Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A political and economic theory of social organisation which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange.

On the 4th May 1979 Mrs Thatcher became Prime Minister.

Her one aim in life was to destroy the unions.

She started with the National Union of Mine Workers. (NUM)
They were the biggest and strongest union in the country.


The miners strike was a major industrial action affecting the British coal industry.

"The strike became a symbolic struggle, since the Miners Union was one of the strongest in the country.
The dispute exposed deep divisions in British society and caused considerable bitterness, especially Northern England and in South Wales where several mining communities were destroyed."

The National Coal Board wanted to close 20 pits with the loss of 20,000 jobs.
The miners could not accept this and the President of the national union of Mineworkers, (NUM).Arthur Scargill called for the miners to show their strength and they went on strike.
The strike began on the 12th March 1984.
The strike lasted for almost a year and on the 3rd march 1985 a special NUM conference was held and the miners had to concede defeat.

In July 1985, there were only 31 pits left in South Wales, with the loss of thousands of jobs.

The reason for the defeat?
Mrs Thatcher made it impossible for anyone to help them.
Please see below:

Mrs Thatcher was intent in destroying the unions because they were the only ones that could help us "working class" people. They helped us with the Health and Safety at work, and decent pay for a decent days work.

She knew how strong unions were so she set out to destroy them.

1. 1980. Secondary picketing was restricted and legal rememdies were given to employees from unions fpr refusing to join closed shops. Now closed shops required an 80% approval by the workers in the bargaining unit.

2. 1982. Union immunity from civil law suits was withdrawn and sympathy or secondary strikes were outlawed.

3. 1988. All remaining legal protection for existing closed shops were abolished.

4. 1990. The creation of new closed shops were outlawed. Union officials became responsible for unofficial strikes and the legal immunity for actions supporting unofficial strikes was withdrawn.
Remaining secondary union actions were made illegal.

5. 1992. The wages council abolished.

6. 1993. The automatic deduction of uniuon dues from salaries were mad eillegal without specific worker consent. Workers were given the right to join the union of choice.

7. 1998. The Natioal mininmum wage was brought in by the labour government.

The eighties were a real fight for democracy and socialism.......I know.....I was there.

I was on many, many demos, fighting for our rights.

The right to work, the fight for jobs.

Not to be paid low wages, not to be exploited by the employer.

I was also on picket lines until it became illegal for secondary picketing.

The best was when we and many thousands more joined Arthur Scargill and his miners on a march in london. That showed our strength.

Mrs Thatcher did not destroy the unions, they were too strong.

Thank god for that.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Come on then, own up, who watches them then?

I'm talking about "On the buses"
Thrusday nights at 10.00 p.m. on Men and Motors channel 131.

After that it's "Please sir."

Another great sit com.

Actually, I remember them when they first came on the t.v.years ago. We thought they were great.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This is a blog in response to one I have just read.


In British politics and economics, BLACK WEDNESDAY, refers to 16th September 1992.

When the conservative government of the day was forced to withdraw the Pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.(ERM) due to pressure by currancy speculators- most notably George Soros who made over $I billion from this speculation.
In 1997 the UK Treasury estimated the cost of Black Wednesday at £3.4 billion.

The trading losses in August ans September were estimated at £800m, but the main loss to taxpayers arose because the devaluation could have made them a profit.
The papers show that if the government had maintained $24bn foreign currancy reserves and the pound had fallen by the same amount, the UK would have made a £2.4bn profit on sterling's devaluation.
The papers also show that the treasury spent £27bn of reserves in propping up the pound: the Treasury calculates the ultimate loss was only £3.4bn.

When the RRM was set up in 1979, Britain declined to join. This was a controversial decision as the Chancellor of the Exchequer Geoffrey Howe, was a convinced pro-european.
His successor Nigel Lawson was also a believer in a fixed exchange rate, he admired the low inflationary record of Germany, attributing it ot the strength of the Deutsche Mark.

Although Britain had not joined the ERM, for several years the Treasury followed a semi-official policy of "shadowing" the Deutsche Mark.

At the same time, and in addition to open market trading of currencies, the Treasury's amin tool in attempting to control the exchange rate was through the setting of the value of Sterling. As a consequence, interest rates were set with consideration of the domestic demand and inflation environment as only a secondary consideration. This led to a number of years of lower interest rates than would have otherwise been the case, and hence to rising inflation.

