Baroness Thatcher, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, has died from a stroke, aged 87 years.
Despite receiving an M.Sc in Chemistry from Oxford University, she had relatively little to do with engineering, except by way of what some would see as her political sins of omission and commission. However, there is no doubt that her three terms as prime minister from 1979 to 1990 took the country in a radically different direction to the one it had been taking, and have therefore markedly influenced the free-wheeling but fragmented electronics landscape that exists in the U.K. today.
It was Margaret Thatcher, an incoming Conservative Party prime minister in 1979, who masterminded the dismantling of the National Enterprise Board, a U.K. government body that was set up to implement a policy of public ownership of, and investment in, industry.
One result of this was that the ownership of Inmos Ltd. -- previously a government-funded pioneer of parallel processing, was passed to Thorn EMI -- which quite frankly did not know what to do with it, apart from milking a few SRAM patents for royalties. Thorn EMI eventually passed the Inmos buck on to STMicroelectronics in 1989.
Thatcher stood well to the right of center of the political spectrum on economic matters. She took it on as an almost personal crusade to roll back the tide of state intervention that had become the accepted norm in post-war Britain up until her first term as prime minister.
As well as cutting direct taxes and government spending and privatizing state-owned industries and companies, she was also committed to reducing the power of the trade unions in the U.K. This resulted in physical violence and battles between striking coal miners and police officers at picket lines. High unemployment was the short-term consequence of her economic policies and this combination made her a figure of hate amongst some socialists and people of the far left.
Looks like we have digressed a lot. Maggie was a great leader, who, I think, even many men of power cannot match. Sure she had her failures, but now that is called hind sight. I bet we all agree that she made a difference and a positive one at that.
I still remember that lady with a shock of curled hair, an unsmiling veneer and exuberance of toughness.
"UK seems to have bailed out of manufacturing, not because it lacks the knowledge, but because the society does not value technical profession. Britons have grown lazy. It is far more prestigious to be an investment banker in the City moving $$$ from one corner to another, or else a member of outdated aristocracy living off hereditary estates"
If you look at the manufacturing base of most "Western" countries you will find they have been in decline over the last 30+ years and are now a much lower percentage of GDP than previously. I think you'll find that's because we've found it cheaper (at least for now) to have manfactured in other countries (e.g. China)
Whatever Gorbachev was trying to attempt was doomed to fail because he never attempted to address what eventually made Russia such sorry state as of now (and again...). Namely he did not try to destroy the security apparatus. Therfore he is still a mystery to me, because he should have well knonw that any westernization of Russia would fail ...
What's happening in Europe is much simpler: Germany loved its currency (euro) underappreciated (DM certainly was not!) and its exports cheaper, the EU South loved its access to North's (==Germany's) credits, everybody else loved being in the club, and by the way, apart from the treaty (which I bet some were signing with their fingers crossed) there is nothing to tell the govs about the fiscal policy. Now the party ended and everybody is waiting for the good times to start magically again. Redistribution, socialism etc is not a problem: Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Shweiz, EStonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Chechy are doing fine considering the state ofthe global economy. BTW: these are the countries whether in euro or not have more or less financial goevernance idependent bodies. Independent not only from goverments (we have that) but also from the business lobbies (we do NOT). As for the "Polish Rebellion": I think I need to thank CIA for all the printing supplies :-)
Branding France a nation of " cheese eating surrender - monkeys " when Chirac resisted joining the invaion of Iraq under false pretexts was only the latest instalment of that perfidy.
That's very funny, blaming the UK for that. It was first used in "The Simpsons"
I could tear apart your other blatant nonsense but what's the point? I will, however, remember it's all the UK's fault next time I visit Auschwitz
Read John O'Sullivan's "The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World". Not a weekend read, but the rewards are worth the effort. And God help us if we don't elect more leaders like them.
Speaking of sham, I was a fairly regular listener of Radio Moscow at the time. And one journalist in particular really really blew me away. Vladimir Posner.
Until Gorbachev, he was all strict party line. When Gorbachev came to power, it was like a breath of fresh air. He, Posner, was suddenly explaining on the radio how they had been made to spout the party rhetoric until then. Wow. Is this the same guy?
Such a weird time to live through.
So, what Gorbachev said to you makes perfect sense to me. But what you seem to miss is, Gorbachev was moving the USSR in the direction of the West -- openness, free markets, democracy -- just what Reagan and Thatcher stood for. He was NOT heading the USSR someplace different.
Oh come now. WWII was about "British jealousy against superior Germany?" Give me a freakin' break.
I meant what I said. My own upbringing, education until college, and parents, are Italian and French. But when I came to the US, it was not IN SPITE OF the roots of the US culture. It was instead because of.
Nothing wrong with that. No reason to deny cultural roots, or to chant mea culpa about everything that's yours.
Bert : at last you are right in one aspect ! Gorby deserves as much credit as anyone else for ending the Cold War. Last year I paid good money to attend a talk given by him and asked why he co-operated with Ray Gun and his side kick Maggie. Gorby's answer was " he wanted to end the sham that the USSR had become and let his people live the way a resource rich nation like Russia could afford to "
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