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To spend my morning watching the funeral of Maggie Thatcher (on BBC) ?

(894 Posts)
JugglingFromHereToThere Wed 17-Apr-13 09:34:26

She was our first woman prime-minister - a significant personal achievement, especially for the daughter of a grocer from Grantham, born in 1925 shock

Also I agree with those that say these ceremonial occasions are something we do really well in Britain.

So AIBU to be watching this morning - in spite of disagreeing with many of her policies ? Will you be watching ?
And what do you make of both her personal achievement and her legacy ?

Varya Thu 18-Apr-13 16:02:32

Makes me wonder why all former PMs don't get the pomp and ceremony or none, including MT. Quite over the top since we are paying and living in through these austere times.

flatpackhamster Thu 18-Apr-13 16:09:12


Far from it - my DH were discussing it the other night. We both remember it as a time of well-being. We lived in different parts of the country, so we are not just reflecting a north-south divide. We both went to newish i.e post war school buildings. The bomb-sites which had littered industrial areas until well into the 1950s had now been cleared, and new building was proceding apace. DH's family had a car. We didn't but quite a few neighbours did.

Yet compared to the USA, where even quite modest households had a fridge-freezer or dishwasher in the 1960s, and almost everyone had a car, you were poor. And compared to 21st century Britain, where the same applies, you were poor. The stats speak for themselves - a trebling in GDP per capita in 50 years.

The awful poverty of the 1930s that my MIL, PIL and father knew first hand was over.

All of which doesn't mean that we aren't three times richer than we were in the 1960s.

We neither of us remember extremes of wealth, nor homeless in the streets.

Which means you didn't see it, not that it didn't exist. I suspect that you have a rather rose-tinted view of the 1960s, which is inevitable amongst Baby Boomers. I'm sure that it was a good time, but that doesn't mean you were rich.

JugglingFromHereToThere Thu 18-Apr-13 16:12:14

Gosh, I can see why your experience of working in the factory would anger you LaVolcan, with such blatant discrimination.

However I think things are more subtle nowadays.
I'm looking for term time, child friendly hours work ATM in my area of experience (and qualification)
Since I had my DC's my work has mainly been paid at just over the minimum wage even though it's important and skilled work - in early years education/ child care - in which I have nearly twenty years experience.
The value of this to society, including in economic terms, has been shown in various research studies.

LaVolcan Thu 18-Apr-13 16:12:51

yoni I am well aware of the rate of Family Allowances. Furthermore I can tell you that when it was first introduced it was only 5/-. Was it only middle class people who had two or more children? I agree that not paying it for the first was something which should have been addressed sooner. It was normally paid to the woman, and since many women didn't work then, it was often the only money which could be called her own.

My mother used to save hers up for 5 weeks. £2/0/0 went a long way in those days. Just anecdotally, although she was an extremely mild woman and a conservative voter, I remember her having a go at someone who wittered on about 'how we didn't get Family Allowances, it goes to people who spent it on fags and booze.' Needless to say, this other person wasn't able to substantiate the allegation.

Income tax initially was paid mostly by the middle-class. That stopped during the war years when many more came into the tax bracket, and hence the introduction of PAYE.

We then had free dentistry. (I have just managed to get in with an NHS dentist of more than 10 years of not being able to find one.) Or free prescriptions. Free visits to the doctor's. Pre-war there were various initiatives - older relatives referred to "The Panel" when it came to going to the Drs, so there was something but it wasn't free.

You can't say there was no welfare state. McMillan may not have actually said that "you've never had it so good", but for many, many people the Welfare state ushered in by the Atlee Govt. and retained by subsequent Conservative adiministrations, gave them a life which was a damn sight better than it had been before.

Estherbelle Thu 18-Apr-13 16:20:39

YANBU to watch, but my thoughts watching it were:

1) £11.7 million cuts to Arts Council Funding this year "unavoidable", yet we have £10 million for one funeral?

2) Just how much does the Bishop of London look like John Peel???!

LaVolcan Thu 18-Apr-13 16:28:13

flatpackhamster People didn't travel much then, so I don't think it was usual to compare yourself to the USA.

I agree that we didn't see the extremes of poverty which probably still existed in inner cities - your slum clearance type areas, and neither of us lived in extremely wealthy stockbroker type areas.

Housing was certainly cheaper, although there was even then a north-south divide, but it was perfectly possible for a young couple to get a foot on the housing ladder. Easier in the north perhaps with a lot of small terraces which could be bought cheaply and done up. There weren't the consumer goods around to be purchased. I don't think people felt poor. There were too many people around who had known real poverty.

YoniMaroney Thu 18-Apr-13 16:30:58

I never said there was no welfare state. However it was a fraction of the size of the current one, which obviously meant that people did have to substantially fend for themselves.

Obviously living standards improved between 1945 and 1965, but they also improved between 1965 and 2013.

There are some things less affordable now, such as dentistry and housing, but many that are more so, domestic appliances, food, etc.

