British Prime Minister David Cameron was embraced by conservatives and euro-skeptics after rejecting a European Union agreement aimed at stabilizing the troubled economic union. Yet the tone of the New York Times news coverage is that he blundered, “isolating” Britain by failing to accept the accord’s requirements, including that members submit their budgets to the EU for approval even before being considered by their country’s own parliaments.
The New York Times knows how to grab web traffic. One of its most popular articles right now is a Sarah Lyall dispatch from Thursday on the popularity in Britain of "dogging" -- public sex, sometimes with an audience of admirers. Lyall takes a long time getting around to critics (paragraph 12), and then it sounds like this:
Britons are a tolerant bunch, and most probably would not care who watched whom doing what in whatever configuration, as long as they all went somewhere else. Why, Puttenham residents wonder, do they have to do it 400 yards from the village nursery school?”
But the spirit of the current moment is absolutely captured when someone argues that trying to close down a highway rest stop that's a popular site, or policing the public sex will lead to yes, suicides:
“It was like, ‘Are you taking this seriously?’ ” Ms. Paterson said. “One cabinet member said, ‘If you close this site, there could be an increase in suicides because these people have nowhere else to go.’”
In a Friday story headlined "Britons Fault Health Service, Until Someone Else Does," Times London correspondent Sarah Lyall singled out Republican criticism of British health care, citing tiny protests, larger Twitter campaigns, and exercised editorials in The Economist magazine about "irresponsible distortions" by conservatives in America.
While Britons love to complain about waiting lists, disparities in treatment, "infection-breeding hospitals" and "top-heavy bureaucracy," they are seemingly unanimous in opposition to Obama critics:
They are furious, for example, that the health service is being held up as an example of the failures of socialized medicine by Americans opposed to President Obama’s health care proposals. On Wednesday, several dozen people rallied in front of the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, holding up pro-N.H.S. signs.