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I Have Seen London’s Future and It Is Caracas

Important (for good or evil) as Brexit may be to the future of Britain, it is not without its importance for the European Union. Indeed, it was always essential for the Union that Britain’s departure should be an economic disaster for Britain: for if it were not, why have a union at all?

It was therefore entirely predictable that the Union should drive a hard bargain with Britain, even a bargain economically harmful to itself, provided only that it was worse for Britain: for the self-preservation of the European political class is at stake. In the European Union politics always trumps economics.

In Britain too, political considerations were uppermost in the minds of those who voted for Brexit. They saw in the European Union a Yugoslavia in the making, led by a megalomaniac class without effective checks or balances. But now they are increasingly apprehensive of the economic costs of Brexit.

And the economic auguries for Britain are indeed poor, though not only, or even principally, because of the European Union’s hostility. The fact is that Britain is unlikely to be able to take any advantage of life outside the European straitjacket because its own political class is itself in favour of straitjackets that are no better, and quite possibly worse than, the European ones. The present Prime Minister, Theresa May, is very much a statist, indistinguishable from European social democrats, and the leader of the opposition, Mr Corbyn, who might well be the next Prime Minister, is an unapologetic admirer of Hugo Chavez. It is hardly to be expected that foreign investors will place much trust or confidence in an isolated country whose next government might very well weaken property rights, impose capital controls and increase corporate taxation in favour of supposed social justice. It would not take very long to turn Britain into a northern Venezuela: a Venezuela without the oil or the tropical climate.

Moreover, Britain already has many weaknesses and few strengths. It has a huge and persistent trade imbalance, because it does not produce enough of what the world wants and cannot easily be made to do so; it has a large national debt, about the same size as that of France, but without a highly functioning infrastructure such as France’s to show for it; its household debt is among the highest in the world. For many years, its economic policy might as well have been presided over by Mr Madoff; its social policy has been to smash up all forms of social solidarity or support for the vulnerable that do not pass through the state. The destruction of the little platoons has been very thorough: most large ‘charities’ in Britain are now dependent on government rather than on private funding, and hence are in effect departments of state.

As if this were not enough, Britain has enormous cultural problems, perhaps only to be expected in a country in which more than fifty per cent of children are born out of wedlock and twenty per cent do not eat a meal with another member of their household more than once every two weeks. A dangerously high and perhaps unsustainable proportion of the population is unfitted for productive life in a modern economy, having attained an abysmally low educational level despite (or because of?) considerable state expenditure. This section of the population is not merely indifferent to refinement of any kind – intellectual, aesthetic or of manners – but actively hostile to it. Similarly, it is not merely not anxious to learn, it is anxious not to learn.

This explains why Britain has persistently imported labour from Eastern Europe to perform tasks in its service industries that ordinarily one might have expected its large fund of indigenous non-employed people to perform. The fact is, however, that though these tasks require no special skills, they did require certain personal qualities such as reliability, politeness, and willingness to adapt: and these the eligible local population lack entirely. No hotel-keeper, for example, would consider using British labour if he could get foreign.

Perhaps nothing captures the levels of personal incompetence and lack of self-respect in Britain than the fact that young men of the lowest social class are about half as likely to die in prison as they are if left at liberty. In prison, though adult, they are looked after, at least in a basic way, and told what to do. They are no longer free to pursue their dangerous and crudely self-indulgent lifestyle, in which distraction is the main occupation. In prison they receive the health care that, though it is free to them under the National Health Service, they are not responsible enough to seek when at liberty. In short, they do not know, because they have never been taught, how to live in a minimally constructive fashion, though they were certainly not born ineducable.

No doubt other comparable countries have similar problems, but none (at least, none known to me) has them to anything like the same extent. These problems do not originate from Britain’s membership of the European Union, nor will they be solved by exit from the Union. They can be solved only by something more resembling a religious revival than by any likely government action. But expecting a population to bethink itself while simultaneously being offered political solutions that require no effortful cultural change is unreasonably optimistic. And politicians are unlikely to be frank about the problem for two reasons: first because alluding to the deficiencies of their electorate is probably not the best way to get elected, and second because it downgrades the providential role of politics, which politicians are understandable reluctant to do.

As if this were not quite enough, the hold on the country’s intelligentsia of statist solutions to practically all problems is still immensely strong. Nowhere is this more evident than in its attitude to the National Health Service, the establishment of which it almost universally regards as having been a great achievement, perhaps Britain’s only great achievement of the twentieth century. This is despite all the evidence that it has not been egalitarian in its effect, as it was originally supposed to be, or that almost all Western European health systems are superior to it. The fact that all Western Europeans regard it with at least disdain, and more usually with absolute horror, does nothing to shake the British intelligentsia’s faith in the essential goodness of the National Health Service. The only perceived problem with it is that it underfunded: the same problem as with all other government services. In the struggle between rhetoric and reality, rhetoric always wins.

