Since the War the Conservative Party has been in charge of the government for two years out of every three: in other words, twice as long as Labour. Hence they are largely responsible for the condition of the country, whether you feel it is thriving or crumbling at the edges.
At the beginning of this period, 1945, we regarded ourselves (and some others regarded us) as a Great Power and were appointed one of the Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. The unfortunate invasion of Suez in 1956 confirmed that we weren’t really a Great Power (along with Russia, China and the US) but we remained a “leading power of the second rank."
In the mid-1970s, and particularly since the election of Mrs Thatcher in 1979, the Keynesian economic consensus was abandoned, and the Tories’ ruling economic orthodoxy became free market economics in a deregulated system. This they argued would release the latent entrepreneurial spirits of our wealth holders and innovators and ensure economic prosperity and our continued influence in the world.
Although the standard of living of the majority of us has undoubtedly improved since the 1980s, for the past twenty years or so it has stagnated and in comparative terms we have fallen behind similar countries such as Germany and France. On present trends Poland moves ahead of us by the end of this decade.
In addition our democratic institutions have been damaged, our respect for international law diminished, our currency depreciated, our financial stability questioned and we are on the brink of ceasing to be counted among the world’s developed stable liberal democracies.
The Labour Party is not entirely free from responsibility: the invasion of Iraq and our involvement in Afghanistan haven’t helped our international standing, and Labour too fell for the “group think” of public spending cuts in the early 2010s, which have s weakened our public services.
However, the Conservatives have been in charge for most of the time. How do they explain this deterioration if they choose not to deny it?
By a series of scapegoats.
· For Mrs Thatcher it was “the enemy within;” overmighty trade union barons hampering the operation of free market by unwarranted demands on behalf of greedy workers.
· Brussels bureaucrats hampering our enterprise with unnecessary red tape.
· Eventually the entire European Union, with unrealistic ambitions for further integration, which held back our potential for buccaneering exploits in the rest of the world.
· For Michael Gove et al, “the Blob;” the professional establishment, particularly in education and health, obstructing exciting innovation. . .
· . . .and civil Servants squashing every brave initiative in the manner of “Yes Minister.”
· Not to mention “lefty lawyers” seeking technical loopholes to frustrate their democratic right to govern.
· Parliament itself needing to be prorogued in order to implement “the will of the people.”
· Supported by uncooperative judges; “enemies of the people.”
· Invasions of migrants taking up places in schools and our housing stock;
· The Liberal élite, given too much airtime by the BBC and broadsheet press.
· Namby-pamby “wokeness” making milksops (snowflakes?) of our young.
· The Bank of England, which “took its eye of the ball” regarding inflation.
· The Regulators, which have failed properly to oversee the industries they should be watching, not least water.
All this to disguise the real truth, that the Tory recipe of public services operated for profit rather than service of the public, low taxation and freedom to the strongest to exploit the rest do not lead to a happy, prosperous and respected nation. There is better way.