The new Bagehot at The Economist, recently returned from a posting to a "harsh, cold country", thinks that those of us who claim Britain is going to the dogs are hypochondriacs. I have sent the following letter in reply:
In 1980, the official evidence showed that the economy of a harsh, cold country was going swimmingly - it accounted for 20% of global industrial production. Were its dour citizens, whose personal experiences led them to doubt the official gloss, as hypochondriac as modern Britons?
Bagehot's posting has equipped him better than he may imagine to understand modern Britain, but he will first have to realize that a British economy run by regulation and central-planning will be as productive of bureaucracy, risk-aversion, misleading statistics and cynicism as any other nation's. Our world has changed too.