Prospect digs deep into the data to show how life in Britain has been transformed—for better and worse—since Labour took power 13 years agoby Tom Chatfield / April 26, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
View the full four pages of graphical spreads from our issue—showing everything from demographics to inventions, economics, tax, education, health and public opinion— by clicking here
Richer, fatter, living longer, more indebted, drunker, better connected, politically disillusioned: there’s no metric that can describe whether we are happier or living better lives after 13 years of Labour. But there are plenty to show how we have changed during a period of fulsome spending, borrowing and technological transformation. Take health. Where innovation and cash have most force—such as in treating circulatory diseases or reducing waiting lists—mortality has declined significantly. Elsewhere, however, lifestyles have tugged us the other way. Policy and spending have brought down smoking, road accidents, cancer and infant deaths; but obesity, diabetes and sexually transmitted diseases have risen.
In digital terms, 1997 is a prehistoric date—a time before Google. We have never been better connected to each other and the world than we are today, and our lives have been accelerated and augmented by mobile phones, broadband and new media. Despite our digital literacy, however, Britain has stalled in the development and manufacture of technology—a trend aligned with our decline as a manufacturing power, and the swelling of the service sector at the expense of more tangible innovation.