Cyprus Mail
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Top marks for history but not sure about economics

I am grateful to Tim Drayton for correcting the dates (letter to the Editor, Sunday Mail, April 6) associated with some of the events mentioned in my article of March  23,entitled, ‘Mutually Beneficial Relationship Reaches the end of the Road’. Mr Drayton certainly knows his history. I am not quite so sure of his economic skills. Mr Drayton indicates that it was the loan which Britain obtained from the IMF in 1976 which was responsible for the austerity of  the late 1970’s and the associated wave of strikes. But there was plenty of austerity due to strikes in nationalised industry several years prior to the IMF loan when British industry was forced to operate only three days a week (1974). This was arguably the period of the greatest austerity associated with this era.

My article looked on the British nationalisation of industry as an experiment which could hold lessons for Cyprus. It rests on a few obvious facts which I believe will find agreement with most people.

The British Labour party nationalised major portions of British industry, believing at the time that this was preferable to the private management of these industries.

Mrs Thatcher came to power and introduced a programme of privatisation, based on just the opposite belief, and privatised many of the same industries.

Subsequent Labour governments had the power to once again pursue the nationalisation of British industry. Having experienced the operation of these industries as private companies, they have chosen not to renationalise them. This surely tells us something.

Dr Jim Leontiades, Cyprus International Institute of Management

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