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Moral cowardice is indeed rampant throughout government, which has long talked up austerity but imposed it only on those too feeble to protest. Thanks to such pusillanimity, voters were disposed to believe the worst of the Conservatives. In Hammersmith, to take just one instance, an alarming report was spread by Labour that there were secret plans to close the world-famous Charing Cross Hospital. The Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, issued a flat denial — but too late. What had been a marginal became a safe Labour seat.

Cowardice and incompetence allowed the Left to get away with closing down the debate about caring for an ageing population with a two-word soundbite: “dementia tax”. By voting en masse for Mr Corbyn, the millennial generation he champions actually acquiesced in the status quo, with its fiscal transfers from a shrinking proportion of working people to a growing population of propertied pensioners. A government with no majority also has no room for manoeuvre on long-term policy: no wonder Philip Hammond, the invisible Chancellor, emerged from well-deserved obscurity to hint at tax rises to come. Without the kind of reforms the Tories promised but won’t now deliver, there will be no money to mend the roof while the sun shines,  let alone make the building less of a fire risk.

Yet nations as great as Britain should never despair: despondency is the road to dependency. Here are some reasons for readers to enjoy the summer.

1. Britain still has far more than its fair share of the most creative people alive. Two of the greatest, who happen to be members of Standpoint’s editorial advisory board, celebrate their 80th birthdays this summer: David Hockney and Sir Tom Stoppard. Remarkably, both are still at the height of their powers. We wish them many happy returns.

2. Britons may feel dejected, but the Blitz spirit has by no means abandoned us. One survivor of that era, the Queen, got it right when, after comforting the victims of the Kensington fire, she declared: “Put to the test, the United Kingdom has been resolute in the face of adversity.” Jihadists and others who hate Western civilisation need to hear that, to paraphrase Churchill, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight them on the beaches and in the classrooms, on the websites and wherever they may hide. We shall never surrender.

3. However much we may protest our insignificance, Britain still matters hugely to our allies on both sides of the Atlantic. The trials of this summer have not gone unnoticed abroad, any more than Brexit did. Nor are our friends unsympathetic; they know the debt they owe us; they know, too, that the world still needs us. With strong and resolute leadership, this sultry summer may prove to be a turning point: the moment when the British rediscovered their vocation as a great civilising force.
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August 14th, 2017
4:08 AM
"Nor are our friends unsympathetic; they know the debt they owe us . . ." ++++ Maybe. But does Britain know the debt it owes them?

July 15th, 2017
4:07 PM
It`s the Labour Manifesto that`s the great civilising force. Brexit forced it into existence.

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