Ali’s blog

Mostly quant stuff with occasional digressions

Ideological bankruptcy in Britain and elsewhere

Posted by alifinmath on April 12, 2008

In The Spectator:

The ills of Western democracies are afflicting the most liberal societies known to history. Among other things, Britain suffers from growing inequality, housing shortage, a falling quality of health provision, rising rates of many types of crime, a failing pedagogy, agricultural impoverishment and a huge scale of ‘consumer debt’.

Notwithstanding the best efforts of the complacent to minimise or deny it, Britain is also in poor shape politically. Its parliament is increasingly discredited in public eyes, the independence of its Civil Service has been compromised, its honours system abused, its welfare system exploited, its once-proud system of municipal government reduced to a shadow of its former self, its armed forces weakened and underfunded, and large swathes of its public domain dispersed by privatisation.

A lot of this is owed to ‘Blairism’ and its corruptions of the body politic; much, too, to the previous Conservative period in office. 

In this state of emergency — for it is no less — the awareness that public provision and public service are the twin pillars upon which civil society rests no longer informs party policy. Nor could it, with ‘New’ Labour’s abandonment of its old Nonconformist ethics, and the spirit of traditional conservatism displaced by the value-system of the corner shopkeeper. Lacking a sense of direction as national problems deepen — a dangerous combination — the parties offer the electorate little more than finger-in-the-dyke improvisation, bubble-schemes of redemption and hot air; and in the Tory case, a retreat from reality into the nirvana of the ‘small state’.



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