I always find the miserabilist claim that Britain has a broken society rather insulting to those millions of people who make up this society. So all praise the Economist for giving this idea a thorough kicking.
I feel nervous about raising this issue with the good people of The Skeptical Doctor; for those of you new to this site, we have had a gentlemanly discussion since October when I reported back on the reaction of a left-leaning crowd at the Conservative conference to the miserabilist claims of Theodore Dalrymple, the striking, eloquent but overly-depressing-about-Britain writer and doctor. Look up any post with the word “miserabilist/ism” in it, or tagged that way.
Much of the stuff covered in the article – such as declining crime stats – was no doubt covered in previous posts. In brief, when confronted with falling Crime stats, the dissenters say they are made up, in some way or another, and in such a way that they are more made up now, so that we have had a decline. I doubt we will ever agree. If anything, the Right seem to be doing more manipulating of stats, including my own MP.
Interestingly, the New Statesman has tried to do some forward thinking miserabilism of their own – premised on the ideas: “Cameron will get in – he will cut public spending – all the good things in life like a strong BBC and unpotholed roads stem from high public spending – we’re doomed”. I object to this just as much. Fiscal consolidations can be good times – witness the mid 1990s creation of the Internet. Perhaps, people are willing to see the worst in the world – be miserabilist – so long as they have a political oppponent in charge to blame for it.
Oh, how sophisticated our political writers are.