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This is a time for looking back over a memorable year and for speculating about the future. But, if Robert Skidelsky is right, what comes next is not just a new year—it is the start of a new era. The pendulum, he argues, is now swinging strongly away from free markets and the smaller state, as it swung towards them at the end of the 1970s. So far, so conventional, and such trends are already evident in British politics: the increase in tax rates for high earners, the decision not to go ahead with Post Office closures, and so on.…

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