Photographer Unknown - citation requested.
'When considering the actual premise of "national security," one would have to look at a country which has descended into widespread internal chaos as being "insecure." For all the money spent on aggressive wars against ill-defined enemies in obscure parts of the world, the most dangerous threat to the actual physical safety of individuals within a country remains from their fellow citizens given a breakdown of social cohesion. It is a sign of dangerously confused priorities that defense spending is considered to be a budgetary holy grail which must be left untouched when discussing cuts to overall spending; but deep cuts to social services which directly affect the lives of millions of Americans are considered fair game. Nothing is more of a threat to the safety of Americans than a social system which will produce a generation of angry, disaffected young people and give rise to the types of scenes Britons are witnessing today.'
From a persuasive article on Salon.com about the recent riots in England. I'm in agreement with much that is said here - certainly that the government's austerity measures are barbaric and punish those who are already most familiar with austerity. And I've always been baffled as to enormous foreign aid and 'defense' spending when there's rank poverty and hardship within a nation's own borders (equally prescient in the US and the UK) - how do you build a society in Afghanistan when you can't maintain your own society at home?
And yet - Prime Minister Cameron is right when he points to a decline in moral character and poor parenting. I've seen it first hand. Where does the blame lay, exactly? I don't have easy answers - there aren't any. It's been a long, inexorable decline for Britain though, and my guess is that the foundations for the nation's current plight can be traced back all the way to the end of the Second World War (which may make it hard to explain Germany's current social hegemony and prosperity. Then again, perhaps not. I do feel national character lies at the heart of it).
Regardless, it may be time to abbreviate the nomenclature - it's hard to make a case for a Great Britain, just as it is for a United States.