The population by and large follows the intelligentsia, and the politicians follow the population; but the only economic advantages to Brexit would be the possibility of a nimbler, less regulated and bureaucratic economy. There is now no prospect of this. Therefore, I have seen the future of London, and it is Caracas – or very might be.

Reader Discussion

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on December 14, 2017 at 08:01:11 am

[P]oliticians are unlikely to be frank about the problem ... because alluding to the deficiencies of their electorate is probably not the best way to get elected....

"[E]veryone hates Washington. But let me tell you something: the voters are no picnic either," said Massachusetts Senator Barney Frank--AFTER leaving office.

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nobody.really
on December 14, 2017 at 11:00:20 am

This article relates well to immigrant populated London and the educated class of Oxford but Ive travelled farm country where traditional British values still exist and where Britain is still as Hitler described it "a nation of shopkeepers."

It is not just the politicians and the intelligentsia. Its also the Royal Family that is completely out of touch. Prince Charles has plans to abandon Buckingham Palace for all but state visits claiming its too big. Whether Prince Charles wishes to admit it or not, Buckingham Palace is increasingly an island surrounded by the 3rd world. Ironically Prince Charles prefers to live in the country, hunt and exert pride over his orchards while at the same time fully supportive of immigration and a poorly functioning Soviet Style welfare state.

Some nations follow a path to the 1st world. They start with agriculture, then manufacturing and later industrialization. As the scale increases trade must follow, because manufacturing and industry produce surplus goods and require a certain scale to be competitive. This produces a productive middle class, upper class and intellectual class but this eventually decays as wages rise which then causes the price of their goods to rise outside what the market will bare. Manufacturing and Industry is eventually either closed or exported to a lower producing nation and re-imported in. At this point, the nation is bifurcated to the owners of manufacturing and industry which grow wealthier and the rest living off past wealth. The end of the road is when only banking remains. The elite use their wealth to live off investment in debt of others. This is where Britain is and where it is on life support. London is the center of Banking and Finance. Britain is at the precipice, If Banking and Finance leaves London then Britain loses everything for it has no other wealth creating engine.

Sorry to say but don't look to the various 3rd world Islamic countries like Pakistani's, Afghans, Bangledeshi's or the various Sub-Saharan tribal nations for economic rebirth.

In summation, the Royal Family is leaving London (Buckingham Palace) for their country palaces. The traditional values urban dwellers who formerly lived in Britain's large cities are moving to the country. The state of money is changing and it remains questionable whether London will remain a global center for banking and finance. Banking and Finance are the only thing propping up socialist Britain. If that leaves or shrinks, Britain socialist state stops being viable. You may think a failure of banking & finance would be bad and truly it would be horrible to experience BUT people would never listen to non-leftist solutions as long as they can continue to prop up the status quo but when it does:
-the borders to Britain will be closed
-deportations will be the rule for all immigrants on govt programs
-the wealthiest will either flee to the British country or flee the nation.
-London and Britain will start cutting the state back to bare essentials for a functioning nation.
-Britain will be less tolerant because people wont be pacified by the state (the state wont be there) and people will be forced to depend on themselves. I don't mean intolerant. I mean, Brits will recognize life is hard and have less sympathy to make life easier for outsiders than it is for native Brits. This is if failure is like a reset bringing Brits back to their traditional values and heritage. Brits could just as easily acquiesce to a totalitarian Venezuelan state that cares for people with such totality and rigidity as one cares for factory farmed chicken

If Britain stays in the EU, it is all but assured it will follow the fall of western Europe. If Britain leaves it atleast stands a chance to find a uniquely British solution by reaching back to traditional British culture and values.

PS Id say Britain could stay in the EU and follow the VISEGRAD but its not entirely guaranteed that the VISEGRAD will stay in the EU. Also, Britain was not insulated from the leftist genocide of postmodernism. If Britain does not leave, it will be all but impossible for Britain not to follow France and Gemany.

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LouisM
on December 15, 2017 at 06:47:18 am

Dear LoiusM

I could not agree more with your analysis. You have, in a cogent form, reproduced my own thoughts.
I see no alternative to the bleak prospect I envisage, and you have outlined here.
Is it appropriate to say thank you given the dire nature of the fate described? Yes , it is.
Thank you.

