Debts, a disintegrating Union, an awkward King? Or more growth, more privacy and oil under the Isle of Wight? Prospect asks how the country would look ten years from nowby Prospect / September 21, 2011 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2011 issue of Prospect Magazine
The future is not what it was: this 1960s advert for Motorola by the US artist Charles Schridde was one of a series depicting futuristic homes
Hansard, Monday 13th December 2021:
The Prime Minister: “Mr Speaker, in this, my last speech as premier before I have a final audience with HM The King, I would like to tell the House how much I have enjoyed my chance to serve England, Wales and Ulster over the past 11 and a half years. Having just a few days ago beaten the late Lady Thatcher’s record in office, I am told that I am now the longest continuously-serving prime minister since Lord Liverpool in 1827, and so I think it the right moment to pass on the baton to my old friend and close colleague, the Rt Hon member for Northwich (Sir George Osborne.)
I hand over a country that is, I believe, in far better shape than the one that I inherited from Lord Brown of Kirkcaldy back in May 2010. (Opposition members: No! No!) At that time, the banking crisis and economic downturn, and especially our public debt, made the world wonder whether Britain could be trusted to pull herself around. Even with the stern austerity measures that the then coalition imposed, we were condemned to over half a decade of anaemic growth, until the upturn finally came in the second quarter of 2016. We could not at that time have predicted the long-term consequences of the collapse of the euro and sudden reappearance of the Deutsche Mark after the electoral defeat of Mrs Merkel, but in retrospect the close co-operation of George Osborne and Lord King was invaluable in seeing sterling through that crisis, to becoming what it is today, a popular reserve currency on the world markets.
I shall always regret the decision of Scotland to become independent, something that we in the Conservative party had long campaigned against. At 52 per cent to 48 per cent, the endorsement was hardly a ringing one, but as Winston Churchill said of another vote long ago: “One is enough.” The international legal hearings over the ownership of North Sea oil have been going on for over eight years now, and I hope we shall see resolution before too long. Scotland’s decisions to stay in the EU—such as it is today—as well as Nato and the Commonwealth, and to swear allegiance to King William V, are statesmanlike and welcome. The loss of our seat on the UN Security Council as a result of the splitting up of the UK was sad, but predictable.