“A rising tide lifts all boats,” John F Kennedy once claimed,
suggesting that a thriving economy benefits all spheres of society.
Not any more, according to Ferdinand Mount, who contends that the trickle-down financial theories that once promised a golden future for all have been skewed by the rampant greed of the elite.
Mount shows that since the 1980s, the gulf between rich and poor has steadily widened so that now wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of a small number of dominant, unaccountable oligarchs.
However, as a member of the British aristocracy, a former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher and a distant relative of the current prime minister, Mount himself is very much a part of that same establishment.
Hence, his proposals to ameliorate these social divisions – which in broad terms involve reinvigorating local and regional government and more stringent financial controls – are reasonably modest and unthreatening to the status quo. Nevertheless, this is a spirited and cogent analysis of the state of modern Britain, which David Cameron could do well to pay attention to.