Thursday 13 December 2012

Have We Been Here Before?

Back in the early 1970’s we have learned that the top civil servants at the time had reconciled themselves to a UK in a steady decline which might prove difficult or impossible to stop.  Many senior politicians agreed with them but said little or nothing publicly because of obvious electoral problems. 

Between them they came up with going into the nearest available bolthole, the Common Market in the hope of delaying the evil day and inflating their way out of debt while hoping that the common man would not really notice the erosion of his income or liberties.

At the same time there were many bits and pieces of Empire that were also a problem.  They were poor, with no natural resources and with populations wanting to have some sort of equality with the better off nations.  Some were so small that any kind of government needed underpinning to survive.

Also, they had to be kept away from communism or other extreme political conditions that might make them a nuisance.  One way was to divert money and its management in that direction.  In 1973 for example, The Bahamas, riding a tourist boom after the Bond file “Thunderball”, became an attractive place.

Britain already had links with the monied population there, from The Bay Street Boys of the 1930-1950’s, pals of the Duke of Windsor, along with City connections.  So in the late 1960’s it began to develop itself as a centre for offshore banking etc..  During that time it acquired a representative body with independence in 1973.

The newly liberated state had a clear policy that it intended to expand on finance and make this one of the lynch pins of the economy along with tourism.  The UK government, the high mandarins of the Civil Service and the leadership of both political parties very quietly and readily accepted extensive tax avoidance policies in this and other colonies.

During a decade of social disruption, conflicting economic policies and the continued decline of UK industry and failures in state planned renewal, those with access to the then almost secret private banks and advisers managed to take care of themselves.  Along with many of our elite were many leaders in the entertainment industry.

At the same time the government completely misread the potential of the space industry, failed to recognise the full implications of container shipping and “invested” in one doomed scheme after another.  At the same time the oil and gas industries were changing the basis of our energy supplies, again botched by government.

We had stumbling, blundering, ineffective governments trashing the economy and wrecking any national identity.  While all this was going on our media and entertainment industries were feeding us a limited diet of largely rubbish as either news or entertainments.  There were some notable exceptions but these were not the norm only things we pretend were.

Looking at the situation for 2013 its déjà vu all over again.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I think we knew our governments were dire at the time, but the internet seems to bring it out more starkly.

    I think they are struggling, both with being useless and with us knowing and saying they are useless.