Author Archives: Matt Michael

The 12 Op-Eds of Xmas (Day 7)

Throughout the festive season, LDV is offering our readers a load of repeats another chance to read the 12 most popular opinion articles which have appeared on the blog since 1st January, 2008. Fifth up is this posting by Matt Michael, which appeared on LDV on 21st November…

Welcome to Nursery Britain

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Opinion: Welcome to Nursery Britain

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

In 1945, perhaps in a desire to continue the communal spirit of the war, Britain elected its only Socialist government. Swathes of privately-owned businesses were nationalised, capitalism was abandoned in favour of state ownership, and Liberalism, which had taken Great Britain from a dreary archipelago at the corner of Europe to a global powerhouse of industry and enterprise, was abandoned. And while the Attlee government did some great good in the creation of the NHS, after six years the British electorate had come to hate the drab, rationed austerity of the 1940s. Perhaps in a desire to resurrect some vestige of imperial prestige, they re-elected a decrepit Churchill – like Britain, a tragicomic echo of his old self.

But once in power, the Tories did nothing to reverse the Attlee revolution. Instead, they effected the mixed economy, a dismal synthesis of state socialism and capitalism that proved to be sclerotic for free trade and launched the nation into a thirty-year spiralling descent that was only arrested with the wholesale dissolution of British industry and the sale of the City of London to overseas investors.

Since the brief experiment of Socialist government between 1945 and 1951, Britain has been faced with a choice between two essentially social democratic parties, both believing that the state can – and should – intervene in every aspect of public and private life in order to impose their vision of what society should be. And even the lady who believed that there was no such thing as society couldn’t control her instincts as a curtain-twitching busybody, prying into the most personal corners of our lives, enacting unfair taxation and betraying the promise of a Liberal revolution in favour of the continuation of the social democratic consensus.

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