Britain has a whiff of the 1980s. There's privatization and windfall joy in share owners' bank accounts and a petrochemical plant closing with hundreds of jobs lost, while postal workers and teachers strike. Unfortunately, the U.K. risks a return to a period of Thatcherite confrontation.
Just as it was three decades ago, quite who is villain and who is innocent victim is not always plain. At Grangemouth in Scotland, 800 petrochemical jobs may be lost, and more in the vicinity. Alex Salmond, Scotland's first minister, has wisely tried to seek compromise. But the workers' union has rejected a pay freeze demanded by Ineos, the owner, which says the plant loses £10-million ($16.8-million) a month.