand Circus, Playmob, Preloaded and many more.

 Alongside the games developers we also have a vibrant publishing and technology scene which is growing all the time. Sega, Square Enix, Capcom, Namco Bandai, Microsoft Studios, Konami, GREE, Sony Computer Entertainment, Mastertronic and many more  have their European headquarters here, along with household technology names like Facebook, Twitter and Google. Of course The UK Association for Interactive Entertainment, who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the whole industry to put this wonderful exhibition together, are also based right here in London. All of these companies employ thousands of skilled designers, marketeers, finance, legal and logistics professionals. London employs 24% of all UK jobs in computing and related activities.

An historic world trading centre, London is sat bang in between mainland Europe, Asia and the Americas. Historically, we used our technical prowess and innovation combined with our spirit of endeavour to build our great businesses and institutions. The old River Thames and the Oceans which were the arteries of trade, have now been complemented by the thing we call the Internet. Our ships and sailors have been replaced by our agile tech companies skippered by intrepid digital entrepreneurs. We are in a new Golden Age and the stakes are high.  London continues to lead the way in digital trade and exchange of ideas with an evolving culture fostered through a spirit of collaboration and disruptive  business models.

 In short London is at the epicentre of this digital world economy culture. But we are in a global race, and some may even say that this country is at economic war, either way the stakes are the highest they can be.

The UK and London have some of the most creative and innovative hi-tech businesses around.  We are growing and a success story but could grow faster and employ more Londoners if we could solve our talent shortages.

Simply put, we don’t train enough people, early enough in their education, in the right things – chiefly computer programming – and we need to address this.   

The Mayor’s Education Inquiry recognised the challenge for London set out by Next Gen Skills’ evidence. 

In 2011 there were just 382 A level computing and computer studies entries across London out of 98,027 entries in all subjects – 0.4% of all A-levels taken in the city.  We know that this is down to poor curriculum, low numbers of schools offering the subject, low numbers of qualified teachers and poorly articulated career horizons.

The Ukie-backed Next Gen Skills campaign was launched last year to solve skills shortages not just in the video games industry, but across digital creative and hi-tech businesses.

Since then the Government has committed to reforming the outdated ICT course students study at GCSE and create space in the curriculum for Computer Science to be taught in our schools. 

On 19 October the Government has also made clear its support for Computer Science teachers, by providing £20,000 bursaries  akin to Physics teachers to attract bright new talent.

This is welcomed – at the moment 2/3 of ICT teachers in London are not qualified to teacher even the outgoing ICT curriculum. 

Now we need a new strategic look across London’s 32 Boroughs at the quality of our provision and the quality of our teaching.

We believe the Mayor could play a major role in improving partnerships between business, universities and schools for the study of STEM subjects, and promote effective routes into STEM-related professions like ours.

So we have challenges, of course we do. All new and innovative industries will have these, but we know what we have to do and if we are in any doubt about the power of games, just draw on the inspiration around here  at City Hall. The video games and Interactive Entertainment is the new rock ‘n’ roll and the movies rolled up in one. Our games, our play and our communities will shape and define our culture and create our wealth.

Enjoy these wonderful images.

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#oneaday 63; Tax. Stab 1

Tax. Blimey. There’s a 3 letter word to get everyone’s hackles up. 3 letter words can be like that. Tax is a word that never seems to be associated with anything good, or at least I can’t remember it being so. Poll Tax, value added tax, council tax, road tax, even purchase tax back in the old days made grown men and women weep. Indeed it feels like it still does!

And tax is now right slap bang in the centre of our politics. It could well be the key defining subject for the next general Election in 3 years time the way that the tax bandwagon is rolling right now. Mind you, some would say that tax is always the most important issue at ANY general election.

The person who has the most say over tax in the UK is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, currentlyMr George Osborne. Even he is now talking all about tax. How rich people are avoiding tax, legitimately and otherwise, and how this is fundamentally wrong and needs immediate attention and reform.

Even the Mayor of London election campaign has become a race based on whether Boris or Ken has avoided more tax than each other. Some of the media have fallen over themselves to accuse Ken Livingstone of channeling his fees into a company to avoid paying personal tax, an accusation that is fundamentally so naive it must be political. I am no Livingstone supporter, but I do like to see fair play.

Form what I can understand, Mr Livingstone has set up a trading company and that company issues invoices for the goods and most probably services Mr Livingstone supplies – like public speaking, writing, media appearances and so on. That company pays Mr Livingstone a salary on which he pays tax at the national rate. Every year, the company will declare its profits (or losses) and pay corporation tax to the UK Government via the Treasury. The rate of corporation tax (currently has just moved down to 24% from 26%)  is different than the rate of personal tax (currently 20% for earnings up to £35,000 and then 40% on the additional earnings between £35,001 and £150,000 and 50% for the earnings over £150,000). Right or wrong, these tax rates start off easy, but soon get complex. So Mr Livingstone will pay tax on his income, via PAYE (pay as you earn) and NI (National Insurance – which is an additional tax of about (12% of your income) which actually ends up being higher than corporation tax, which his company will also pay provided it makes a profit, which one would hope would be the case.

