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Marching to Serfdom

Opinion - Gerard Baker

MUCH INK has been spilt in an effort to explain why this election campaign has failed to engender excitement in the streets. Allow me, as a quasioutsider, to offer a provocative thesis.
... The British people are steadily being reduced to a state of cringing dependence on an ever-more voracious and aggrandising Government and a political establishment of almost unconquerable scale that supports and sustains it.

The response of our once competitive political system has been not to offer an alternative to this long march to serfdom but, hemmed in by the tightening constraints of politically permissible debate, to produce feeble dissent around the margins of a vast consensus whose core no one dare challenge...

After years in which the UK actually managed to restrict the growth of government, a period not coincidentally that created the conditions for the best economic performance in a couple of generations, the tax take is set to rise sharply. Within three years, taxes will account for more than 40 per cent of gross domestic product, the highest level in 25 years, and beginning to close the gap again with the levels in sclerotic Western European countries. ...
The Government now backs a more or less open-ended commitment to pouring ever more resources into the demonstrably inefficient bureaucracy of the NHS. Pensions, welfare benefits and education will devour tens of billions more even than current projections suggest. ..
But what are the opposition up to? The Tories say the answer is — wait for it — a £4 billion tax cut. Mercy! Will the entrepreneurial instincts of the British people be liberated, and the impending socialisation of more than half the UK economy halted, by a measure that will reduce the size of the state by a whopping 0.6 per cent? ...

But as the British public’s liberty is sold into the serfdom of the British Establishment, Shelley’s words have a curious resonance.
It’s useless in this final week of the election, given the paucity of choice, to expect them to echo to any effect now. But soon enough, maybe, the British people will heed them:

Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you
Ye are many. They are few.

Now that is the best article I have seen all election - go and read the whole thing (if you can with the Times strange registration policies!)


A wonderful article. Thanks for the link.

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