From this Polly Toynbee thread, credited to Larry Elliot :
"Only counter-revolutionary defeatism could explain the failure of the masses to appreciate just how good life was under Labour....the voters greeted the litany of achievements with the same sort of world-weary cynicism characteristic of the Soviet populace under Brezhnev; they assumed the figures were meaningless and that the real beneficiaries of the extra spending were the bureaucrats. They were right on both counts."
I imaigine the quote is from his book. The nearest I can find on the web is this piece, also quotable.
"The sad truth is that nobody in Britain has built a major manufacturing company from scratch since the time of the Attlee Labour government in 1945. All our major manufacturers pre-date the second world war. And yet countries that didn't exist, were only partially literate or were engaged in endless conflict 20, 35 or 45 years ago have managed to build major manufacturing businesses from scratch."
This is not just about competition from low-cost rivals. If globalisation was really to blame for Britain's industrial decline, the same effects would be seen in Finland and Sweden, where costs are even higher. Medium-high technology manufacturing comprises only 3.6% of the UK economy, compared with 9.6% in Germany and 6.5% in Sweden.
How have these countries managed to succeed where Britain has not? My guess is that they are more hard-nosed about it. They probably don't think the development of "soft skills" is a substitute for knowledge; they don't think "emotional intelligence" is a substitute for real intelligence and they don't think whizzy schemes for tax avoidance are on a par with dominance of the global mobile telephone business.
Toe-ing the line
3 hours ago