The end of the state-shrinking dream

I’m old enough to remember when the libertarian right in the Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) sang Tomorrow Belongs To Me. At the time it seemed all of a piece with the Hang Nelson Mandela posters and their other leftie-baiting antics. It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that we can see just how much tomorrow really did belong to them.

By the mid-1980s, the libertarians in the FCS had vanquished the other two factions, the moderates (or ‘Wets’) and the authoritarians, the traditional Powellite Monday Club right. Their combination of free-market economic policies and a degree of social liberalism was very much in tune with the zeitgeist. Despite some traditionalist authoritarian rhetoric, the  main emphasis of Conservative policies during the 1980s and 1990s was economic; deregulation, privatisation and weakening the unions. The period since has been characterised by what David Goodhart called the victory of the Two Liberalisms. George Osborne epitomises the post 1980s Tory; a fiscal conservative who cuts public spending and welfare but a social liberal who congratulates a colleague on her same-sex marriage.

The libertarians in the FCS re-defined what it meant to be a right-wing Tory. As a friend of mine put it at the time, “It’s no longer about hanging and flogging, it’s about cutting taxes, busting unions and privatising everything down to the street lights.” Their rivals on the right faded into the background. By the time the Monday Club was finally expelled from the Conservative Party in 2000 it been a busted flush for well over a decade.

Having beaten their right-wing rivals, shaped their party’s agenda and made a good start on redesigning the country in their own image you might have thought that the libertarian right would be happy. They weren’t, though. In the early 1990s I met a few of them on a warm summer evening in a pub in Westminster after some conference they’d been to. They were as frustrated as hell. Sure, John Major was continuing the privatisation policies and there was more trade union legislation in the pipeline but the revolution seemed to be running out of steam. Breaking up “the ultimate socialist bureaucracy”, the NHS, seemed as far away as ever. The British were wedded to it and nothing, it seemed, would change their minds. Furthermore, support for privatisation had been bought. Most of those who took advantage of the cheap shares still didn’t agree with it on principle. They still don’t. The root of the problem was that the British people still wouldn’t buy into the wider libertarian vision.

There was another problem too. Even as wages councils were being abolished, the railways privatised and council services put out to tender, the European Union was threatening to impose ‘socialism by the back door’ in the form of new labour regulations under the Maastricht Treaty. “It will take us right back to the 1970s,” they said. Many on the libertarian right had been opposed to the EU for some time but now their hatred reached a new level of vehemence.

Over time, the EU’s role as the regulation bogey-man seemed to grow. To an extent, the liberal-left colluded with the story. We saw these arguments played out during the EU referendum, with some on the left warning of a bonfire of workers rights in the event of a Leave vote and some on the right cheerfully predicting one. Clearly, the EU was the fount of all red-tape and leaving it would free the libertarian right up to finish the revolution which stalled in the 1990s.

But there was a flaw in this plan which seemed to get lost in the euphoria of the Brexit vote. It was the same one that was there in the early 1990s and it hasn’t gone away. British voters don’t share the free-marketers’ vision.

The important thing to understand about right-wing libertarianism is that it is a very eccentric viewpoint. It looks mainstream because it has a number of well-funded think-tanks pushing its agenda and its adherents are over-represented in politics and the media. The public, though, have never swallowed it. Countless think-tank papers, opinion pieces and editorials, telling us that shrinking the state is just common sense and that re-nationalisation is a loony left pipe-dream, have had remarkably little effect. The majority of people still want the railways and utilities taken back into public ownership and the proportion who want significant cuts to public spending has never even reached 10 percent. After three decades of haranguing by well-placed and well-funded small-staters, public opinion hasn’t budged.

Chart from British Social Attitudes 34, June 2017 

Over the last few decades, public opinion has swung between spending more and spending the same, support for the latter peaking during the period when David Cameron and George Osborne persuaded lots of voters that Labour has crashed the economy by borrowing too much. Yet even at this point, there was no support for cutting the size of the state. As Chris Dillow never tires of pointing out, Cameron and Osborne never really made a coherent case for state shrinkage. The Big Society came and went and the moment passed.

The BSA survey, showing that public opinion had swung back to higher spending, was greeted with dismay on the libertarian right. “The British people have forgotten the perils of big government,” said Kate Andrews of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

“Alas, the big state is coming back into fashion,” said City A.M.’s Christian May:

Depressingly, support for “reduce taxes and spend less” has never broken above 10 per cent since the survey’s inception in 1983. This, as they say, is the ball game. A large and growing percentage of the population now favours an increase in taxation and a hike in state spending.

