Thatcher’s biographer says the left may be right

Written By: - Date published: 9:35 pm, July 23rd, 2011 - 27 comments
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This today from Charles Moore, Eton and Cambridge, ex-editor of the Telegraph and the Spectator and Margaret Thatcher’s authorised biographer.

It has taken me more than 30 years as a journalist to ask myself this question, but this week I find that I must: is the Left right after all? You see, one of the great arguments of the Left is that what the Right calls “the free market” is actually a set-up.

The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything.

It’s worth a read.

27 comments on “Thatcher’s biographer says the left may be right”

  1. Thanks Mike.

    All I can say is amen, amen, amen …

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    It’s only dawning on him now that the traditional conservative agenda has been hijacked by neoliberal economics and crony kleptocratic capitalism.

    Hopefully he’ll then realise that this is no longer an argument of Left vs Right, but of the wealthiest 0.01% (700,000 people) in the world against all others.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      The problem there is that the 0.01% who are the wealthiest have about 20% of the population supporting them. Chances are that a lot, if not most, of that 20% are conservatives.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Here’s the thing – its crucial to distinguish between true old fashioned Tory conservatives (those who truly believe in localisation (aka small central govt), the conservation of societal and environmental values) from the crony capitalism neo liberals in amongst them.

        That cleavage plane needs to be split cleanly in two. Here in NZ this is what I have realised:

        The neoliberal supporters of ACT and the National party simply love the idea of asset sales.

        The true old fashioned conservative supporters of ACT and the National party fucking hate the idea of asset sales. With a passion.

        Not enough for them to vote Labour perhaps (after all they are conservatives who love tradition and for them voting National is a tradition), but certainly enough for it to stick like crow in their throats.

        Think about this for a good long minute.

        • peteremcc

          Please do point out all these ACT supporters that hate asset sales, I’d love to meet them!

        • Draco T Bastard

          Go read The Authoritarians again. The conservatives have two options: 1) Vote for Winston or 2) do as they’re told. Most of them will do 2) as they’re authoritarian followers.

        • felix

          Not enough to vote for Labour, no.

          If only there were a conservative in the running with a nationalist economic agenda and a bone to pick with ACT and the Nats.


        • Colonial Viper

          thanks guys. DTB – haven’t actually read that, looks intriguing.

        • weka

          There are also old fashioned conservative National voters who are uncomfortable with what’s been done to core services like health. I agree being able to differentiate between the neoliberals and the conservatives is crucial.

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox

          Since when have the Nats believed in localisation?

          They have always been captured by Corporatism and the model of making labour as cheap as possible. That means centralised control of everything.

          Muldoon did it too- he just had different methods.

          • Colonial Viper

            They have always been captured by Corporatism and the model of making labour as cheap as possible. That means centralised control of everything.

            I have to disagree somewhat, as i think that your comment underestimates the impact of neoliberal Chicago school style globalisation and deregulation.

            That did not start its run in the Right Wing until the late 1970’s. And in fact as we know all too well in NZ, that ideology overtook both Labour and National.

            However I agree with your comments from the standpoint that Tories have always tended to side “with the Bosses” and not the people.

            The difference now is that the neoliberal economics/money set primarily side with the multimillionaires, billionaires and financiers, and don’t even care about ordinary SME type businesses.

            This is no longer a fight between left and right politics per se, its a fight between the wealthiest and most influential 0.01% in the world (700,000 people) against everyone else.

  3. Where do I collect my prize for multiple postings of this earlier today?

    • prism 3.1

      I-north Well you have our admiration for finding such a good item and our gratitude for giving us the good quotes you did. As the link unfolds it gets more surprising. It is quite a startling summation from Mr Moore of today’s conditions. Who would have thunk?

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      One little sticky gold star from me mate 🙂

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    The damage has been done and it’s now too late. Under Thatcher and Reagan all the conservation work that was underway in the 70s was demolished in a frenzy of squandering of energy and resources… basically suck the North Sea dry as quickly as possible, shift as much manufacturing as possible to China and base the economy on consumer spending… abosolute lunacy.

    Well they succeeded. Britain is now stuffed (as is America) and facing economic, social and environmental meltdown. NZ is not far behind of course, as a consequence of the actions of the sabotuers Douglas, Prebble etc.

    • But their off-spring still will have jobs in retail (on the boards of the companies selling the Chinese made junk to the unsuspecting plebs) – always looked after their own.

  5. Lazy Susan 5

    This is a very accurate summation from a right-wing commentator of the disaster that the neo-liberal experiment has become.

