October 23, 2004


If Bush loses, the winner won't be Kerry: it will be Zarqawi (Charles Moore, 23/10/2004, Daily Telegraph)

Earlier in the week, I was talking to a brisk, amusing, Toryish member of the Great and the Good. It had recently fallen to her to give away some prizes at a ceremony to do with helping the environment. Gripped with the desire to liven things up a bit, she said, she had dropped into her speech an aside about the "greatest human threat to the planet - Bush's re-election". There followed a moment's silence, and then a weird noise that it took her a second to recognise was tumultuous, orgasmic applause.

On the way home, she told me, she thought things over and felt uncomfortable. She did not repent of her dislike of the President of the United States, but she worried a little that people should feel so passionately, so certainly.

I think we should worry a lot. One of the criticisms thrown at George W Bush is that he is a menace because he believes that God is telling him what to do. A moral equivalence is set up, in which Osama bin Laden and Bush are presented as two sides of a fundamentalist coin. On Wednesday, a television programme tried to equate the Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates the violent destruction of all societies that do not conform to sharia law, with the American neo-conservative intellectuals who taught that people should revive their interest in Plato and the civilisation of the ancient Greeks. This is about as accurate as saying that the Nazi party and the Labour Party are the same, because both arose from the discontents of the working classes.

It is the critics themselves who are suffering from pseudo-religious certainty and superstition. Isn't there something self-righteous, slightly crazed, about directing such overwhelming anger at the man whose job it is to pick up the pieces of September 11 on behalf of the free world?

George W Bush as we see him today is a response to disorder, not its cause.

They are opposite sides of the coin.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 23, 2004 11:12 AM

The vast majority of Brits hate America. We should just accept it, move on and tell them to stick to their crappy little island and leave the rest of the world alone.

Posted by: Bart at October 23, 2004 2:18 PM

The vast majority of Brits do not hate America, although they might envy it a bit, and have a slightly "sour grapes" attitude towards the US.

In any case, that "crappy little island" is the world's fifth most powerful nation.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 24, 2004 3:18 AM


Their GDP is less than 1/6 of ours. Their defense spending is less than 10% of ours. Looking at rankings of nations is like imagining a basketball team made up of Yao Ming and the 7 Dwarves. Dopey may be the fifth tallest guy, but he's still a dwarf.

Read the statements about America by the Conservative Party in parliament, and in the Spectator. I'm not talking about the Loony Left, I'm talking about the traditional Right, and you'll see what I mean. They hate everything about us, our military, our supposed arrogance, even the fact that our portions in restaurants are too large. I can stay home and be insulted, I don't need to travel 3000 miles and eat small portions of overpriced bad food to be insulted.

Posted by: Bart at October 24, 2004 1:19 PM