Brits Voted for Government

Stan Greenberg, President Clinton's 1992 pollster who advised winning Labor Party candidate Tony Blair in the recent British elections, says a critical factor in the elections was the British public's rejection of Tory anti-government policies.

In an interview at National Journal Inc., Greenberg said today that U.S. reporting on the elections focused too much on Labor's move to the center, missing the impact of public disdain for Margaret Thatcher's legacy.

"People wanted to save public services," said Greenberg. "They wanted to save the national health service and wanted to invest in schools--they desperately wanted to do those two things. . . . There was anger with privatization, with windfall profits in privatization, the decline of services, the selling off of national assets, and the use of market formulas in public services."

BBC exit polls, Greenberg said, showed that 72 percent of British voters said they wanted to raise taxes in order to spend more money on schools, and 73 percent opposed more privatization of government services.

While British voters "liked the restraints on spending and union power that Thatcher brought," said Greenberg, "they did not believe that, as Britain faced the future, that what they wanted was further undermining of public services, increasing marketization and privatization."

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