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D C Murray @DCMurray
All I want for Christmas is a YES vote and a Scottish Currency
 Joined November 2022
2 Posts   18 Following   1 Followers

Margaret Thatcher made this assertion in an interview with Womens Own Magazine on October 3rd 1987. Without context, the statement appears callous and individualistic, however, it is vital to read the complete text to understand, and clarify, the meaning.
“I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”
The extended quotation is indicative of the misleading narrative that has shaped the UK for the past 40 years. Underneath the passage, there is a kernel of truth, we each have individual responsibility for our actions and for self-preservation. We each have moral and social obligations to ourselves, our families and the other people that cross life’s path.
However, the main responsibility is in advancing society, and our conscience steers us towards this goal with every chiding admonition or surge of attentive capacity. The smallest positive individual action takes the entire body of society an incremental step towards good and away from evil. This meaning is inferred in the text, but gets corrupted and twisted into a hand-wringing dismissal of that, which is the principle function of Government.
Government has one basic function – to provision society. There are macro-problems afflicting society that the individual or small group would never have the wherewithal to accomplish a solution. Adam Smith proposed as much in this famous passage from his Wealth of Nations.
Affording the village or region a defence capacity, fresh water supply, sanitation or ease of access to food sources or neighbouring tribal groups were the type of early projects in need of organization and provision of resources. Humans devised a system where, by group decision, the most competent members of society were selected and put to the task of managing these macro-projects.
The Government is an extension of the people, and therefore, of society. It does the peoples’ bidding and is a creature of society. The people serve the government to provide essential needs and raise society’s standard of living. There is a reciprocal nature to the relationship, dismissed, by Thatcher, as reliance and abdication of responsibility, in the quotation.
A functioning society, with a competent Government, realises the true value of the individual. The cumulative labour and cognitive power, provided to society by each and every member, is the value, the wealth, of the whole. To allow any of those units of productive capacity to suffer, results in the whole society failing to reach potential. Hunger, thirst, lack of shelter, sickness and disease and lack of education are forms of suffering that any society would want to alleviate for the benefit of the community.
In this context, the brutality and lack of empathy in Thatcher’s words are clear. Society may be a collection of individuals, but it is society acting collectively that creates the force for good and advancement for all. The safety-net cast by society to catch those falling off the edge is a mutual benefit. It protects the vulnerable from needless suffering and optimizes society’s power for good.
It is not difficult to understand why this single line was pulled from the quotation. The lie, that there is no society, is a necessary enabler for what came after. The shaming of people who rely on ‘casting their problems on society’ has continued and grown in strength for four decades. The encouragement of the culture of competition with neighbours rather than a previous co-operative existence has caused a change in philosophy in the UK and elsewhere.
It is no coincidence that some of the strongest communities were in the industrial heartlands, the very people Thatcher vowed to crush. These former proud towns and villages, with their bonding institutions of junior football clubs, gala days, working mens’ clubs, debating societies, Burns clubs and flower shows still cling to existence, though the institutions are largely mothballed.
However downtrodden, the spirit of society is still there. It is inherent in all of us. We can invoke that spirit and realign Government to serve the people once more, instead of the current transfusion of value, from our multiple societies, to serve an elite sect living outside and providing little in return.
This is a common theme across the developed World. In the UK, voters in Scotland, Wales and the industrial North of England have attempted to influence politics back to community rather than profit, to no avail. In Scotland, voters have given up on the Labour Party and political change and now vote for constitutional change instead. In England, the Labour vote is also collapsing into, what looks like, a form of English Nationalism, the latest symptom of which is Brexit, where the ‘othering’ of European neighbours is indicative of the false narrative of competition for scarce resources.
It is imperative for the future of global human society, that Thatcher is proved wrong. Society is all we have. Scotland can avoid catastrophe, by choosing independence, but only if the leadership recognise the dangers in adopting a UK status quo. Wales also have this positive option.
England seems to be travelling a darker road, towards gated communities policed by private security firms, if the Rees-Moggs are in any way prophetic. For those supporting continuation of the Union, abandoning Thatcher’s philosophy and the subsequent evolved representation, is mandatory. In desiring the continuation of the competitive status quo, you must be careful what you wish for.
This is a race to the bottom.
You might win.
This is an overblown attempt at an introduction to a series of short essays I've written on the subject of economics pertaining to the independence debate. There are many fallacies and illogical assumptions obstructing the proper debate of the potential economic future of Scotland. I can guarantee, sheer incompetence in Government apart, that Scotland has all it needs to provide all Scots with a high standard of living. Scotland has a surplus of the essential fundamentals for a decent existence. This requires mature stewardship as a responsibility for the needs of other nations comes with this abundance. Reciprocity breeds long-term peace and international brotherhood.
Scotland flag - the saltire Made In Scotland. For Scotland.
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