Dominic Cummings should keep himself away from the cameras
What on earth was Dominic Cummings trying to achieve last night,…
By Robert Taylor on the July 21st, 2021
As I wrote in my recent column for Facts and Arts British people are exhibiting an ever more pronounced streak of individualism. If it were possible to squeeze into one imaginary person all the aspirations, ideals, values and goals of the younger generation of British people, averaged out, you might end up with an economic conservative (I stand or fall on my own efforts, and expect others to do the same), and a social liberal (I feel free to live as I see fit, and don’t cast judgment on the lifestyles of others).
For example, there has been an unprecedented backlash against “benefits scroungers”, a related contempt for anyone from a wealthy, privileged background, and a widespread distrust of big international businesses that use, so it is thought, complicated schemes to avoid tax while ripping off the consumer. And union membership, that ultimate expression of socialist fellowship and collective strength, has plummeted, especially since 2012.
Meanwhile, individualism includes the widespread belief that you should live and let live, inside marriage, outside marriage or married several times over. Straight, gay, bi or transgender, the choice is yours. Linked to this is a huge rise in solo-living. The proliferation of single-person households over the past 30 years is amazing.
No wonder there was such an outcry at the Prime Minister’s tax break for married couples a few weeks ago. Why make a special case for them? And no wonder politicians are struggling to find a winning message. They must retain their appeal among a sizable but rapidly shrinking constituency of mainly elderly voters with traditional attitudes and beliefs, while reaching out to this growing, outspoken constituency of individualists.
No easy task.
October 30th, 2013