Matters came to a ahead in a clash between Margarets Thatcher's economic advisor, Alan Walters and Nigel Lawson, when Walters claimed that the Exchange Rate M echanism was "half baked." This led to Nigel Lawson resigning as chancellor to be replaced by John Major.
John Major, who, with Douglas Hurd, the then Foreign Secretary, pressured Margaret Thatcher to sign Britain up to the erm in October 1990, effectively guaranteeing that the British Government would follow an economic and monetary policy that would prevent the exchange rate between the pound and other member currencies from fluctuating by more than 6%. The pound entered the mechanism at 2.95 Deutsche Mark to the pound.Hence, if the exchange rate ever neared ythe bottom of it's permitted range, 2.778 marks, the government would be obliged to intervene.
With UK inflation at three times the rate of Germany's interest rates at 15% and the "Lawson Boom" about to bust, the conditions for joining the ERM were not favourable at that time.

From the begining of the 1990's, high German interest rates, set by Bundesbank to counteract inflationary effects related to excess expenditure on German reunification, caused significant stress across the whole of the ERM.
The UK and Italy had additional difficulties with their double deficits. Issues of national prestige and the commitment to a doctrine that the fixing of exchange rates within the ERM was a pathway to a single European currency inhibited the adjustment of exchange rates.
In the wake of the rejection of the Maastricht Treaty by the Danish electorate in a referendum in the spring of 1992, those ERM currencies that were trading close to the bottom of their ERM bands came under speculative attack in the foreign exchange markets by currency speculators.

On September 16th the British government announced a rise in the base interest rate from an already high 10% to 12% in order to tempt speculators to buy pounds. Despite this and a promise later the same day to raise base rates again to 15%, dealers kept selling pounds.
Major currency traders like Goldman Sachs knew what the British government was trying to do and knew that the international money markets would eventually prevail against the efforts to prop up the pound.
This amounted to a major transfer of wealth from the government to the speculators, both individuals and investment banks.

By 19.00 that evening, Norman Lamont, then Chancellor, announced Britain would leave the ERM and rates would remain at the new level of 12%.

Just another example as to why no-one should vote Conservative in the up coming elections.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Well, it had to happen on a wednesday didn't it?

I got up for work wednesday morning, and after a cup of coffee and a ciggie, I got in my car to drive to work. This was at 7.15 a.m.

I drove to the end of the road and turned right, I then approached the small roundabout.Now, I have been doing this route for years, so nothing was abnormal about it, I approached the roundabout indicating to turn right, and stopped. There was quite a few cars around which was quite amazing really as normally there is no or just a few cars at that time of the morning.

I looked both ways and slowly moved away in first gear, and then.....THUD.

I had hit a young lady who was riding her bike.

She fell off and landed in the middle of the road, I slammed the brakes on and jumped out, running to her to see she was alright.

I helped her up and took her to the side of the road.
I asked her if she wanted an ambulance but she refused.
"I'm fine." she said.
"Just give me a minute."
She was still rubbing her leg and we looked to see if she actually cut herself but luckily she hadn't.
"oh my god," I said.
Are you sure you're alright. I'm so sorry."

At this I just burst into tears.

She stood up and walked around for a few seconds, I helped her as much as I could by holding on to her, but she then told me again that she was fine and she said she would ring her husband to take her home. I offered to drive her myself, she thanked me but said it was alright.

We started to talk about what had happened, and I explained that I had my visor down as the sun was shining straight in my eyes. I just did not see her! She excepted my explaination and told me not to worry about it.We then exchanged names and addresses. Her name is Jo.

About 10 mins later her husband turned up and of course he was concerned about her,but he could see that she was alright in herself.

She turned to me and smiling she said:
"please don't worry about it, you can see I'm alright."

"Thankyou." I said. "I'll ring you tonight to make sure."
The tears started again.

I walked over to my car and sat in it, to shaky to drive. I, of course sat and had a ciggie to try and calm my nerves.
After about 10 mins I put the engine on and drove very slowly to work.

I physically shook all day and could not stop thinking about her and how good she had been about the accident.

I told everyone at work and started crying again. They were so good to me, they calmed me down.

That night I rang Jo and asked how she was.

"I'm fine, really." she said.
"But my bike is a little damamged, I'll take it in to the shop tomorrow and get it looked at. o.k.? How are you?"

"Oh, I'm fine too now,but I was so shook up by the accident, all I could think of was that it could've been a lot worse. I'm just glad you're alright." I said.

I ran my insurance to report the accident, and explained that no-one was seriously hurt.

The next day Jo ran me and explained that the tyre and the peddle on her bike was damaged and it will cost £50.00 to have then repaired.
I offered to pay it and she willingly excepted that.

"Thankyou. I will send you the receipt to prove it to you, and then we will say no more about it." she said cheerfully.

I just cannot get over how good she has been about the accident. Straight away she said she was fine and told me not to worry myself about it. But, of course, you do worry.

But I am surprised just how much this has shaken me. You drive every day and think nothing of it. I surpose you take it for granted. But now,I am thinking about taking a refresher course. It has really shaken me.

I don't think I will forget this incident for a long time.