Friday, 22 October 2010

Murdoch on Thatcher

Rupert Murdoch, one of Australia's most valuable exports, has recently taken his private jet to London to deliver the inaugural Baroness Thatcher Lecture.  Here's what he has to say about the woman who was British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990.

My words tonight will be flavoured by those of Margaret Thatcher herself. We sometimes forget how pithy she is – how wise her thoughts, and how pertinent they remain even though she left office long ago.

And we cannot forget that she is no ideologue, but a person of pragmatism, an optimist whose optimism is founded in her faith in the individual. 

Hers is a generous spirit, a spirit based in an appreciation of personal potential and not of an impersonal ideology. As she said: "With all due respect to the drafters of the American Declaration of Independence, all men and women are not created equal, at least in regard to their characters, abilities and aptitudes."

It was that appreciation of individual aptitude and ability that made her so intolerant of the strictures of socialism. How quickly too many people have forgotten that she has not only changed Britain, but, along with Ronald Reagan, changed the world, much, much for the better.

No idealogue?  Generous spirit?  Of course he would say that.  Thatcher's approach to deregulation paved the way for Murdoch to make a killing in the UK, allowing him to drive down the wages of the workers who printed his newspapers, and to develop a very profitable and very lightly-regulated pay-tv empire.  The workers obviously thought differently, especially the coal miners who struck for a year over the downsizing of their industry before finally being forced to give in.  Not to mention Murdoch's own printing workforce who were locked out of their workplace after refusing to accept Murdoch's changes to their pay and conditions. 

Thatcher was lucky to be around at the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Meanwhile, under the guise of opposition to socialism at home she ran down Britain's public sector, privatised public assets and forced local governments to tender out the provision of basic services.  Wealthy people like Murdoch rejoiced, and continue to rejoice to this day.  As for the poor - well, they weren't created equal anyway, so what does it matter?

No comments: