Great Britain

Margaret Thatcher 2.0?

Featured image British Prime Minister Liz Truss is going big. Her Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, has unveiled an aggressive program of permanent tax cuts. The Wall Street Journal likes the plan: Mr. Kwarteng axed the 2.5-percentage-point increase in the payroll tax imposed by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and canceled a planned increase in the corporate income tax rate to 26% from 19%. … Kwarteng also surprised by eliminating the 45% tax rate »

God Save the Queen

Featured image Queen Elizabeth II, a jeep and truck mechanic during World War II, crowned during the second premiership of Winston Churchill, was the last living link to the senior leadership of World War II, even as Mikhail Gorbachev’s passing last week represented the last link to the senior figures of the Cold War (with the partial exception of Lech Walesa, who is still with us). I got to see the Queen »

Britain Goes Into Shutdown Mode

Featured image The energy crisis in Great Britain, and across Europe, continues to deepen. The concept now in the news is “load shedding.” The Telegraph reports: [L]oad-shedding looks likely to become the buzzword of this winter amid warnings that blackouts of the developing world are making their way to Britain. As chaos in energy markets picks up pace and supplies falter, the UK faces a similar crisis of having to choose how »

Letter from the Highlands

Featured image PITLOCHRY, Scotland—You’d think up here in whisky headwaters of the Scottish Highlands you’d be blissfully free of all the intersectional identity politics nonsense afflicting the United States. And you’d be wrong. The headline over the weekend in The Scotsman (the New York Times of the north country) ran: “Scottish cricket board resigns amid damning racism report.” Maybe The Scotsman is written by the New York Times, given the content of »

Annals of Government Dentistry

Featured image Socialized medicine has long been a chief goal of the Democratic Party, but it is hard to understand why anyone would voluntarily entrust his family’s health care to the tender mercies of any government, even the most benign. We have tracked the United Kingdom’s experience with socialized medicine in our “Annals of Government Medicine” series, and I wrote here about the current crisis in British dentistry: nine out of ten »

Letter from London

Featured image LONDON—There’s an upside of arriving in London right in time for a record-breaking heat wave that was pathetic by California standards. It only lasted two days, and temps are already back to normal, whereas every Californian will tell you that any self-respecting heat wave lasts at least five days. In any case, 104 degrees yesterday meant that I got more time to spend in pubs quaffing cold local brews, which »

On Boris Johnson’s Demise

Featured image It is usually hard to understand the politics of another country. This fact is illustrated by Boris Johnson’s resignation as Prime Minister of the U.K., more or less at the point of a sword. The offenses that ostensibly brought Johnson down were trivial, especially given that not three years ago, he led his party to their biggest victory since 1987, under Margaret Thatcher. Johnson was hounded by “Partygate.” I didn’t »

Does America Need a Queen?

Featured image That is what Melanie Phillips suggests in the London Times. She argues that Britain, having just completed its celebration of Elizabeth II’s 70 year reign, is united by the monarchy despite its political differences. She contrasts the situation in the U.S.: In the US, meanwhile, the jubilee has been regarded variously with wonderment, bafflement or even derision. Few Americans see below the flummery to understand why the monarchy is so »

Europe in character

Featured image As a Russian invasion of Ukraine becomes more and more likely, major European nations behave more and more in character. Britain, in its finest Churchill-Thatcher tradition, is stepping up to the plate. It just delivered anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. Germany, reverting to its traditional approach of accommodating Russian aggression to further its interests, reportedly refused Britain permission to transport the anti-tank weapons through German airspace. Germany denies doing so, but »

Biden vows to remember [with comment by Paul]

Featured image The Telegraph’s Nick Allen reports that President Biden vows to remember what they’re saying about him over in the scepter’d isle. This is how it goes: Joe Biden “will remember” comments about his mental acuity emanating from senior figures in the UK, and will “bear a grudge” against Britain, sources told the Telegraph. It came after Cabinet insiders were quoted as suggesting the US president “looked gaga” and described him »

Taking heart from Hartlepool

Featured image I hoped that the June 2016 vote in favor of Brexit might be a harbinger of the outcome in our own presidential election but feared this was wishful thinking. I was thinking — I think I was thinking — of the wave that brought Mehachem Begin to power in 1977, Margaret Thatcher in 1979, and Ronald Reagan in 1980. And so it proved to be. Reading Melanie Phillips’s long column »

Even the Spies Are Woke

Featured image This story from the Telegraph evidently is not a parody. Britain’s spy agency promises to focus on sniffing out other countries’ carbon dioxide emissions: MI6 is placing the climate emergency at the forefront of its international espionage with “green spying” on the world’s big polluters, its new chief has revealed. Richard Moore, head of the UK’s foreign intelligence service, described climate change as the “foremost international foreign policy item for »

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 »