Somewhat predictably, I write in praise of Margaret Thatcher, although it is all too easy to forget many of the decisions she took as Prime Minister.
The national press has however recently reminded us of many of them, and as to why she came to be one of our top premiers of the last century.
As a pre-Thatcher Production Engineering student, I found myself later in total agreement
with her industrial policies. The plethora of nationalised industries which existed had of
course provided widespread employment, but also low productivity which nationalised
industries seemingly became inflicted with, alongside overstrong union influence. The
results were that our companies had become increasingly uncompetitive against foreign manufacturers, through the inevitable high costs of nationalised industrial products and services.
The essence of Production Engineering was the organising of production to reduce the cost of items manufactured, often by the use of improved equipment and reduction of the manpower which had caused the high costs. Margaret Thatcher achieved this with great effect during her time by the transfer of control of the nationalised industries to successful companies. Claims that she destroyed the industrial base of the country would only be correct if they related to the employment base. Many were re-employed in new and expanding businesses made possible by the country’s much improved competitive position.
Summer Hill, Gainsborough