The Blog

Margaret Thatcher's Forewarning of Brexit

Posted on April 13, 2016

Margaret Thatcher's Forewarning of Brexit

Posted on April 13, 2016

First off, this isn’t another article detailing everything about Brexit. This is a comparison piece between ideologies and forewarnings from a great British leader.

On March 1, 2016 the IBD newspaper did their biography piece on Margaret Thatcher. Briefly, Britain in the ‘70’s, before Thatcher was Prime Minister, was steeped in a bitter battle between the unions and the government. By the mid ’70’s there was double-digit inflation and high unemployment. Thatcher, opposing the socialistic style of leadership, wanted to create a formidable foundation for her nation to get out of its current mess. She did.

Today, David Cameron also wants to better prime his country for growth, jobs and trade amidst a global backdrop that doesn’t have optimum amounts of any of those. He, like half the population, want to stay in the EU, the other half does not.

The History:

The U.K. entered the EU in 1975 on the grounds that a united Europe could grow stronger together as trading partners. In 1999, the common currency further advanced trade amidst the 19 nations. Interestingly, the U.K. had posed opposition to a common currency during the early stages of the euro development.

The Focus:

The focus then was solidarity, security and trade. But now, opposition from U.K.’s Independence Party has stirred amidst a backdrop of weakening global demand, immigration issues, along with growth and job concerns. There are pro’s and con’s to the U.K. staying or leaving, that’s not the point of this article. The point is to demonstrate that a woman before our time saw the problems that could occur with Europe using a single currency.

“Thatcher’s tenure as PM came to an end in 1990, not through electoral defeat but through the fraying of alliances within her own party. The issue that occasioned her downfall was European integration. She had been cautious of giving too much power to the Continent and was skeptical of the common currency in planning stage.” 1

The Brexit issue is a financial issue more than anything. It’s about those who believe staying in the EU membership will sustain financial growth vs. those who think it won’t (The Independence Party).

When studying this subject of the U.K. membership into the EU I found that it had always wanted some independence and thus why it kept its own currency. Turns out, it was the U.K. and Denmark who were the toughest to negotiate with before agreeing to the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. These two countries were the only two to have ‘opt-out’ clauses of the EU in this Treaty.2

What’s more, Thatcher was opposed to a Central bank overseeing the European Union as well. She understood the risks involved with more fiscally responsible countries coming to aid the lesser ones. Note, Greece wasn’t even admitted use of the euro in 1999 because even back then it didn’t meet the fiscal and economic requirements necessary for admittance and approval.3 [Greece had it coming to ‘em].4

To conclude, Margaret Thatcher, it seems, had a keen insight into trouble that lay ahead of a United Europe.

Sources:

1 http://www.investors.com/news/management/leaders-and-success/margaret-thatcher-revived-an-ill-britain-and-helped-win-cold-war/ IBD Newspaper March 1, 2016 “She Was British Prime.”

2 http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/euro/index_en.htm read the top paragraph on the website.

3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_euro read the section titled “Second Stage.”

4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_government-debt_crisis read the section titled “Misreported Debt Statistics.”