In This Review

Britain Against Itself: The Political Contradictions of Collectivism
Britain Against Itself: The Political Contradictions of Collectivism
By Samuel H. Beer
Norton, 1982, 231 pp.

A somber analysis of the structural and spiritual changes that account for the destabilization of British politics in the last two decades. "Pluralistic stagnation, hubristic Keynesianism" are some of the more or less felicitous terms used to describe the growing number of groups successfully demanding greater public spending for private interests. Beer, a veteran American political scientist, argues persuasively that the deepest change came in Britain's previously stable political culture, seen negatively as "the decline of the civic culture; positively, the rise of the new populism." An excellent command of recent studies and a sound, eclectic approach make this a serious but not a scintillating work.