Thursday, March 13, 2003 :::
SHE IS THE MOST REMARKABLE WOMAN I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She is now the subject of a new ITV documentary. For all the good she has done, the minions still resent her. Who, you ask? I am speaking of Lady Thatcher, of course.
"ANTI-WAR" MOB IN OXFORD. I have just witnessed a mild form of the LA riots or the French Revolution. Around two o'clock this afternoon, a huge mass of school kids (I estimate about 500), most of whom seemed to be about 14, 15 years old, turned up in the main shopping street of Oxford (Corn Market Street) carrying anti-war posters and chanting "No to War!" Some were wearing T-shirts that said: "Let's bomb Texas. They have oil too." They hung around the city center for a good hour and a half. Eventually they stormed Oxford Castle. Then the mob turned violent. They began to hurl rocks at busses and innocent by-standers (such as your humble correspondent). Later they occupied Carfax, the very heart of the city, and blocked buses. Security guards and the odd police officer tried to protect a nearby mall, when the kids threatened to go there next. I spoke to a couple of them, and they told me that they had broken out of their classes, with the tacit support of their anti-war teachers. "The teachers can't let us go, because it's illegal and they'd get sacked, but they wanted us to go", a girl told me. Almost all were pupils from Cheney School (If only the Vice President knew what they are doing in his name), where I imagine some unpleasant conversations will have to take place with staff tomorrow morning.
IT IS MY EXPERIENCE that English-speaking people do not really understand how different continental Europe is from Britain and the other English-speaking countries - until they are somehow forced to confront it. This phenomenon has almost turned into a farce where it concerns the experience of British Prime Ministers with Europe. With the exception of Heath, virtually all PMs since MacMillan started their premiership with the announcement -real or feigned- that they wanted to be closer to Europe, only to be disappointed whilst in the job. I think the best example is still John Major, who announced that he wanted Britain to be at the heart of Europe, but who ended up hissing to people in his own country (I paraphrase): "You don't understand... The Europeans are deal-makers... They want a deal first, everything else second." The British plight is tragic. They fundamentally do not understand how different they are from Europe, because they do not speak European languages. They do understand how different they are from America, because Americans speak English. Alas, the cultural gap between Britain and America is smaller than the geographical gap between Britain and the Continent. If only the Brits knew how contemptuous most Europeans are of them, and how appreciated they are in the US, perhaps the British decision to join NAFTA would be made today, rather than in fifty years, as it will be.
Monday, March 10, 2003 :::
ANGLOSPHERE OR WEASEL-STATISMSPHERE? That, essentially, is the choice for Tony Blair, says Irwin Stelzer, although he does not use such stark words (link via Instapundit). The Prime Minister has shown the courage of his convictions in doing the right thing by supporting Britain's American cousins. The question now is not only whether in the journey ahead his courage will run out -as Mr Stelzer fears it might- but also whether his successors at No. 10 will show a similar understanding of Britain's interests.