English Answers

A high court judge has ruled that the abortion ban in Northern Ireland is incompatible with the rights of women. This ruling tells you a lot about the region and its history in the UK. Under the leadership of Roy Jenkins, the UK legalised abortion in 1967 around the same time that the government also decriminalised homosexual relations and abolished the death penalty. But all laws come with stipulations. The death penalty is still, technically, enforceable in cases of treason. Abortion remains, technically, illegal outside of a medical context and inside the Six Counties. The British government has long neglected … Continue reading

Best enemies

National Review Magazine founder William F. Buckley Jr. is seen in an undated handout photo. Writer and commentator William F. Buckley, a revered figure and intellectual force in the American conservative movement for decades, died on Wednesday at age 82, said the magazine he founded, the National Review.  REUTERS/National Review (UNITED STATES).  NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS..

The feud between Gore Vidal and William F Buckley, Jr. is legendary. Yet it has not been the subject of a documentary until now. This may be down to the litigious tendencies of the Buckley-Vidal agonism. Best of Enemies is a wonderfully crafted film combining grainy rolls of film with high definition footage. It sets out to encapsulate the clash of egos. More importantly, the project frames the clash as the beginning of the ‘culture wars’: the struggle between two Americas. In many ways Vidal and Buckley play out the liberal-conservative split in US public life. Though it’s worth noting … Continue reading

American Europe

On a visit to Washington DC in 2012 Barack Obama and David Cameron spoke as one. The ‘special relationship’ (a term only used in the UK) was on show. Still, the terms were glowing. President Obama portrayed a “rock-solid alliance” as constant in an ever-changing world. Prime Minister Cameron went further to describe the relationship as “the United States of Liberty and Enterprise”. It was obvious the two men shared more than just speech notes. In many ways, David Cameron is the most American of British Prime Ministers. He’s a cultural liberal and fiscal conservative, to take the US phraseology. … Continue reading