The party defines itself by the five core policies. So that members and non-members clearly understand what the party stands for, these cannot be changed. At present they are principles the details of which will be decided according to the party constitution
All other policies will be decided according to the constitution
Below is a provisional list of headings for the Mani-festo each with a link to a page
That page contains provisional ideas for discussion.
Read this, as work in progress. Only DRP paid up members can comment and so if you want to have your say:
Constitutional Court Supreme Court
Functions of Government Public Services Board Monetary Policy Board
National planning strategies
Coordination of regions
ISSUES DISCUSSED IN THE NEWSLETTERS NOT LINKED TO THE MANIFESTO
British Republican History
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The disastrous neoliberal agenda that still dominates all main parties today
For many years now mainstream politicians have never discussed what Thatcher actually did in power. She has become a subject of myth making. All the recent tributes to her are made in vague terms referring to conviction and determination. It is just about myth building. As a populist she would have understood and approved of this.
I will discuss here not the myth of Thatcher but her actions when in power. This is a big subject but only by fully understanding what Thatcher did and the changes she made can we understand today's politics.
All the current main parties are dominating by her thinking ever if this has become so habitual that they may not always realise. We can never put Britain back on the road to social, cultural and economic success unless we confront the Thatcher legacy head on.
Here is a list of the subjects I will tackle with links to the webpages
- Thatcherite Economics. Libertarianism
- Thatcherite Economics. Monetarism
- Exploitation of the Prime Ministerial Power
- Falklands war
- Channel tunnel
- Industrial relations.
- Attack on the civil society.
A. Attack on the civil service
B. Attack on the professions
C. Attack on the universities
- Centralization of the state
Still to come ...
- The Union of Britain
- Foreign Policy
- Contracting out
- Council house sales
- Poll tax
- The destruction of the Conservative Party
But, first, in order to understand what Thatcher and her long reign as Prime Minister were about, we must begin by understanding three essential points about her that mark her out from other politicians especially those of her day.
First, she was a populist. She never saw fellow politicians, the civil service, intermediate levels of government like the local authorities or any outside professional groups, as allies. In short she detested the civil society. She did not see herself as a leader working through the governmental and democratic channels or cooperating with colleagues. Her method was to jump over all their heads and appeal directly to popular opinion. Like all populist politicians she believed she had a direct line to the ‘will of the people’ and so democratic institutions were only a necessary nuisance to be exploited for grander purposes. Of course, it only ever worked with a minority and even then only temporarily. Her populist approach explains why she ended her political life in isolation from her political colleagues.
Selling off nation’s windfalls
Second, she only maintained power by virtue of two massive one-off bonanzas that fell into her lap. These enabled the government she ran, with all its misguided and treacherous policies, to maintain some normality and prevent the whole economy collapsing. These bonanzas were created (1) by North Sea oil which begun to create serious tax revenues at the start of her reign and (2) the selling off of publicly owned industries, mostly at knock down prices. Any reasonable leader would have seen these as national treasures that should be used to create long term benefits for the country – but not Thatcher. She shamelessly used the windfalls for shoring up tax receipts as she destroyed large parts of the economy, for paying out massive amounts on unemployment benefits and for politicking to help her win another term. We have never recovered from these the loss of these precious resources that belonged to the nation.
Third. Margaret Thatcher was the first Prime Minister to introduce ideology into the British political landscape. What exactly is ideology? An ideology is a set of ideas or beliefs, that are adopted by a group of people, which then serve to separate that group from everyone else. The ideology functions not as a position from which discussion with others can take place but as a weapon to defeat those who do not subscribe to it. Of course, Britain had seen ideologues before, on the left and on the right, but never near the pinnacles of power. With ideologies always goes “political hygienism” and I mean by this that those subscribing to the ideology believe the world would be a better place if everybody thought like them.
Of course, this is fundamentally undemocratic but as I have said Thatcher was a populist not a democrat. She sought to bypass the machinery of state to gain support. She saw no virtue in a pluralist society and was dismissive of opponents. She wanted everyone to agree with her and adopt her agenda and was prepared to use social engineering in pursuit of this aim. Before Thatcher, Britain could make some claim to believing in consensus politics and this went across the political spectrum. She ended that for good. If you want to understand why the word “divisive” is applied to her so often, the explanation is in the fact that she was an unrestrained ideologue.
There are those right now who think we should celebrate Thatcher’s death popping champagne corks in street parties and sending Judy Garland’s The Wicked Witch is Dead to number one in the iTunes charts, as it is at the time of writing. Overlooking the tasteless aspects of these gestures such people are missing the point. She is far from dead. Thatcher, herself may be gone but Thatcherism lives on with full force.
This is why I want in this newsletter (and the next) to catalogue the policies that directly sprung from her person during the 80s. I want to insist that a full assessment is necessary because almost all of her policies bear directly on the state we are in now. This inevitably means this is going to be the longest newsletter I have ever written – even split into two parts. For this, I make no apology. And this list concerns only the most important Thatcherite polices. It is not long because I am discussing ever little aspect of her career.
I am going to start with the biggest disaster she created and the one that impacts the most strongly on the economics and politics of today and will do so for many years ahead. I underline that this is the biggest – but that is not to say all the rest are not also big.
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