Thursday, 2 February 2012

Coming off Thatcherism..

City AM is a paper I get on my way to work - the first thing I turn to is the Editor's Letter penned by Allister Heath. When Heath talks finance and economics, his analysis is always worth reading and he comes from a far more knowledgeable viewpoint than most of the media.

Unfortunately, on politics and society, he is much less easy to read. He is, by his own admission, an unreconstructed Thatcherite and this morning's Letter shows that side in its full unreconstructed glory.

Heath's view is predicated by his disappointment in the Coalition not being a Conservative majority Government. He is like so many anti-Coalition Tories - he is stuck with a Government led by the party he supports but not doing the things he wants it to do. Perhaps he thought David Cameron would be like Margaret Thatcher.

The truth is of course that for all their sound and fury the Thatcherites have nothing to say to 21st Century Britain. It isn't 1980 - the promises made by the Thatcherites have turned out to be so much bluff and bluster. Indeed, the legacy of Thatcherism is the "Big Society", the Cameronian project to undo the social consequences of enrichessez-vous.

We have seen and endured Thatcherism - two booms and two busts later, we are no longer in thrall to making money. It no longer defines us or provides a raison d'etre. Indeed, we now see the huge damage that the single-minded pursuit of financial gain has caused. Our society has been fractured by Thatcherite economics and the culture it created.

The more one reads Heath, the more one gets a sense of his personal frustration. He is stuck in 1979 while the rest of us have moved on. We had our fix of Thatcherism and we've come off it. It's time Heath stopped dealing, came down and joined the rest of us.

Heath's small-minded assault on the Coalition does him no credit - this Government is NOT turning back the clock to the 1980s. No one wants that, we don't need it.

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