I love Hoda Afshar's portraits and videos from Manus Island (it's Australia's Refugee Devil's Island - you go in but you n...
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Saving the Americans
Still on the holiday theme, Canada is such a polite and benign country, with such a marvellous health care system (it saved the life of my sister-in-law and host, the generous, loving and lovely Marianne) with an egalitarian education system (compared to the UK) and diverse migrant communities that get on much better than just about everywhere in the world. Ok, so the prime-minister looks like he's got Fisher Price Man Hair, but still, it's a large and wonderful country.
So heading down to the border and looking across at the US is a strange and fearful thing, especially at the height of the "Giving Poor People Health Care Will Kill Us All" hysteria which extremist factions in the US were engaged in this August. The lack of logic, sense, compassion or reason made it feel like looking across at North Korea, an alien land filled with drugs and guns and Detroit and Buffalo, where public health is a bad things and the millions who suffer every year due to the greed of the vocal few is seen as a cause of celebration. So when I got to Niagara and saw the Maids of the Mist and the hordes of sorrowful Americans in their yellow macs on the American side, it did look like a rescue mission. Then again, it was probably the other way round - the Canadians who elected Harper longing for a place of low taxes, where you can live rich and die young and never know there is another place in the world.
Thank God I'm back in Blighty where the only thing to look forward to an old Etonian as Prime-Minister. Rule Brittania, God Save the Queen, Tally Ho and all that.