I knew Sir Alfred Sherman only slightly (we met a few times), and in my youth I was too silly to value him as I should have done. I remember Sir Alfred once warned me (and others) of the plot by the establishment (by the way, as Sir Alfred was fond of pointing out, ‘the establishment’ is not the aristocracy or gentry, although some members of the establishment, such as Sir Max Hastings, may pretend to be gentry) to destroy the Federation of Conservative Students (FCS), I dismissed what he said as paranoia. I had yet to learn that the establishment were prepared to tell any lie and use any tactic, both in their unholy war against liberty generally and in their specific struggle to destroy the independence of the United Kingdom and make this country a province of the European Union.
Sir Alfred was of course correct in thinking that the destruction of FCS was an experiment by the left to see if they could destroy the democratically elected Mrs Thatcher later on (if an elected body could be destroyed, why not an elected Prime Minister). Without the FCS Mrs Thatcher could be presented as ‘extremist’ (as we were much more libertarian than the lady was, Mrs Thatcher could not be successfully presented as ‘extremist’ whilst FCS still existed, that tag would be monopolised by us silly students).
Also the lady would lose her most visible young supporters and could be later presented as isolated within the Conservative party (although a majority of both party members and members of Parliament supported Mrs Thatcher that little problem could be got round by manipulating the party rules). The antics of students (real or invented) would never cost the Conservative party votes, but without the students Mrs Thatcher herself could be presented as the wild and wacky person.
It would still take years to destroy Mrs Thatcher (as part of a general campaign to eliminate resistance to statism in Britain) – but the ground work would have been laid.
So the party Chairman (the normally tough and intelligent Norman Tebbit) was manipulated (via a campaign of great skill and dishonesty) into abolishing the FCS and the ‘libertarian’ Chairman of FCS itself was bought off with various promises (he is now a Conservative party MP and about as libertarian as the rest of Mr Cameron’s other little statist friends). Sir Alfred predicted all of this well in advance and told us – and (moron that I was) I did not believe him.
However, I was sad to learn of the death of Sir Alfred and read his obituary in the Daily Telegraph newspaper (supposedly the main Conservative newspaper in the United Kingdom) with interest.
I will not go into the various distortions and half truths with which the writer of the obituary seeks to smear Sir Alfred (the establishment has no honour and will even spit upon the dead), but I will comment upon one part of the obituary where the writer tries to praise Sir Alfred. The obituary states that adviser recommended by Sir Alfred…
Tightened the government’s fiscal stance to make possible a looser monetary policy – the foundation for the policy successes of the Thatcher years.
Translated into English the above quotation means if the government borrows less money it can print (or issue by computer or create in some other way) more credit-money. I do not know whether that was Sir Alfred’s opinion or not, but it is quite false. Even if a government has a budget surplus, monetary expansion (i.e. an increase in the money supply) will still lead to a boom-bust cycle.
One does not need to go back to the famous case of the late 1920’s where the Federal government ran a budget surplus but the monetary expansion of the Federal Reserve system still led to a boom-bust cycle (one of many in the United States going back to at least 1819 – the difference this time being the policy of interventionism, in reaction to the bust, followed first by President Hoover and then President Franklin Roosevelt which first turned the bust into the Great Depression and then prolonged the Depression for years).
There is the example of Nigel Lawson – as Chancellor he followed a policy of having budget surplus, but his monetary expansion still created a boom-bust cycle.
Chancellor Lawson increased the money supply as part of his policy of trying to rig the exchange rate between the Pound and the Deutsch Mark – in much the same way that Governor Strong of the New York Federal Reserve system encouraged a monetary expansion as part of his policy of trying to rig the exchange rate of the Dollar and the Pound. Of course the myth is that the boom-bust of the latter Lawson years were caused by tax cuts, but like all boom busts it was a matter of the expansion of the money supply.
The failures of the early Thatcher years (the years when Howe was Chancellor) should be well known. The failure of employment Secretary James Prior to deregulate the labour market (which allowed union power to prevent the fall of wages even during a major recession – thus causing unemployment to explode). And the failure to prevent a vast increase in government spending (the so called ‘cuts’ included treating the government sector pay agreements of the previous Labour party government as Conservative government policy – this had a terrible effect on the economy).
However, there were many successes during Mrs Thatcher’s time. The holding down of government spending (although the ‘cuts’ are a myth) under Chancellor Lawson, which allowed real deductions in taxation (unlike the time of Chancellor Howe where small cuts in the basic rate of income tax were made at the same time that sales tax was almost doubled from 8% to 15%, this and other tax increases helped make the recession of early 1980’s far worse in Britain than in other nations – almost insanely some of Mr Cameron’s comrades seem to think that Chancellor Howe’s tax increases were a good thing).
There was also the reduction of union power by Employment Secretary Norman Tebbit (he did not totally bring unions back under the law of tort and contract – but he went a great way towards doing this). without this the reduction in unemployment in the later years of Mrs Thatcher would not have been possible. If only it had been done at once in 1979 (the ‘compassionate’ policy of James Prior and others led to millions of people being left on the scrap heap of unemployment).
There was some general deregulation (even Chancellor Howe got rid of exchange controls), although this started to go into reverse (in some ways – deregulation did not seriously go into reverse till after the coup against Mrs Thatcher in 1990) with the tide of EU regulations after the Single European Act of 1986 (Mrs Thatcher was tricked into thinking this was a free market measure that would given access to British exports to EEC – EU markets). There were also the de-nationalizations (or ‘privatizations’ as they were called) of many companies.
Overall the mid to late 1980’s were the first period of tax reductions, deregulation and denationalization in Britain since the early 1950’s (the Set the People Free campaign of Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden and Rab Butler which also abolished wartime ID cards – a moderate but real campaign).
How much credit is owned to Sir Alfred for the campaign of the mid to late 1980’s (or for the coming into office of Mrs Thatcher in the first place) is for specialist historians to discover – however, he certainly worked hard for freedom and this nation, and the world, own him a debt.