Monday, 21 June 2010

Periods leave their mark

There's a time for everything, and marking time is important to everyone. A certain day is all important to each one of us. The birth day, wedding day and the date of death.
Not only are some days important but some years - the year that you start school or college, the first job or even retirement.
Each one are significant to us as individuals.
Its also similar for society. Time is noted and some days are celebrated. The years of the two world wars, armistice day, Coronation day and for some even the day of the investiture. And to us Welsh Saint David's day and for many that remember with shame Tryweryn  and with sadness, Aberfan.
Some political years are remembered, for good or ill.
The thirties of the last century with high unemployment, poverty and despair have left a scar on the generation of the time. Despite many of us having been  born way after the era, it is still part of our 'psyche' as a nation.
As also 1945 - the end of the war and the advent of Clem Attlee as prime minister and a Labour government with a majority which established the welfare state, the national health service and nationalized many key industries.
Despite us changing governments many times since then, little impression was made until the coming of Maggie Thatcher in 1979. Her philosophy that there was no such thing as society, it was the individual that was all important. Almost all industries were privatised, and she made many of us shareholders and capitalists.
Many were buying shares in the once  state owned industries. The regulation of the City of London and the financial sector in general was eased.
There was a negative side to all this. Wales lost its heavy industries and great was the cost to many a community in South Wales. Despite this all the period of her premiership was memorable.
Her successors changed very little. It was very unlikely that John Major would change much, but what was disappointing to many Blair and Brown followed the same path.  And in some respects it is why we are in the economic mess we find ourselves at the moment. Because, it was the light touch on regulating the banks that caused them to take risks and hence the hole we're in.
What about 2010? Will this be an year to remember? It is quite likely that it will.
All the signs are there. It is quiet possible that our society will undergo fundamental change. If there is a substantial cut back in public expenditure, most of us will be affected. Some services will disappear totally, others will be transferred either to the private or voluntary sector. The welfare state will shrink almost out of existence and as certain as  night follows day the economy will be back in recession again.
Oh yes, its possible that we'll remember the time with bitterness.

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