"A very high proportion of Edwardian convicts were in prison for offences that would have been much more lightly treated or wholly disregarded by law enforcers in the late twentieth century. In 1912-13, for example, one quarter of males aged 16 to 21 who were imprisoned in the metropolitan area of London were serving seven-day sentences for offences which included drunkenness, 'playing games in the street'; riding a bicycle without lights, gaming, obscene language, and sleeping rough. If late twentieth century standards of policing and sentencing had been applied in Edwardian Britain, then prisons would have been virtually empty; conversely, if Edwardian standards were applied in the 1990s then most of the youth of Britain would be in gaol."
Dr Jose Harris, Public Lives, Public Spirit - Britain 1870-1914
"A splendid book. It's a devastating critique of the welfare state. A page-turner, yet also extensively sourced. Demonstrates how attempts to achieve good intentions have led to horrible results -- increasing crime and violence, worsened conditions of the very poor, an extraordinary deterioration in the quality and character of British life.
Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winner.
Read The Book
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Before the welfare state
The Greycoat Hospital
The Greycoat Hospital was once a workhouse. It has since been a hospital and a school. It has a very long welfare history. It has now been taken over by the state.
- The Greycoat Hospital
Education and State
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Below is the account I wrote (with the comments received) just after my unexpected meeting with Lady Thatcher. Partly as a result of that meeting, I am now working on a book in which I am describing the impact … Continue reading
I came down to Aix-en-Provence by train yesterday. On the way we passed through Lyon. Two things bleakly stood out: many walls smothered in graffiti and the large blocks of social housing. I arrived in the evening. By the middle … Continue reading
Talk on welfare and work on new book.
As part of my research for the new book, I have been reading up about Bismarck – someone I had never learnt about before. I certainly do not pretend to be an expert on him or on Germany generally. But … Continue reading
I have started to write the new book on welfare states around the world. I have already done some small introductory chapters and some other items. But now I am starting on the real substance of the thing, beginning with … Continue reading
You can see the beginning here. Or else it can be found in the print edition.
I have been planning a trip to the USA to do more research for the new book. I won’t name the many individuals I am seeing but I will be going to Washington DC, Wisconsin, Minnesota, San Francisco and possibly … Continue reading
Your chances of getting the latest, best treatment in Britain are significantly lower than in other advanced countries
Plenty of well-educated people who read ‘quality’ newspapers and listen to BBC Radio 4 genuinely have no idea that Britain lags other countries in the use of new technology and drugs. They do not realise that if you have a … Continue reading
I am the end of a trip taking nearly two weeks, visiting Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The most notable interview I had in Singapore was with the deputy prime minister and minister of finance, Tharman Shanmugaratnam. We talked about many … Continue reading
I was told that Michael Gove, the British secretary of state for education, said this man was the most important person in education in the world. I think that could be upgraded to ‘the most powerful’. He does not run … Continue reading