Saturday, May 31, 2003


I thought I should mention that there is ONE page on the web which has unchanging content but which I still keep logging on to over and over again. It is “England” and you may have to be born a British subject to appreciate it -- I don’t know. I mostly log on for the words and music of “Jerusalem” -- William Blake’s marvellous British Israel hymn. It makes me weepy every time. What wonderful, wonderful words, so fittingly set to music by Parry!

Interesting that the
British have had better success in running Basra than the US has had in running Baghdad. British experience at running other places has paid off.

The more I hear about Britain’s Blunkett the more I like him. Now that Iraq is free he wants all the Iraqi refugees in Europe sent home: “British Home Secretary (Interior Minister) David Blunkett warned that if voluntary measures did not work then "compulsion" could be used”.

A lot of conservatives are criticizing Blunkett’s law reforms but I cannot see much wrong with them. British justice has become so irrational that something had to be done to give crime victims a chance.

There is a long but interesting article by Dominic Lieven. which endeavours to draw out lessons from the British empire and other empires of the past that might help the USA today now that it seems to have had something of an imperial role thrust upon it. It might be noted that the British empire too is often said to have been acquired “in a fit of absence of mind”. One rather provocative observation:

“Among the empires of the day, the Habsburgs stood out for their protection of the civic, cultural and political rights of minorities, Jews included....” and “The economic and cultural interests of indigenous peoples were usually safer under bureaucratic or aristocratic imperial rule than under settler democracy”.


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