The Week

Mark Jones jones118 at
Sun Apr 30 11:01:07 PDT 2000

As the British broadsheets are discussing today, Blair does not want to let sterling decline against the euro because while 20 pc of British workers are in manufacturing and suffer from the high pound, most people work in non-manufacturing and are beneficiaries of the high pound, for the time being anyway. They enjoy cheap holidays abroad and cheap imports. The unemployment rate is half that of Germany's. Britain is booming as never before. For once, we can look down on the Krauts and we love it. Plus which to devalue the pound would have big implications for Blair's big social infrastructural plans (spending more on health, education etc, helps jack up sterling and also squeezes manufacturing while simultaneously widening bal of payments deficits; but the NHS is a sacred cow as even Goldman Sachs, the Vikings of the era, seem now to grasp, therefore sterling too is sacred). Therefore the British govt is ready to let large chunks of industry go to the wall including vehicle manufacture, which is anyway thought to be ennui-stricken 'Old Labour', with its archiac fordist sociology and demographics - we're postfordist now. The Blairista calculation is that auto workers, even unemployed ex-Rover ones, will still vote Labour in next years general election cos they have nowhere else to go politically. And we don't need brainless metal-bashing any more, we need the Internet etc. So the British auto industry is being allowed to wither on the vine. Yet, oddly enough, last year British car plants produced more than 2m vehicles, more than for several decades, and around 80pc of these were exported, the most impressive export achievement ever. Politically the problem just boils down to a couple of old clapped out plants (Longbridge, Dagenham) which should be closed anyway.

People seem to forget just how much Blair has internalised the princiapl lesson of the Thatcher era. In her fiorst term of office (1979-84) Maggie engineered the most swingeing assault on British manufacturing ever; even German WW2 bombing did less damage to the industrial heartlands. The recession she engineered reduced British manufacturing output by 20pc and actually it never recovered. The result? A cowed working class, industrial 'peace' and 17 unbroken years in office. Yeltsin understood the lesson. So does Blair. It's the social-democrats of Euroland who have the restructuration problems now, not the self-satisfied Brits.

Mark Jones

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-lbo-talk at
> [mailto:owner-lbo-talk at]On Behalf Of Max B. Sawicky
> Sent: 30 April 2000 16:08
> To: lbo-talk at
> Subject: RE: The Week
> > Jim heartfield wrote:
> > > Correction
> > > 148,900,000
> > >
> > eh? 148,900,000?
> > Mark Jones
> >
> Hadn't realized the UK economy was booming so.
> Try:
> Keeping in mind that it is French, and possibly
> unreliable, the correct order of magnitude looks
> to be a million something. 1998 was 1.7 m.
> clearing the air,
> mbs

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