Friday, May 4, 2007

John Blundell at the Bastiat Society

John Blundell, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, spoke to the Bastiat Society on 2 May 2007.

His topic was "Achieving Change: What We Learned from Margaret Thatcher."

During her tenure as Prime Minister, the UK went from being a political and economic mess to being a model of free market governance.

The Iron Lady left a legacy that continued long after she left office. Consider the difference in these measures of economic health between 1979, when she first came to office, and 1997, when New Labour triumphed:

  1. The middle class as % of the population went from 33% to 50%.
  2. Home owners as a % went from 53% to 71%.
  3. Share owners as a % went from 7% to 23%.
  4. Trade unionists who are share owners as a % went from 6% to 29%.
  5. Days lost to strikes per anum went from 30M to 1/2M.
  6. The % of workers self-employed went from 7% to 14% (current).
  7. The % of workers in a trade union went from 51% to 19%.

How did she do this? John offers ten lessons from "The Book of Margaret:"

  1. Govern with a strong moral compass.
  2. Simplify and communicate with conviction.
  3. Lead but always listen.
  4. Use policies consistent with human nature.
  5. Think about strategy ahead of time.
  6. Build a good team.
  7. Use circumstances.
  8. Make good allies.
  9. Prepare for power when you don't have it.
  10. Have patience.

In the words of John Blundell, "The story of Margaret Thatcher is the extraordinary story of a country saving itself."

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