April 28th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: East Timor election: what's cooking?

EDITORIAL: Implications of East Timor's election

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Kevin Rudd's character under scrutiny

OVERSEAS TRADE: Wheat-growers back single-desk selling

MANUFACTURING: Japan still shows the way

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Easter and the media / Literacy, and all that / Anzac Day / Jews and Muslims / Pre-Budget ruminations

DAVID HICKS AFFAIR: Media's blind eye to Hicks treason

THE COLD WAR: How Moscow framed Pope Pius XII as pro-Nazi

GREAT BRITAIN: Why Britain is no longer great

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Lottery players fleeced for $100 million

ETHICS: New safeguard for vulnerable patients

HEALTH: Married gays die 24 years younger

OBITUARY: Dr John Billings (1918-2007) and the Culture of Life

AS THE WORLD TURNS: The unmarriage revolution / Unexpected outbreak of morality / Mediocrity on the march / Children recruited to spy for Big Brother

Antidotes to narcissism (letter)

Problems with surrogacy (letter)

Politicised public service (letter)

Bell tolls for national icon (letter)

CINEMA: Spartan sacrifice that saved Greece


BOOKS: BACKS TO THE WALL: A larrikin on the Western Front, by G.D. Mitchell with Robert Macklin

Books promotion page

Why Britain is no longer great

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, April 28, 2007
Once the greatest nation on earth, Great Britain today is, like much of Europe, heading downhill dramatically, writes Bill Muehlenberg.

Back in its heyday Great Britain was both feared and respected. Today it is much more an object of scorn and derision.

When it was a superpower, it of course made mistakes and did some objectionable things, as do all superpowers. However, on balance, it was a force for good in the world.

But things have changed. National self-loathing, a rejection of its Christian heritage, and a stifling political correctness, coupled with a growing Islamic presence, have all contributed to the demise of Britain.

Many authors have chronicled this decline, including Melanie Phillips in her important work, Londonistan. There she documents the collapse of British self-confidence, and the rise of militant Islam. Another author concerned about the British decline is Dennis Prager. Writing in Townhall.com (April 10, 2007), he also laments the downward spiral:

“It is painful to see the decline of Great Britain. Greatness in individuals is rare; in countries it is almost unique. And Great Britain was great. It used to be said that 'The sun never sets on the British empire'. That is how vast Britain's influence was. And that influence, on balance, was far more positive than negative.”

He continues: “The British colonies learned about individual rights, parliamentary government, civil service and courts of justice, to name a few of the benefits that the British brought with them.

“Were it not for British involvement, India might still have sati (burning wives on the funeral pyre of their husband), would have no unifying language, and probably no parliamentary democracy or other institutions and values that have made that country a democratic giant, now on its way to becoming an economic one as well.

“But today, the sun not only literally sets on an extinct British empire; it is figuratively setting on Britain itself.”

Prager focuses on two examples of this decline. The first involves the recent episode concerning the capture of 15 British naval personnel by Iran. While we are all grateful that they have been released, many are quite concerned about the way the British Government handled the whole affair.

The British Government, writes Prager, “did not confront the Iranians in any way reminiscent of a great country, let alone of Britain's great past. If we judge the British Government's reaction alone - without any reference to the behaviour of the British sailors and marines - Iran was the feared power, not Great Britain, which acted like the supplicant.”

Worse still is the aftermath of the story: allowing the sailors to sell their stories to the media, something unique in military history.

“Some of the captured sailors and marines have already earned large sums of money. The Guardian newspaper said the one woman who had been captured, Faye Turney, agreed to a deal with The Sun and ITV television for approximately $200,000.

“(American soldier Jessica Lynch, who was captured when her Army convoy was ambushed in 2003, received a $500,000 advance for her book, I Am a Soldier, Too. But that was a book published later and she had never charged the news media when interviewed by them.)

“And John Tindell, the father of another of the hostages, said the marines were planning to sell on eBay the vases given to them by the Iranians.”

“As The Australian reported, 'Some of the sums being offered to the captives are higher than the money paid to service personnel maimed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The standard tariff for the loss of an arm is £57,500 [$145,000].'

“The [Blair Labour] Government's decision was described well by the mother of a British soldier killed in Iraq. As reported by Reuters: 'The mother of a 19-year-old British soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq at the weekend said she would be “very shocked” if any of the detainees were paid for their stories. “If you are a member of the military, it is your duty to serve your country,” Sally Veck, mother of Eleanor Dlugosz, told The Times. “You should do your duty and not expect to make money by selling stories”.'”

Censorship of history

The other example is even more reprehensible, and demonstrates just how far British society has disintegrated. It is the “decision of schools in various parts of that country to stop teaching about the Holocaust in history classes”.

The reason? As reported by the BBC, “Some schools avoid teaching the Holocaust and other controversial history subjects as they do not want to cause offence, research has claimed. Teachers fear meeting anti-Semitic sentiment, particularly from Muslim pupils, the government-funded study by the Historical Association said.” (BBC News, April 2, 2007).

To which Dennis Prager says: “No comment necessary.”

No, but I will make one. If militant Islam's virulent anti-Semitism is allowed to coerce schools into banning teaching about the Holocaust then Islam has already won.

Christian England might as well raise the white flag of surrender and call it quits. When other parts of the world are trying to remind us of the Holocaust and the lessons thereof, some British schools are opting for self-censorship and appeasement. This is mind-boggling and soul-numbing stuff.

Prager concludes: “But a word of caution: If Great Britain can cease to be great in so short a time span, any country can. All you need is an elite that no longer believes in their country, that manipulates history texts to make students feel good about themselves, that prefers multiculturalism to its own culture, and that has abandoned its religious underpinnings. Sound familiar, America?”

To which I would add: Sound familiar, Australia?

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