Death of the Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher, the only female Prime Minister of Great Britain, who held office from 1979 to 1990, died yesterday of a stroke at age 87.  Mrs. Thatcher was the British equivalent of Ronald Reagan, with whom she worked closely, standing up to the Soviet Union and challenging the welfare state with free enterprise policies that led to an era of prosperity.

To honor her memory, to learn about her contributions, and to treat yourself to an interesting movie with a stunning performance by Meryl Streep, watch Iron Lady.  (OK, it got mixed reviews and annoyed some conservatives, but I enjoyed it, and it won Streep a much-deserved Oscar for Best Actress.)

After the jump:  Margaret Thatcher quotes. [Read more...]

Independence for Scotland?

Scotland is gearing up for a referendum, to be held in the Fall of 2014, that could lead to secession from Great Britain.  The prospects for voters approving independence are, according to polls, quite good.  The British Prime Minister David Cameron is no Lincoln.  Cameron has said the United Kingdom would abide by the vote (though only England and Wales would be left in the union that was once the “United Kingdom”).   If Scotland leaves, the new nation would take with them the priceless North Sea oil fields, though Scotland still wants to use the British pound for its currency, rather than join the Eurozone.

See the op-ed piece by Alex Salmond, the first minister of Scotland:  Why an independent Scotland deserves U.S. support – The Washington Post.

I thought we were in the age of globalism, of national unions, of world government!

William Wallace and Robert the Bruce would be glad.

Changes in the monarchy

A fallback position in case American democracy completely implodes is to just apologize for the Revolution and see if the British monarch would take us back.  But now it seems that the British monarchy itself is becoming democratic and open to change.  Now the Crown will go not to the first born son but to the first born:

Sons and daughters of British monarchs will have an equal right to the throne under changes to the United Kingdom’s succession laws agreed to Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

The leaders of the 16 Commonwealth countries that have the queen as head of state approved the changes unanimously at a Commonwealth of Nations summit in Australia, he said. The individual governments of those 16 countries still must agree to the changes for them to take effect.

The constitutional changes would mean a first-born girl has precedence over a younger brother. They also mean that a future British monarch would be allowed to marry a Catholic.

The laws would apply to any future children of Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, who married this year.

Speaking alongside his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard in Perth, Cameron described Friday’s agreement by the heads of government of the 16 nations as “something of a historic moment.”

Attitudes have changed fundamentally over the centuries, he said in a televised address, and outdated rules should evolve with them.

“The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith except a Catholic — this way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we have become,” he said.

“Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen.”

Cameron also referred to plans to scrap the Act of Settlement, a law passed in 1701 which bans the UK monarch from marrying a Catholic. It was intended to ensure that Protestants held the throne and remained head of the Church of England.

“Let me be clear: the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England, because he or she is the head of that church, but it is simply wrong that they should be denied the chance to marry a Catholic if they wish to do so,” Cameron said. “After all, they’re already quite free to marry someone of any other faith.”

via Girls given equal rights to British throne under law changes – CNN.com.

Hat tip to  tODD, who comments, “Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t seen a lot of coverage of this in my world. I realize the monarchy is just a shell of its former self … and yet, this seems like a big deal to me. Just like that, the whole anti-Catholic nature of the succession rules is gone. Given the relationship between the monarchy and the Church of England, I actually consider that more interesting than the fact that a first-born female could inherit the throne before her younger brothers.”

What strikes me is that the decision was made not by the Crown and not even by Parliament, but by the Commonwealth nations. That is, England’s colonies!   What kind of empire is it when the colonies get to decide who gets to be the Emperor or Empress?  What kind of monarchy can change its operation like this?  A pretty good one, I guess.

Authority crisis

Rioters as young as nine are looting shops and burning buildings in cities across Great Britain.  Pundits, of course, are trying to answer the question, “Why?”  The left is predictably blaming social conditions–government cutbacks in particular–and the right is predictably putting responsibility on the individual “hooligans.”

I haven’t seen any interviews of the actual perpetrators (fill me in if you have), but I suspect there is not all that much “rage”–pictures I’ve seen are of the young folks laughing as they run off with vodka and electronic appliances–and minimalistic responses on the order of “whatever” to journalists as to all adults.

My theory is this:  Western nations in general are suffering from a crisis in authority.  Specifically, young people today tend not to perceive the validity of ANY authority over them.  Not their parents.  Also not the police, their teachers, their pastors.  Nor the law or a moral code.  And certainly not their governments.

I would say too that we conservatives, while being strong on the authority of the family, may be contributing to the erosion of authority, especially when it comes to the contempt we tend to express for  government authority of every kind.

Not only the person who holds the office–always subject to political opposition–but the office itself seems to be denigrated.  We oppose not just our local Congressmen but “politicians” and “Congress” in general.  That’s different from how I remember it in the good old days of Goldwater and Reagan conservatism, which tended to be very patriotic, “law and order,” “my country right or wrong,” even to a fault.  I don’t deny that our office holders contributed to this new cynicism towards government.  But I’m saying that the social contract needs a general respect for authority, including the authority of the state–a notion that is explicitly Biblical–otherwise, civilization will come apart, as we are seeing in England.

 

UK RIOTS 2011: Manchester and Midlands burn but London is ‘under control’ | Mail Online.

The Royal Wedding

The future king of England, Prince William, is getting married to the future queen, presently the commoner Catherine Middleton.  This will happen really early in the morning, American time, on Friday in Westminster Abbey.

Now Republicans believe in a republic and Democrats believe in democracy.  But do any of you still feel the primal tug of monarchy?  If you are interested in this wedding, please tell us why.

The Royal Wedding.

Betraying Great Britain

A bombshell comes out of Wikileaks.  The Obama administration turned over secrets about England’s nuclear arsenal to the Russians:

Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.

Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.

The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website. . . .

A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the “New START” deal.

Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.

Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.

via WikiLeaks cables: US agrees to tell Russia Britain’s nuclear secrets – Telegraph.

One might say, but these are our missiles we are giving to the Brits.  No, when we give them to the Brits, they belong to them.  And, at any rate, if our allies don’t want the Russians knowing something and have directly refused our request for permission to disclose it, sheer respect for the other nation would mean we should act accordingly.  How can this be anything but betrayal?

This is only the most serious example of a long list of diplomatic disrespect of Great Britain ever since the Obama administration took office.  Why are we doing such things to  our closest and strongest ally?


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