Correspondence

Where Euroregulation Meets Socialism

Letter From Britain

John Major lost the British election in 1997 not because Tony Blair's "New" Labour Party had stolen the Conservatives' policies but because the Conservatives adopted socialist ones. The last ten years have seen an explosive rise in levels of bureaucratic regulation in Britain, which have particularly hit small business and also professional people, especially those working in the public sector. These groups may be considered a Conservative government's natural supporters, but many of their members will have voted for the Labour or Liberal Democrat parties out of sheer frustration.

It is impossible to find good National Health Service (Britain's system of socialized medicine) dentists any more because they have all gone private to avoid a system that insists on the provision and justification of a detailed treatment plan for each patient. As my own, now private dentist put it: "I came into the profession to look after patients' teeth, not to fill in forms." For exactly the same reasons many able and experienced schoolteachers have taken early retirement to be replaced by semiliterate young dullards who cannot teach but who love staff meetings. Everyone is tied up in the creation of paper trails for a distant centralized inspectorate that does not understand the old proverb, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." When a local doctor (a general practitioner) retires it is difficult...

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