Weekend Viewing Ahead Of Discussion On Industry Protection

IN READYING to write an article on the imminent departure of General Motors from Australian automotive manufacturing, it has taken some time to locate a tiny piece of footage I wish to use; today I post with some excellent viewing for readers to enjoy over the coming weekend, with the discussion on Holden to follow shortly.

I think we are about to open a subject that will feature prominently over the next few years: that of “subsidies” for Australia’s car manufacturing sector, which I believe is a curtain-raiser to the wider issue of protectionist economics in 21st century Australia from an overall perspective.

And I intend — in this column — to cover both the issues of the moment as they arise, as well as commencing a discussion about the bigger problem of tariffs, subsidies, and other market-distorting forms of protectionist activity and how, in the longer run, they damage Australia’s economy and cost this country and the people in it far more than any good intended of them.

In short, tearing a scab off a pustulous wound. The first cab off the rank — as soon as tomorrow — will be Holden, which will announce it will cease building cars in Australia, possibly before I even have time to write the intended article on it.

In truth, I would be posting that discussion now; it has, however, taken a couple of hours’ searching for a brief segment of video that I wish to use in that article, and it seems obvious to share not just the programme it is to be quoted from, but the series in its entirety — and a little extra material as well.

It will surprise few that on this subject I’m influenced to a degree by Thatcherite policy doctrines; not those of Thatcher herself, but those of the figures who most influenced her own economic philosophies — in this case, a British politician, intellectual and statesman, Sir Keith Joseph.

And it follows therefore that the material I am posting here today is of the Thatcher era: a series of documentaries on Margaret’s time in office, up to her departure from Downing Street in late 1990.

The problem in tracking this stuff down is that the only copy I have at home is a 20-year-old VHS copy, made at the time of the series’ release in 1994; a DVD copy made some years ago apparently failed to survive a residential move.

YouTube to the rescue: readers can view the episodes sequentially here, here, here and here. Each runs for an hour, so — as I said — it might be a case of weekend viewing. My thanks to Thatcheritescot (himself an occasional commenter in this column) for posting these videos on YouTube for public review.

Whilst only a three-minute segment will be quoted in the first anti-protectionism article I’ve got coming — focused on Holden — I do still think many viewers will get something out of watching the programmes included in these links; they give a fair but critical assessment of Thatcher’s time in office, with extremely generous access provided by those of her colleagues who were surviving at the time the documentaries were made.

Of course, Lady Thatcher herself — along with many of the former Thatcher cabinet ministers appearing in these videos — have since passed on.

For those not familiar with Keith Joseph or his writings at all…where do we start on that topic? The man was a colossus, towering above most of his contemporaries in the intellectual sense, and viewed posthumously his legacy shames most of those who pass for political leaders nowadays on the Left or the Right, in the UK, or in Australia (and further afield) too, for that matter.

There is a reasonable memorial lecture viewers may like to view here, although as I said Joseph is a formidable subject in his own right…we could be here for days or weeks just discussing Joseph!

As I said at the outset, this post is simply to get some material for readers to view if they choose in advance of a post on Holden in the next day or two.

If this kind of material is valuable/stimulating/useful/of topical interest to readers, let me know by way of comment — I am happy to include more such reference material in this column if the demand for it among the readership is there.