Drake's Drummer
- Rafe Champion

October 2005

According to legend, when England is in danger, Drake’s drum is supposed to sound a warning. In the 1950s it was Arthur Seldon and his colleague Ralph Harris who did the job.

Remember, when he and Harris started out in the ’50s, both the Conservatives and Labour thought that the Health Service should be exclusively provided by the State, with what private provision was left a mere hangover from an earlier time. The school system was just beginning to be made comprehensive, with parental choice being removed. The “commanding heights” of the economy were nationalized or about to be (steel, coal, shipbuilding, car manufacturing and so on) and it was thought by all that this should continue to be so. Government should micro-manage the economy, to the extent of deciding how much money each individual could take out of the country when on holiday. In everything, the bureaucrat in his office knew better than the individual knew themselves about themselves and their family.

The Thatcher Revolution of course made a difference but it is the ideas themselves that have lasted much longer. It is the current Labour Government that is bringing academic selection and parental choice back into schools, insisting that private companies be allowed to bid for work from the National Health Service, privatized the Air Traffic Control system.

To have, as the phrase goes, not so much won the game as to have pulled the board, the place of conflict, over to your ground is a grand and great achievement in politics, one showing how much more influential one can be when proposing ideas rather than a specific electoral program.

This article can be found here: http://badanalysis.com/catallaxy/