The soul of the UK has been under an apparent change, but this is actually a lot of smoke and mirrors: the far right oligarchical conservative movement have temporarily hijacked the agenda of the media. Don't trust the media, and the inevitability of the message that the Uk will drift inevitably to more and more control by big business and the bourgoiese.
The soul of many european countries is that we trust government to deliver and we don't trust privatised services to do any more than rip us off if not restrained by good governance. We trust government with health and education: there are inefficiencies, but when you look at high inflation in many privatised monopolies and services like electricity, rail travel, water, gas then it makes many of us wonder why we went down the private root.
This type of inflation is of course a heavy form of hidden taxation, which burdens below average income families most : they do not qualify for capping while as a proportion of income energy and travel are higher, while their disposable incomes do not increase at the rate if inflation that these privatised utilities present.
There is inherent inefficiency in constructing and maintaining a somewhat artificial market for a commodity which favours the computer literate. There is the cost of marketing and the cost of administrating customers over to new systems. Then there is the cost of interest based on smaller more diffuse loans negotiated on a regional, or at least divided basis and not national basis often. Lastly there is the demands for dividends to the stock markets, which is short sighted of course. Coupled to this there is the inefficiencies of several beaurocracies reporting financially, and the hidden organisational strain of providing dividends in years when money would be better used internally to the company, on training staff for example, or directly upon making infrastructure more efficient in delivering power.
The UK, especially England, stands at a turning point where it may slip from being a social democracy where state once provided a perfectly adequate level of education, transport and health care, into being far more like an american state where the class divide is cemented for ever. Education and health may start to slip into being a second class public provision with entry to tertiary education becoming more exclusive (partly i believe it should be, but based on merit and not coming from an affluent family). This is a status that the bourgoiese and the rich are very happy about: they want to be able to lock society into unfullfilable aspirations ( as in the "american dream" ) by removal of the earlier and as I remember, fully adequate comprehensive provision.
What I have seen in my life time in England in particular, is the rise of the bourgoise as the new middle class, and the decline of the adminstrative middle class to being the new working class. For the first time, a significant section of society will start to live a lower material standard of living than their parents, and this is university graduate level. They will live in smaller, more expensive houses, spend more time at work and have less discretionary income and holiday entitltement. They have less job security, less rights in the work place and lower pay rises than their parents enjoyed.
Basically the rich pay very handsomely for the message to be controlled and dominant that "business rules, government is inately inefficient and largely incapable". BBC world news on the TV went more and more business oriented- the importance of international business, and okay maybe their audience is a lot of business travellers and foriegn business men. This has however crept over into Radio 4 which seems to have far more of its agenda taken up with how important business is to our daily lives. How much we should worship and feed business, even when it does go to the casino and loose and need socialist bail outs.