The disaster of Thatcherism

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 08.28.48Margaret Thatcher’s cultural effect on Britain was, overall, disastrous, writes Dalrymple. She introduced the commercial spirit

not only where it was needed, but where it was harmful. Almost all the legalised corruption for which the British public administration is so notable can be traced back to her. She believed in management as a science in the way that Latin American peasants believe in miracle-working Virgins. She introduced business practices (such as high and rising perquisites) into the public sector without the disciplines of a real marketplace.

She failed to learn an important lesson taught by the experience of the Russian communist tyranny, that

in centralised bureaucratic systems, the setting of targets results not in efficiency but in organised lying to pretend that they have been met. The result has been Soviet-type corruption, moral, intellectual and financial, some of it legal and much of it compulsory. Those who work in or for the public administration – it is increasingly difficult to tell them apart – have been comprehensively corrupted.

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