A Very British Coup


The day before this weeks Budget I saw that the 1988 UK TV Series, A Very British Coup, based on MP Chris Mullin’s 1982 novel has just been released on DVD (region 2).

One couldn’t help applying the phrase ‘A Very British Coup’ to what is going on the UK today.

A government who didn’t win an election is mounting a sustained attack on what is left of the post-war welfare state after 30 years of Thatcherism.[1]

On-going and devastating cuts to public spending, a Health & Social Care Bill, (that literally no one in the country supports), the proposed privatisation of roads, the imposition of Academies on the state school system, the attack on public service pensions, the £9,000 student fees, and now tax cuts for the wealthy.

And it is worth saying again – all this from a government that didn’t win an election! It is incredible. If a Left wing coalition tried to re-privatise the railways and utilities, do away with inherited titles and close down the Public Schools, there would almost certainly be some sort of military or political coup – the basic idea behind Chris Mullin’s book.

But they haven’t needed to do that because after ’79 the Right, including New Labour, has systematically dismantled the Welfare State in the interests of a tiny wealthy elite.

And it cannot be over-stated how important the Murdoch dominated media has been in creating the conditions that have allowed this to happen.

In the 80’s the mantra from all the media was that the Labour Party had been taken over by the Militant Tendency. Militant only ever had 3 MP’s and only ever achieved a significant base in Liverpool with tiny satellites in London & S. Wales. Yet in the early 80’s according to the mainstream media and the right wing of the Labour Party you would have thought Militant were an organisation of hundreds of thousands and an immanent threat to old ladies, babies and kittens.

Of course the real-threat to the democratic socialist values of Old Labour were not the Trotskyites but Tony Blair and the Thatcherite right of the party who eviscerated the vestiges of socialism from the belly of Old Labour (the removal of Clause 4 et al), which allowed them to move the party so far to the right that Rupert Murdoch saw them as more friendly to his interests than Major’s Conservatives at the ’97 election.

Murdoch supported New Labour because it was more Tory that the Tories. Any notion that the current ‘austerity measures’ are a result of Socialist over spending is frankly ridiculous. New Labour introduced Academies, student fees, toll roads, tax cuts for the wealthy and surreptitiously started the process of privatising the health service.[2]

There is a direct ideological and policy continuum from ’79 to the present day and there has been a Right wing take-over of the British government and economy that has not been democratically sanctioned. A Very British Coup, indeed.


[1] 30 years because Tony Blair & Gordon Brown’s New Labour was in terms of economic policy more Thatcherite than John Major’s Tory government. My wife heard Tony Benn speak yesterday (Thurs 22nd March 2012) and when asked his feelings on New Labour he replied that New Labour was a new political party that had nothing to do with the old Labour Party and that he hadn’t been asked to join New Labour. He also pointed out that Margaret Thatcher had said that Tony Blair’s New Labour was her greatest achievement!

[2] Player, Stewart, and Colin Leys. The Plot Against the NHS. 1st ed. The Merlin Press Ltd, 2011.

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3 responses to “A Very British Coup

  1. moelarrythecheese

    It sounds like you all have got a gulldurn mess over there yonder.

    • And it can only get worse. The full effects of the public spending cuts will not bite for another 12-18 months and then we’ll really see the shit hit the fan.

      Whereas in the USA your Muslim, Socialist President has used government spending to stimulate growth (classic Keynesian economics) and it’s bloody well worked.

      And I’m glad to see you are all fighting the evil Muslim Socialist Obama in the Supreme Court to ensure that poor people have the absolute freedom to die miserable, early deaths from entirely preventable diseases.

  2. moelarrythecheese

    OK, alright, we’ll be nice. Nobody can have any fun anymore. You do-gooders always have to spoil everything!

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