Coming so soon after the Labour Party’s much better-than-expected performance in the election, it had some people very worried. “All that matters now is stopping Corbyn,” cried Andrew Lilico. And what if a radical socialist government, backed by propertyless millennials, were to start seizing property? The prospect is so terrifying that he would almost rather stay in the EU to keep some legal protection from the red menace.

 

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The aftermath of the Brexit vote hasn’t turned out the way that those on the libertarian right, who largely organised and financed the Leave campaign, hoped.

Firstly, the right-wing populism they fuelled to win the vote has turned out to be more like that of their old Monday Club rivals; nationalist and statist. As the Economist’s Bagehot column said, after a long absence, the shadow of Enoch Powell is back. The result was the most interventionist Tory manifesto for a generation, aimed at winning and keeping those voters who care more about security and immigration than tax cuts and deregulation.

Secondly, the idea of turning out to vote in large numbers to upset the political establishment has caught on among the young. The libertarian right tried to claim the anti-establishment rebellion as its own. It would have been fine if it had been restricted to older and more conservative voters. But young and younger middle-aged voters decided to have a go too and they gave their votes to Jeremy Corbyn.

And, of course, were there to be a socialist government after the UK leaves the EU, it could tax, spend, nationalise and intervene in whatever it liked. It could even bring in a Brexit Retribution Act to seize the property of all the wealthy old men who persuaded us to leave the EU. That’s parliamentary sovereignty for you.

Lurid dystopian fantasies aside, though, the zeitgeist is definitely shifting back towards the big state. There is talk on all sides of easing up on spending cuts and the public sector pay cap. The initiatives on employment, led by Matthew Taylor and on productivity, led by Tony Danker, may be the beginnings of a greater role for the state in the workplace; a more interventionist policy than any seen since the 1980s. And that’s just the Conservatives.

So far from Brexit being the cue for the Thatcher revolution’s last phase, it may mark the end of it altogether. The period that Jeremy Gilbert dubbed the Long 90s, that were shaped so much my the libertarian right, may now be drawing to a close. It’s no wonder the small-staters are so exercised. They have now realised that tomorrow belongs to someone else.

 

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39 Responses to The end of the state-shrinking dream

  1. Patricia Leighton says:

    An interesting piece but one which sees opposites. What we really need to think about is the nature, role and effectiveness of regulation. We are now challenging the ‘red tape’ neo liberal mantras but have few ideas about how best to order society, including business. Rick-let’s get a real debate going and look at new, radical approaches, not tried and failed options. Because it’s about law, people back off. But we shouldn’t.

  2. sdbast says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. srjc3 says:

    The creation of the NHS has removed a large part of the economy from market forces, and as you point out, the Tory counter-revolution never succeeded in breaking up “the ultimate socialist bureaucracy”.

    Not long before the creation of the NHS, the Attlee government nationalised development rights in the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act. A large part of our economy – the allocation of land used to provide housing, offices, supermarkets and factories – has also been removed from market forces.

    Again, the Tories never really succeeded in reintroducing the market. (Perhaps didn’t want to, as older, richer homeowners have benefited from rising house prices and form the Tories base).

    I suspect this other great survivor of the 1945 settlement has helped create those propertyless millennials who so threaten the Tories’ future.

    • Blissex says:

      Many of those “propertyless millenials” are just waiting to inherit very valuable properties in the south-east and London from parents and grandparents. The Conservatives know that they will turn to them as soon as they become property rentiers.
      The only problem with that is that a lot of the equity in those properties will be missing because of remortgaging and care home costs, which the Conservatives have encouraged. Because after all they think “those heirs have nobody else to vote for”, a bit like New Labour thought the same of the northern voters.

      • srjc3 says:

        But they will have a while to wait, and in the meantime may turn to Labour.

        As you said in a wonderful comment to another post, I’m a “Whig supporter of productive capitalism”. I hope against hope that there can be a political realignment so its not a choice between “a Tory defense of rentier landlordism” and Labour opponents of productive capitalism.

