The Daily Telegraph Editorial - 12th October 2005


Right to the End

After Margaret Thatcher's victory in 1979, Arthur Seldon, who died yesterday, declared: "Labour as we have known it will not rule again." He made two other predictions: that the Soviet Union would not survive the 20th century, and that China would turn to capitalism. He lived long enough to be proved right on all three.

Seldon's insistence (often in articles for The Daily Telegraph) that small government should be promoted without reference to what was "politically possible" helped to make Thatcherism happen. It is now difficult to recall that, when he and Ralph Harris set up the Institute for Economic Affairs, the overwhelming consensus in all parties was that the man in Whitehall always knew best, and that prosperity could be achieved only by governments. That such days seem impossibly remote is a tribute to him and his work.