Thursday, 16 September 2010

Whatever happened to that share owning democracy?

Last night I watched a TV show about advertising in the UK. And guess what came up big time but Satchi & Satchi, that institution much loved of the Tories and often credited with keeping Thatcher in power for the entire 1980s.

Who should we see bumping his gums on there but that Michael Heseltine, when it came to the section on advertising the great sell off of the UK family silver that was privatisation. And the multi million pound campaigns used by the Tories to pursue their own political agenda. Which was to all intents and purposes to hobble the power of the unions by whatever means necessary.

Of course Heseltine was in fine fettle frothing away like a singing kettle reminding us all of what a fabulous idea it was to off load the nationalised industries at bargain basement prices in order to create the utopia that is a share owning democracy. Of course Michael, like most Tories, lives in his own version of cloud cuckoo land when in actual fact the real world was much more sordid and grubby.

The state sanctioned sell off of national assets has to be one of the times in this countries (the UK) sordid history where the very worst of motives and traits came to the fore. Everybody who could joined in the carpet baggers charter and cashed in by buying up shares in what had hitherto belonged to everybody, and selling them off after less than a week at an enormous premium. Even the most rabid socialists where there in the queue desperate to tell hissing Sid to make sure they got their quota of British Gas shares.

What we are all forgetting is that these state monopolies had before privatisation belong to every man, woman and child in the nation. What the Tories did was to take our property and sell it back to those of us who could afford it at rock bottom prices to enable us to then cash in by selling them on to international conglomerates at a price greatly inflated to that which we paid. That was of course all well and good for those that had money to spare, but millions didn’t and they were effectively robbed.

Did we end up as a shareholding democracy? No we didn’t the shares were quickly sold on and are now all held by foreign corporations like Santander. Thanks a lot Satchi & Satchi.


  1. Popular capitalism is nothing less than a crusade, to the enfranchise the many in the economic life of the nation. We Conservatives returned power to the people, this is the way to one nation, one people.

    Under Munguin's utopian era, 1979 - under 7% of the people owned shares. That, he thinks, is the many owning and sharing in the proceeds of growth - he thinks that 7% represents 'everyone' owning the industries.

    By 1990 - 25%. Let us continue to empower the people, and remove power from unrepresentative trade unions, and Liebore governments in London.

    Sorry Munguin, you are totally wrong on this score!

  2. Talk about being wrong eh?

    By 2008, individual share ownership down again to ~10%, and yet we no longer have the assets that were once state owned.

    So when the assets are taken from the hands of the nation, and put into private (and largely foreign) ownership, how does that empower 'the people' (as opposed to some wealthy people)? How is it that we trade our state run assets and yet end up with no significantly improved stake as 'a share owning public'?

    The current system system of global capitalism is designed to pull wealth from the bottom to the top, and it entails getting real world assets out of the hands the state (the ONLY representative of the people of a nation as a whole, like it or not) and into private hands.

    [For UK shares (data ending 2008)-
    "Individuals in the UK held £117.8 billion of shares (10.2 per cent), the lowest proportion recorded in the history of the survey, which began in 1963."
    source - ONS]

  3. Dean, what tripe. Thankfully somepapfaedundee has already holed your argument below the waterline before I have had an opportunity to fire off a single salvo.
    So thank you spfd for that timely intervention, could not have done it better and great source, can’t get better than Brenda’s own statistics office.

    Only one thin to add Dean do try to use statistics that are a little more current than 20 years old!

    Dean, I'm also assuming that you have no problem with the Tory government of that time spending millions on an advertising campaign to further it's own narrow political agenda. Just in light of the huge ding-dong you stoked up in your ant-SNP rant regarding the supposed spending of £2millionish (Iain Gray's own statistics office, I believe) on the National Conversation.

  4. SPFD: thank you very much for that I could not have come close to saying that any better!

  5. Summed up in an ABC

    Dean's party hates the Scots. The following from sneckedagain on BWB.

