Reminder: Latest blog at top of page. Earlier posts towards the bottom.
Probably the most obvious factor which is emerging from this blog is my failure to understand why so many people seem to have gone through life wearing blinkers - especially when it comes to politics.
Now, to some extent, this is understandable in childhood - but, speaking from my own experience, by the time I had reached voting age, I had begun to realise that there was a lot to be gained from learning points of view other than those I had (in effect) inherited.
For someone from a relatively sheltered background, national service provided an especially good environment to learn what life is really all about. I learned, for example, that those who received a good education are better equipped to be officers (i.e. management) than those who became NCOs (i.e. shop stewards). I was one myself, but I would hate to imagine what would happen if the military was run by NCOs.
To some extent, the same principles apply to industry and commerce; so, it seems perfectly reasonable to me that those who received the best education should manage and those less well-educated be managed. A significant difference between military and civilian life, however, is that (in the forces) both sides of the so-called 'divide' respect the other absolutely. Each recognises that one couldn't function effeciently without the other.
Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case in civilian life.
When I was a member of a trade union, I discovered that there are many within the movement who are motivated by pure envy. Sadly, more often than not, these are the ones who seek office and, by their actions, have given the trade union movement a reputation which doesn't necessarily represent the views of most of those who pay their subscriptions. Furthermore, history has shown that delegating too much control to the unions has been a recipe for disaster - as was demonstrated by Mr. Callaghan and his comrades in the seventies.
Now, let me explain that there have been times when I have been equally disturbed by the effects of turning too far to the right and I will examine that issue in a later blog. From the point of view of this one, however, although Mrs. Thatcher and her government did everything which was deemed necessary to curb the power of the trade unions, recent industrial disputes are testimony to the fact that trade unions are still able to exercise their right to strike.
Incredibly, as we approach the coming election, there are some who still use Mrs. Thatcher as 'tool' to stir up hatred for the Tories. Equally unfortunate is the manner in which some of the opposition front bench are being characterised. Trite remarks on Twitter about class and priviledge are entirely spurious. It would be equally pointless for someone to use the aforementioned examples of Labour's ties with trade unions in the past as a valid argument to vote Conservative in 2010.