Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Broken Britain....we'll most of us think so....

Broken Britain....we'll most of us think so....

The latest Times poll on life in Britain makes grim reading. Some 70 percent think that Britain is 'broken,' while 68 percent say that people who play by the rules get a raw deal. Not surprisingly, 82 percent think that it's time for a change. The figure that leaps out for me though, is that 42 percent of people in Britain would emigrate if they could. That figure represents over 25 million people!

Britain does have its drawbacks, including endemic discomforts such as our appalling weather (at times) and even more appalling Guardian columnists, but it is doubtful that these are enough to drive people out of the country. The real reason is, in all probability lack of opportunity. Social mobility has declined under all governments since the demise of Grammar Schools, which delivered equality of opportunity not equality of output as the present system does, so a society has been created where the chances are higher than ever before that someone born into a social milieu will remain trapped there. Taxation, including ever higher income, wealth and stealth taxes, act against opportunity and ambition, and the dead hand of bureaucracy becoming ever more entrenched under our political masters desire to assimilate into the EU stifles innovation and enterprise.

Studies tell us that true happiness is associated more with progress than with any level of wealth accumulation. The old adage “money can’t buy you happiness” is very true although Spike Milligan’s observation “but it can buy you a much more pleasant form of misery” is ever more true in the Broken Britain of today. People denied the chance to better themselves, feel less content than they do in societies where progress seems possible. The poll results speak of a deep unease within Britain as it is, coupled with a wish that it could be better.

The lesson here for politicians (but will they listen?) is that opportunity needs restoring, policies from restoring selective education, lower taxation, fiscal prudence, limited regulation combined with social policies that encourage people to get ahead and improve their lot in life themselves are the way forward, instead of the existing government policy to passively and actively grasp what last vestiges of wealth remains in the mistaken belief it can deliver this better through excessive spending on feeble bureaucratic wasteful public services. There are some who will always need help of course, but what the majority of us need is opportunity.

Sadly no mainstream political party is actually listening to us, for if they were to take note of what this poll is truly saying, with an election only a few months away, we’d be hearing the rhetoric of what is best for us Britons and seeing the detail coming through in how it would be changed. Sadly they have their own agendas, as self serving and remote as they could ever be from all but the die hard party faithful.

The truly terrifying thought is that if things don't change, and 42 percent do manage to find the means to emigrate, they will include all those who might otherwise improve things.

Truly a Broken Britain from such an exodus would never mend.


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