  4. John says:

    You should also recall that it was Norman Tebbitt – then Chairman of the Conservative Party – who shut down the FCS after they had landed the party with a massive compensation bill after trashing Essex University during one of their weekend conferences.
    Thatcher herself always imposed limits on her privatisation measures.
    Major went further than her, though it might have been easier following her.
    Overall – however – the British people have never really bought-in to the neo-liberal ideas.
    They are fiercely proud of the NHS for the simple reason that they have only to look across at the USA to see just how awful their system is for a significant number of their citizens.
    As for complaints about over-regulation, try telling that to Grenfell Tower survivors!
    The ideological baggage of the FCS never made much sense which is why – today – the future belongs to Corbyn and his followers.

    • Dipper says:

      lack of regulation does not seem to be an issue for Grenfall Tower. There seems to be lots of it, with regulations crossing across each other. No-one seems to know what is permitted and what is not permitted.

      • John says:

        It is mindsets like yours that get people killed, as in the Grenfell Tower..
        The regulations were unclear – so why did the Tory Government not clarify them?
        They were given repeated warnings to do so but did nothing about it.
        Why did they remove the system of inspections designed to ensure adherence to regulations?
        Their outlook is just as short-termist as yours is.
        And that is why innocent men, women and children ended up dying.
        I hope you and the equally sociopathic Tories are happy with what you have achieved.

        • Dipper says:

          This kind of insulting garbage is why we need a proper inquiry. Thousands of people living in tower blocks, staying and working in hospitals, working in schools, living in halls of residence, need to know whether the buildings they are in are safe, and we as a nation need to understand exactly how a system of regulations designed to provide safe buildings failed so tragically. Instead the left now have unilaterally claimed the tragedy as their own to do with as they wish, and are looking to have an inquiry that never gets to the truth but instead provides a pretext for overthrow of a democratically elected government.

          If the left think that their “superior” humanity is in itself sufficient to mean no disasters will happen on their watch then their hubris will be the cause of the next disaster.

          • John says:

            Ordinarily, I would urge caution against rushing to judgement in the case of Grenfell Towers.
            However, it seems to encapsulate just about everything that is wrong with Tory ideology.
            Slashing regulations, slashing inspection regimes, cutting safety in order to keep local taxation as low as possible in order to buy votes, cutting fire safety budgets, cutting emergency response budgets, failing to provide sufficient fire engines and other equipment, opting for cheap and unsafe alternatives in regards of cladding, breaching fire safety walls and doors, locating gas pipes in public assembly areas. The catalogue of greed and stupidity just goes on and on.
            Will the government-ordered inquiry provide all salient facts or just a complete whitewash?
            Only time will really tell – though the surviving residents do not appear very optimistic.
            One thing may yet become clear: the extent of Boris Johnson’s complicity in it all.

        • gunnerbear says:

          Get a grip…

          http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86522
          http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86526
          http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86528

          There is enough in the s**t bucket to cover Blues and Reds including such ardent Europhiles like Dent Coad….

  5. Royston Palmer says:

    I’ve never understood the libertarian right. Maybe I don’t get out enough but I’ve never met any in person. Personally I always saw it as an American trait. Who on earth would want to replace the NHS with the American system, for instance? And it’s not as if the average person has any shining examples to point to in every day life – the privatised rail system that many of us have to suffer, for instance. I’d be quite glad to see the back of this minority view.

    • Dipper says:

      The main contender for the NHS is a continental-style state-insurance system, not the American system.

      The rail system is a mixed system. Most of the problems I encountered as a commuter were down to infrastructure which is the responsibility of the state-owned Network Rail.

      I see no evidence that working for the government is good for employees. Nurses would be paid more in a privatised NHS. I’m not recommending full privatisation, but the state buying services from private companies would be good for patients and staff.

      • John says:

        Every piece of global analysis I have seen have demonstrated over and over again that the UK National Health Service is one of the most effective in the world.
        It provides healthcare for all, not just a fortunate or wealthy few.
        In an era when communicable diseases have diminished that may not seem so concerning.
        But if everyone is well, then everyone benefits.
        What selfish individuals like Dipper fail to grasp is that other people actually enjoy providing a public service to others. Such people have attributes such as compassion and empathy – though I suppose Dipper will not understand those as they cannot be priced in his matrix.
        Most of the failures in our national rail system can be traced to privately owned train operating companies, combined with a failure to address the problems caused by provocative ministers.

        • Dipper says:

          Every piece of global analysis I have seen shows the NHS to be on a par with other North European health services in terms of outcome for money, but we spend less than others. The main outlier on spend/return charts is the USA with a very expensive health service for non-exceptional returns.

