I am in London at present where the chief concerns are Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee next week, Deputy Prime Minister Clegg's proposal to improve "social mobility," and the incomparable national competitive advantage conferred by Britain's National Health Service.
I normally pay almost no attention to the British royal family. However, on the matter of the Diamond Jubilee I claim personal privilege. My late father, as a young member of the Marine Corps Band, played for the new British monarch on the occasion of her 1957 state visit with President Eisenhower. The fact that the Queen is about to celebrate sixty years on the throne is remarkable, and for me a poignant reminder of the passage of time.
Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg, the junior partner in Conservative David Cameron's coalition government, is promoting what one wag terms a "Clegg up" for Britain's disadvantaged. Clegg decries the poor relative performance of state school graduates competing with private school students for admission to top universities. His solution reads as if lifted from the Obama playbook: lower university entry requirements for state school graduates. Why focus on improving actual education delivered by state schools when it is simpler to order up the elite credential sufficient for a lifetime of lucrative government employment?
Meanwhile, a local budget expert, speaking off-the-record over the traditional English breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon and tomato, told me that the Government's latest budget is a disaster. Proposed tax cuts seem calculated to stir up maximal opposition while remaining too timid to revive the stalling economy. Reforms targeting business are pitched toward large corporations, with little on offer for unlawyered small enterprises. Hopefully, someone on Mitt Romney's campaign staff will pay attention and keep him from falling into a similar trap of endorsing too-clever-by-half tax reform.
Finally, this morning at the House of Lords I listened to a bipartisan assemblage of the Great and Good discussing the latest triumph of Britain's National Health Service: a new national database guaranteed to improve clinical trial efficiencies. Five minutes before the end of the program, after a solid hour of self-congratulatory commentary, the British founder of one of the world's largest clinical research organizations reported that, notwithstanding this latest achievement of centralized decision making, his company would continue to employ three times as many people in Poland as in the UK, since the NHS's 1.4 million-strong bureaucracy efficiently strangles timely clinical trial completion, no matter how comprehensive the computer system. The comment, seemingly calculated to stir debate, sank without a trace into the swirling sunlit waters of the Thames.
ObamaCare delenda est.