Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Broken Britain

October 1, 2008

Being in the US, I don’t always catch up on the latest happenings in the UK. I usually choose to look at the websites of BBC, the Guardian or the Times, not the real good stuff in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express or the Sun. I hadn’t known that there is the term ‘Broken Britain‘ applied to the state of affairs in the UK under the Gordon Brown government, which of course denies. What evidence is there that Britain is broken? Everything from the knife crime epidemic, censorship, the London congestion charge, binge drinking, economic crises, CCTV, political correctness, the decline of Eastenders over the years, a general yobbery about the land, and white flight – people are fleeing Britain for Australia, Canada, and gasp, even the US.

The latest glaring example of Broken Britain in the tabs is the story of the hero executive banker who had his bead batted about like a football by a gang of yobs. Coming to the aid of a homeless man and his companion who being attacked by the gang in the city Norwich, Frank McGarahan later died of his injuries in hospital.

There’s also the case of the office manager strangled by her employee whom she caught robbing the office, but the killer is an American, so I guess you have to let that one go. A student being urged to kill hiimself by a crowd, now that’s broken.

Meanwhile the Tory leader David Cameron is urging bipartisanship, American style, in order to rescue Britain’s broken, American style, financial system. Well, not too American for Mr. Cameron, the world’s using Congress as an example of what to avoid.

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The US and the UK are dire threats to each other and the rest of the world

July 21, 2008

According the British government, the United States can no longer be trusted on its claims of torture and other abuses of human rights. According to the UK Guardian:

Britain can no longer believe what Americans tell us about torture, an MPs’ report to be published today claims. They also call for an immediate investigation into allegations that the UK government has itself ‘outsourced’ the torture of its own nationals to Pakistan.

In a damning criticism of US integrity, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said ministers should no longer take at face value statements from senior politicians, including George Bush, that America does not resort to torture in the light of the CIA admitting it used ‘waterboarding’. The interrogation technique was unreservedly condemned by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who said it amounted to torture.

Thus according to the Brits, the US has thus put the UK in ‘compromising positions’ regarding its behavior, not to mention I guess that US is going around torturing people.

In return, the UK is gravely threatening the free speech rights of Americans and others because of its archaic libel laws:

Perhaps you don’t live in England or Wales, so you think this has nothing to do with you. You’re wrong. English libel law now applies to everyone on earth. Make any accusation, anywhere in the world, and if the subject can demonstrate that a single person in England or Wales has read it, you could be sued here for every penny, cent, rouble, rupee or renmimbi you possess. The internet and the global nature of publishing ensure that these mediaevel laws have become the most powerful extra-territorial legislation ever drafted.

Yesterday two men with whom I seldom agree, the US senators Arlen Specter and Joe Lieberman, launched a new bill, called the Free Speech Protection Act, to defend US citizens against English libel law. Our laws, they argue, threaten the “free-flowing marketplace of ideas” which “enables the ideals of democracy to defeat the totalitarian vision of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”(3) English libel law is an international menace, a national disgrace, a pre-democratic anachronism. It defends crooks, terrorists and tyrants from investigation. It threatens the free speech of people all over the world and causes untold damage to the reputation of this country. And neither the British government nor the British parliament gives a damn.

With friends like this, are we all enemies?