A message from across the pond

by Lindsay Mathews

Have you ever visited England? If you have, you know how friendly and warm the British people are - especially towards Americans. I've just returned from a week in England spending time in London, Norwich and Sheffield.

During my visit when people recognized my "American" accent, they would often say to me, "From America are you?" and that would start a discussion about something very important and disturbing to them, the upcoming state visit of G.W. Bush.

While there, I spoke with a retired university professor, his wife, a taxi driver, two secretaries, the woman who ran our B&B, and others. They wanted to tell me about their deep dislike of Bush and his policies.

I was not suprised about their opinions because over a million people in London demonstrated against the war in Iraq on February 15th. This week, the Bush visit is the hottest topic of discussion in the press, on television and radio and in the streets.

For example, the November 16th edition of the "Sunday Times" printed the results of a survey taken of a representative sample of 1,934 adults on November 13-14.

In answer to the question, "Which characteristics do you most associate with George Bush?", the results were that 60% said he was a "danger to world peace", 37% said "stupid", 33% said he was "incoherent", 30% said he was "decisive", 21% said he was "strong", 17% said he was "weak", 16% said he was "indecisive", 10% said he was intelligent, 7% said he was a "a good world leader" and 6% said he was "articulate".

In the same poll, the majority said that Britain and the US were wrong to take military action against Iraq, 73% said the security situation will get worse over the next few months and 53% said that they sympathise with those who will protest over Bush and Iraq.

There is extensive television and radio coverage about the visit and plans by organizers to amass 100,000 people in London to protest and to witness the "Saddam-like" toppling of a statue of Bush in Trafalgar Square. Even in Parliament, Bush will not speak because of fears of heckling from its members.

A message is coming from "across the pond". Are we getting it?

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