General Motors, the American British Leyland

In 1979, the voters of Britain went to the polls. The result of that election would go on to have repercussions that can still be felt today. The voters made a brave choice. A first for British politics. The good people of the British Isles voted for a woman. At the time, the British car industry had a few problems and as a result government money, our money, was used to prop up an ailing industry that produced bad cars, badly.

Controlled by the unions, British Leyland was doomed to failure, but had to be supported to avoid the losses of hundreds of thousands of jobs. So it was. Billions of pounds were used to keep a company going that built cars that people did not want to buy. Old technology, poor build quality and union strikes all contributed in making the British car industry a laughing stock worldwide.

So what happened to the British car industry? Simple, it collapsed. Over the following years the profitable bits were sold off to companies that could make cars people wanted to buy. The bits that nobody wanted died a slow painful death, notably the Rover brand that finally curled its toes up in 2005.

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