Monday, July 01, 2002

What Happens next?

During the 1970s the socialist state in the UK set up after the second world war began to show obvious signs of collapse. This was before I was born but phrases like Dead left unburied’or the over used ‘Winter of Discontent’ are familiar to me.
The collapse of Britain’s socialism was a disaster of epic proportions to the left and to the people of Britain who had become dependent on state intervention. Sunset industries like mining or steel working which should have slowly declined in importance since the second world war, the jobs thus lost being gradually replaced by jobs in other industries were suddenly destroyed and the market took time to step in and put right the damage of government control. Mrs. Thatcher presided over this collapse and took much of the blame for it but really the finger should point at those before her who did nothing to prevent the collapse.
However even Thatcher, as Sean Gabb says did nothing to role back the boundaries of the state, rather she enabled them to be more clearly defined. This was her contribution to modern British politics. Her legacy, stemming from the collapse of an all pervading state was a country in which the state while still to strong was at least limited, obvious and avoidable.
But if the collapse of socialism in Britain led to a strengthening of market capitalism and to the appearance of the state as a separate entity to the country have other collapses led to similar advancements of other positions? Well the Great War with its conscription and massacre of thousands destroyed many of the ideas of individual liberty and led to higher taxes and elements of state control that have persisted and grown to this day.
The second world war finished this off and gave the government the excuse and ability to expand their power effectively without limits.
However WW1 was a people’s war and it highlighted, or at least so the left said the failings of plutocracy and latent individuality. WW2 was a failure of the liberal German Weimar republic and a demonstration that Britain had responsibility not only for other countries but also to harness the combined power of individuals.
These great 20th Century disasters were failures for the conservative of the libertarian. For the socialist or the fascist they were triumphs and they were capitalised on as anyone who lived in Britain during the period will know.
But whilst Thatcher did the same during the 1980s using ideology from Friedman or Hayek she jumped in to early. She won the election because public services had just collapsed, her ideas won condemnation because she was unable to save then public industries which were just about to collapse.

All of which has nothing to do with Britain’s foreign policy today and most of which is probably based on flawed analysis and information.

But Blair has sent British forces to fight in more wars in five years than Thatcher and Major did in 18. They might not have had hard roles but sightseeing and fireworks in Afghanistan was never anything else but spinning to show the spirit of Anglo-American alliance. Like all of Blair’s ventures it was never actually meant to do anything.
Unfortunately for us and as the American’s found out to their cost the ‘enemy’ do not always respond to the initial force.
Had Thatcher lost, or even been badly hurt during the Falklands war she would have probably lost the next general election. Some wanted Thatcher to loose for just this reason. The same applies for Blair, if he miscalculates and the armed forces get hurt somewhere they should not be, or more likely we get attacked somewhere else, probably London his ‘ethical’ foreign policy will be shown up for the pointless, dangerous damaging and expensive mess it is.
Or rather it would be if someone with influence points it out. If Duncan-Smith who seemed so confident and votable on Question Time last Friday does not realise that blindly supporting the US and concentrating on issues that no one trusts him on will not win him the next election then Blair, or someone worse will be able to spin any disaster to say that it proves that whoever attacks was an enemy in the first place and foreign intervention should go on.
WW1 had state interventionists, WW2 had socialists and the 1970s had Thatcher. Who do we have to capitalise on the eventual setbacks Blair’s regime is going to face?


Post a Comment

Blog Archive