Editorial: Thatcher And Her North Sea Deus Ex Machina

Tim Haïdar

"Britain is a tragedy – It has sunk to borrowing, begging, stealing until North Sea oil comes in."US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, 1975

"No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well."British Prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, 1986

The day after her death at the age of 87, heart-felt tributes and hateful tirades have been splashed across internet and print pages for the "Iron Lady" that lead Britain for 11 years.

From the Education Secretary that withdrew free milk at primary schools to the free market firebrand that turned the City of London back into the world’s leading financial centre, the Prime minister that ripped the heart out of working class communities yet enabled millions to buy property for the first time in their family’s history - never has a British political figure so polarised opinion.

Let us not forget that with an economy ravaged by years of trade union infighting and socialist economic policy, the emergence of North Sea oil on the UK Continental Shelf was, arguably, the deus ex machina that allowed Thatcher to push on with her radical reform package.

At its height in January 1985, monthly oil production hit 84.9 million barrels and Britain went from Kissinger’s ailing post-Imperial economy to a net energy exporter with six per cent of annual economic output directly derived from the oil and gas sector.

It seems that Thatcher's – and Britain’s - Good Samaritan was fashioned of Black Gold.


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