I’ve remarked before about the acceptability of anti-Americanism. British Politics reckons a purge of rabid anti-Americans is the next necessary campaign for the Labour party. “For me, the first groundspings of freedom lie not only in healthcare, social justice and the environment, but in freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of choice. The left can make America our greatest ally in that noble fight. To do otherwise is to abondon that America to the tender mercies of those who wish to take America and turn it into a vehicle for their own enrichment. If we abandon America, they will be able to say to their population, ‘It is us alone who will fight the battles. Why should we not take the spoils?’ If we join with our American friends, however, we can hope to help them choose the right ground to take stands on. We can help them live up to that dream of exporting a good revolution to the world.”
Having just heard Concorde pass over my house reminded me of one of the many wonderful aspects of the few days my family just spent in the Lake District. About half a dozen times a day, when we were on truly idyllic walks in the hills, we’d hear an approaching roar. Heads jerked up in time to see an RAF jet fighter practicing low flying, weaving at high speed through the fells and skimming low over the lakes.
I know it sounds like a boys toys thing, but my wife was just as captivated as me and the two boys.
There are plenty of ways in which American media are a model for the rest of the world. But there are developments which give advocates of press freedom pause. To my eyes, BBC director general Greg Dyke is right to criticise US media for becoming cheerleaders rather than journalists about the war. Dyke said American broadcasters were “swapping impartiality for patriotism”.
On a less momentous issue, Matthew Engel reports the resounding silence to the charges that athlete Carl Lewis should have been disqualified for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. “I can think of three possible reasons,” Engel writes. “One is that American newspapers, unlike their sportsmen, do not take anything to enhance their performance. Another is that athletics is a sport of zero interest in the US these days, except when the Olympics are on and their lot are winning; it is an extreme version of the British relationship with tennis. The third possible reason is that there is an ongoing national narrative, which requires Americans to be heroic and right. Stories that don’t fit with that narrative, whether they involve Shi’ite fundamentalists or doped-up sportsmen, are not exactly suppressed but they get shorter shrift than those that do fit.”