Posted tagged ‘overcome’

Iron Ladies Never Die they Just Continue to Show the Way

February 29, 2012

By Con George-Kotzabasis—January 9, 2012

In a hostile world only the strong have the right to indulge in hope. Thucydides

Ah, that memorable, fascinating, admirable, and politically insightful and intrepid subject, Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, that challenges almost all of contemporaneous political leadership that is scrambling on all its fours–with some notable exceptions such as Lee Kuan Yu, of Singapore and Antonis Samaras, of Greece–from Obama to Zapatero to Merkel and Sarkozy, who  instead of standing on the shoulders of political giants, like Thatcher, to command events, they have been overwhelmed and overcome by them.

The characteristic spending profligacy of Labour socialist governments over a number of years, and the excessive borrowing and inflation that resulted by the latter’s policies that brought the UK into economic stagnation gave Margaret Thatcher the opportunity to win the election in 1979 with a sizable majority. Her victory would bring not only the transformation of British politics but would also spawn, with a small astute coterie of others, the seeds of a profound change on the political landscape of the world. Further, by re-introducing forcefully the idea of privatization as a dynamic concept among the economic detritus left by Labour’s deficit-laden nationalization of industries, she would place the country on the trajectory of economic efficiency and generation of wealth for the benefit of all Britons.  To open markets to the world she abolished all exchange controls on foreign currency five months after coming to power. The UK from being the poorest of the four major European economies in 1979 became by the end of ten years under Thatcher’s stewardship the richest among them. In a series of economic policies packaged by Milton Friedman’s and Frederick Hayek’s monetarist theories, Britain’s GDP grew by 23.3% during this period outpacing that of Germany, France, and Italy.

However, to accomplish the latter goal, she would have to confront the power of unions decisively, which, in a ceaseless campaign of strikes and imprudent and irrational demands were ruining the British economy. In 1979, at the apex of union power, Britain had lost 29.5 million working days to strikes, whereas at its nadir, under the robust stand of Thatcher and her strong blows against it that led to the defeat of unions, in 1986, the figure of lost working days was 1.9 million. The Moscow trained communist Arthur Scargill, secretary of the Mining Unions, had unleashed in 1984-85 a myriad of strikes with the aim to obstruct the Thatcherite pro-market reforms that would put Britain on the roller skates of economic prosperity. By the end of that year that shook the foundations of British industry and broke the morale of some of her Cabinet members–that prompted Thatcher in a memorable quip to say to them, “You turn if you want to. The lady is not for turning.”—the red flag became a trophy alongside the Argentinian flag in her collection of victories, as Arthur Scargill conceded his defeat.

In international affairs she questioned Kissinger’s policy of détente toward the Soviet Union as she believed strongly that Communism should not be accommodated but overcome. For this implacable stand the Soviet Army’s newspaper Red Star christened her the “Iron Lady.” Together with President Reagan, she planted the diplomatic dynamite under the foundations of the Soviet empire that would eventually bring the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Lenin’s benign Marxist dream that had turned back to its true nature as a nightmare of Gulags and Killing Fields.

Thatcher in the 1980’s fiercely opposed the European economic and monetary integration. To her the European construction was “infused with the spirit of yesterday’s future.” In the kernel of this construction laid the central “intellectual mistake” of assuming that “the model for future government was that of a centralized bureaucracy.” And she was prophetic to the current events and crisis of Europe when she argued that German taxpayers would provide “ever greater subsidies for failed regions of foreign countries,” while condemning south European countries to debilitating dependency on handouts from German taxpayers.” She concluded, “The day of the artificially constructed mega-state is gone.”

However, no statesmanship is without its warts. In 1986 prohibition of proprietary trading went out; the separation between commercial and investment banks was abrogated; and ‘casino banking’ took off, which without these changes would not have happened. Her critics accused her of promoting greed which she personally abhorred. Also, the introduction of the poll tax on adult residents was most unpopular among Britons and sparked the Poll Tax Riots on March 31, 1990, that instigated an internal coup against her that ousted her from her premiership.

Margaret Thatcher entered number 10 Downing Street with her strong character and astute political perceptiveness with panache that destined her, like all great statesmen, to “walk beneath heaven as if she was placed above it,” to quote the seventeenth-century French political philosopher, Gabriel Naude. She will enter the ‘gate of heaven’ not as the frail distracted old woman, as she was depicted in the film made by Phillida Lloyd, but as the iron lady who will never die and continue to show the way.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…              

 

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How to Overcome the Impasse of Written Pledge Demanded by EU from Greece’s Major Politicians

January 15, 2012

By Con George-Kotzabasis—November 23, 20011

The following proposal was send to the leader of the Opposition Antonis Samaras on 11-23-2011.

Dear Mr Samaras,

The following proposal might overcome the impasse of the signed guarantee without Greece losing its dignity and amour propre

The German politicians, like the Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schauble, who illogically and doltishly insist and persist in their demand that the leader of the Greek Opposition, Antonis Samaras, sign the Memorandum of the 26th of October as a condition of releasing the sixth packet of financial assistance to Greece, can be likened as an intellectually unguided German torpedo that sunk the Lusitania of Greek dignity and respect that are embodied in the democratic constitution and parliamentary institutions of the country. It was to the latter institutions and to the interim transitory government led by Lucas Papademos that the leader of the Opposition had made an explicit, unequivocal, and unconditional commitment to accept and implement (Subject to some modifications in regard to its implementation.) all the obligations emanating from the Memorandum. Therefore one is nonplussed with this EU demand for a written pledge by the leaders of the three major parties when all of them accepted all the conditions of the Memorandum unequivocally and unconditionally in Parliament and by giving their vote of confidence to the Interim Government of Lucas Papademos who was to initiate the implementation of the decisions of the 26th of October.

Surely the Germans are not so stupid, or they could be, as to disregard this essential and irremovable commitment the major parties made to the conditions of the Memorandum and demand in its place a formalistic signature. One therefore cannot avoid the suspicion that there might be a hidden agenda behind this ostensibly doltish demand, i.e. the “Sarajevo assassination” of Greece by the Germans, its ousting from the Eurozone by forcing Greece to default and to depart from the European Union. The leader of the Opposition must eschew from falling into this trap, if indeed, such a trap is set in the wings by the leaders of the European Union. But the “assassination of Greece” from the Eurozone could trigger an internecine economic war in Europe that could not be contained, as the sires of such a sinister plan might have hoped, and would lead both to the destruction of the euro and the European Union. Thus it is incumbent on Antonis Samaras’ statesmanship to be not only the saviour of Greece but also the saviour of Europe. This could be accomplished by the following stratagem. The leader of the Opposition giving a written guarantee of the acceptance of all the conditions of the Memorandum as demanded by the troika, but not sending it to the leaders of the European Union but sending it to the Greek Prime Minister, Lucas Papademos. And the latter will convey to the European leaders the consummation of the signed guarantee by the major parties that the former demanded as the sine qua non for the release of the sixth instalment. Hence, the consignment of the written guarantee within the precincts of the Papademos Government will shun any genuflection on the part of Greece toward Europe that would stigmatize and slur the dignity and amour propre of Greece.