The anniversary sent me back to former Guardian columnist Hugo Young's 'One of Us', which while by no means sympathetic to the subject, takes some beating for research and readability. I came across the following, which makes interesting reading in the light of the Guardian's argument. On page 46 there's a statement from the lady regarding the taxation of speculators, which is unambiguously hostile to them (if pretty dated: 1961):
"It is the speculators in shares we want to get at, the person who is in the business of buying and selling shares, not to hold them for their income-producing properties but to live on the profit he makes from these transactions".
The obvious argument to make is that she was being blown by the prevailing wind and would change her attitude by the 1980s. However, Young goes on to remark:
"It was a feature of budgets during the 1980s that they did the banks and money-changers very few favours."
(Indeed, Howe's 1981 budget included a windfall tax on the clearing banks.)
And this from one of her most trenchant critics.
Moreover, it's all too easily forgotten (especially by the Guardian's current commentators) that the 'big bang' reforms were intensely disliked by many of the more established City players. After all they were designed to break up what was a cosy financial cartel that had been staffed via an old boys network (and as such not too dissimilar from some of her other reforms, such as of the trade unions).
C.f. also Nigel Lawson's disdain for the City's 'teenage scribblers'.
I suspect New Labour should never have been trusted to deal robustly with the City elites. Just as the convert can sometimes exhibit naivety that you won't find in those brought up in the faith, New Labour were too insecure and downright dazzled to say 'no' to the financial oligarchy when they should have.