Dalrymple at the SAU blog on Elliott and Atkinson's Fantasy Island.
I'm always saying this to people on both Left and Right who, for different reasons, saw Tony Blair as the source of all evil and of all our problems. He's a symptom, not a cause. He's the magic mirror man. Whoever you are, he'll show you a comforting reflection.
"But we cannot blame our leaders entirely for our situation, for two reasons: the first is that we elected them, albeit without much enthusiasm, and second because, though you can take a man to the bank, you can't make him borrow. Improvident government does not by itself make a people improvident, though it may encourage, sanction and even sanctify improvidence. Nowadays, we have representational government not only in the sense that we all elect our representatives to parliament, but in the sense that the faults and shortcomings of our representatives and leaders are our own faults and shortcomings, from sentimentality to imprudence, from improvidence to untruthfulness. Mr Blair, whom the authors believe to be shallow and lacking in seriousness (though not in earnestness, which is quite another thing), did not arrive in Britain from outer space. Mr Blair is us."
You said it.
"Taking advantage of protectionism requires some degree of integrity both on the part of the government and the industries that are granted temporary respite from foreign competition. And integrity, or a sense of purpose beyond advantage in the most immediate future, is precisely the quality that is so conspicuously lacking in British life today."
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