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 ArdenLower Public Spending, to be your Empress of the hour?
MING: Of the hour, yes.
PRIEST: Do you promise to use her as you will?
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.