January 1985

An icy month and chilly economy with record unemployment against a background of industrial collapse but a successful month for my family and computer industry leadership with seminars, meetings, committees and  press and TV interviews. We have ridden health problems and have renovated The Lady and bought a Blue Peter dinghy for a new boating year but elsewhere the misery of strike-torn and unemployed Britain is eating away at Thatcher’s credibility as she faces widespread criticism and the Ethiopians are still caught in a famine of biblical proportions but arms talks are started and South African apartheid has its future under challenge

And so ends the first month of 1985. The country gripped in a big freeze of snow, ice and the CEGB generating record electricity levels as we have 10 degrees of frost and the temperature in London is the lowest since 1953. Amongst the key domestic headlines are the cold weather causing house fires and gas explosions as the world economy deteriorates with Midland’s Bank losses mounting over their US Crocker Bank problems, 679,000 youngsters are on special schemes. and UK unemployment rises to 3,341,000 and up to 90% in Middlesbrough. Sterling and Gilts fall and the Bank Lending rates rise to 14% with a full Sterling and Exchange rate crisis in prospect.  A rail strike now adds to the coal strike misery as Thatcher thwarts every prospect of a NCB/NUM negotiated end to the miners strike. In the first ever televised House of Lords debate, the Government was savaged for forsaking unity and industrial recovery as imported fuel to break the strike costs £2.7billion