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Are we all Thatcherites?

Dear Nick,

How should we view the recent economic history of Britain? There is now a broad but unspoken consensus, encompassing many on the right and left, which runs as follows: whatever the excesses of Thatcherism, something had to be done about the unions; the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s have at least laid the ground for steady growth and declining unemployment. A new Labour administration should therefore pursue a “steady as it goes” course.

These views are variously wrong, missing the point and complacent. First, some facts. Despite the benefits of North Sea…

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