“The “British establishment” today is somewhat removed from its origins in the class system and privilege. In government, explains researcher Aeron Davis, the change started in the 1980s when Oxbridge types began to be displaced from the upper rungs of Whitehall, as an emphasis on “meritocracy” and expertise represented by grammar school education, the professions and PhDs took hold. Then came change in the business world, where “flabby, inefficient old money was being run out of town by a new energetic breed succeeding on merit”. Thus the country’s elites became more disparate.
“Neoliberalism, the ideology of small state, free markets and low taxes, held promise of binding together these modern elites – but “after decades its flaws and contradictions are becoming too large to deal with,” writes Davis. “I have come to believe that the establishment is no longer coherent or collective or competent. Its failings are not only causing larger schisms, inequalities and precariousness in Britain; they also threaten the very foundations of establishment rule itself.” (Guardian, 27 Feb 2018)
I agree that the people who took over in the 1980s and 1990s have done a great disservice to the country. Neoliberalism has been a disaster, and no one in power has had the wit or common sense to abandon it and actually rule for the whole nation. The result is endless cut-backs for the poor, those who want to be actually educated, and those who use the National Health Service, to name a few issues, demoralising the nation.
Now watch as the Tory Party, during the next year, replaces May with a throw-back to the old Tory Party of wealth, privilege in the form of Jacob Rees-Mogg – very rich, very conservative and an apparent believer in the idea that tax is theft and the poor are poor for a good reason. More about Rees-Mog on another day, but my point is that the failure of the “new establishment” will not produce a liberal reaction but, very likely, return Britain to the days of the old establishment again and an effort to finally end the welfare state. This is the objective, and Brexit is just a means of getting there. How can one maintain peace of mind watching these dismal events I have difficulty in discerning.