Anyway, this whole tax issue is definitely going somewhere. The politicians know that grassroots feeling towards ‘tax avoidance’, ‘tax management’ and ‘tax evasion’ (that’s the illegal one) is starting to boil over and organisations like 38 Degrees and UK Uncut have been on this issue for over a year now. The Treasury believes that the whole tax system needs a major overhaul, with the goal being ‘simplification’ and there is a mood at the margins to make the UK a tax haven for businesses and individuals, which is something that would encourage inward investment from foreign based companies, principally American, and would only mimic what happens in Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Netherlands all of whom have a more company and therefore individually friendly tax regime.

Charities are up in arms because the Chancellor is talking about capping the amount donors can make to charities and write it off against their tax. The media and some MPs are calling for personal tax returns of MPs to be made public. UK Uncut have called for the tax affairs of large corporations such as Vodaphone to be investigated and potential Mayors of London are accusing each other of tax evasion. This whole issue is set to run and run and it will be interested to see where it ends up. As a PAYE person, I don’t have a lot of choice about how much tax I pay. I do like the fact that a charity can claim back some of the tax I have paid on anything I have earned via GiftAid. That really is a nice tax rebate scheme and it does do some good!

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#oneaday57: Irony, Lady?

When I was old enought to vote, I voted for Thatcher, whether you prefaced her name with Mrs, Margaret, Maggie or another less savoury term. It was 1983, I was 20 years old and we had just ‘won’ the Falklands War. Spirits were temporarily high, or at least they were for a naive 20 year old, and the alternatives were Michael Foot’s Labour party or the emerging Social Democratic Party who were allied with the Liberals (The Alliance). Labour was too lame to mention and The Alliance were ‘too new’. But as time went on even those who  voted for her began to have some doubts.

We had experienced the violent inner city riots of 1981,  and then the miners’ strike of 1984 saw even more violence not only between the police and strikers, but between workers and families from the same pit villages and towns. It was a divisive piece of British history and you can’t help thinking that Mrs T loved every minute of it. A decade before, the whole country suffered power cuts caused by striking miners and most of the people had had enough. This was her revenge for that action and her sworn intention to smash the power of the unions. No matter what ideology you follow, if you do, and I don’t happen to follow a left or right wing mantra, when the leader and Government of the country is waging war on some of its people, that can’t be an enlightened thing. Thatcher thought she was Churchill, trouble was the unions were not the equivalent of the Nazi party and Arthur Scargill was not Mr Hitler.

So when it was that I heard about the release of ‘The Iron Lady’ I decided that I needed to see it and managed to view via an advanced screening. A film made about a living ‘legend’ (love her or hate her) is a rare thing. Normally these thing happen after the protagonist’s life on earth. Pre release hype and trailers suggested it was all going to be sabre rattling and gung ho attacks on conscripted Argentine troops. Some right wing commentators exclaimed theie sheer unbridled frenzy at the prospect of this homage to a true Brit. I suspect that when they seee the film,  they will be somewhat disappointed.

Meryl Streep performance as the Iron Lady herself is nothing short of amazing. I can remember the Thatcher manner. That clipped middle class, slightly patronising drawl, those stone cold eyes that would cut through tungsten, the bouffant, the upmarket WI style battledress and an unflinching self-belief. Amazing. And equally amazing was her portrayl of Mrs T as an octogenarian suffering from Alzheimers, sometimes there, often not, but clearly wrestling with a sense of confusion about what she had actually achieved and whether her husband, Dennis, brilliantly played by Jim Broadbent, was there or not. He had actually died some years before and was a ghost masquerading as a fool in a wonderfully Shakespearian way.

Being ‘of the time’ I found the whole film thoroughly entertaining, but I suspect to those that did not live through her ‘reign’, those too young to remember,  will find it pretty dull. Expect outcries from The Daily Mail at least. As many have said it was light on politics and heavy on her personal struggles against men, her children, the Conservative Party, the Common Market (now the EU), any foreign leader bar Ronald Reagan and General Pinochet,  Unions, political foes, members of her own Cabinet, TV pundits, Socialists, Liberals, the world.

In the end she became the very image of the puppet that messrs Luck and Flaw had cast her in Spitting Image. The first woman leader of a Western nation  left us with many legacies, less council houses, more people owning property (ie having mortgages and paying huge interest on their loans) less union power, a Poll Tax that came and went, a decimation of’ non performing’ state owned industries, a free market,  foreign owned utility companies, a share holding middle class, few manufacturing industries,  a de-regulated City of London, Yuppies, Harry Enfield’s Loadsa Money, power dressing, and the biggest division of the people in Britain since the English Civil War.

I told you that I voted for her. I did. I was 20 years old and had been brought up to feel ashamed of Britain in decay. By the time of the next election in 1987, which she won again with a landslide, I had given up bothering. The two party sysytem would never deliver national progression in my view and I certainly did not want her back. I did  not vote again until 1997 and that was for (New) Labour. in 2010 I decided to go for the Lib Dems and look what happened. In the  end though, comedy can always help one ascend the Slough of Despond. Enjoy these 2 clips if you get time

 

 

 

And don’t expect the same barrel of laughs within The Iron Lady. Love her or hate her, Mrs ‘there’s no such thing as society’ Thatcher definitely brought the extremist tendencies out in all of us British people. Not many do that. And thank god we don’t get lary too often, it only leads to tears and misery.

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