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Book Review: 'The Thatcher Government'


'The Thatcher Government', by Peter Riddell (Oxford, 1983)

The Prostitute Press

Capitalism has produced many vile institutions, but none more corrupt and degraded than the capitalist Press, by which the workers are systematically hoodwinked and led astray.

Whenever a section of the workers are goaded by the horrible conditions of their existence, into striking, the cheap and nasty Press lets itself go and pours out a perfect deluge of lies. If the men come out in accordance with the wishes of their trade union officials we are told that they have been led astray by demagogues and agitators; if they strike against the wishes of their officials .they are denounced for having thrown over their “responsible leaders ’’!

For example, on the occasion of the strike movement in South Africa last year, when nine of the strike leaders were deported without trial, that organ of light and truth, the “Morning Post,” presented us with the following gems of editorial wisdom:

first editorial.

Running Commentary: Strikers Condemned

Strikers condemned

More than 5,500 workers were out on strike as a wave of industrial unrest spread to hitherto uninvolved plants. The week-long spate of walk-outs and go-slows affected 27 firms in five cities. A total of more than 8,700 people had stopped work since strikes started and more than 750 of them had been dismissed as a result. The dispute was over pay, a shorter working week and guaranteed pension funds. A spokesman for the employers’ association said he was “gravely concerned’’ and the trade union congress issued a statement expressing hope that the government would “respond constructively in solving the problem”.

Trade Unions and the State

Trade Unions today are respectable organisations. Their leaders move in lofty circles, both nationally and internationally, and sit on royal commissions and boards of major charities. Unions, too, are to some extent partners with employers in the management of production, and are consulted to varying degrees by governments who need their advice and cooperation. But this situation is fairly recent: less than fifty years ago, union involvement with government was minimal. It is only just over a century since unions achieved any adequate legal status, and fifty years before that they were actually illegal.

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