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The English Patient



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With the U.K. still in recession, and attention focusing once again (as it should) on the country’s credit rating, this FT piece by Max Hastings is worth pondering. These paragraphs give a sense of the challenge that David Cameron is likely to face:

Historians are likely to look back on 2009 as the year in which Britain was confronted by truths of lasting significance. For two decades we have supposed ourselves a successful society. It has been an article of faith that the revolution wrought by Margaret Thatcher transformed a sclerotic, declining nation into a dynamic and robustly prosperous one. We decided that we manage our affairs better than our European partners do theirs. 

The events of the past 18 months suggest otherwise. Britain is emerging from the crisis weaker than other developed economies, and notably more vulnerable than Germany and France. It seems hard to overstate the pain in store when the next government embarks on the steps necessary to restore the public finances. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have wrecked the economy. Soon, even ostriches will be obliged to notice.



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