Mrs T and sympathy: Francis Wheen reviews Thatcher’s Britain: The Politics and Social Upheaval of the 1980s by Richard Vinen, No Such Thing as Society: A History of Britain in the 1980s by Andy McSmith, and Rejoice! Rejoice!: Britain in the 1980s by Alwyn W Turner. Yes, we are all in this together: Since it was first published, The Spirit Level has won admirers including Ed Miliband and David Cameron, but also provoked sharp attacks — Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett explain why its ideas about social equality still have weight. The deserving or undeserving poor: Can the welfare state ever distinguish between those who deserve help and those who do not? This is a dangerous time for Britain’s economy — and a wide consensus supporting cuts does not mean they are the right policy. Farewell welfare state: John Gray on the coalition. From Dissent, Jeffrey Williams on the squeeze on British higher education. The costly new idea of a university: With tuition fees about to triple to make up for the withdrawal of state funding, it is time to reread Coleridge, Bentham and Mill. It is said that the prospect of prison was never daunting to a man who had been to a proper English public school. No more raised hands to answer questions, and a short, sharp burst of PE first thing every day — It's school with a difference. Is it time for atheist schools? Francis Beckett outlines his proposal for Britain's first avowedly humanist state school (and a response).

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