The confusion this question evinces probably starts from my confusion -- I erroneously confused the creation of the noveau-riche City class dependent on deregulated investment banking with the policy that established deregulation, which of course is what the term "Big Bang" refers to. We regret the error.
What I object to about the Big Bang is the Big Bang. It's not just about my opinion; the overwhelming analysis of the modern financial crisis is that it stemmed from Eighties financial deregulation -- the Big Bang was Thatcher's version -- which essentially made the criminalization of the financial sector possible. Being determined to "compete" in a financial sector that had decided to discard safeguards known to be necessary was little better, in terms of a long-term strategy for prosperity, than being determined to found one's economy on heroin smuggling. (It of course benefited the City nouveau riche and those tied to them in the short term, but that doesn't change the fact that the financial crisis that ultimately resulted was orders of magnitude worse than any crisis of the Seventies. Therefore positing that it was all worth it on account of the advent of "Mondeo man" (or "Essex man" before him, for that matter) is on rather shaky ground at best.)
Do you know what the biggest practical change of the Big Bang was?
Allowing people to trade by computer and/or phone as opposed to having to shout on the trading floor itself.
People who talk about the abolition of the distinction between stockjobbers and brokers weren't aware of the system at the time. While technically a stockbroker couldn't be a market maker in reality they were. Each firm of stockjobbers had deals with the stocktraders, commission arrangements and the like. The reality was they acted as a singular whole just with different names on their articles of association. In reality all the Big Bang did was codify what was already happening and remove some incidental costs. Likewise the abolition of strict fixed commission charges opened up the market to smaller parties and individuals; as percentage commission was allowed it meant that a smaller party didn't have to pony up huge commission fees that made trading an unrealistic prospect.
The other aspect of the Big Bang that made a difference was to open up the City and make it a place based on merit, not bloodline and education. Prior to the Big Bang the city was very much as closed shop with someone's role and prospects being decided far more on who their parents were and where they went to school rather than how good they were at their job. It was the haunt of the upper and, at best, upper-middle class and nothing had changed. With the Big Bang suddenly there was an emphasis shift away from established privilege and towards talent. Now, people can disagree with this and say it was better when it was the upper class in charge; after all the banks and traders least affected by the recent crisis were the ones still in the hands of the aristocratic elite and compare that to say the banks Bob Diamond, the working class son of two teachers, or the Yorkshire born James Crosby, the son of a teacher Andy Hornby, the comprehensive educated Stephen Hester or the working class Stuart Gulliver had major roles with all suffered. I can see that argument but I find it repugnant.
Yes, I know that. The question you're rather casually skipping past is whether the industrial actions were justified. There are arguments for and against, but it's certainly not a question you can just skip over.
My argument isn't whether the union was justified in forcing the government to a three day week. It didn't want its members pay to be capped and didn't care about inflation, ergo it was justified. Unions are a special interest group for their members; what is in the interest of their members is justified.
The question is whether it was right or wrong for the country to allow Unions to be so powerful that without balloting their members they could force the country to a three day week. It's not whether they were justified in doing so or not. It's whether they should have that degree of power in the first place.
I don't believe you are genuinely confused about whether personal power and belief in the rights of the working class are interchangeable.
You're accusing a working class woman of not wanting the working class to have power. You're accusing a working class woman who mentored a number of working class politicians into senior roles in the stereotypically aristocratic Tory party of not wanting the working class to have power. If you're right and what Thatcher did led in a large part to the current financial situation then you're accusing the working class woman who made it possible for working class individuals to hold senior positions in major financial institutions to have power.
Moreover, again, if she wanted to end collective bargaining then why didn't she? Post miner's strike she could have done. She could have completely destroyed the union movement instead of merely breaking its firebrands. She could have smashed it utterly. She didn't. She reigned it in.
Once again, your argument was that Thatcher prevented working class people from becoming middle class. She didn't. If anything her policies allowed far more working class people to become middle class... hence my frequent references to Essex and Mondeo Man. Her policies were horrible for the working class outside London and the South East... but they did nothing to screw the middle class.
But... she is on record as saying that she believed that society did not exist. Which, as one commenter put it back in the day, "If she does not believe that there is such a thing as a society, what does she think she is Prime Minister of?" That was from memory, desite the quotes,it may not be verbatim. I think that statement is one of the most chowder-headed things I've ever heard, and as a bartender for may years, I heard some wild and crazy crap. If she truly believed that there was no such thing as a social bond between non-family members, well, I sure as hell would not want somebody like that running my country.
With regards to "society" in the context of her quote (about the welfare state), at the end of the day what is society other than a collection of individuals? And what can the government do for "society"? How can the government do anything to "society" which isn't based on doing something to individuals? The government cannot do anything for "society"... it can do things for individuals and they from there can form society. But it starts with individuals and it is individuals that the state can deal with.
Her argument was that what the government had done was offer a safety net to individual people. What she objected to was what she saw as individuals using the safety net as a hammock and then demanding that "society" offer them more, forgetting that at its heart society was other individual people and by demanding more from society they are in effect demanding more from individuals. That "society" wasn't some nebulous term... it was individuals acting together.
I don't think we can be too self-rightous about the people celebrating and dancing on her grave however. While she may have not have had any political power for decades, she was someone who tore communities apart, ended the way of life of a large part of the country and undoubtedly caused them vast amounts of misery. I can perfectly understand how those from mining villages which suddenly experienced near 100% unemployment or from the industrial cities which found their hearts ripped out want to celebrate her death. Even though I believe she essentially did what needed to be done with regards to the unions and moving the UK away from a non-competitive industrial sector there is no doubt she did it harshly and without much care for the consequences of those affected. She may technically have rejected the proposed "managed decline" of Liverpool but in reality across the country she essentially left millions to rot, ripping away their pride and their prospects.
I'm not going to condemn those people for celebrating even if I find it a bit tasteless.