What is complicating the issue of liberal versus illiberal revolutions is that the English-speaking world has creatd a hybrid liberalism (what Americans now call "liberalism") that preserves the theoretical goal of a world in which individuals are free to pursue their interests as they see fit, but argues that 1) modern circumstanceshave created conditions -- monopolies, "hiddenJim agrees with me that true liberalism has been almost completely sidelined in Britain and British politics. Bringing it back to the centre will be a very difficult task.
persuaders", corporate abuse -- that constitute de facto constraints on personal freedom, and 2) the task of government is therefore to create structures that help individuals avoid these constraints -- government intervention to create true free markets. The regulatory philosophies that created anti-trust law, the Interstate Commerce commission, and the Securities and
Exchange Commission are examples. Buried deep within its assumptions, like an insect in amber, is the abstract goal of freemarkets and personal freedom. In practice, of course, it mostly operates illiberally, like socialism.
This began in England in the late nineteenth century, with the leftwing of the Liberal Party. It got picked up in America as part of the Progressive package, and was implemented by Wilson, Hoover, and F D Roosevelt. It was partly eclipsed by Labour social democracy and democratic socialism -- sometimes sectors of the British economy, like the financial sector, were less regulated under Labour than America's,because the Labourites tended to assume they would
just nationalize it soon enough, so why bother creating a regulatory system for it. It was Blair, I think, who really re-imported this strand of liberalism back into British politics.
This situation has many problems, but one is that these illiberal liberals take up the political space in which a genuine liberalism might be flourishing. And all the while they claim to be working forpersonal freedom and true "modern" capitalism.
What the above brief analysis leaves out is the role of the EU in the creation of that illiberal liberalism, of which the clearest example is the single market which is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a free market even if it is presented as such.
Far from being some foreign invention imposed on British business, it is, to an astonishing extent a creation of the British negotiators and representatives. This, naturally, leads us to the problem of the Conservative party and government, as guilty as Blair's NuLab of creating the illiberal liberal structure of a supposed free economy run by government regulations.