19.6 C
New York
Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Buy now


Nigel Lawson is Thatcherism’s economic brain

noEagle LawsonThe former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, who died on April 3, left two estates. Britain’s economy is still largely the one he reinvented in Mrs Thatcher’s wave of privatization, deregulation and tax reform in the 1980s. And the modern Conservative Party, dumbfounded by the debates surrounding Europe and the ever-increasing tax burden, is full of people who put on his intellectual mantle.

Hear this story.
Enjoy more audio and podcasts iOS or android.

Your browser does not support

As chancellor under Margaret Thatcher from 1983 to 1989, Lord Lawson abolished a tax in each of his six budgets. His record, however, was one of reform rather than tax cuts, most notably repealing several higher income tax rates and simplifying the system. (It was horribly complicated by subsequent chancellors.) In his memoirs, published in 1992, he lamented that during his tenure as prime minister, state taxation as a share of national income fell only slightly— — From 33% to 31%, according to the latest figures. figure.

He is passionate about the privatization of nationalized industries, a process he initiated as finance secretary to the Treasury and energy minister before becoming prime minister. After selling his BT stake in 1984, he hailed the “birth of people’s capitalism”.

In his 1986 budget speech, he said the government’s goals were to “beat inflation and create a corporate culture”. Neither was fully realized. The “big bang” of financial deregulation breathed new life into the City of London, but privatization did not ultimately create the mass shareholder culture that he and Thatcher had hoped for. Successful anti-inflationary policies in the early 1980s – albeit at the cost of mass unemployment, which Lord Lawson said Britain was “tolerable” – gave way to soaring inflation in the “Lawson boom” following his 1988 tax-cut budget of inflation.

tagged person

Like many in his party, Lord Lawson’s Eurosceptic attitude has grown more radical over the years. However, his certain advocacy for European integration led to his downfall. He had pushed Britain to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, a system of fixed exchange rates: he was determined to keep inflation under control by pegging the pound to the Deutsche mark. Lord Lawson clashed with Thatcher’s economic adviser, Alan Walters, who wanted Britain to stay out of the mechanism. Lord Lawson asked Walters to resign, but Thatcher refused. The prime minister resigned. Walters will follow. Just over a year later, in November 1990, Thatcher herself left.

The debate over Europe has dogged the party ever since. Lord Lawson remained a part of them until his death. In 2016, he briefly served as chairman of the Brexit campaign, successfully advocating for Brexit European UnionAlthough he was curious about ideas, and his budget speeches tended to be long and dry, full of monetarist technicalities, he believed that the true spirit of Thatcherism was a simple combination: free market ideas, nationalism, Self-reliance and a “dash” of populism”.

He is not afraid of provocation. In his later years, he was a noted climate change skeptic and fervent Brexiteer.his antiEuropean Union His statement from his home in France two years after the 2016 referendum, where he sought permanent residency, though he has since left, angered those who supported Remain.he often appears in bbcopposing the reality of man-made climate change, or the desirability of slightly warming, depending on the date, has angered environmentalists and scientists alike.

Various parties in the Conservative Party still claim to carry on his (and Thatcher’s) legacy today. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called it an “inspiration” after Lord Lawson’s death. However, the exact form of this legacy is debated. In a speech to become chancellor in 2022, Mr Sunak said many Conservatives had only partially described Lord Lawson’s tenure: their idol had waited until he had balanced the budget before cutting taxes. Mr Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, praised Lord Lawson’s enthusiasm for tax cuts in his eulogy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson before her hailed him as “the prophet of Brexit”.

The difficulty facing the Conservatives in government today proves the lie of simply claiming to be Lord Lawson’s economic heir. The party has yet to find a way to marry voters’ desire for better public services with its own small-state instincts. Ms Truss’ short and disastrous tenure as prime minister, during which borrowing costs soared after the surprise announcement of tax cuts, has quelled calls for an immediate contraction of state government, but few on the right of the party feel comfortable with the rising tax burden Satisfied to pay for better service.

While Mr Johnson praised Lord Lawson’s Euroscepticism, during his tenure as prime minister he compared his governing philosophy more to that of Michael Heseltine, who was skeptical of the Thatcher revolution One of the “wet guys” with attitudes, not someone who really believes in “dry guys”, like Lord Lawson. Mr Johnson’s support for greater state and territory redistribution, along with some populist rants about “getting Brexit done”, helped him win over a large number of former Labor voters in the 2019 election.

In the race to become Conservative leader last year, Lord Lawson backed Mr Sunak over Ms Truss, calling him the true heir to Thatcherism. Tax cuts, he wrote, require fiscal justice, not “casual attitudes toward public finances.” Yet Lord Lawson’s legacy has been mum on how to combine that integrity with fixing Britain’s crumbling health service.

For more expert analysis of the UK’s biggest news, subscribe to Blighty, our weekly subscriber newsletter.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles