There has been a great deal of negativity directed at the idea of a British exit from the European Union. The campaign against Brexit headed by Prime Minister David Cameron, in conjunction with the Labour Party leader and the chief Liberal Democrats serving in Parliament, has been dominated by dire warnings of falling living standards and economic calamity at home, to predictions of greater instability and even war in Europe, should the United Kingdom leave the EU.
British commentator Theodore Dalrymple asked recently on Law and Liberty: “Was Margaret Thatcher’s legacy one of free markets, of laissez faire?” He professed himself “not so sure.”
The former British prime minister, argued Dalrymple, did little to roll back the frontiers of the State during her 11-and-a-half years in office:
Mrs. Thatcher was loved and hated not so much because she changed things, but because she said she wanted to. . . . My impression is that her effect, where it was long-lasting, was predominantly negative.
I have long admired Mr. Dalrymple’s punchy, prescient and always entertaining articles, frequently to be found in the pages of The Spectator, but I beg to differ with his assessment of Thatcher’s legacy.