Tuesday 1 January 2019

Nine Bright Shiners

We sometimes sing nine for the nine bright shiners and do not know who or what they were. We are now into 2019 so what have the years of the nine done for us? You win a few and you lose a few but nine does not seem to be a winner.

1899 was the year when The Boer War started in a flurry of imperial noise when most people were aware that it wasn't just land or prestige, it was gold and diamonds that mattered. It led to what later became the Union of South Africa. Another place keeping us busy was Afghanistan.

1909 was the year of Lloyd George's budget which marked the beginning of the present forms of state intervention and taxation. It may have begun as tax the rich to pay the poor but become tax all and pay all. It also was the year the fan of France, King Edward VII and Grand Duke Michael Romanov of Russia, living at Keele in Staffordshire, nudged us towards closer to those countries should war occur instead of staying well out of it.

1919 was the year after the War, when demobbed soldiers returned to find not jobs but promises made by a coalition government unclear about anything much, including a peace treaty that was supposed to prevent wars but in effect provided the causes for the next one.

1929 was the year of the Great Crash in finance and economies and the beginning of the end of Empire never mind the dangers of war.

1939 was the year the next world war started as Neville Chamberlain came to regret all those pieces of paper he waved about.

1949 was the year after the war when the lights came back on at last and  rationing began to end, although the sweet ration came back soon when the teeth of the nation began to defeat the dentists. Mao Tse Tung took control of China and Stalin was hovering in the East of Europe.

1959 was the year when Tory Harold Macmillan won the election on a tax and spend manifesto where the spending was to be great but it was not entirely clear where the money was coming from. One place was shifts to local council rates. We had given up the Empire and now relied on the pound sterling to do that job for us.

1969 was the year when it became clear that the pound sterling was now a weak currency in a weak dated economy but Tory Edward Heath, a former Brigadier, believed he could turn it all round by barking orders to underlings and electors. He failed and decided to reorganise local government instead because the high rate increases were causing problems.

1979 was the year when Callaghan's hopes for a planned future and a permanent Labour majority were banged to rights by a heavy handbag wielded by Margaret Thatcher who won the election and had her own ideas, or rather picked them up from a select group of favourites. Russia invades Afghanistan.

1989 was the year when Margaret Thatcher was still there hand bagging away with vigour but hitting the wrong heads. Things were so bad we later got John Major proving the point that nice chaps finished last. He finished out of sight. Russia withdraws from Afghanistan.

1999 was the year when Blair and Brown peaked and we all suffered and went on suffering. Afghanistan in Civil War.

2009 was the year when Brown as Prime Minister told us all would be well if we paid up. We had to pay our dues for NATO etc. because the USA was in Afghanistan.

What next?


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