The “ravages” of Dame Anne

Guest Post

Dame Anne Salmond is at it again. She has a piece in this morning’s Herald entitled “Balance needed after ravages of neo-liberalism”.  Much of the article is the touchy, feely nonsense we have come to know from her but some of it is pure deception.

She quotes Maggie Thatcher, but of course selectively uses only a small part of the quote and gives it no context and as they rightly say “take the ‘text’ out of context and you have a con”.  Dame Anne states that Thatcher said there was no such thing as a society.  However, here is the full statement:

“I think we have been through a period when too many people have been given to understand that when they have a problem it is government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant. I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They are casting their problems on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no governments can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours. People have got their entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There is no such thing as an entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

If any one needs reminding Maggie’s scathing criticism of a culture of entitlement and reliance on big government came after decades of left wing management that led to the state in the UK becoming larger and larger and the economy becoming severely weakened.

By the time Maggie came to power the Brits were on their knees with all the major industries underperforming, uncompetitive and heavily subsidised.   It was shaping up as a North Korea or a Cuba with young people leaving school early and going to work in the same place that their parents and grandparents had worked.  Coal mining, ship building, farming, telecoms, railways all received dollops of state funding, all made losses, all lacked innovation and their workers lived boring lives in the same bland houses their parents had moved into from their parents.

What Maggie Thatcher sought was a country of industries and businesses that could compete in the world, were dynamic and inventive and looked outward not to the state for more protection and subsidies.  She wanted a population that shrugged off entitlements, to see themselves as the masters of their own destiny, rather than wards of an all-powerful state. She believed prosperity came about when people were unshackled from the apron strings of big government and were free to aspire to owning their own home in a freer market and a competitive economy. The ‘cloth cap’ mentality, the collectivist ideal and the reliance on “society” to shelter them and do their thinking had to be changed.

The result was a period of unprecedented growth, rising wages, better standards of living, new vibrant businesses and vastly changed attitudes.  Everyone was better off or had a much improved opportunity to be better off.

Once again a socialist commentator has revised history to bolster a weak case.  Dame Anne fails to say that Thatcher did not undo the vast welfare system – indeed it grew under Thatcher.   Safety nets stayed in place.  Those who genuinely needed help got it and the nation could afford it.

Dame Anne fails to understand the difference between selfishness and self interest.  When people are free from state interference and can pursue their own self interest everyone wins and the whole of the population can benefit.  The farmer gets the best price for his goods he can but is required to produce the higher quality that people demand through competition among supermarkets.  His self interest becomes the means for shoppers getting top quality at a good price – their self interest.  Smart farmers squeeze and extra dollar for their superior quality by selling through boutiques – again everyone wins.

Even the selfishness of those who accumulate great wealth and become the objects of great hatred and criticism from the socialists ends up becoming the object of self interest.  The socialist green movement and the Bernie Sanders crowd in the USA are funded by the Rothschild empire.  The irony escapes them and the Dame Anne’s of this world.

What exactly are the “ravages of neo-liberalism”?   Drive through Mangere and every home has a large screen TV and a Sky dish.  A SUV parked on the lawn.  The kids get a great education with a heap of technology available, health care we didn’t thing possible ten years ago, focused assistance on a scale not known in the past and much more.  Jobs are more plentiful and in interesting and safety conscious industries.  The community provides a range of activities often free or at affordable rates.

As another Herald article states this morning most of the so-called homeless chose that existence.  A few are caught in a trap of poor mental health and trapped in drug or alcohol abuse but we as a community are dealing with these issues as they arise.

Dame Anne if you feel “ravaged by neo-liberalism” I am sure your university salary would be sufficient for you to emigrate to a country that has yet to be “ravaged”.  I suggest Venezuela.   May I have first offer of your car, (you will not be able to get petrol), your household appliances, (electricity is out regularly), and I will let you have a couple of my guns as part payment (“society” breaks into your home often).

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