If you’re like me, you’ve been watching the thrill and spectacle of the 2012 Olympics, and noticing a particularly special star in every event… the amazing city of London. The UK capital is a wealth of majestic history, architectural splendor, and of course home to the storied royal family. It’s quite easy for one to get entranced by all that is British indeed. But that left me wondering… what are some reasons that Great Britain is so GREAT? I’ve thought up three worth examining.
1) The National Rail System
The British Rail network is the 18th largest in the world, but considering the size of the country, this means it’s also an extremely dense system. When many countries destroyed passenger rail services to make way for the automobile, Great Britain kept rail transport as a primary mode of service. This is of great benefit today, as fuel prices are at record highs, and cars have proven to be very expensive and at times inefficient forms of travel. Every major city in Great Britain is connected by rail, and many of the smaller towns as well. It is possible to travel the whole country by train.
2) The National Health Service (NHS)
Well, Danny Boyle chose to devote eleven minutes to the NHS in the Olympics Opening Ceremonies, so they must be doing something right. Despite the fable told by the American Right-Wing, it only takes one visit to the UK to find that people LOVE their Single-payer system of health care. British taxes are “higher” than in the US, but all doctor visits, hospital stays and even the emergency room are FREE. Here in the US, we pay hundreds, and even thousands of dollars per month on Health Insurance, but yet go to the doctor and you’ll probably receive a bill in the mail later. What do we pay for again?
3) Prime Minister’s Questions
This is a tradition of Parliament that has become a quick favorite of mine. The Prime Minister is mandated to meet with Parliament once per week and take any question that the MPs wish to ask. He (or she) must be prepared to answer on any topic. PM represents the leader of the party… at present that is the Conservatives under David Cameron… and must answer to the opposing sides of government. Often times, these sessions can be very animated as the topics discussed are controversial, but it allows the British People to hear both sides of the argument in somewhat equal representation. This is something that would greatly benefit American Politics as well.
Those are my picks. What do you like about Great Britain?