Britain is about to be pushed over the edge

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer speaks as he meets victims of anti-social behaviour in Stifford Clays on June 09, 2024
Change or blobocracy? Keir Starmer's election will herald a victory for the thinking of the new establishment - John Keeble/Getty

As the Tory party teeters on the brink, so, too, does Britain. Like much of its middle class, our nation is “bougie broke”. The parties might insist that there is still money for their various projects, but under the surface the country is a smoking ruin. Its finances are in such a mess that the state now spends four times more on debt interest than social care. Fifteen years into wage stagnation, Texan gas station managers can make more than London professionals.

The danger is that, under Labour, Britain will be tipped over the edge. Indeed, amid widespread voter apathy, there is one group that will be delighted at the prospect of Sir Keir Starmer as prime minister: the Blob in all its facets. The anti-Brexit establishment in Whitehall – which has done so much to mire the country in its mess – will be gleeful at the prospect of a government led by one of its own.

The captains of “Blob capitalism” and the neo-Brownite intellectuals that have proliferated on the centre-Left, will think they can eat Starmer for breakfast. The woke industrial complex – which feeds off the temptation of all declining nations to retreat into the trivial – will come into its own. All as the real crises facing the nation are ignored.

It is difficult to predict precisely what combination of bad ideas could finish off the UK under Labour. What is certain, though, is that Blobonomics will play a starring role.

Crucially, this refuses to acknowledge that Britain is slouching towards bankruptcy. At some point soon, the government of the day will be unable to meet rising welfare costs by increasing the tax burden, or pushing through unpopular spending cuts. To avoid this, we are going to have to swallow our pride and start thinking like a developing nation, establishing growth as an overriding goal even at the risk of short-term pain, and resolving to catch up with the United States on key metrics, much like East Asia did in the 1970s and 1980s.

And yet Treasury mandarins cling to the view that it is Britain’s post-imperial destiny to spend its twilight years suspended in a humbling yet dignified state of “stable stagnation”, sustained through “prudent” financial management. Starmer, meanwhile, might talk about growth, but his plans lack any credibility. He has played into the Treasury’s hands by savagely attacking Liz Truss’s dash for growth, he has earnestly dismantled his own green proposals, and presented himself not as a radical fixer but a “steady pair of hands”. The thinkers who are likely to be influential over Labour in government are already flirting with growth-crushing wealth taxes and pension raids.

Yes, there are some in the Blob who grasp the need to put rocket-boosters under the economy. Sadly, with a Labour landslide imminent, they have proved unable to resist the attitude that the only way to reboot Britain is to go back into the EU. Such an idea is pure insanity. With the hard-Right on the cusp of power across Western Europe, the prospect of the EU collapsing by 2030 has gone from a wild-card scenario to a real possibility.

Look at Germany. Amid rising energy costs and economic decoupling from China, the primary reason for the EU’s continued existence for many Germans – their export-oriented growth model bolstered by a relatively weak euro currency – has imploded. Many believe that EU regulation imperils the Mittelstand, and that the country must restore the Deutschmark to protect itself from further financial risk. The AfD is determined to dissolve the EU.

Brexit Britain should be holding its nerve, capitalising on any new reputation as a safe haven, and dismantling EU regulations. But the Blob brains of Britain are so blinded with ideological hatred of Brexit that they refuse to see this. Their blockheaded thinking is only encouraged by big business, which welcomes any diversion from the real source of stagnation: the slowdown in corporate innovation as British firms become colonised by managerialism, addicted to state subsidies and drunk on dividends from rentier capitalism.

There are few promising signs in other areas. Labour’s Blob-pleasing obsession with net zero – decarbonising the grid by 2030 and banning new North Sea oil and gas – could yet prove to be the single greatest act of national self-harm this century. After all, history suggests that sustained economic growth is always underpinned by access to cheap and abundant energy.

Labour and Whitehall have come to share in the Brownite epiphany that devolution can both somehow unleash growth and rival nationalism. But further decentralising power now would end any hope of a pro-growth national rescue plan at a later date. Britain is in such an advanced state of decay that this would necessarily entail policies that are unpopular. But as the grandstanding of leaders like Sadiq Khan suggests, more devolution will be merely a recipe for gridlock.

With no answers to the big crises of our time, the woke industrial complex will come into its own. We are already seeing evidence of this in Labour’s plans. With its school trans policy mired in confusion, all hope has been dashed that education policy might shift onto infinitely more vital matters – such as how schools can tap the AI revolution without merely automating bad teaching.

At a time when it should be leading a national probe into wage stagnation, Labour has instead resolved to push through so-called “equal pay rights” in law for ethnic minority workers. Such escalations of the culture wars spell lucrative opportunities for HR executives, diversity professionals, human rights lawyers, equality think tanks, and experts in transphobia and structural racism. It is not so good news for those of us who find diversity is a diversion from the monumental question of how Britain beats decline.

As conservatives mull over how hard to punish the Tories on July 4, it is hard to overlook the fact that our situation is so dire because Conservatives did nothing over 14 years to confront Blob thinking. They not only ducked every opportunity to challenge Treasury orthodoxy but also tacitly endorsed the Blob’s view that Brexit could only ever be a damage limitation exercise. They unleashed the green Blob by enshrining net zero into law. Far from killing off devolution, they indulged it, promoting regional mayors.

It is hard to know what to feel more intensely – dread at a new chapter of Blob rule under Labour, or anger at the scale of Tory failure.