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El_Pirata

Cyclist Exposes Reality Of Modern English Values

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May 15 (Bloomberg) -- The English don't like taking lessons from anyone, and certainly not the Germans. Still, it is hard to resist the conclusion that Heinz Stuecke has taught us something.

Stuecke has been cycling around the world since 1962, when John F. Kennedy was in the White House. Through most of those 44 years on two wheels his travels have been unhindered.

Then he landed in Portsmouth on the south coast of England. On the first day, his bike was stolen. The police did their best to help, offering to lend him a spare one. And, eventually the bike was found.

Still, the message was clear. Despite the genteel, prosperous image, England has become a crime-ridden, rough, and often dangerous place. Yet underneath that, it also retains traces of kindness, illustrated by the way the local police offered to lend him a bike to continue his journey.

In its odd mix of civility and barbarism, Stuecke's story tells us a lot about the way the U.K. has changed in the last decade.

There can be no denying that the story of the stolen bike struck a chord around the world. Newspapers from the New York Times to the People's Daily in China carried it at some length.

That may be partly because the cyclist is a bit of an oddball. In 1962, he pedaled away from his home in Hovelhof in what was then West Germany as an alternative to pursuing a career as a toolmaker. Since then he's cycled an estimated 335,000 miles (539,000 kilometers) through about 200 countries. Known simply as ``the Bike Man,'' Stuecke ranked as the world's most-traveled man in the Guinness Book of Records between 1995 and 1999.

Quiet Admiration

There's a bit of Stuecke in all of us, which is why we find stories such as his so appealing. While most of us settle down to a job and family life, we also succumb to fleeting moments when we wonder whether it might not have been better just to cycle off into the horizon than spending another day paying the mortgage. When we read about men such as Stuecke, it is impossible not to admire their commitment to freedom and the open road.

Yet the story also intrigued readers because it told us something about modern England. Of course, a bike could be stolen anywhere. And yet the sad truth is that it is more likely to happen in England than in many other places. Few other countries in the developed world have the appalling crime rates that are now common across much of Britain.

Behind Bars

According to U.K. Home Office figures released in 2003, Britain had more people in prison as a percentage of its population than any other country in the European Union. There were 139 people incarcerated for every 100,000 people in England and Wales, compared with 85 in France and 96 in Germany. (The U.S. locks up 686 out of every 100,000 people -- maybe that's why crime is under control.) The U.K. may have tougher judges, but it probably also has more criminals.

This month, a survey of 7,000 people painted the U.K. as a disorderly, uncouth country. According to the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science at University College London, 83 percent of Britons saw anti-social behavior as growing.

The rest of the region has started to notice, too. When Europeans were asked about the issue, 76 percent of respondents in countries such as France, Germany and Italy said Britain had such a problem. The U.K. was the highest on their list of anti- social trouble spots.

``This research is a wake-up call,'' Gloria Laycock, a professor at the Jill Dando Institute, said in a statement on the survey. ``We know anti-social behavior is a major issue in the U.K. and the rest of Europe clearly agrees.''

Loss of Values

The reasons for that are complex. You certainly can't blame poverty: The U.K. has been rising to the top of European leagues for wealth per capita. Nor can you blame joblessness. In Britain, just about anyone who wants a job can have one, which isn't true in the rest of the EU.

Instead, drunkenness has been on the rise, and the government's willingness to allow pubs to open 24 hours a day can only encourage that. Divorce rates have been surging, and so has the number of single-parent families.

One of the main causes is the loss of many English values that were once admired around the world. Perhaps most worryingly, people aren't helping to keep their own communities safe anymore. The Jill Dando survey asked respondents what they would do if they saw a group of 14-year-old boys vandalizing a bus stop. In Germany, 60 percent said they would intervene. In Britain, that figure was only 30 percent.

Some of the old English characteristics of civility, politeness and generosity still remain. The village bobby helping out an eccentric cyclist could have stepped straight from the pages of a P.G. Wodehouse novel.

Aggressive, Rowdy

But they are buried beneath a country that is fast becoming the most aggressive, rowdy place in Europe. It is worth bearing that in mind as you glance at the stock-market returns, or economic-growth statistics.

The U.K. is unquestionably a wealthier place than it has ever been. But more content with itself? Or more civilized? As he continues his two-wheeled tour of the country, it is unlikely Stuecke will see much sign of that -- and I trust he's bought himself a chain and padlock.

http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=1...id=aJ6iisie5FMM

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The U.K. is unquestionably a wealthier place than it has ever been. But more content with itself? Or more civilized? As he continues his two-wheeled tour of the country, it is unlikely Stuecke will see much sign of that -- and I trust he's bought himself a chain and padlock.

I beg to differ.

Since when have we had wholesale closure of hospitals, waiting lists for years, and slashed the pensions of our hard working citizens. Highest tax burden in history with 49% going to the Government.

The UK is now financially screwed, it is the poorest it has been in decades with no outlook on recovery.

We now have the largest national deficit ever, and the public too are overspend and overworked.

Progress?.....................No Regression back to the dark ages for many, only the chosen few have prospered under the champagne socialists extremist dictatorship.

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It's sort of gone beyond politics now.

The whole system - economic, judicial, public services - in this country rewards bad behaviour and punishes good behaviour.

It [this article] does put a bomb under the argument that poverty creates crime, unless you're going to go on about relative poverty etc etc. The big question is, will anyone have the bottle to stand up against the victimhood culture?

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It [this article] does put a bomb under the argument that poverty creates crime, unless you're going to go on about relative poverty etc etc. The big question is, will anyone have the bottle to stand up against the victimhood culture?

People can see what is happening but being just at the comfort level keeps them behaving like sheep but as this changes, as surly it will with all this debt and taxes, people will awaken and it’s only when this happens will our corrupt politicians be hold to account for decades of insider dealing and financial manipulation of the masses.

Some times you have to go backwards to go forwards and now more than ever with the emergence of the police state I see the need for radical change else we are all doomed I tell you.

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I would like to believe that this country has sunk as low as it can with liberalism extending to allowing nobody ever to be accountable for their actions, & now we will spring back to something more normal, where national pride is restored & where wrongdoers (regardless of age or circumstance) are punished for their actions, not re habilitated.

I do not care if the person burgling my home had a poor childhood, was on drugs, had a row with his missus or was a priveledged hooray henry who was bored & wanted a bit of excitement.

Lock them up & let them feed on bread & water & break rocks for 14 hours a day for a few years, they may just be inclined to not repeat the offence.

The working week being reduced to about 37 hours allows everybody enough time to re-habilitate themselves if so inclined.

They do not need to do it in a cushy prison at my expense.

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I would like to believe that this country has sunk as low as it can with liberalism extending to allowing nobody ever to be accountable for their actions

Not true. The law-abiding are held accountable for any minor infraction, but the criminals aren't held accountable for anything much short of murdering a cop.... far more effort goes into, say, punishing a middle-class worker who forgot to renew a car tax disk, than to catching burglars or discouraging muggers.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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