Pyrrah Thu 18-Apr-13 16:51:55

Surely the cost is just a calculation of how much a policeman costs for x hours, ditto the soldiers etc rather than someone actually signing cheques for that amount of money?

Considering the VAST cost of the Pope descending on the country a few years ago I am more than happy about the funeral.

Was done very well too.

LaVolcan Thu 18-Apr-13 16:54:15

"Well in the 1960s the welfare state basically did not exist."
"I never said there was no welfare state."

There is a subtle distinction here which I am missing. grin

Obviously - between 45 - 65. Initially no, things got worse after the war. Things like bread which had never been rationed during the war were rationed afterwards. It was sometime like 53/54 when rationing finally ceased completely.

Yes, some things are much cheaper now, like white goods. Housing though is a big difference. Think of the young people now who may never be able to own their own accommodation.

YoniMaroney Thu 18-Apr-13 16:59:37

Well the accommodation cost is down this last Labour government, but anyway.

There was a welfare state, but in its current form, where you could several kids, with no working parent, and have them paid for, no, that did not exist.

The amount of money spent on these benefits now is huge, but negligible in the 60s. Obviously that spells a major change in society, and one thing I guess is now that the state provides, whereas previously people would have to rely on each other.

handcream Thu 18-Apr-13 17:04:25

Isnt the vast majority of costs the police overtime and security? If that's the case then tax will be paid on those earnings and the money presumably will be spent in this country so I dont really see what the issue is.

its not as though we are giving £10 m to another country.

I thought that the funeral went very well considering what could have happened and I agree with others - I dont see a funeral like this again for any other previous leader. She was unique (whether you liked her or not!).

I also thought Anne Scargill was awful when she was interviewed yesterday, looked a a bitter old woman living in the past and blaming anyone but herself and her ex for what happened previously. And I was around during that time and remember the miners demanding 35% pay increases....

JakeBullet Thu 18-Apr-13 17:07:41

Spoke to someone yrsterday who said

"I really hope there are riots"

I asked him if he was attending and he said

"No I have to go to work".

Spoken like a true anarchist grin grin

LaVolcan Thu 18-Apr-13 17:21:18

There was a welfare state, but in its current form, where you could several kids, with no working parent, and have them paid for, no, that did not exist.

Try reading this yoni - it is a good report and debunks some of the cliches that you are happily trotting out.

Dawndonna Thu 18-Apr-13 17:25:28

So, despite the cost of Black Wednesday being around 3.3 million,it doesn't count.

YoniMaroney Thu 18-Apr-13 17:35:17

Looks rather disingenuous to me.

It shows 'benefit and tax credit spending' going from 9% of GDP in 1979 to around 14% now.

They don't bother to break that down, so I've no idea what they mean by 'benefit and tax credit spending'.

Also by taking things as a % of GDP is misleading too, because it disguises real growth, if GDP is also growing. From 1979 to now, with spending going from 9% to 14% that's likely therefore to be a real terms doubling of spending.

Which seems rather significant to me.

Here's some raw figures:

1979: Family Income Supplement recipients: 78,000 receiving average £5.17/week
2003: 1,427,000 receiving average £86.33/week

It doesn't include average figures after 2003, but there are now over 5 million recipients of CTC, presumably at an average lower rate, and tax credits cost around £30 billion/year.

When you consider the FIS figure from 1979, you can see that that was £19.5 million.

I would imagine that other benefits, such as pensions, unemployment benefit, etc., have risen far more slowly.

But that report, filled with pictures of families, and therefore claiming/implying that welfare provision for such groups is not now MASSIVELY more generous than in the past is just wrong.

Overall blended real welfare state costs may be 'merely' double 1979, but family-related costs have risen far faster than that.

So many false claims

"Welfare spending is cyclical, rising and falling in
response to boom and bust, and the proportion of taxes
spent on welfare (averaged out over the economic cycles
since the 1980s) has actually stayed fairly flat."

What is this 'proportion of taxes' nonsense? So many disingenuous tricks and word plays.

Welfare spending only goes up. Even current 'cuts' are intended only to preserve current levels (i.e. prevent them increasing further).

LittleBearPad Thu 18-Apr-13 19:18:27

Jake grin

NetworkGuy Tue 30-Apr-13 12:09:20

I see the initial figures for the cost are around 3.6 million and even at 4 million (or around 16p per household), it is about half the cost of the funerals for Princess Diana or Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mother).

As an event, it showed off parts of London and while I'd hardly call it a 'tourist event', it may well boost numbers of tourists over the next few years as so many could have seen it on TV worldwide.

Growlithe Tue 30-Apr-13 12:41:33

I'd like my 16p back.

JugglingFromHereToThere Tue 30-Apr-13 12:56:25

Ah, Growlithe, you meany. I was just going to say I thought it was worth my 16p - a pleasant morning of television viewing featuring some lovely music and good views of London. Plus I got a discussion in DOTD !
- Mind you of course, 16p from every household does rather add up.

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