BRITAIN is on the brink of becoming a third world country.
In the 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, the nation will have declined from pre-eminent global superpower to developing economy. For almost a century, the United Kingdom has deluded herself into believing that the days of global dominance will return, that the symptoms of decline can be relatively easily tackled and, more recently, that the economy is on its way back from the trough reached in the third quarter of the 20th century. By 2014, those illusions will be all used up. Respected commentators, including the investment bank Lazard, have identified a huge wall of banking and commercial debt due for refinancing at about that time. There are serious doubts whether it will be possible. Taken together with squeezed supplies of energy, metals and food, this will confront the West with a great reckoning – with the UK hit harder than most. For a quarter-century, it has been selling its economic assets into foreign hands to finance a standard of living it has not been earning. This has left it with a hopelessly unbalanced, unhealthy economic structure, an economy that does not work, and as a candidate for third world membership.
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