Is socialism staging a resurgence in Britain? We wonder sometimes. With a Labour government back in power, and gas nearing $6 a gallon, conservation may be giving way to regulatory miserliness across the pond, sold to the public with a tinge of green.
The UK of course went through its own Malaise Era, after the war. It was a time of weak tea and Kingsley Amis novels, before the Swingin' Sixties episode. And now there's a building sense that the bad times are returning and that carmakers who can't get with the the UK's increasingly aggressive environmental policies are on the wrong side of history. That's the takeaway from British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling's announcement that his first budget will tax high-emissions vehicles and, consequently, reward consumers for choosing low-emission rides.
If Britons really want to get into the spirit of things, however, they'll forgo cars altogether and start riding bicycles in emulation of Philip Larkin, the nation's once-celebrated poet of misery and deprivation, who's due for a restoration if things keep going the way they are. This was a man, after all, who lamented in verse an England where "...all that remains/For us will be concrete and tyres."