Today, Tony Blair left office after ten years of being the British Prime Minister and many are in a reflective mood as they consider his years in office. With the LA having the luxury of no formal line on these matters here is simply my personal take on his period at No.10.
On the good side, private healthcare, private education (including home schooling) and the private security sector have all grown during his time in office and no doubt much against his wishes. Today, there are more private hospitals, private healthcare plans and private schools thriving than when he entered office in 1997.
Similarly, I am delighted that university students now have to pay fees and that for every one state policeman there are now more than two private security guards. Away from state courts, private arbitration and mediation services likewise continue to grow.
I welcome these things because as the years go by they have a very real chance of de-coupling ever more voters from the failure of the age of high tax big government.
A more independent Bank of England, the general advocacy of road pricing, the liberalisation of pub opening hours and the fact that even with recent tax hikes, the overall tax take of the Blair government averaged less than that of Thatcher’s are again all positive, if not remarkable features, given the parlous economic record of previous socialist administrations.
Finally, it is good that Britain seems to be less concerned with the more traditional and deeply collectivist politics of class, race and sexuality than was previously the case.
On the bad side, taxes have not gone down. The state continues to consume some 40 per cent of national income. And not only have many billions of pounds been wasted on a greatly expanded welfare state but the regulatory burden is now reaching truly nightmarish proportions.
The British state and European super-state is increasingly involved in every facet of life and there seems little debate amongst any of our political rulers on any alternative course.
On the ugly side, no previous administration has overseen such a systematic dismantling of our basic civil liberties than the Blair government.
The continual undermining of the common law and trial by jury is a disgrace.
The planned introduction of ID cards, an ever growing list of bans (such as smoking in so called public places) and an ever mounting array of politically correct and totally counter-productive initiatives – such as the war on drugs – is a nightmare.
Finally, the continual advocacy of a deeply irrational and anti-human eco-fascism poses one of the most profound threats to liberty and freedom that mankind has ever faced.
Overall, it is a pretty mixed bag with the centre of gravity falling in the bad-to-ugly terrain. As Dr. Sean Gabb said in this excellent paper, ever since the Thatcher decade Britain and its political class has been slowly taking us ever more into the dark side.
What do you think about Blair and the last ten years?