It is a widely held view that many of the most important institutions of society in the UK have lost their way or lost their ‘moral compass’. Heading the list, of course, are parliament, the banks and the media.

This belief has been in the air for several years (and endlessly debated since the city riots of last August), but in truth we might well wonder to what degree our institutions and their representatives ever did possess a moral compass. And whilst historical investigation of such a question cannot be easy, there are plenty of examples to suggest that the probable answer is not much: rotten ...


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