Facing the Future

The British appear to face he newly unfolding century with mixed feelings. They think Britain will survive, but may be less influential. It will be closer to the Unites States. They are skeptical about many of the predictions made for scientific advantage, but confident about general advances achieved in living standards and life's opportunities. Broadly speaking they expect better times, unmarred by world wars. They expect the welfare state and most public services to wither and die, replaced for most people by private alternatives. About 3 in 5 of them expect this to happen to the NHS and state welfare, and 2 in 3 expect it of state pensions.

Where the young differ from their elders, they tend to be more optimistic. The notable exception to this is that more of them think a world war is likely. They do not, however, think that the British will regard themselves as Europeans first or expect Britain to lose independence or influence.

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