Britain has never had a left intelligentsia in the mode of Jean-Paul Sartre or Noam Chomsky, vivid public figures living in a state of pure and principled opposition to power.
The British intelligentsia has, indeed, been closer to policy than in many other countries. The great social architecture which was Britain’s pride-the NHS, national insurance, the Open University, public service broadcasting, nationally-owned energy and railways, civic schooling-was designed by troops of gas-and-water socialists from the universities and, as often as not, the old working class. Richard Titmuss, Chelly Halsey and Richard Hoggart joined happily with Brian Abel-Smith, Barbara Wootton and…
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