Great Britain

Remembering Gerry Marsden

Featured image Gerry Marsden died on January 3. He was the leader of “Gerry and the Pacemakers,” a prominent British band of the early to mid-1960s. I wrote at some length about Marsden in this post, called “Remembering Liverpool’s other British invasion band.” Marden’s obituaries have called Gerry and the Pacemakers the Beatles’ greatest early rivals. I don’t know whether Marsden’s band ever truly rivaled the Beatles, but the two groups were »

The Brexit deal

Featured image The United Kingdom and European Union have reached a post-Brexit trade agreement after many months of negotiations. The no-deal Brexit that many expected and some feared has been avoided. I lack the knowledge to evaluate either the deal or a no-deal scenario. Instead, I’ll present for consideration the views of the estimable Melanie Phillips. She’s delighted, above all, that the UK is finally free of the EU. I know enough »

How Brexit will help Britain get vaccinated

Featured image I believe the UK is the first Western nation to approve a vaccine against the Wuhan coronavirus. Apparently, it is also leading other European nations when it comes to efficiently purchasing that vaccine. Why? John Fund suggests that the answer is Brexit. Regarding purchasing of the vaccine, Fund quotes Hugo Fry, the British managing director of Sanofi, the world’s fifth-biggest drug maker. According to Fry, the UK’s decoupling from the »

A day in West Yorkshire

Featured image I’m thankful for lots of things. One of them, although far down the list, is that I was able to make my soccer pilgrimage to the north of England before the Wuhan coronavirus hit. (We were even able, in early February of this year, to take a vacation in the Dominican Republic.) Last year on this date I was in Huddersfield, a city of about 160,000 in West Yorkshire. Harold »

My New Hero: Kemi Badenoch

Featured image I did not know that the UK government has an official “Equalities Minister,” and that name sounds perfectly sinister and Orwellian. Regardless of whether such a ministry is a good idea, right now the Equalities Minister in Boris Johnson’s government is Kemi Badenoch, and this attack on “critical race theory” is so good that I want to amend the Constitution so she can come to the United States and run for »

Remembering Liverpool’s other “British Invasion” band

Featured image When I think of England in the 1950s, I think of shortages, decline, and despair. Part of that impression stems from the play “Look Back in Anger” and the movie “The Entertainer” (also a play) — both by John Osborne — so it might be an exaggeration. But certainly much of the art and literature of 1950s England reflected pure bleakness. I view the early Beatles as an answer, or »

Say It Ain’t So, Horatio!

Featured image The mania currently sweeping much of the Western world apparently knows no limits. In the U.K., Black Lives Matter activists are trying to tear down statues of famous Britons, including Robert Peel. Why Robert Peel? Because he is “seen as the father of modern policing,” having founded London’s metropolitan police department. Which, of course, was famously unarmed. But that isn’t the worst of it: Nelson’s Column is the latest target »

Britain offers refuge to Hong Kong residents in face of Chinese crackdown

Featured image In response to China’s coming crackdown on Hong Kong, Boris Johnson says he’s prepared to grant British residency and working rights to approximately 3 million Hong Kong residents — about 40 percent of its population. Johnson says he will make this move if China implements its new security laws, which will criminalize conduct deemed sedition and subversion, and enable Chinese security forces to crush dissent in Hong Kong as they »

The Wuhan coronavirus in the UK

Featured image With the Wuhan coronavirus receding significantly in Italy and Spain, the United Kingdom is about to become the European leader in deaths from the virus. The number of deaths attributed to the virus in the UK, more than 28,000, is only about 400 fewer than the total in Italy, the current European leader. (Unless otherwise noted, all numbers are from Worldometer.) Deaths per capita remain lower in the UK than »

Was Dr. Ferguson too optimistic?

Featured image Dr. Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College London epidemiologist, drew plenty of attention by first predicting that the UK would experience up to 500,000 deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus and by then forecasting that the number would be 20,000 or less. Ferguson explained that the revision was based on the fact that the UK had decided to implement tough social distancing measures. How these measures were going to save 480,000 lives »

Experts, Pseudo-Experts, and Other Progressive Conceits

Featured image The downloads folder on my computer is jammed full right now with endless charts depicting data and analysis of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic shocks rolling across the world, and naturally they can tell a widely varying story depending on the data quality and, most crucial of all, the assumptions that go into any model that generates projections about the future—even the near future. Experts and models disagree! »

Boris Johnson update — he’s in the intensive care unit

Featured image It looks like I was too optimistic when I wrote about Boris Johnson’s condition last night. I hoped that, like a friend of mine who has the Wuhan coronavirus, Johnson’s visit to the hospital was just a precautionary measure in response to his inability to shake the fever that comes with the virus. That is how Downing Street characterized it. However, Johnson’s condition has worsened, and he’s been rushed to »

Boris Johnson hospitalized as his conronavirus symptoms persist

Featured image British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to the hospital for tests today, ten days after testing positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. The word from Downing Street is that Johnson was hospitalized because he hasn’t shaken the fever that typically comes with the virus. Johnson’s case seems similar to that of a friend of mine who has this virus. For about a week, my friend experienced coughing and a persistent »

Forecast of British coronavirus deaths revised, um, downward

Featured image Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London is an epidemiologist. If his name and college sound familiar, it’s probably because their well publicized forecast regarding the Wuhan coronavirus inspired lockdown measures in the U.S. and Great Britain. Ferguson warned that an uncontrolled spread of the virus could cause as many as 510,000 deaths in Britain and up to 2.2 million deaths in the U.S. According to the New York Times, “it »

What’s the difference between American football and English football?

Featured image The punchline to this joke was supplied 20 years ago by a soccer fan I met on my way to a match in London: American football, you get up, get dressed, and go to the game. English football, you get up, get dressed, get drunk, and go the game. Twenty years later, I’m not sure the joke applies. The difference may now reside in where you get drunk. In American »

UK Election Postscript

Featured image The inimitable Titania McGrath wonders on Twitter how Jeremy Corbyn could possibly have lost the election since he announced his pronouns in the proper intersectional fashion: (Click on the link above to see the embedded four-second video of Corbyn’s Adventure in Pronoun Correctness.) This brings me back to a point that Hugh Hewitt offered months ago: the “Freeport Question”* of the 2020 presidential campaign could be: “How many genders are »

The Stakes In Britain (Rolling Updates: Exit Polls Indicate Tory Landslide)

Featured image As I write we’re not far away from getting the first results of the British election today. I’ve seen stories of long lines to vote and indicators of a heavy turnout. And the British Pound seems to be under pressure today, which might be an ill omen, except that recall the Dow Jones futures plummeted on election night here in 2016, before soaring the next day when people realized that »