Baroness Thatcher 1925-2013
In 1986 the Big Bang changed the City of London forever. The City today remains a great beneficiary of the changes that occurred under Thatcher’s government. Those remarkable changes allowed the City to claim centre stage as the world’s preeminent financial location.
Thatcher recognised that London was not able to compete with other financial centres such as New York. She attributed this to over-regulation and old boy networks. Her solution was to promote free market competition with as little government interference as possible and to extoll the virtues of meritocracy.
There were many reasons why London was bound for success after the big bang. Its location in the global trading day, the proximity of lawyers, insurers and financiers, the use of English as the world’s ‘business language’ and the legal system. But despite these beneficial attributes success was not, and is still not, guaranteed. It was the conviction that combining the City of London with free market competition would allow the City to boom which resulted in success.
Today, just as before we need policies that will help the City of London to fight for its place in the global race.
Some will undoubtedly argue that light-touch regulation contributed to the Global Financial Crisis. Perhaps – but we should avoid knee-jerk reactionary policy aiming to retrench the City in red tape.
As Baroness Thatcher made her final journey today it was fitting that she visited the City that reaped the benefit of her reforms so much.