No surprise here:
The British government is seeking to raise more cash by selling its 71.5 billion-pound ($116 billion) stake in three crippled banks than Margaret Thatcher generated by disposing of state-owned businesses during her entire 11 years in office.
From 1979 to 1990, then-Prime Minister Thatcher’s three administrations privatized more than 20 companies, including British Gas and British Airways. The total raised would now be worth about 68.5 billion pounds, adjusted for inflation, according to accounting firm Ernst & Young.
Privatisation was never about economics. To achieve her social aims, she happily flogged things off at absurdly reduced prices, losing this country eye-watering sums of money. So out went expressions and guarantees of national sovereignty; we must be the only country on earth that permits foreign states, as such, to own our nuclear power stations and our electricity supplies. Out went safeguards of the Union, often with the word “British” in their names. Out went providers of the secure, high-wage, high-skilled, high-status employment that underwrites paternal authority in the family and in the wider community.
And that is before we even begin to consider the sale of council housing, which even her most stalwart defenders are usually too embarrassed to mention. The State simply gifted considerable capital assets to people so that they entered the housing market ahead of private tenants who had saved for their deposits. And it created for itself the whole Housing Benefit racket, which even if it were fraud-free (and it is anything but) would still be colossally more expensive than just maintaining a stock of council housing and renting it out.
Still, Britain now has a living former Prime Minister who cannot visit at least 50 countries for fear of arrest, and whom a Radio Four presenter can call a war criminal on air without the BBC’s receiving a single complaint. For all her faults, that living former Prime Minister is not Margaret Thatcher.