Few ruling classes have got things quite so wrong as ours: In France they planned for growth and got it. Germany powered ahead. Japan and the young tigers built powerful exporting economies. Only Britain which had won the war made such a disastrous series of mistakes that it ends up now a third class nation pretending still to be Premier Division but unable to pay the rent.
This has happened because our ruling class, anxious always to be punching above Britain's fast diminishing weight led a gullible public down one dead end street after another in its desperate search for greatness on the cheap with each daft decision making the position worse.
First was to keep the pound too high for too long pricing our exports out of markets and bringing in floods of imports.
Second was to believe that we could get back on the top table by joining the EU too late to shape it in our interests and on bad terms only discover that it didn't want to be led by us and only compounded our problems.Our trade with Europe was in surplus before we joined and has been in ever rising deficit from then until now, when over a third of our overseas deficit goes to pay for the membership of a club that damages us. We're borrowing to belong, a bad habit with credit cards, disastrous with the EU.
Third was Margaret Thatcher's conversion to the belief that phoenixes rise from ashes so the best way to regenerate was to create more ashes by closing down swathes of British industry.The First Nation to de-industrialise so as to earn its living by financial services.
Fourth was New Labour's belief that it could create a new paradigm by keeping interest rates high to defeat inflation and de-regulating and cutting taxes to attract business.
Fifth was New Labour's decision to outsource defence and foreign policy to the Americans which led us into death and disaster in Basra and then Helmand and kept us spending more than we could afford and more than our competitors on defence and nuclear systems we could never use.
Sixth was George Osborne's belief that the best way to grow was to roll back the state, cut taxes on wealth and squeeze benefits and investment and impose austerity to cut the debt.
Each misguided decision has compounded the downhill slide, weakened the economy and particularly manufacturing which no longer pays our way in the world, slashed demand and increased debt yet each has been welcomed by the media claque as the path to regeneration and renewed strength.
Such the rewards of city year of folly.The one thing Britain is great at.