October 6, 2005


Yo, Jeeves! (Rob Blackhurst, OCTOBER 6, 2005, International Herald Tribune)

[A]ppetites for excess are the flip side of Britain's embrace of social and economic liberalism. Yes, we have higher infant mortality rates, educational underachievement and greater extremes of poverty and wealth than other European countries would tolerate. But, as in the United States, the British electorate seem to have decided that these social ills are a price worth paying for economic growth and high incomes. They are more interested in freedom than security.

For all Blair's social programs, no British government has been able to get into office promising to raise taxes since Margaret Thatcher came to power. Like the United States, Britain has sustained its economic success through high levels of migration and weakened social protections for workers - policies that would be suicidal for most continental European leaders.

Though British politicians are adept at claiming they are "good Europeans," it is U.S. policies that they are importing - on everything from "zero tolerance" policing to tax credits for the low paid. London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, even hired the savior of New York's subway system, Bob Kiley, to run the Tube (though this is one area where Viennese social democracy, if it promised air-conditioning, would win a landslide).

Rather than extreme freedom they need to aim for liberty, which will require that they regenerate religious faith.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 6, 2005 12:00 AM

No, no, no. You should all try to be more like us, not t’other way about.

Social security, economic freedom, taxes, you name it: on virtually every issue we’ve found the sweet happy medium between the US and Europe.

Two exceptions are: home ownership, where we have an even bigger percentage than the US. And religion, where we’re even less interested in churchgoing than most Europeans (the Italians and Spanish are incorrigible God-botherers, after all). Both of which are things to be thoroughly proud of.

And our sports are better, and our TV comedies are funnier, and our pop music is the best, and beer is best served at room temperature. O, this Sceptred Isle, this best of all possible worlds!

Posted by: Brit at October 6, 2005 11:21 AM


To the contrary, one of the things that keeps Britain in the Anglosphere and out of Europe is that it remains rather Godly and quite like the U.S.:


Posted by: oj at October 6, 2005 11:35 AM

What about this one?

Technical query: when I try to copy something from the comments, eg. your link, it highlights the whole page. Can I or you do anything about this?

Posted by: Brit at October 6, 2005 11:49 AM

Yes, you're scraping by on the residual effects for the most part, but still a solid majority are believers and it's no coincidence that you've got the most faith-addled PM since Gladstone.

Posted by: oj at October 6, 2005 12:01 PM

Yes, Blair is an genuine Bible-basher, but he keeps quiet about it (except when he's in the States) so we forgive him.

Incidentally, your comment "one of the things that keeps you in the Anglosphere" is typical yankee hubris, and a gross misunderstanding of the picture.

We're the Anglos and it's our Sphere. You Americans are the ones in danger of slipping out of it and into your own Amerisphere, with your current crazy mix of libertarianism and medievalism.

Posted by: Brit at October 6, 2005 12:05 PM

America was a creation of England, but since at least the American Civil War we've been the greater nation and the more influential on the other in the relationship.

Posted by: oj at October 6, 2005 12:14 PM


Copy the whole page, paste it into the comments box or a wordprocessing programme, and then snip out the bit that you want.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 1:39 AM


Thanks - yes, that's the method I'm having to use at the moment, but I used to be able to copy as little as I wanted - just wondered what has changed.

Posted by: Brit at October 7, 2005 4:23 AM