Insights from the UK and beyond
from John Lloyd:
The British Isles are sentries in a turning world. The monarchy, pageantry, the mediaeval House of Lords, titles, accents, the established Church of England with the Queen at its head -- they all give the adroit illusion of continuity and the primacy of tradition over change.
But this summer there are diverse changes modernizing the Isles. These revolutions, small and large, will not be reversed, and will contribute significantly to a redefinition of what it is to be British (and Irish). The illusions of tradition will remain, as diligently served as ever. The core is hollowing out.
These changes are not unique to these wet and windy islands. But itβs more remarkable because for many centuries Britain and its offshoots punched above their weight, making history and creating (or inventing) traditions. The French are famed for having a beautiful and mostly efficient country and for grumbling furiously about it. The British change everything all the time, and worship the old customs whose essence they have long since destroyed, or are destroying.
Ireland, the smaller and much younger of the two sovereign states on the Isles, found its independence in the 1920s. That independence was fought for so hard in part because its majority religion, Catholicism, had been treated as an inferior, even a treacherous, affiliation for centuries. The Republic came into independent statehood with its religion militantly at the forefront of national, social and cultural life.
UK opposition leader Ed Miliband called on the British media to clean up its image and emphasized the need for a speedy public inquiry into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Watch clips of Miliband's comments at a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event below:
Miliband to British media: "Clean up your image"
Miliband calls for judge-led inquiry into phone-hacking scandal
Miliband wants media watchdog scrapped
Miliband calls for BSkyB referral
Miliband urges UK Prime Minister David Cameron to apologize
Follow our live coverage of the phone-hacking scandal below:
Just when the Labour Party thought it had got over the long feud between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, it has been gripped by an even more compelling drama worthy of prime-time TV β the tale of two brothers who reached the top of British politics only to see their ambitions collide.
Delegates at the Labour Party conference in Manchester are just getting over their surprise that Ed Miliband, 40, pipped his brother David, 45, to be Labour leader. David had long been favourite to win and Edβs shock victory on Saturday brought gasps from delegates.