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Lee Cooper
on December 15, 2017 at 08:46:23 am

[…] the EU to a fair amount of excitement on both sides of the pond. An excellent move, but now what? Theodore Dalrymple has a view, and it is a bleak one. It’s one I don’t completely agree with, but I see the same […]

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Image of Caracas on the Thames | nebraskaenergyobserver
Caracas on the Thames | nebraskaenergyobserver
on December 15, 2017 at 17:16:45 pm

So, what you're saying, is that Enoch Powell was right?

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mad_kalak
on December 17, 2017 at 16:29:48 pm

Religious education? By whom? Nowadays the CoE is an echo-chamber of the liberal left, and even the Catholic church has been put on the same path by the present pope: the clergy largely belongs or want to belong to the upper class.

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PaoloP
on December 20, 2017 at 11:48:05 am

Religion helps but is a small part of the improvement puzzle.

Britain was great before it became socialist so that should be rolled back especially in TV, education and high taxes.

TV should be changed to high quality intelligent programming. Low brow soul and brain rotting programs should be removed. Corporate and socialist propaganda should be removed.

Education should be changed to distance learning until university. That would keep socialist teachers at a distance and save tonnes of money. Kids should be educated by parents if they have a useful skill to pass on. Guilds should be brought back. Non scientific courses should not be subsidized.

Like in China bribes to doctors and hospitals should be stopped so people can become healthy without dangerous vaccines and medications. Naturalists and Chinese TCM should be encouraged to provide better medicine for chronic conditions.

IQ should be increased by removing useless low IQ immigrants, brain toxic additives and vaccines etc from the environment. Non productive immigrants and refugees should be removed.

IQ tests for gov workers with most of them replaced by robots/computers. Red tape and socialist style taxation removed.

Some weapons such as small calibre and ancient weapons returned to the hands of older and responsible citizens to remind would be tyrants not to go on the wrong path.

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DJM
on December 21, 2017 at 06:30:02 am

..The fact is that Britain is unlikely to be able to take any advantage of life outside the European straitjacket because its own political class is itself in favour of straitjackets that are no better, and quite possibly worse than, the European ones.....

The first stage to achieve in improving yourself is to take responsibility for your own actions.

My hope and support for Brexit is entirely predicated upon the notion that once Britain takes charge of its own destiny, it will be forced to do this. Britain has shown itself capable of surviving in the past, and I am confident it can recover - though probably not in my lifetime...

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Dodgy Geezer
on December 21, 2017 at 12:17:53 pm

[…] Theodore Dalrymple sees the way forward for London, and believes it’s Caracas.  He signifies that Britain’s social and cultural issues doom it to Third World standing. Before I begin quoting from the piece, it’s best to know that “Theodore Dalrymple” is the pseudonym of Anthony Daniels, a UK medical physician who served within the nation’s jail system for years, and later established himself as an acute observer of Britain’s underclass. Here are excerpts: […]

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Image of London: Caracas On The Thames? - Watching.ml - Watch and Read Latest Worldwide News
London: Caracas On The Thames? - Watching.ml - Watch and Read Latest Worldwide News
on December 21, 2017 at 12:18:37 pm

[…] Theodore Dalrymple sees the future of London, and believes it’s Caracas.  He means that Britain’s social and cultural problems doom it to Third World status. Before I start quoting from the piece, you should know that “Theodore Dalrymple” is the pseudonym of Anthony Daniels, a UK medical doctor who served in the nation’s prison system for years, and later established himself as an acute observer of Britain’s underclass. Here are excerpts: […]

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Image of London: Caracas On The Thames? – USSA News | The Tea Party's Front Page
London: Caracas On The Thames? – USSA News | The Tea Party's Front Page
on December 22, 2017 at 12:05:16 pm

I believe that's exactly what he's saying. And except by the grace of God, it could happen here.

The reasons why are as plain as the nose on your face. Louis M and Mr. Dalyrmple are not the first to sound the warning.

Stay vigilant and be prepared to fight for your liberty, becausethe left never sleeps and their appetitie is unsatiable.

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Myles
on December 22, 2017 at 12:23:33 pm

Barney wasn't ever a senator, dude.
He was a congresscritter of the lowest sort.

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B Dubya
on December 22, 2017 at 12:44:33 pm

Britain needs a Donald Trump but you had one in time to survive Hitler. Churchill was your salvation as Trump may be ours here in the states. One per century is probably about right. I visited Waterloo for the 200th anniversary. Wellington was the one for that century.