    There were revealing communications between Brian Wilmot at the Dept of Industry and McCrone where they faced the "problem" that oil revenues could so strengthen the pound that it would cripple Uk exports while sucking in imports. The answer they felt would be to spend the oil money on UK infrastucture projects.
    * The road networks between Tilbury docks and the English Midlands
    * Dealing with trade union "restrictive practices"
    * Building a London outer ring road
    * Supporting the proposed Channel Tunnel

  6. Thanks CH a bit doom and gloom there, does nobody any harm. I have seen the report that suggested the oil revenue be spent on what ended up as the M25 and the Channel Tunnel. Remember trains were sipposed to run from Paris via the tunnel to Edinburgh and Glasgow its just they err never got further than south London and in the 16 years since then it's got to north London at that rate by the time it reaches Scotland the actual channel will have dryed up or frozen over,

  7. CH:

    How generous of us Scots to provide such things as orbital motorways for the Englsh capital and roads between their capital's docks and their Midlands, the powerhouse of their industries.

    I thought that the channel tunnel was supposed to be paid for completely by the private sector, but it seems the private sector was the oil industry off the coast of Scotland. A tunnel to Denmark anyone?

    It would have been an idea if someone could have done something about the horrific congestion in our own capital... (driving into Edinburgh in the morning is a nightmare), but then Mrs Thatcher of "we in Scotland" fame, probably thought we still painted our faces with wode and ran half naked through the mist chasing haggi (haggises is a bit clumsy, don't you think). What would we need with roads?

  8. Munguin
    "a bit doom and gloom there"

    You will not get that sort of information in the mainstream MSM as they are part of the con. One has to ask why the gov want to control the internet/blogs as there is more truth out there when one sees various sources reporting in a similar vein. The chunnel will flood before we are nuked.

    tris Westminster and Harare one and the same and congestion was encouraged by the dismantling of the railway system for political reasons.

    May 2011 will become more important as the imposed cuts start biting.

  9. "Dean's party hates the Scots"

    Contemptable rubbish. What utter jot.

  10. CH it might happen that way but I hope that we get independence soon if that is the way that England wants to play it.

    Who needs the MSM esp the so called Scottish ones. I haven't read one of thise dish rags in ages. I'm sure the Tories would love to control the internet in the name of small government and individual libert of course. But I cant see how they ever will. We can all just do what lord ashcroft does and base our blog in Beleize City!

  11. May 2011 will be key for the coalition too as that is when the Lib Dems AV referendum will stand or fall. With the Lib Dems collapse in the polls to 12% they can also expect to lose a few MSPs just how many should test their mettle right enough and make Deans favourite source of information, Iain Gray, think twice before having them on board as coalition partners should Labour get more MSPs than the SNP. I can safely say that whatever happens I’m looking forward to it. It may even be best for us if the SNP lose, we do better in opposition and Iain can have such fun implementing all those lovely cuts which should start to bite almost right away.

  12. Please explain Dean when in power they took Scotland's wealth, destroyed communities aided and abetted by the Labour party. Is that how you treat your next door neighbour because I hope not.

  13. I have to own up that I am a Church and Crown Tory (deserted both by the Church of England and the Conservative Party) and a unionist.

    Heseltine however is a thoroughly obnoxious character. I remember being altogether sickened, watching him enjoy his little, brief authority as he went round closing the coal pits. The replacement coal then would come from Colombia (which had child labour) and from Germany (where the government paid a subsidy equivalent to around £40,000 per miner in those days).

    But the ways of Providence are unsearchable. He must be the only Conservative Defence Minister ever to have been blackballed by the Guards and Cavalry Club. (He must have upset the Welsh Guards very badly during his national service). There must have been at least one sound chap present at the ballot.

  14. Edward: thanks for that, nice to know that Heseltine is disliked even by those on his own side.

  15. Hesseltine is a thoroughly decent chap. Caring, compassionate, enjoyable speaker and brought up with a good Christian ethos of caring for the little guy.

    In that regard it makes him a very good Tory.

  16. Dean,
    I don't think you would use those terms if you had experience or knowledge of the business methods (all perfectly legal) by which Heseltine made his fortune.

    Of course, once in politics, he could become very "caring" and "compassionate" - with other people's money. Neil Kinnock and "Moral Compass" Brown play their audiences the same way and the audiences love it. It makes them feel warm and generous too without immediate cost and, somehow, there is the feeling that "the rich" will pay anyway.

    I never got on very well with my father but he did tell me that a man who tells you he has very high principles invariably has very low morals. I have yet to prove him wrong.

  17. Yep, I'd say that was a fair comment Mr S.

    Dean, caring and compassion for the little guys are not qualities which are exclusive to Christians.

    Some of the rest of us have that in spades and some, supposedly Christians display very little of it.