"When you arrive at Heathrow you think at times that you’ve landed in a Third World country"
I have not been to Heathrow for some time, so I cannot comment on the substance of His Eminence's remark, but I do travel around the UK, and I have been in Europe a bit. I can still remember the days when you were told not to drink the tap water in the rest of Europe. I can remember travelling on disgusting local trains in Italy and the Parisian pissoirs and squatting lavatories. I can recall flea-bitten hotel rooms and the squalid cafes in Greece. Of course, some of this is still apparent, but I am very aware of the difference in airports on the Continent. By and large they are cleaner and more efficient than British ones. But what about the rest of Britain? Is it now a poor neighbour, a struggling Third World Country?
It depends what indicators you use. If, for example we look at Education, based on tests done in 2000 and 2007, we find that Britain's education system has dropped out of the top ten and now lags behind Poland. Slovenia has overtaken us in Maths. The reading performance of ten-year olds has fallen from 3rd to 19th.
Then, let us look at poverty. In the list of rich nations, we are in the bottom four in terms of relative child poverty. That simply means that we have an underclass in this country which does not share in the common wealth. We come lower than Hungary, The Czech Republic and Turkey, and only three places ahead of Mexico. Oddly enough, in terms of absolute child poverty, only Italy sinks lower than us in civilised Europe. And of course, the Nordic countries are way ahead of us on this and everything else including reading.
As for the economy, most of us understand it is in deep doo doos. Personally, our indebtedness in terms of percentage income to debt ratio has gone from 91.1 in 1997, to 157.4 in 2007
There are many other indicators. It is not accurate to say that Britain is a Third World Country, but, we are going in the right direction, i.e. downwards. We are hovering along the bottom of the tables. At this rate, our standards will be those of a third world country in two generations.
Part of the Cardinal's rant was about how godless we all are. All I will say about this is that even in general terms, the idea of a Christian society in Britain is an anachronism. However sentimental some may be about this still being a Christian country, it is not. The zeitgeist, at least among the ruling elite is one of nihilistic relativism. Our culture is adrift in a sea of mini sub cultures which all vie for a place in a pecking order that nobody will agree on. Britain has in effect become tribal and hostile to its very heritage. Already there are Christians in this country who can no longer proclaim their faith openly and there are self-interest groups who are pursuing witch hunts of rival communities.
There is more of course. Hotels and Restaurants in the UK are generally very poor, compared to the rest of Europe. Transport infrastructure is among the least subsidised, and it stinks. Finally a word about Hospitals and Social Services. Too many hospitals are filthy and make you worse than when you went in, and all you can trust the Social Serivices to do is to tick boxes on the list of political correctness.
Our culture is on the way down. Our democracy has been undermined by immigrants whose actions would look bad in a "banana republic". Beggars and the scum of the earth got a free ride here while the gravy train rolled on in Gordon Brown's Utopia. But the pot is empty; our schools are terrible, our hospitals are dirty and our culture is rotten. And British people have only themselves to blame.