United Kingdom | 70 years of economic laboratory, by Martí Saballs

“You are my tenth prime minister. The first was Winston. This was before you were born”. These are phrases written by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in his biography and which he attributes to Queen Elizabeth II, who died this week. With the arrival of Blair to Downing Street 10, the United Kingdom began the “third way”, an expression created and developed by Anthony Giddens, the main inspirer of his policies, where he wanted to reconcile the defense of the free market and financial deregulation with the soft interventionism of the State. An economic social liberalism that succumbed with the financial crisis of 2008 due to excesses and lack of controls within the system. It ended with the nationalisation, among others, of the legendary Royal Bank of Scotland, which was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Throughout his 70-year reign, Isabel II She has been head of state of 32 countries, fifteen on the day of her death, and has seen another fifteen prime ministers pass by. Of Churchill to Liz Truss, whom he proclaimed as such two days before she died. Some of these prime ministers have marked times, even being economic policy laboratories, setting trends that, better or worse, have been followed by many other countries. With Harold Macmillan (1957-1963), the valid of ChurchillBritish conservatism opened up to more progressive proposals. Harold Wilson (1964-70/1974-76) represented the most leftist Labor positions: tax increases and exhaustive controls on the economy, which after the sad passage of James Callaghan (1976-1979) in the midst of a severe economic crisis, ended with the coming to power of Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990). She was the inspiration for a radical change: privatization of public companies, deregulation, tax reduction and the financial ‘big bang’ that turned London into one of the world capitals and a focus of attraction for new finance and investment professionals. The ‘City’ as the center of money. Thatcher it was, in fact, an advance to the policies that two years later he would begin to apply Ronald Reagan in United States.

After Thatcher and the passage of his successor, the prudent John Major (1990-1997), Labor Blair It intends to give a new twist by adjusting the excesses of the policies carried out by the conservative party, which increased inequalities in the historically industrial areas of the country. As is customary in British politics, opposition within his own party forced Blair to resign giving way to his Minister of Economy, Gordon Brown (2007-2010); responsible for dealing with the economic crisis that cost him his continuity. The Conservatives returned to power in 2010. In these last twelve years, Isabel II proclaims four prime ministers, something never seen in that country: David Cameron ,Theresa May, Boris Johnson y Liz Truss. Her legacy from him? The management of Brexit, whose consequences are still unknown as it has been surrounded by the pandemic and the effects of the energy crisis and price increases attributed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Western world begins a new stage of raising interest rates to control inflation and prevent it from running amok. The European Central Bank (+0.75% rate hike announced last Thursday), like the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, among others, have also declared a battle against inflation. The word recession is already installed in the markets.

The passing of Isabel II coincides with the transformation of the world board in every way. From the new and unpredictable economic evolution to the war in Ukraine. Everything is intertwined. Coincidences. Ten days ago he also passed away Mikhail Gorbachev, another of the personalities that the history books will remember with capital letters. There were fifteen republics that broke away from the former USSR, taking advantage of the crisis generated in that communist empire at the beginning of the nineties under the presidency of Gorbachevwho left power on December 25, 1991. Vladimir Putin, who in 2005 he cited as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century”, has served to justify his new expansive policies and the tragic invasion of Ukraine.

The avalanche of rapporteurs and biographers of the Queen isabel IIalmost as many as volcanologists appeared in Spain a year ago, have used its memory these days to present it as a beacon throughout an entire era, as was the Queen Victoria. There has been no comparable figure in the world to her. She reigned without ruling, but her influence was linked to the educational, economic, political, cultural and even sports influence that has led the United Kingdom until now. Also informative. From the serious and salmon press to the tabloid and gossip press, the United Kingdom has been a world example for the best and the worst in communication. The BBC continues to be the great audiovisual reference in this world that defends freedom. The UK, as a bastion of these freedoms, must remain a beacon of our civilisation. It is your challenge, despite Brexit.

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