As I've mentioned many times before, the standard New Labour/Thatcherite rewrite of history divides the post-war period in two periods: 1945-79, years of creeping socialism and decline, culminating in Britain's designation as 'The Sick Man of Europe' and 1979- the present day, the years of 'recovery', during which Britian was transformed into a 'modern' dynamic 'market' economy.
In the same way that neo-cons see the need to hype up the 'crimes' of even the 'softest' of post-war European communist regimes, such as Kadar's Hungary of the 1970s and 80s, neo-liberals constantly try to trash the P.T. (pre-Thatcher) years and paint a very different picture from that experienced by people living in Britain at the time.
Here's Dominic Sandbrook writing in the London Evening Standard:
"When he (Harold Wilson) retired in 1976, Britain was a dingy, miserable place"
Really Dominic? How then do you explain that 1976 was recently designated Britain's happiest post-war year by a respected economics think-tank which ranked years according to a number of quality of life variables?
(My own take on the state of Britain in 1976 can be read here)
Sandbrook continues with this classic line:
"Of course Blair cannot take all the credit (for Britain's 'transformation').....Without Thatcher's controversial reforms, Britain might look a lot more like France today. "
In other words Britain might look like a country with a world class, affordable and publicly owned public transport system, and one which still maintains a manufacturing base. A country that has avoided Britain's huge disparities in wealth and which is so appallingly run that hundreds of thousands of British people have second homes there, if they haven't emigrated there already. Oh, what a tragedy it would be, Mr Sandbrook, if Britain did indeed "look a lot more like France"!