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behaviour and intelligence

“like rebellious teenagers, always blaming their parents but not ready to leave home”
Anthony Sampson on the growing vacuum at the heart of Britain.

Sampson has been recording what is going on in Britain without much editorialising for over 40 years.
Here are some quotes from the first of two extracts for a forthcoming book:

“After all the promises of democratisation and openness, central government has become still more concentrated and impenetrable. New Labour's Freedom of Information Act was more concerned to conceal information than to reveal it. The Ministry of Defence and the intelligence agencies are still obscure, while the danger from terrorism makes it easier to invoke national security and allows the Home Office and the police to cut civil liberties. And more decisions than ever are concentrated on Number 10. Britain, for all its new diversity at the bottom, has become one of the most centralised of all countries at the top. And in the centre a new Establishment has taken over from the old.”

“ The 76 years from 1914 to 1990 are beginning to look like a temporary aberration in Britain's social history. The First World War undermined the immunity and confidence of the rich. After the Second World War, they faced continuing austerity, higher taxes and fears about socialism and communism. Later, taxes were lowered, and the end of the Cold War brought an expansion of the global marketplace which allowed investors to benefit from the world's resources, on a scale which the Edwardians could only dream of.

“Today's rich can detach themselves more thoroughly from the problems of their home countries, as they fly between houses and hotels across the world. In Britain, they can enjoy the comforts of country houses in privacy, without long-term commitments to large staffs of indoor servants or local communities.

“They can separate themselves from the lives of ordinary people, while the gap between them widens. The new poor in Britain, the immigrants from Asia and Africa, can remain out of sight and out of mind.”

29.03.2004

 

 


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