This site is not political and I don't want it to become political, but sometimes you read something on the web, in this case on Twitter, that can't go unchallenged.
The link below is why I'm writing this and when I read this persons post my immediate thoughts were, "this is full of inaccuracies, and is written from a hugely biased perspective".
I don't care if someone’s opinions differ from mine, but history cannot be rewritten and presented as fact, although we have seen some instances of attempts to do this in the last few weeks of election fever.
Still let’s look at what is being stated in this blog and dissect it.
So the author asks us if we remember 1970's. and after some preamble about limited television channels and lack of heating and the general harshness of life, she goes on to mention the news being filled with reports on terrorism and union bosses visting the Labour Prime Minister in Downing Street.
Then we are presented with this statement.
"Britain had been exhausted by two world wars which we didn’t need to fight"
Let’s think about this and digest what is actually being said here, regarding the first world war the general consensus is that this was a senseless war. Did we have to be involved?, if I'm absolutely honest that I can't say without more research.
However when we consider the second world war in my opinion we had an absolute duty to fight against the pure evil that the Nazis unleashed on the world, and to resist everything they represented.
When I pointed this out to the author on Twitter her response was -
"Britain wasn't directly threatened at the outbreak of either World War"
So taking this argument to its logical conclusion if you saw somebody being attacked in the street you would walk on by because you personally weren’t directly affected, I don't think so.
I personally wouldn't want to be part of a world where that was the prevailing attititude, that would be a pretty soulless place.
The Nazis had scapegoated a race, and then used them to justify hideous cruelty against men, women and children, they subjugated Europe and carried out crimes that nothing in this world can justify.
To say we weren't directly threatened is to dismiss completely the threat the Nazis posed to the whole world, not just to us as a nation, it's also a very and insular way of thinking which fails to recognise humanity's overall responsibilities to each other.
Appeasement of evil is not an answer and there can be no cost considerations placed on standing up to evil in any form, especially where the industrialised killing of human beings perpetrated by that regime is considered.
Now it gets really interesting, after saying we definitely had to be involved the author answers with this extraordinary statement -
"My point was about need, not about ought. Sometimes it's right to intervene in foreign affairs, other times it isn't".
A very large part of Europe is ruled under a tyranny, populations are starved, freedom of speech is subverted, books are burnt, children have to be smuggled out of their home countries to safety and all this is summed up as "foreign affairs".
Now lets move on to another statement -
"The Second World War bankrupted us and cost us what we had fought both world wars to maintain. It also gave us socialism.
British socialism of the 1940s was patriotic but mistaken. Labour wanted to create a country that rewarded those who had fought but rewarded them instead with poverty and decline."
There is absolutely no way this statement can go unchallened, the only accurate part is that the war did bankrupt us as a nation, the rest is pure fantasy.
This statement completely dismisses the foundation of the Welfare State, it also fails to recognise the vast social housing project that took place, which gave people a decent home, many for the first time in their lives.
This to me doesn't sound anything like being rewarded with poverty, rather a genuine improvement in peoples lives, and also done at a time when fiscally we were in dire straights.
This gives a lie to the often asked question, "how can all this be paid for?," trumpeted by the gutter press and the right in general.
Now we come to decline,
"Compare and contrast American films of the 1950s with British ones. As America boomed after the war and American standards of living increased, we had rationing until 1954, not because of U-boats, but because we couldn’t afford to import all that we needed."
Now the failure to recognise the obvious flaws in the above is remarkable,
America boomed, of course it did, it had access to immense resources, it was reaping the dividend of "Lend Lease", and its industrial might, and obviously standards of living did increase.
Yes we had rationing, we were paying the price of "Lend Lease", we had been stretched to the very limit and people were exhausted, it doesn't take a genius to work out the the comparison is a rather silly one to posit.
There is always a price to pay for taking a stand, and that was the price of standing up to evil and tyranny, I know many of the people who suffered as a result thought the price worth paying.
Traditional British industry was destroyed by socialism
A bold statement indeed, but does it ring true, on the face of it the activity of unions with strike action and picketing does look like a major factor and is always portrayed as such.
However unions did not come into being without good reason, look back to the Victorian age when children worked in the cloth industry in horrendous conditions, men were killed in the mines, and generally people had no protection from unscrupulous employers.
The truth is that the class structures with their inequalities existed still in the 1970’s, there was still very much an "us and them" culture which rankled with the workforce and made for bad if not non-existent communications between management and shop floor workers.
The car industry in 1970’s Britain is a great example, after the war Britain unlike its competitors was still using old and outdated machinery, along with old and outdated methods and attitudes towards the workforce, this led to poor quality products and low productivity.
To lay the blame on the demise of our industries on socialism is to casually dismiss all the many other factors involved, and is a nonsense.
In the book “Saving Jaguar” by John Egan a senior figure in the car industry, he recounts how his approach of talking openly and honestly with the workforce and unions paid dividends.
One example is striking in its simplicity but effectiveness, some rationalisation was to take place which meant work being moved from one location to other areas, this was communicated in an open way with meetings involving all those affected.
This is quoted directly from his book,
“The day of the merger came, it was very cold and on cue the heating failed in the newly refurbished offices. Even with the addition of some space heaters, which sent out ghostly blue flames, the offices were still freezing. Yet our employees carried out their assignments as planned, they were there to work not to strike. They were there to give of their best – if we, the management did likewise”.
The example above is one of many, and it a complete misrepresentation of the truth to attribute the decline of manufacturing to one factor or group of people alone, as with most things multiple causes contributed to this.
Other factors the author fails to recognise are the erratic nature of government policy, British industrial policy was never consistent and long terms aims were repeatedly sacrificed to short term-term financial exigencies.
John was at the forefront of changing outmoded practices and his methods were proven correct, when the overseas motor manufacturers setup their assembly plants in the UK, they introduced quality circles directly involving the workforce in communicating with management and improving overall quality of the end product.
Both business itself and government policy played a role in our industrial decline, for any business to succeed continuity not short-termism is essential, and this is borne out by Michael Heseltine in this statement made when he was President of the board of Trade in 1993.
If I'm correct I don't think Michael Heseltine was ever a socialist, yet he could see where as an industrial nation we had failed, largely in mismanagement by management.
"I do not doubt for one moment that deep-seated short-term attitudes are prevalent in our affairs; or that is one important strand in understanding why we as a nation have performed less well than many of our competitors.
Such attitudes have led us to invest less than we might in technology and advanced means of production.
They have encouraged growth in companies by acquisition and financial engineering rather than through organic development and building on products and markets.
They have led us to place far too great an emphasis on comparisons of near-term financial results in judging our companies, instead of considering the strength of management and its underlying strategy. Those attitudes are of a piece"
So to summarise, election fever seems to have lead to some people making claims that when scrutinised are seen to not be based on fact.
It's a shame we have a system where truth seems to be ignored and when we see this being done we should challenge it,
Consider this -
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”