A Country at Ease with Itself

It is customary for those in public life who set out their ideas to sensationalize their work with overblown claims about its urgency. Thus we are usually told that "Britain stands at the crossroads," and that critical choices have to be made which will determine the entire future of the nation. Such claims serve to underline the dire warnings of the writer, to alarm people that we face some sort of "crisis," and to suggest that only prompt action based on those selfsame insights can avert the impending catastrophe. I make no such claims. Britain stands at no crossroads except in the trivial sense that every present is a crossroads where the past meets the future. I do not believe that this nation is in crisis or that only the immediate adoption of urgent remedies can save it. On the contrary, I believe that Britain is well on course, and is in the process of making a seamless transition from the policies which succeeded in the 180s to those which will succeed in the 1990s.

Thus my purpose is not an attempt to sound the alert to some impending emergency, however much interest such drama would add to my words. It is rather to show how the principles which enabled us to solve many of the problems of the last decade can develop the policies we need to tackle the different priorities which the current decade presents.

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