Professor Sir Alan Budd, while being interviewed by documentary film-maker Adam Curtis in June 1991 about his time as Special Adviser at the Treasury in the period 1979-81, expresses his concerns that he was being used:
Curtis` narration: For some economists who were involved in this story, there is a further question: were their theories used to disguise political policies that would have otherwise been very difficult to implement in Britain?
Budd: The nightmare I sometimes have, about this whole experience, runs as follows. I was involved in making a number of proposals which were partly at least adopted by the government and put in play by the government. Now, my worry is as follows – that there may have been people making the actual policy decisions, or people behind them or people behind them, who never believed for a moment that this was the correct way to bring down inflation.
They did, however, see that it would be a very, very good way to raise unemployment, and raising unemployment was an extremely desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes — if you like, that what was engineered there in Marxist terms was a crisis of capitalism which re-created a reserve army of labour and has allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since.
Now again, I would not say I believe that story, but when I really worry about all this, I worry whether that indeed was really what was going on.
Budd gave this interview the month after Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont notoriously stated in parliament (on 6 May 1991), that “Rising unemployment and the recession have been the price that we have had to pay to get inflation down. That price is well worth paying.”
By the time Margaret Thatcher left office in November 1990, the annual RPIX inflation (Retail Price Index excluding mortgage interest payments) was the same, at 9.2%, as it had been in May 1979 when she entered office – the failure of her inflation-fighting policy could therefore be measured to an accuracy of one decimal place!
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