One of the most visible (and audible) differences between British and American politics can be summarised in three letters: BBC. Having a dominant public service broadcaster, still committed to notions of fairness, accuracy and balance, preserves an environment in which Obama's kind of nuanced, liberal centrist politics can flourish. In Britain, that is. America's "culture wars", fought over issues like abortion and gay marriage, may be less virulent than in the last two decades. But as Palin skits around endorsing "pro-life" Republican candidates for November's mid-term congressional elections, they are still salient. This is a cultural politics unimaginable in contemporary Britain, where the social liberalism of the 60s has won even among self-styled Conservatives.So - one point of view, relentlessly broadcast by a regressive tax-funded, nepotistic and self-serving corporation is preferable to robust public argument. While of course opposition to state-sponsored infanticide is just so backward by comparison with the enlightened consensus that has made Britain such an uplifting place to live.
21 July 2010
America has so much to learn from Britain
So says Oxford and Stanford academic Timothy Garton Ash in a hallucinatory Guardian CiF column titled "Obama must wish he were Cameron". Yeah, that thought must have crossed The One's mind as Cameron flew across the pond in a scheduled flight to pay ritual homage. But it gets better: