Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hey Brits, you’re more American than you know

"...After a brief visit, the one thing I can say for sure is that being in London today is far more like being in America than it was two decades ago. From Starbucks to WiFi, much of Londonland — and I include the vast expanse of England that is essentially a satellite of the capital — is indistinguishable from an American blue (Democrat-voting) state city.

Thatcher’s reforms, and Blair’s co-optation of them, have created, from a distance, a pseudo-American society. The energy in Londonland, its vibrant labour markets, its consumerism, its media, its multiculturalism, its unabashed capitalism, have a distinctively American feel. Even the new wave of eastern European immigrants is strikingly like New York in another era.

This is not to say that modern Britain doesn’t have its own cultural roots, or isn’t still distinctly British. Global capitalism was invented by the Brits, after all. And it isn’t to conflate Britain outside Londonland with the capital complex. But the tone and tenor are strikingly more American than they used to be..."