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Mike K
on December 22, 2017 at 13:30:51 pm

He says, "resembling a religious revival". He means a society-wide movement of overwhelming strength, not necessarily a religious one. Dr Dalrymple is, I believe, an atheist.

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tbob
on December 22, 2017 at 13:51:35 pm

This is "Life at the Bottom" where the "Bottom" rises up to become the majority. Dalrymple is right is right to note that it will take a "religious revival" to undo this damage because England, or any state, is incapable of instilling a set of moral principals into an amoral culture. It has been a short path that has led to British culture of Churchill and WWII to today's culture of almost nihilism. But, it has been a well trodden path of attempting to mitigate the actual facts of life, economics, and self reliance by substituting the state as "in loco parentis". Western democracies need to forget Keynes and study Hayek.

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Rick Caird
on December 22, 2017 at 13:56:52 pm

Not a historian, but a big Churchill fan. Though only slightly reported, there were many who despised him in the same way our progs despise Trump....He swam against that tide long enough to defeat Hitler, then was submerged my the "ho-hummers' and "nail-filers" who tapped their toes through WW ll then re emerged to drive old dixie down. I'm still trying to perfect my technique for reading, writing, smoking and drinking Champagne in the bathtub

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eltee
on December 22, 2017 at 14:54:44 pm

Could they try capitalism as a last resort?

Oh well, too bad. Stiff upper lip, chaps.

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Meremortal
on December 22, 2017 at 18:34:23 pm

[…] Have Seen London’s Future and It Is CaracasLaw and Liberty ^ | 14 Dec 2017 | Theodore […]

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Image of I Have Seen London’s Future and It Is Caracas - Telzilla
I Have Seen London’s Future and It Is Caracas - Telzilla
on December 23, 2017 at 20:27:33 pm

It's too late.

They're paving their road to hell with the very best of intentions.

People cannot be saved from themselves.

Their children's children will curse their memory.

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Geoffrey Britain
on December 24, 2017 at 01:11:33 am

I don't imagine that moral revivals come out of thin air. A moral sense is required to navigate cruel reality, but the state has stepped in - with our permission - to guard us from reality. We can pretend that the welfare system has made old fashioned notions such as "he who does not work shall not eat" redundant. But they aren't redundant; we've just been keeping them at bay by eating the seed corn and the reckoning will come, as Kipling predicted. With the state nanny removed the old virtues will revive - of necessity - although many people will not survive.

The possibility of Nanny State bowing out seemed highly unlikely - the swamp would rather everyone die than lose its power - but with things such as crypto currency coming onto the scene perhaps the swamp will lose its power to create money out of thin air, and if that were to happen it would have to *gasp* provide value for money like everyone else. That would be the end of Nanny.

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Brett_McS
on December 25, 2017 at 21:12:50 pm

The truth is more complex.
“The percentage of babies born outside of marriage or civil partnership in 2016 was 48%; of these, two-thirds had parents who lived together. The percentage of births outside of marriage or civil partnership has remained relatively unchanged since 2012, following a notable increase from 5% in the mid-1950s. This increase coincided with cohabitation becoming more common as an alternative to marriage, particularly at younger ages."
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/livebirths/bulletins/birthsummarytablesenglandandwales/2016

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Image of Mark Brady
Mark Brady
on December 25, 2017 at 21:13:31 pm

Mercantilist thought is alive and well.
"Moreover, Britain already has many weaknesses and few strengths. It has a huge and persistent trade imbalance, because it does not produce enough of what the world wants and cannot easily be made to do so."

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Mark Brady
on December 28, 2017 at 18:07:09 pm

If he believes that none of the UK's problems are the fault of the EU, I wonder why Dalrymple is in favour of Brexit.

As Brexit will absorb a huge amount of time and energy for years to come, it only makes sense to pursue it if it will help us solve our problems .

It will instead make them far worse. This will not be the EU's fault. In ascribing fault to the EU for the bad deal it will give us, Dalrymple is falling victim (so to speak) to the victim mentality he so eloquently analyses elsewhere.

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Oliver C
on January 17, 2018 at 13:41:53 pm

Cohabitating does not equal married... in the US studies have shown parents being unmarried is a key predictor of poverty, moreso than any other... I can't imagine it's very much different in Britain...

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Kathy
on January 27, 2018 at 15:34:39 pm

Is that you, Cathy Newman?

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DBurt
on March 30, 2019 at 08:20:11 am

[…] article, by Theodore Dalrymple, first published in Law and Liberty is reproduced by this Not For Profit site under fair use terms in the public interest, as the […]

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Image of London’s Future? | The Original Boggart Blog
London’s Future? | The Original Boggart Blog

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