    However the sting in the tail is at the end of the article.

    One must always pray that conservatism will be saved, as has so often been the case in the past, by the stupidity of the Left. The Left’s blind faith in the state makes its remedies worse than useless. But the first step is to realise how much ground we have lost, and that there may not be much time left to make it up.

    The problem with the elite is that they are driven by greed. It is like a drug and once hooked they just want more and more. This has blinded them to the political and economic reality that their own greed will ultimately destroy them. I think what Moore is saying is that for the elite to survive they must give just enough back to prevent the destruction of the system.

    • KJT 5.1

      “The Left’s blind faith in the state”.

      A typical RWNJ misconception.

      Most people on the left want us to have democratic control over our own lives.

      The right wants central control by the wealthy. Hence increasing the powers of the State to protect their wealth. The search and surveillance act , police being equipped and trained against civil disobedience and laws allowing snooping into internet access.

      They right a re the ones who like centralized State power, so long as they control it.

      ” The largest obstacle to democracy is the illusion of the poor that we have it, and the terror of the rich least we get it”

  6. Thatcher and Reagan = Pinochet – Friedman = Shock Doctrine

  7. Bill 7

    Reads very much like a celebration of the policies and processes of the past 30 odd years with a confused disappointment of the results tagged on alongside the generally celebratory thrust of the piece.

    The right were correct. The left were wrong. But the result, according to Moore was inexplicably perverted.

    Fact is that nothing was perverted. What we have is the natural result of the types of policies and programmes Moore celebrates. So Moore is either a deluded idiot or a shameful apologist. Or both.

  8. lefty 8

    The man is still a right wing idiot with little understanding of the political economy.

    Tories do happen to disagree on policy details from time to time but there is no cleavage between the ‘good old fashioned tory’ and the new breed of neo liberal. Don’t be fooled by the gentlemanly facade some of them are good at projecting. Tory’s have always been nasty, greedy and destructive – this part of their tradition they hold on to at all costs. Everything else is up for grabs if theres a buck in it.

    They have learned they can be as destructive as they like because the B team – the various type of Labour Party, or its equivalent, will always save the day and sort out the problems caused by their excesses if things get too bad.

    We cannot afford to keep indulging them. Labour simply has to stop rescuing them and their system before it is too late for all of us.

    The next time the media and the rest of the establishment start screaming for a Labour government it should come with a price – the dismantling of capitalism.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Labour simply has to stop rescuing them and their system before it is too late for all of us.

      Not Labour, Us. Labour is just another party of business now.

  9. mik e 9

    It makes the GRAPHS on economic growth even more relevent. where govts spread wealth we get more economic growth. This fact has been known for some time but the likes of Thatcher and her neo liberal feudalists ,with the help of the Murdoch style media have had ascendancy for along time.With their little homespun untruths.they stripped the working class and decimated the middle class then say its your own fault while they have been undermining democracy at every opportunity they can through control of the media.

  10. mikesh 10

    The trouble was that Keynsianism copped the blame for the “stagflation” of the seventies and eighties, though I think the the blame for the latter should rather have been laid at the door of oil price rises exacerbated by the wage/price spiral.

    This allowed neoliberalism, with its advocacy of balanced budgets etc to sneak in.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The modern economics profession is an extremely sick, unhealthy profession. It has led entire countries and their peoples to virtual destruction.

      It tries to make out that it is a science, when it is not, it tries to make out that you can mathematize things that you cannot, and it has been captured by political and corporate money.

      Further, the only kind of economics that seems to make the headlines now is a highly financialised macro-economic monetary kind. “Real economics” around the best use of scarce resources, investment in infrastructure and industry, the relationship of people and labour and society to the economy – all largely ignored.

      • mik e 10.1.1

        CV most mainstream economists are tied to the hand that feeds them. Ive read very widely on the subject I can assure you and with more powerful computers economics has become more of a science its just like fox news those economists only put the facts that suit them out their ie like treasury growth charts referred to by a right winger in one of the other are right in your summary their. the facts speak for them selves the more you spread the wealth the better economic growth you get better use of resources improves economic growth. thats why Michael Cullen succeeded better than any other finance minister in the last thirty years because he has a PhD with honors at a very young age from a working class background in the history of economics going back to Egyptian times . So he Knew what makes an economy grow and he implemented many of the things required. By contrast Bill English plodded through university long hours of study to make the grade as he dosn,t have the talent, and has been captured by Chicago school/Victoria university model having to put a bit of Keynesian into the mix not of choice but for political survival.

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