Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The British Empire ... not long enough

Mark Steyn with some familiar sentiments on the British Empire and constitution

...Simone Weil, the Parisian author and sometime Jew/Marxist/anarchist who came to Britain during the war to work for the Free French ... pondered why, alone among the European powers, it was England that had maintained "a centuries-old tradition of liberty guaranteed by the authorities." She was struck ... "by the fact that in the British Constitution the chief power is vested in one who is all but powerless, the monarch."
...and some less familiar ones.
Indeed, if you step back, one way to look at the "war on terror" is as a belated civil war within the British Empire -- at any rate between the Anglosphere core (America, Britain, Australia, India) and a dysfunctional periphery (Gaza, the Pakistani tribal lands, the Sunni triangle), or between those territories that enjoyed the full attentions of the mother country and those it acquired in the Versailles settlement -- the last flickering fag-end of imperial expansion...Alas, for them, for their subjects and for the world today, when they finally got their hands on the Middle East, British imperialism had dwindled down to its bare bones: import some Hashemite prince, create a phony-baloney kingdom for him, and retreat to your bases.

"Liberty guaranteed by the authorities". Hmm.

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