‘ He argued that every certainty is an empty throne . That those who knew but one path would come to worship it, even as it led to the cliff’s edge ‘ Steven Erickson
How has the Neoliberalism virus infected politics ? The assumption in the question is that it has. Is that a fair and reasonable assumption to make ? Well here’s the evidence : it comes once again from Mrs. Thatcher . Her mantra which she gave voice to frequently was shortened to an acronym TINA or in its long form ‘ There is no alternative ‘ . What did she mean by this ? In a nutshell it was to run the country as though it were a household which was an analogy that made sense to the public. Then once she had started with her privatisations with sales of shares to the public in small amounts and , at a knockdown price, the opportunity to make a few extra pennies by becoming a shareholder in one of the newly privatised public sector utilities – telecoms, electricity, gas, water – was irresistible.
Politically it was a winning formula that saw Mrs. Thatcher win three general elections in succession between 1979 and 1990. Compare and contrast this with one of her predecessors, Clement Attlee who became Prime Minister in 1945 immediately after the Second World War. Between 1945 and 1951 Atlee’s government created the welfare state , the NHS and nationalised major industries and utilities. Atlee wasn’t born into poverty, but he saw it at first-hand in the East End of London in the 1930’s and it had a profound impact on him and his thinking about what needed to be done to improve the lives of the poor once the War was over.
Which of these two leaders did more for society as a whole ? The question answers itself given that Mrs Thatcher said ‘ there is no such thing as society only individual men and women and families ‘ .
Now with the arrival of the Coronavirus we find there is such a thing as society because if we were to be thinking as Mrs Thatcher thought at this moment we would not be equipped to deal with this at all.