11 October 2009

“Selling off the family silver”

So, Brown looks to Maggie for inspiration.

Lord Stockton, the former Harold Macmillan, criticising Thatcher’s sale of state assets in a speech to the Tory Reform Group in 1985:

The sale of assets is common with individuals and states when they run into financial difficulties. First, all the Georgian silver goes, and then all that nice furniture that used to be in the saloon. Then the Canalettos go.

A few days in The House of Lords:

When I ventured to criticise, the other day, this system I was, I am afraid, misunderstood. As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism. I am sure they will be more efficient. What I ventured to question was the using of these huge sums as if they were income.

I know now, I have learnt now from the letters that I have received, that I am quite out of date. Modern economists have decided there is no difference between capital and income. I am not so sure. In my younger days, I and perhaps others of your Lordships had friends, good friends, very good fellows indeed too, who failed to make this distinction. For a few years everything went on very well, and then at last the crash came, and they were forced to retire out to some dingy lodging-house in Boulogne, or if the estate were larger and the trustees more generous, to a decent accommodation at Baden-Baden.

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