I was spending a few days at Lake Balaton, enjoying the wonderful late spring weather and sampling the local wines, when I read the results of the British general election. Like so many others, I had come to believe that Labour stood a good chance of forming the next government, perhaps in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. Well, now we know that the polls were wildly inaccurate and that the British electorate, in its wisdom, chose to give the Conservatives an overall majority in the House of Commons.
As a rule, I'm not given to making predictions. However, in this case I think I can safely say that the British public, or at least a significant part of it, will come to bitterly regret handing the Tories a further five years in office, unconstrained even by the need to placate their former coalition partners, the Lib Dems. In five years' time, I'm pretty sure that much of what remains of the welfare state in England (not Scotland) will have been dismantled. The National Health Service, perhaps the most outdstanding achievement of the post-war Atleee government, will be unrecognisable. I have little doubt that patients, relabelled as 'consumers', will be forced to pay for many basic services such as visiting a GP. At the same time, the opportunities for companies and shareholders to profit handsomely (i.e. outrageously) from state expenditure on health care will have increased exponentially.
What about Scotland? The Union between England and Scotland, established in 1707, is highly unlikely to survive now that the Tories have been re-elected with an overall majority. Anti-Conservative sentiment in Scotland has been strong since at least the days of Margaret Thatcher and her relentless efforts to curb the trade unions. The impetus for Scottish independence as a social democratic state within the European Union will prove irresistible, however uncertain the economic consequences of Scottish sovereignty.
As for me, I struggle to understand the appeal to 'ordinary' British voters - living on decidedly ordinary wages - of a clique of wealthy, callous and transparently elitist Conservative politicians, schooled at Eton or other bastions of privilege. Do the British people really believe that Cameron, Boris Johnson and other ex-scions of the unspeakable Bullingdon Club have their best interests at heart? Friends tell me that I'm hopelessly naive but even I can't fall for that!
Sunday 22 January 2017
From: Social Europe https://www.socialeurope.eu/2017/01/fourth-estate-twilight-liberal-democracy-part-one/ The Fourth Estate and The Twilight of Liberal Democracy, Part One by Stephen Pogány on 18 January 2017 78 Shares Share Tweet Share ...