Latest Issue

Bystander virtue

Politicians have learned the joys of international grandstanding

By Richard North   January 2002

The Irish government believes that a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield will contaminate its citizens. It placed an advertisement in The Times in November to say that the plant will be polluting at normal times and very dangerous in exceptional circumstances such as a terrorist attack.

With a nice symmetry, Michael Meacher, the British environment minister, had a few weeks earlier sharply criticised the Bush administration for not signing up to the Kyoto climate change treaty, which aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels (and may thus make nuclear power more attractive).

The point is not whether Britain…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect