I’ve spent a total of five years off and on living in the UK, and that doesn’t count a vacation trip or two a year for the past decade and a half. It’s a cliche that the UK, and especially England, is nation that is not only marked by class, but by accent. In London, at least, it also seemed to be a place in which people made snap judgments about each other based on the newspapers they read. (Caroline and I tended to read the Guardian and the Financial Times, which confused people.)
I’m about to go there again for a ‘fortnight’, and just in time I see that the importance of what newspaper you read has only increased: Police hold mother-of-three for reading ‘Independent’ outside Downing Street.
Indeed, there are many signs that the UK today, taking a leaf out of the US playbook, is even less free than it was even under Thatcher. Of course, living in the US makes it hard to criticize behavior that sounds a lot like the sort of thing they seem to get up to all over the US; consider for example the latest news form California (via amygdalagf).