The view from New York

Baroness Deech

I have come to New York for a few days to deliver a paper on family law at an academic conference. There is a wider spread of opinion about family issues than is common at conferences at home. I have not visited for a number of years, and so quite a few things about the city strike me afresh. In no particular order –

There are seats to be had on the subway trains, and they are air conditioned! although the stations themselves are decrepit. But I cannot fathom the bus system.

The streets are clean compared to London, and there are fewer beggars, buskers etc.

Food in the stores and in restaurants seems to be cheaper.

Jewish community buildings appear not to need the round-clock security prevalent in Europe, and the political/media antiIsrael obsession is absent.

The media are concerned with immigration, China, flood barriers and healthcare. Abortion is still a sharply divisive issue. Europe simply does not feature at all, save for the impression that the EU is a decaying institution, and the occasional kindly hope that the gangrene will not spread to the British limb. Surveillance is a big story here too, although the British interest is not mentioned. The point is made that when 9/11 happened, (and likewise the murder of Lee Rigby), the cry went up: did the intelligence authorities not know something about the killers? Why did they not do more to track them? You cannot have it both ways, say the US commentators, that is perfect privacy in an internet age, and also protection against potential terrorists.

Taxis charge about half the London rate, but theatre tickets are twice as much. There are too many ads and nothing worth watching on any of the tv channels.

5 comments for “The view from New York

  1. Lord Blagger
    13/06/2013 at 3:22 pm

    Are we paying for this junket?

    If so what’s getting cut to pay for it?

    • Baroness Deech
      Baroness Deech
      14/06/2013 at 1:52 pm

      Of course not. Paranoia!

  2. Graham
    14/06/2013 at 2:22 pm

    We are not asking for either perfect privacy, nor perfect safety. We are asking not to live in a police state: presumption of innocence, no guilt by association, effective oversight of surveillance, effective punishment of abuses, and relatively high costs (financial and process) making sure the players prioritise and only use the processes when really necessary. I am very happy with current levels of security and would even give up some in order to have a more free and healthy society.

  3. maude elwes
    19/06/2013 at 12:18 pm

    This thread brought back memories of life in the big apple.

    The Frick, Guggenheim, Metropolitan, Wolf’s Deli, Zeigfield Cinema, The Plaza Oak Room, when it was wonderful and jumped, Maxwell Parrish murals, Bergdorf Goodman and Edlin’s curtain makers.

    The politics now are a strange bedfellow of those days, but, pure joy of nostalgia doesn’t allow fading. I lived three years on 58th and 6th, although they call it Avenue of the America’s. And they did classical concerts in the Sheep Meadow for free on hot summer nights then. That was when the Dakota was hot and Columbia meant life.

    • maude elwes
      20/06/2013 at 11:10 am

      PS: The snoopers charter has nothing to do with ‘terror’ or ‘terrorism.’ It is to do with manic control of citizens lives for government fodder.

      The ‘attack’ on 9/11 by Bin Laden and his pals doesn’t add up. Do we really know who was at the back of that episode. I don’t think so.

      But, if we go deeper than that, why is the British government handing over to an alien state the full information of our citizens, without first, telling these people openly this is what they are doing and secondly asking their permission to do it?. Who gave them that right? Certainly not the electorate.

      We are not a State in the US union. We, as a people do not vote in their country or have any say in who or what is running that regime. And although Cameron and Blair, etc., may feel Obama and previous Presidents were good guys and only out to be our saviours, what of tomorrow? What dangers are these narrow minded individuals putting our citizens in? Suppose the US people elect an individual akin to Hitler and he decides to bully us into some kind of lifestyle we don’t want, he only has to click a button and he has the full census of the UK in his hands. Not to mention every email, phone call, health records, and any other little piece of ‘intelligence’ he wants, because our naive and lacking Parliament has an attitude close to Joe Buck,the Midnight Cowboy, when in New York he asks a stranger to hold his wallet whilst he goes to the John.

      You are being deluded and you are allowing it by your consent. You have no right to make decisions like this on the people of this country without first giving them a referendum with the option to refuse.

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