Thatcher & the Euro

One of the things that our cousins in Britain, on the other side of the great ditch, can think Margaret Thatcher for is keeping them out of the Euro. As Joe Weisenthal and Rob Wile demonstrate in Business Insider, the Iron Lady had a profound grasp of the obvious — to wit, that the countries of the Mediterranean would not be able to compete on equal terms with the Germans and that, in the absence of an ability to devalue their currency in order to remain competitive, they would demand bailouts. In her autobiographical works (1993, 1996), she spells out the concerns the caused her to keep her country out of what was then called the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and that should have scuttled the entire project.

Would that we had someone today in the United States as astute, as ruthless, and as patriotic. Her career is a reminder that common sense trumps putative expertise nearly every time.

  1. raycon and lindacon

    Thank you for your observation that the Great Iron Lady brought common wisdom to the arcane employments of government.  Her observation about the olive skinned Mediterranean peoples ‘relaxed’ view of their economic imperatives regarding the ‘work ethic’ was the basis of her powerful leadership.

    We had the privilege of watching the Thatcher/Reagan/John Paul II moral triumvirate in action.  After the Johnson/Nixon/Ford/Carter nightmare, we Americans saw a true miracle.  The Brits had an equivalent dry spell from Churchill to Callaghan.

    Thank God there has been respite from the brutality of leadership failures on both sides of the Great Ditch.

  2. David Williamson
    Paul A. Rahe: 

    Would that we had someone today in the United States as astute, as ruthless, and as patriotic. Her career is a reminder that common sense trumps putative expertise nearly every time. 

    We do have such a person – Sarah Palin (maybe not the ruthless part, so much). But, sadly, she will never get to the White House. So, not every time.

    Update: Just noticed Mrs Palin’s piece on Mrs Thatcher on NRO – she (Mrs Palin) writes very well for someone who is supposed to be stupid.

  3. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    David Williamson

    Paul A. Rahe: 

    Would that we had someone today in the United States as astute, as ruthless, and as patriotic. Her career is a reminder that common sense trumps putative expertise nearly every time. 

    We do have such a person – Sarah Palin (maybe not the ruthless part, so much). But, sadly, she will never get to the White House. So, not every time.

    Update: Just noticed Mrs Palin’s piece on Mrs Thatcher on NRO – she (Mrs Palin) writes very well for someone who is supposed to be stupid. · 43 minutes ago

    Edited 6 minutes ago

    Whatever she may be, she is not dumb. I know of no one on the scene who is as quick-witted.

  4. Eric Jablow

    Sadly, most people I know will only know Mrs. Thatcher from this:

    the-iron-lady.jpg

  5. viruscop
    Eric Jablow: Sadly, most people I know will only know Mrs. Thatcher from this: · 2 minutes ago

    I love Twilight Struggle!!!

  6. Ontheleftcoast

    Many years ago Mrs. Thatcher visited Gdansk and met with with Lech Walesa and the rest of the leadership of Solidarity; it was in the days after Solidarity had become a major force but the Communist government had not yet fallen; maybe it would be better to say it was falling but hadn’t yet hit the ground.

    There is a brief YouTube video showing a few moments of her thunderous welcome by the workers and of the meeting; I seem to remember there being a longer TV documentary it as well.

    Thatcher’s anti-Communism may have bought her the ticket to it, but what they really wanted  from her – and what she wanted to give them – was a tutorial from a true master of the art on how to be a politician in a democracy. I doubt she was often given such fiercely appreciative attention. 

  7. Joe Fleming

    Paul, although Baroness Thatcher was 100% right about the EU and the Euro she was not personally responsible for keeping us (Britain) out of the Euro. She tried to do so but was kicked out as PM by “experts” and “moderates” in her own Tory party who thought Britain could not prosper unless it joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), the precursor of the Euro. They joined the ERM once she was gone.

    In the end we didn’t avoid joining the Euro because of Baroness Thatcher’s arguments but because of the truth in what she said; trying to match our currency with Germany’s in the ERM caused a recession, a run on the pound and an exit from the ERM. It was simple good luck that it happened to us in 1992 when we could leave and recover and not 2010 when Greece, Spain etc could not.

    Although she couldn’t personally prevent us trying to join the Euro again the Eurosceptic opinions of the people who voted for her could. Unfortunately they couldn’t prevent other countries from joining, much to everyone’s cost.    

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