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You needn’t have worried, chum

In the aftermath of electoral defeat, a Labour MP and former minister wrote:

“The new Conservative Government is showing itself the most ideological and reactionary right-wing government that Europe has seen in two decades … Its commitment to lower public spending and its ideology of laissez-faire will mean more poverty, more inequality, a meaner social sector and a worse environment.”

As things turned out, once in power the Conservatives preferred “pragmatism” to an ideology of laissez-faire, and the commitment to lower public spending displayed about the same level of commitment as Ming the Merciless did in his marriage vows to Dale Arden:

PRIEST: Do you, Ming the Merciless, Ruler of the Universe, take this Earthling, Dale Arden Lower Public Spending, to be your Empress of the hour?

MING: Of the hour, yes.

PRIEST: Do you promise to use her as you will?

MING: Certainly!

PRIEST: Not to blast her into space?

(Pointed silence from Ming)

PRIEST (hurriedly): ….Until such time as you grow weary of her?

MING: I do.

The election concerned was, of course, that of 2010 1990 1979 1970 and the writer was Anthony Crosland, MP. He concluded:

“Perhaps it did not need this lecture to demonstrate that our basic social democratic aims remain as urgent as they have ever been. If proof were needed, Mr Heath has provided it.”

– Anthony Crosland in A Social Democratic Britain, Fabian Tract 404, based on a lecture given in November 1970. (Price 3s / 15p.)

I do not entirely share Perry’s view that between Ruling Lizards Group A and Ruling Lizards Group B there is no difference worth a damn. By gum, though, when you think that Edward Heath was once seriously feared as a rampaging warrior of laissez faire, there is no difference worth much.

8 comments to You needn’t have worried, chum

  • RAB

    This would be the same Tony Crosland that vowed…

    “If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to destroy every fucking grammar school in England. And Wales and Northern Ireland”

    Thereby cutting the rungs of the ladder of social mobility for every working class kid with brains on purely ideological grounds. What an utter asshole, eh?

  • Lee Moore

    I admit I’m too young to remember at first hand, but didn’t Heath start off in a mildly pro-capitalist way, and then run head first into the unions, before turning full time to the printing press ? So at the time of the 1970 election he was expected to be kinda laissez faire (by 1960s UK political standards.) The “wettest of the wets” Heath, that I do remember from the 80s, wasn’t really based on ideology, it was just pique. If Mrs T had governed as as a marshmallow, Heath would have turned into a hardliner.

  • Edward

    By gum, though, when you think that Edward Heath was once seriously feared as a rampaging warrior of laissez faire, there is no difference worth much.

    Heath campaigned as, won and initially governed as just such a thing. Google “Selsdon Man” if you want to see the evidence. Then when the going got tough, he bottled it and his government turned into the weaselly incompetent Butskellite mess we all know and revile.

    Dave is the Ted Heath de nos jours

  • Anthony Crossland, as RAB points out above, was the leading light in the extreme and long-term damaging of the UK state education system.

    Though the grammar and secondary modern system was by no means ideal (at least three types of school would be much better than two) it is certainly better than what we have now.

    Crossland’s philosophy of education, which continues, is wrong in at least four ways:

    (i) that enforced equality is better than meritocracy;

    (ii) that elitism and meritocracy are the same thing;

    (iii) that one size fits all;

    (iv) that pushing down is the same as pulling up.

    Best regards

  • Edward, sorry your very sensible comment

    Dave is the Ted Heath de nos jours

    was held up in Smite purgatory for a while.

    I see nowt to disagree with in any of the other comments, either.

    Readers may notice that I have broken my own rule forbidding stealth editing of my own posts after more than an hour has gone by since first publication. The rule does not apply to spelling corrections, misplaced apostrophes, or jokes I only thought of later.

  • “Fabian tract 404”


  • “Fabian tract 404”


    Dear Heaven, you’re right. Surely no conceivable world outside the realms of dystopian fantasy could have produced four hundred and four Fabian tracts?

    I’m hoping the number just means that it was written in Room 101, but three floors up.

  • RAB

    Or maybe Nick meant this…

    “can’t establish a connection to the server at 404.”