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Harry Potter supports Cameron's individual responsibility with a caveat

As David Cameron begins to suggest that responsibility for our individual lives and our society begins with us, not with the state, we offer you the Harry Potter perspective, which, as it turns out, is the perspective of most of British history.

For most of British history there is a distinctly self-reliant, libertarian and anti-government thread, and it is quite palpable in the most recent Harry Potter novels where self-reliance, hard work (and properly understood and applied magic) are the keys to success. In the Potter adventures, government intervention is nearly always bad, and Hogwarts resembles nothing so much as a grammar school fighting to resist government interference.

But Harry and British society have always had something else, too, which we noted last year -

Harry Potter is part of a team, a brave underdog of a team. Harry Potter doesn't travel alone. And neither, for the most part, do British heroes.

Brilliant teamwork (and the occasional mess-up) are everywhere evident, from the knights of Magna Carta to Montfort’s bachelor knights, from the Agitators to the Convenors of the Declaration of Right to suffragettes, from juries and charitable trusts and friendly societies to the Royal Navy and the RAF and the civilian fleet that rescued the army at Dunkirk and, indeed, the men and women of the army. . .

Government has its place, but government today is an interfering body that often creates huge problems - red tape, poor schooling, uncontrolled immigration, unpunished crime - and then insists on more of the same while throwing more money at the problems it has thoughtlessly produced. The money, of course, was yours.

In contrast, the British people have always made a go of it through individual responsibility, individual initiative and teamwork