According to new research for The Sunday Times by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, state spending as a percentage of GDP has now reached 49% for the UK as a whole.
That's bad enough as it is – the government now controls practically half of the UK economy – but when you look at the regional figures the picture is even worse.
In the Northeast, state spending is 66.4% of GDP. In Wales, it's 71.6%. And in Northern Ireland, it's a whopping 77.6%.
I don't think the Soviet Republics ever managed to achieve quite that degree of state dominance.