Post by James Nicoll
Five Speculative Visions of Britain in Chaos
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Britain in chaos is familiar to most Brits of my generation not from worries about climate change, but from a semi-official view that the best that Britain could do was a partially managed decline. This view was at its peak in the years of stagflation just before Margaret Thatcher and her acolytes switched economic policy from a belief that inflation was the price to be paid for slightly higher employment to the belief that inflation was the enemy above all. She also got lucky when an Argentinian junta started a short victorious war, and lost.
To the list I'd add two rather odd books - Peter Dickenson's "The Weathermonger" (interesting article on its editorial process and changes made for the American market at https://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/interview-with-peter-dickinson ) and Edwina Curries "The Ambassador"
"The Ambassador" is the American ambassador to Britain, sent in to do more personal poking around than usual. In this book Britain is in thrall to an EU superstate run by bureaucrats with a rather nasty technical lead in biotechnology. Edwina Currie was a British politician, extrovert and outspoken even for a politician. Her career included the time that John Major was Prime Minister. Major - in his time - was famous for being terminally dull. People used to say that he had run away from the circus to become a bank clerk, or that the demands he made to Saddam Hussein just prior to the first Iraq war were reminiscent of a bank manager complaining about an overdraft. What was not known until many years later was that Major and Currie had had a secret affair.