          The set of people who enjoy providing a public service to others is not limited to people who work for the state. Many people who work for private companies also enjoy providing a service to others. There is no evidence to support the idea of state = virtuous, private = greedy and grasping. There are good and bad in both.

          I don’t see how the frequent breakdown in signalling on my computer line is down to privately owned train operating companies. and “failure to address the problems caused by provocative ministers” is just as much a feature of state-ownership as any other aspect you wish to raise.

          And finally, name calling on people who disagree with you is no way to conduct political debate. We see it all the time now coming from leftish circles; the creation of an “other”, people whose disagreement with a leftish view makes them lesser people, people whose political arguments are a cover for underhand personal selfish gain and hence are not arguments that need debating, people whose voice needs to be silenced, whose property should be taken by the state, whose newspapers of choice need to be controlled by the state. So here’s an in-depth discussion on the shortcomings of Corbynism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToKcmnrE5oY

          • John says:

            Are you dense – or what?
            You confirm what I have said about the NHS – that it is the most cost-effective in the developed world – and then go on to argue for a more expensive alternative, just like the good Tory you are.
            Ordinarily, I would suggest you know the price of everything and the value of nothing – but I am not sure you understand either of the concepts of price or value.
            As for the speed of your internet connections and train operating companies being linked!
            What are you thinking? Do you even know or understand your own mind and how it works?
            I can only assume you are too young to be able to remember a fully nationally owned railway.
            Otherwise, you would know that government ministers did not deliberately antagonise railway workers and their union representatives back then, unlike today’s Tory government.
            Your “newspapers of choice” are largely trash, designed to mislead you and other simpletons.
            As you amply demonstrate, they are highly successful in duping people just like you.

          • Dipper says:

            I haven’t anywhere argued for a US styler healthcare system, just that more involvement of private companies would be a good thing around.

            commuter got auto-corrected to computer, but I think that was self-evident.

            My understanding of the economics of privately-owned rail operating companies is that they don’t make an excessive profit, so there is no evidence that they are exploiting the commuter. We are, however, on my line getting quite a lot of investment from the Dutch government in new rolling stock via their state-owned operator.

            You seem to contradict yourself on state-ownership saying that you want more of it but the interference by the current government is a bad thing. surely that is a feature of state ownership.

            Finally your hysterical insulting style is, unfortunately, all too familiar from those on the left who simply cannot debate any disagreement with their opinions, so this is the last comment from me in reply to any posts of yours until you engage in a more considered thoughtful way.

          • John says:

            Every time you write something new here you reinforce what I am saying.
            State-owned European railway corporations are naturally happy to invest in private UK railway companies as they use the dividends paid out of profits to subsidise their domestic passengers.
            Thanks to suckers like you, rail fares in most continental European countries are substantially lower than here.
            You may be happy to subsidise rail fare costs for European travellers but many are not.
            The present situation – especially with regard to Southern Rail – is that it is a privately-owned rail company which is being encouraged by your Tory minority government to pick a fight with the RMT and other railway workers unions.
            The rail unions and their members do not seek an industrial dispute with the rail companies.
            It is simply not in their interests to do so.
            It is your Tory government who are encouraging the private companies to engineer disputes with the unions and railway workers for largely ideological reasons, i.e. the hatred of the Tories for industrial workers and their unions, as well as a desire to minimise the state.

          • Dipper says:

            I know rail fairs in European countries are lower than in the UK. I’m just not sure it is a progressive measure to expect nurses, teachers etc to subsidise the journeys to work of people who work in the city of London, nor is it a particularly green measure to subsidise long journeys to work. Better to reduce the subsidy and make the work move nearer the workers.

            It happens I am on the side of the unions in the Southern Railway dispute about guards, and the reason Southern Railway are fighting this dispute is because the government has told them to. That, to me, sounds like an argument for less state involvement, not more.

            I believe that returns for train operators in the UK is in the low single figures. Whilst this means we are paying more than we would pay on gilts, it seems better than PFI, and it means investment does not get added to government debt and make the deficit worse. I see no evidence that nationalising rail operating companies is going to generate more money for the UK, make employees better off, or provide better services. If there is one thing that would make train journeys better in my area it would be sorting out the signalling problems, and that is entirely in a government owned and run part of the network.

