Jewish World Review June 26, 2003 / 26 Sivan, 5763
Calling on London
LONDON Yes, I have flown off to London. After Washington's
rainiest spring in memory, I could say that I have fled to London for the
exquisite climate. It is sunny here, dry and graced by a cool breeze. Yet it
is not that the weather in London is more pleasant than the weather in
Washington. I flew over for a wedding, and after the wedding I shall fly on
to Spain. In both places, I shall espy what the locales are up to.
Here, the news is sobering. This week, the British military
suffered its worst casualties in Iraq since arriving. All the newspapers'
lead stories are about the six British police officers killed and the eight
soldiers injured in two attacks on Tuesday. The tone is grim, but there is
no sign of panic.
The conservative papers call for discovering the whereabouts of
Saddam and his sons, arguing that only by assuring the Iraqis that the
tyrant is impotent can coalition forces expect the Iraqis to cooperate in
establishing civic order and government. The left offers no suggestions,
just more whining and fond hopes.
Says the "Guardian" with its usual huffy affirmation, "What is
needed is a coherent plan to hand back Iraq to the Iraqis rather than the
limping measures taken so far." Here, here for a coherent plan. But you can
be sure that if the "coherent plan" issues from Washington, the Guardian
will see only "limping measures."
Yet once we have the sobering reports from Iraq behind us, the
London news is more amusing. The media reports that Russian President
Vladimir Putin is being given a "Czarist" welcome by the Queen, as well he
should. His four-day visit to London is the first state visit by a Russian
since Czar Alexander II in 1874.
Mrs. Putin arrived in a dress dowdier than anything worn by a
British monarch since Queen Victoria. And the similarities do not end there.
President Putin arrived 15 minutes late for his state visit with the Queen.
Czar Alexander arrived much later in 1874, his imperial yacht Derjava having
run aground off the British coast, thus causing him to miss the tide and
arrive at his state dinner hours after the gaudy affair commenced.
The British government has fortified Putin's security in light
of an embarrassing event that immediately preceded his arrival. A
gate-crasher, comedian Aaron Barschak, eluded security at Prince William's
21st birthday and rushed up to kiss the prince on both cheeks. Worse, the
gate-crasher was not attired in a conservative British suit, but in the
unmistakable rags of Osama bin Laden.
Members of Parliament are demanding an explanation from the
police for the security breach, and the Labor-dominated body is engaged in
other more traditional left-wing deliberations, as well. Two parliamentary
committees have denounced spanking. The committees, both heavily left-wing
Laborite, made it clear that their opposition to spanking refers to parents
spanking their children. The committee members, being Laborite, presumably
have nothing against spanking between consenting adults and might even
London this week offers other amusing stories. There is the
report in the Daily Telegraph that Dr. Andrew Stapley, a chemical engineer
at Loughborough University, has created a scientific recipe for the "perfect
cup of tea." The story appears next to a picture of one of Britain's most
famous tea drinkers, left-wing politician Tony Benn, who, says the
Telegraph, "drinks a pint of tea an hour." He is silhouetted holding his
teacup and puffing on a pipe, a dispensation allowed a lefty who has stood
for every lunatic-left proposal since Karl Marx adopted the Nazarene's
miracle of the loaves and fishes as sound economic policy for the state.
That story was not reported as a scientific story despite
Stapley's scientific findings, but the story of the smelly socks was. Yes,
the Telegraph's science editor reports that "smelly socks could one day be
just a nasty memory thanks to nanotechnology." Apparently, a scientist in
South Korea has developed a fiber that kills bacteria and thus is a
promising "weapon against malodorous feet." The British press is famous for
stories like that, and when I read it I had a good laugh. Yet, I would not
think the smelly foot problem was that great in London. Everywhere I go,
there seems to be soap.
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JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Creators Syndicate