They don't like fat cats in Britain. I don't just mean rich people, although rich people are officially considered public enemies in the UK these days. I mean overweight felines.
And dogs. In Britain, you will soon be sent to jail if your cat or dog is ruled overweight by the pet inspectorate. I'm not kidding. You can't make this stuff up. Your children, however, can legally be as gigantically fat as you can make them, without any punishment other than that suffered by the children.
British children of all sizes are taught that success is anti-social. A third or more of the wealth is forcibly removed from families every generation. Inheritance taxes and prevailing attitudes make it almost impossible to rise from financial mediocrity in Britain. The formally reviled class system endures.
The final exams British students take in school, at 18, require them to read a train timetable. If they can do that, they are qualified to go to college.
Their chances of entering rely almost entirely on how much money their parents earn. The less wealthy the parents, the greater the chance of the child attending university.
Wearing a mask at Halloween is an offence under UK terrorism law. Again, you heard me right. I met a man last week who, with some friends, dressed up for Halloween as the character V, from the film V for Vendetta, a modern tale written around the history of an early 17th century group of conspirators who tried to blow up Parliament.
My informant and his pals went walkabout, or tried to. Within 500 yards, they had been stopped by reserve constables (amateur cops) who called for an armed response team. The walkers, innocent of anything but poor dress sense, were issued notices under the terrorism laws and sent home--for the crime of wearing purple clothes and matching eye-masks in public.
It's an endless litany. No school sports days, because for every winner there are losers, and no child may be assigned the taint of being a loser.
No tinsel at Christmas, because a child might swallow it and die. Confiscatory taxation. Jail, if you put a recyclable item in your trash. And so on.
The name of this nonsense is socialism. The concept in which it is ostensibly grounded is equality.
Allsocialism, including that of Adolf Hitler ("national socialism"), is a lie. The worst don't come up; the best are forced down. Equality for all translates as misery for all.
Why do I mention this? Because the same British authorities that have persuaded the population that achievement is wrong are about to revisit the regulation of insurance companies in light of the systemic global financial problems. Prime Minister and Supreme Moral Arbiter Gordon Brown has already nationalized most of the British banking system. After all, it is his view that the nanny state knows best, be it about trash collection, education, or banking.
Insurance companies, among the most conservative of ventures, are among the most hated of British institutions.
Many have moved to Bermuda in face of Brown's refusal to allow them to be competitive. How much longer there will be a viable British insurance industry, no one can say.
Oh wait. I can. Not long.
is a Bermuda-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®.
January 1, 2009
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