          • John says:

            I will try appealing to your rational instincts.
            Would it not be better if UK rail users paid lower fares instead of having their payments used to subsidise continental European rail passengers fares?
            Another alternative for the UK subsidy for Continental European cheap rail fares would be investment in the UK rail network to improve and enhance the service?
            It is not always the same situation where governments are concerned.
            What we have now is a Tory government deliberately stirring up industrial conflict.
            This would not happen under a Labour Government so the quality of rail services will be far better under a Labour Government.
            The Tories are manically fixated on Slashing, Trashing & Privatising (STP) everything!
            That strategy also includes the railways.

          • Dipper says:

            “Would it not be better if UK rail users paid lower fares”

            well … the railways cost what the railways cost. Whatever is not paid by the passenger is paid by someone else. Given the massive increase in use of railways it is not clear that lowering fairs is a good idea. It seems a bit cheeky to ask people to pay about £800 per person for HS2 and then ask them to pay people to use it, particularly if they themselves never go near a train.

            The Tories may not be the best custodians of state industries but I’m not convinced that Labour will be any better. they may solve some problems but largely at the expense of generating new ones.

            We have a system that works quite well, which has been described as “The Thatcherite model of competition in a regulated market”. A regulator oversees market activity to make sure customers are not exploited by companies with powerful positions, but within that regulatory framework companies are free to innovate and deliver better services. Personally I think if the private sector was able to compete in the health care market under such a system both patients and employees would be better off. For instance, CT scanners and MRI scanners are already made by private companies. It doesn’t seem that big a step to let private companies provide screening services directly, thus freeing up capital and management time in the NHS and allowing improved services to be offered.

          • John says:

            You really don’t get common sense, do you? Railways cost what they cost – you say.
            If the cost base does not include dividends being paid to subsidise the rail fares of continental European rail travellers then the cost for UK rail users is not inflated beyond what it should be.
            Do you understand that – and do you understand that when a Labour Government allows existing rail franchises to expire and then charges rail travellers only what it costs to run the railways then the cost will be lower than when the railways are being run by the private sector?
            Now that is logical, is it not?
            The same principle is true where the NHS is concerned. If its cost base does not include excess costs to pay private company dividends then we can have a cheaper and better NHS.
            That – too – is logical, is it not?
            All Thatcher ever did was to asset-strip the public sector in order to bribe voters.
            Selling-off public assets at below their real value was an act of crazy stupidity.
            If you have bought your council home at below-market price or have bought shares in privatised corporations at below their real value then you will have done well.
            For everyone else, your selfishness is being paid for by them.
            They – and you – are also meeting the cost of billions being lost due to the Tories giving away your money and your future to tax-dodging billionaires and their other high wealth donor supporters.
            When I read the specious reasoning you deploy I then understand how the Tories can fool you.

          • Dipper says:

            The question John poses is whether paying dividends is a waste of money.

            Fortunately we have the result of an experiment. A country divided in two, one half of which paid dividends, and the other didn’t. The one which paid dividends produced the VW Beetle, VW Golf, Mercedes cars, Porsches, and the one which didn’t pay dividends produced the Trabant.

            Paying dividends to reward risk-taking and innovation would seem, on the evidence of Germany, to be well worth it

          • John says:

            VW et. al. were all re-established by the British Government at the end of the Second World War. Their private owners had happily supported Hitler and Nazism during the war.
            Their factories ended up being completely ruined and it was British military officers who ran them.
            You should think and try reading a little history before making your ever-more stupid comments.

    • gunnerbear says:

      I think the Dutch and German models are much better models than either the NHS or the US system.

  6. bill40 says:

    Reblogged this on bill40: Progressive Momentum and commented:
    All my voting life it seems the UK public rely on Labour to spend then the Tories to do the cutting when we start to feel collective guilt about all the spending. Right now the UK public seems to be of the opinion that it’s time for Labour and greater spending. I also think people have now got the message that the UK cannot go bankrupt as the collective laughter at May comparing us to Greece.

    Lilico is a right wing blowhard and he doesn’t have a point about anything. We have the House of Lords and strong institutions that protect us from extremism as the present extremist Tories are finding out. As ever, Lilico is very keen to preserve his privilege and choices at the expense of others. We also have a thriving blogospere holding power to account and challenging to self interested narrative peddled by those such as Lilco who have nothing but scarmongering as arguments.

    I hope that the age of divine right is over.

    • John says:

      I know it is an inconvenient fact but Labour Governments invariably shrink public debt while Conservative Governments invariably increase it.
      Still, I am sure the Economics Correspondent of The Sun will tell you otherwise.

