Berlin, Too, Notes the Difference between Britain and Spain

In an editorial in the German conservative newspaper Die Welt Thomas Kielinger referred yesterday to the different ways in which British and Spanish politicians reacted to the bombings in London last week and Madrid last year. “London differs from Madrid in this respect that there were no panic reactions from politicans calling for a departure of troops from Iraq. For the first time this demand has even become an issue of secondary importance. For the first time in five years Tony Blair is experiencing a precipitous rise in popularity. The people sense how in a moment of crisis they have a head of government who does not simply talk about leadership, but lives it. A nation that is led like this is united in itself and with its ruling elite and will remain prominent.”

In his article Kielinger tries to find an answer to the question “what makes the British such a prominent people.” “The Stoicism of the British is not an eccentric virtue, but a readiness in their whole society not to allow themselves to be driven by fear. […] Bravery is the management of fear. This is what springs to mind when one sees the millions of Londoners taking the tube again today. One has to admire them. They are apparently unmoved, but in reality they are courageous. Of course they are afraid, but they control themselves so as not to grant victory to the terrorists.”

Kielinger says that Europe is very fortunate that it still has societies “that do not allow themselves to be intimidated by the global threat, but confront it with the powerful resistance of a nation united around its leader.”

This is getting ridiculous

The citizens of Madrid take the train just as the Londoners take the tube. And even if that were a sign of courage and bravery (while, as the Economist notes it is more a show of the resilience of cities everywhere due to the enormous economic incentives of carrying on as usual) most of the people taking the tube aren't British by heritage at all.

Millions of people each day drive to work in a car. An act that globally costs hunderds of lives EACH day. They don't do that because they are brave or stupid. They do it because of the economic incentive of taking that car...

This article raises a valid point though : the British are more in step with their current leadership and the difference in handling of this event by Aznar versus Blair couldn't be bigger. That's why the Spanish preferred another government. Just as I've been saying all along.

Economic incentives

An act that globally costs hundreds of lives EACH day. They don't do that because they are brave or stupid. They do it because of the economic incentive of taking that car...


Hi, Bart!


I agree with what you say. May I give a little personal example. My son works at Kings Cross. Two of his work colleagues were "involved" in last week's incidents. One was on one of the bombed trains - fortunately unscathed. The other witnessed the explosion on the bus. On Saturday my son bought himself a bike so he could cycle to work in future. The reason? Mayor Livingstone has just increased the congestion charge (daily fee for driving in Central London) from £5 to £8!


People are motivated by many things, and money is definitely one of them.


So now it appears we have home-grown suicide bombers intent on destroying British people. Something else we can proudly stamp "Made in Britain".


Bob Doney