“In December, as many as 500 patients per week were dying in Britain because of E.R. waits, according to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, a figure rivaling (and perhaps surpassing) the death toll from Covid-19. On average, English ambulances were taking an hour and a half to respond to stroke and heart-attack calls, compared with a target time of 18 minutes; nationwide, 10 times as many patients spent more than four hours waiting in emergency rooms as did in 2011. The waiting list for scheduled treatments recently passed seven million — more than 10 percent of the country — prompting nurses to strike. The National Health Service has been in crisis for years, but over the holidays, as wait times spiked, the crisis moved to the very center of a narrative of national decline.
Post-Covid, the geopolitical order has been thrown into tumult. At the beginning of the pandemic, commentators wondered about the fate of the United States, its indifferent political leadership and its apparently diminished “state capacity.” Lately, they have focused more on the sudden weakness of China: its population in decline, its economy struggling more than it has in decades, its “zero Covid” reversal a sign of both political weakness and political overreach, depending on whom you ask.
But the descent of Britain is in many ways more dramatic. By the end of next year, the average British family will be less well off than the average Slovenian one, according to a recent analysis by John Burn-Murdoch at The Financial Times; by the end of this decade, the average British family will have a lower standard of living than the average Polish one.”
David Lindsay: Impressive columne, but why. Here the top comments, helps move the analysis along.
Its interesting how Britain’s decline in real wages coincides closely with the dramatic drop in their corporate tax rates – from 30% in 2008 to 19% today. Conservatives follow the same recipe everywhere – fund tax reductions on corporations and the wealthy by cutting government programs. Motivate voters with xenophobic fear-of-the-other tropes. Rinse and repeat.