      • bill40 says:

        It’s a very inconvenient fact but that is not the public’s perception.

        • John says:

          And who shapes public perception?
          In the main, a bunch of tax-dodging billionaires who profit mightily from Tory Governments.
          You – at least – should be capable of independent thinking.

    • John says:

      The real reason other European leaders were laughing at May was because she got it so badly wrong then she called a surprise general election.
      Like Cameron before her – and his flawed Brexit campaign – she has demonstrated publicly that she is incapable of achieving what she sets out to achieve.
      May and Cameron have turned our country into a laughing stock, especially when she appoints a buffoon like Boris to the post of Foreign Secretary.
      Little wonder that European leaders find the UK Government ministers all such a joke!

      • bill40 says:

        Can’t argue with any of that!

      • Dipper says:

        I couldn’t care less what the European Leaders who reduced Greece to a defunct nation with no power over their own destiny think of us. There is nothing to be admired in their quasi-facist Federal ambition.

        • John says:

          Your political illiteracy extends to the point where you cannot even spell the word fascist correctly.
          Why do people like you insist upon parading your obvious ignorance so publicly?
          Do you get some sort of perverted pleasure from it?

  7. The shrunken state is perhaps better described as a legend or myth rather than a dream, even when its advanced by naive tech-boosters like Steve Hilton. The invented history of Daniel Hannan is more typical of libertarian right thinking, though it remains coy about its motivating premise, namely that universal suffrage was the foundational mistake that led to the big (welfare) state.

    Discounting cyclical variations, the size of the UK state (as a percentage of GDP and thus broad economic activity) has not radically altered since the 1970s, with one exception. That enotable exception was housebuilding, which was not only decisively shifted from the public to the private sector but saw a deliberate reduction in social housing (i.e. the state’s role) with the consequences we are all too familiar with today.

    The big state isn’t coming back into fashion because it never went out of fashion in the first place. Neoliberal practice has rarely sought the separation of the public and private sectors outside of rhetoric. Its aim has been to leverage the public sector to create pseudo-markets that privilege selected private organisations. A topical example would be further education, where Andrew Adonis has now taken to berating greedy vice-chancellors for responding to the incentives he himself designed.

    The growing libertarian right contempt for the EU was in part emotional displacement as the reality of neoliberalism became clear during the late-80s and early-90s. The domestic state wasn’t going to shrink so the next best objective was to at least withdraw the UK from the emerging neoliberal hyperstate of the EU. This required the development of a second myth based on dubious history, namely that the UK could prosper as a standalone trading nation.

    In other words, the failure of the state-shrinking “dream” has led to another fantasy: that the UK can somehow detach itself from the contemporary neoliberal order. The irony is that Brexit, however it may be pursued, necessitates an even more dominant domestic state.

    • Dipper says:

      There is no irony in Brexit resulting in a more dominant domestic state. It is clearly the case that ending rule from Brussels means more for the UK state to do. Everyone understands this.

      • Blissex says:

        «ending rule from Brussels means more for the UK state to do. Everyone understands this.»

        Giving up UK control over Brussels mostly means more USA control over London: in June 2017 voters decided that paying an economic price in lower growth was worth it to give up more sovereignty and independence to the USA.

        Of course many Conservatives (of the J Redwood persuasion) rightly think that giving even more sovereignty over the UK to the USA is worth it: the USA are after all the real guarantors against socialism in the UK, not the EU, despite A Lilico’s misconception that it was the EU that guaranteed “liberal despotism” against “democratic errors”.
        Some of those Conservatives have been long advocating for the UK to become a member of NAFTA instead of the EU, complementing USA political and operational control of the UK foreign and military policies with control of its trade, to fully entrust to the USA the protection of UK property and business owners again “democratic errors”.

  8. Chris Webb says:

    Excellent stuff – caught the character of the loony right very well!

  9. Pingback: Tax Research UK » The end of the small state?

  10. Keith says:

    Off course the future belongs to no one in particular as the future is always uncertain. And more complex than people imagine, just like real history is more complicated than is imagined. Politics is partly the result of fashion, and fashion is subject to change. The FCS sounds dreadful, and closing it down must rate as the only thing Tebbit has ever done that is commendable. Considering that the actual Nazi Germany ended up bombed flat and occupied by the victorious allies borrowing Hitler youth songs as your mantra to rile up the left is extremely silly. Extreme and irresponsible sums up Tory ism.

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