This was supposed to be the year of strife, strikes, misery and more. Instead, to the surprise of Britain’s politicians, things have instead gone badly right. I look at them in my Telegraph column today, and here are the top points:-
1. Crime plunges
With the austerity and the unemployment, internal government reports predicted that Brits would respond by unleashing a crimewave. Instead, recorded crime has fallen to the lowest level in 25 years:
2. We’re doing more with less
People think public services are getting better, in spite of substantial cuts in local authority spending. The doomsayers were wrong – thanks to resourceful British public servants, more is being done with less.
3. University acceptances at record high
The decision to treble tuition fees was predicted to lead to a drop-off of university students. Instead, acceptances of university places are at an all-time high.
4. …Not just for rich kids
Last year, 60 academics wrote a letter of protest saying the decision to treble tuition fees would lead to a drop-off of university students especially from poorer families. But poorer families are exempt from the fee, and acceptances of university places are at an all-time high. The below shows university acceptance rate of 18-year olds who had qualified for free school meals.
5. The rich are being squeezed harder than any time in history
George Osborne has discovered what JFK called the “paradoxical truth” – that lower tax rates can lead to higher tax yields. The 50p rate was cut to 45p – and what happened? See below. An FoI request from The Spectator revealed earlier this year that the top 0.1 per cent – yes, the richest of the riches – now contribute more income tax than the bottom 50 per cent (who now pay less than 10pc of total income tax). Never have the lower-paid been asked for a lower share of income tax. Under a Tory Chancellor, the British income tax burden is more fairly spread than ever.
6. Jobs bonanza
Labour said it was ‘fantasy’ to suggest that companies would create more jobs than the government was shedding. But they did: creating two jobs for every one lost in government. Result: employment is through 30 million for the first time. And it’ll keep on going.
7. UK born employment is growing at last
Under Labour, almost all of the rise in employment was explained by more immigration. But now, after far-reaching welfare reforms, UK-born workers make up most of the jobs rise. The link between British jobs and British dole queues is being restored and unemployment’s falling at the fastest rate in 16 years:-
8. The BNP’s dying on its feet
Unemployment is still painfully high, and when mixed with mass immigration it tends to create a political explosion. Golden Dawn is menacing Greece, Jobbik is now Hungary’s third-largest party and even the Swedes had to arrest 28 neo-Nazis this week. But in Britain, the BNP is dying on its feet. Why? It tried to hawk racism to the most tolerant country on earth.
9. The young face huge unemployment rates – but they’re not taking drugs. Or smoking.
Unemployment is sharpest amongst the young, with about a million not working or studying. But the devil is failing to make work for idle hands – they’re turning away from, not towards, drugs.
And it’s never been lonelier behind the bike shed:-
10. Sales of The Spectator
And sales of The Spectator are approaching an all-time high with a million online readers every month. With our best-ever subscription offer (click here) More people than ever before now realise that life’s too short not to read The Spectator.