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February 23, 2019



Fraser also misses out how much care work falls to children and the known impacts it has on their mental / physical health and social and educational attainment.


My understanding of the history of old age in Britain is that children have frequently moved away from their parents. In the past they may have moved less far but it was harder to visit or stay in touch. Also affluent children have tended to have affluent parents, who can pay for their own care, and poor children have often been unable to look after their poor parents anyway.


Chris, the first sentence in para 5 makes no sense. "What Fraser is alluding to here is getting at here is Pitirim Sorokin’s dissociative hypothesis..."

Dave Timoney

Oddly, I have yet to see any criticism of Fraser note that as a C of E Vicar he has a structural interest in promoting "happy families" and marginalising the welfare state.

To imagine that Blue Labour's communitarianism is just one preference in a personal liberty / social obligation trade-off strikes me as applying a liberal frame to the exclusion of material interest.


Somehow I feel it’s best not to get involved which Giles’ arguments, or those of the people offended by his viewpoint.

Instead, what you can see in these arguments is the “Britain of the seas and shores, versus the Britain of the steeples and shires”. And although in conflict with one another at times - Brexit as an example - really we need both types of Britain: mercantile and missionary, bucanneer and bucolic, nomad and sendentary. In a way it seems like we are recreating the arguments of Cain and Abel, farmer and pastoralist (for some a cultural memory of the clash between settled and nomadic ways of life). But a successful society may be dependent on both mindsets, on both sets of experiences and on both realities - and we shouldn’t be afraid of the other, as people maybe are.

Rajiv Dalui

Thank you for your nice post. Keep it up author.



What information are you attempting to communicate by the word “neoliberalism”? Is it merely any economic policy not positively hostile to the market? In that case, Lenin’s NEP of 1921 was neoliberal. Is it merely any policy which has passionate and vocal leftist opponents? In that case the NEP wasn’t.

If “neoliberalism” was an economically informative term it would mean that Wagner’s Law had gone into reverse around 1979 and stayed that way; in other words, that the macro trend since 1979 was now in the direction of an ever shrinking state. If that was true, Ayn Rand libertarians would be the happiest people in the world. They could just sit back and let the new reverse Wagner effect deliver us all to AnCap utopia.

But, of course, that’s not what’s actually been happening. The Thatcher/Reagan attempt to shrink the state was intermittent and temporary. Measured across the past 100 years, Wagner’s Law has not reversed or even stalled.

dilbert dogbert

I was wandering around loose and unsupervised on the Innertubes and was reading this: https://www.bradford-delong.com/american-conservatisms-frankenstein.html
and then wandered over here. Compare and contrast the Kansas Experiment with your Brit Austerity. Good luck with escaping the evil grasp of the EU.



I also don’t understand your attempt to link Marx with Monnet. There are, no doubt, good reasons to support Remain. But it’s not as if belief in the LTV leads automatically to belief in the CAP. At best, Marx and Monnet may attract similar people, based on their overlapping habits of affiliation. But there’s no logical connection.

Enoch Powell said he’d prefer to live in a Communist self-governing UK than in a free-market province of the EU. He was being dramatic, but I think many of his opponents also view the EU issue in exactly this stark way. If federalism is best advanced by privatisation and deregulation, they’ll have that. If it’s best advanced by state intervention and regulation, then they’ll have that instead. This helps explain why the Conservatives were more pro-EU in the late 1970s, but Labour was ten years later.

The greatest tragedy of the Cold War was the failure to understand that many third world Communists were really just nationalists during a period when the “current year” option was Communism. If Ho Chi Minh’s moment had arrived 40 years later he might well have been a Thatcherite.


«prefer to live in a Communist self-governing UK than in a free-market province of the EU.»

Ha! What he really meant was an UK governed by the english elites, not "self-governing". The objection by people like him to the EU is not that it is federalist or supranational, because the UK is that too, but that the english elites are in sole control of the UK government, but would be just a big minority in the EU government, and that would be an intolerable national humiliation for a "sceptred" elite.
That kind of people would rather be governed by a commissar of the people with a name like "James Cooper" ("one of our class") than by a corporate prime minister with a name like "Jacques Tonnelier" or "Joachim Kuiper".
These people are not even english nationalists, they are english supremacists.



Better not impute buried dark motives into the souls of everyone who disagrees with your excellent opinions. For one thing, you’ll find the likelihood of self-deception rapidly approaches 100%. For another, there’s this thing called the “Goldwater Rule”.

BTW The UK isn’t a federation (and can’t be, because England alone has 85% of the population). But even if it was, so what? Z may consent to federate with Y and X; it doesn’t follow that Z must therefore consent to federate with W, V, U and T.


Chris Peers, to whom you link above, also writes a very misleading article. He writes:

"Fraser seems not have noticed that Brexit is being driven by people who welcomed the contraction of manufacturing in the 1980s, and endorse Patrick Minford, an economist who argues that Brexit should “mostly eliminate” manufacturing."

This is misleading. The economics profession since the 1980s has largely supported the decimation of manufacturing or has been indifferent to it (largely based on classical or neo-classical theory, such as comparative advantage). As far as I know only Mark Rawthorn at Oxford, a Marxist, warned of the consequences during the so called Great Moderation. Also most of the profession supported free capital and free trade (and therefore deregulation). Both are related to the demise of the manufacturing sector, and of course, with capital, to the financial crisis. There were economists in the 1980s who were aware of the dangers, but these were driven out during the Thatcher years and are not the type of economists (new-Keynesians, New-Classicalists -Minford is an example of the latter) that dominate the profession today.

Just to note - I supported, and still hope for Remain, but I see Brexit that as an inevitable result of long-standing problems with globalisation and capitalism and related policies that have been pushed by the mainstream that have had far deeper consequences than austerity -the latter, like the zero lower bound on interest rates - is a convenient mask for much of the establishment to hide behind and to keep things fundamentally the same.


Good point.

It reminds me of claims that the billionaire class generally support Brexit or Remain, based solely on the declared preferences of single individuals (e.g. James Dyson and Tim Martin for Brexit, or George Soros for Remain). In practice, this makes about as much sense as claiming that Muslims generally support the Conservatives, based solely on the example of Sajid Javid. You need a slightly larger data set.

You could start by going through the Sunday Times Rich List or the Forbes 400 and try to get an average of how the super-rich stack up on the issue. To be fair, you probably have to move beyond declared preferences, because most billionaires are fairly discreet; the loud-mouths are the exceptions. For instance, a high proportion of the people at the top of the Sunday Times list have a significant part of their wealth tied up in London property. I would guess that makes them at least moderately pro-Remain; but they’ve probably already diversified their portfolios, just to be safe.

In the case of the World’s Richest Human - Jeff Bezos - my guess would be that Remain is more convenient for his business, but he can live with whatever we decide. And that’s probably how most billionaires view it too.

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