Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More UK Politics

I am enjoying my time here in the UK quite a bit. It is especially nice in relation to my interest in comparative politics. There are obviously some big differences in what the media report and the topics of discussion in the politics.

There are a few things at the top of my list of interesting stories today. First, the BBC had a story about a cyber attack on Estonia. You can read about it here. Our modern technology presents new opportunities for foreign threats as you’ll see in the article.

Second, Salman Rushdie is once again under attack from religious fanatics. He was dubbed Sir Salman Rushdie recently, which has made a few people unhappy.

Finally, to the politics of England. Social engineering is on the agenda for the Tories here. For those of you who don’t know, the Tories are the English equivalent of Republicans, except they don’t seem to have a Dobson wing to their party. London is Washington turned upside down. It’s a place where the left and center-left run the show. Even my Tory friend here referred to Tony Blair as “center of the road.”

The social engineering the Tories are proposing is what we in the states would refer to as a marriage tax credit. They want to give a tax break of about £20 a week (what amounts to $40) to married couples. This, of course, is in the hopes that this will encourage couples to get married and stay married rather than living in sin.

They argue that this would save marriages, give children better homes and “prevent social breakdown.” Sounds nice; at least the conservatives here openly call their policies social engineering instead of pretending to be libertarians. I would say there’s nothing wrong with tax credits for married couples, especially those with children. I would also ask, why it is that children whose parents get divorced don’t deserve to have those extra resources and if there is actually a person alive who would say “this marriage isn’t working out, but I really can’t give up that extra $40 a week.”

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