Figures from public life share their viewsby Prospect / May 23, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
Mario Vargas Llosa, novelist
Best: Its profoundly democratic spirit, visible in every aspect of social life. I’ve never encountered another society which practices the virtues of tolerance, co-existence within diversity, and respect towards others, to the same extent. Institutions have a greater influence than in other countries, and there exists a spirit of solidarity which emerges, above all, in testing times.
Worst: Its resistance to accepting that in our age borders are disappearing and the idea of nationhood is going to lose substance. Britain lags behind other countries in accepting that integration, first with Europe, and then with the rest of the world, is absolutely essential for maintaining a high quality of life and making the most of modernity.
Lady Hale, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Best: The good old British sense of humour, not appearing to take anything too seriously (while actually doing so), broad-mindedness, and fair play—women would never have got anywhere without the support of men who were prepared to put their sense of fairness above self-interest. The Church of England, at its best the embodiment of those virtues. The weather, always giving us something to talk about.
Worst: The great British class system, still remarkably resilient, perhaps because it is also so flexible. The Church of England, at its worst. And the weather, of course.