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   Washington diary: Land of ideas

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5/3/2007 4:00 am

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British Broadcasting Corporation BBC News

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Analysis

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Entered 5/3/2007, Updated 5/3/2007

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I am happy to report to you that the Oxford Union, in its infinite wisdom, has allowed America to continue existing. After a raucous debate in front of a packed house, the motion - "this House regrets the Founding of America" - was overwhelmingly squashed. My colleague Jonah Goldberg, from the National Review, made a witty and punchy case for the birthright of America, lambasting the Union for a motion that "sounded like a bad joke". Peter Rodman, a former US assistant secretary of defence, entered the fray with patrician aplomb and, for what it's worth, this was some of my contribution to joust for the country where I keep my toothbrush and pay my taxes: It is very easy to find Americans who disagree with its current direction. But you'll be hard pressed to come across those who regret its very existence in a fit of collective self-annihilation. The confusion of one with the other strikes me as the fundamental flaw of this motion. Let's say you didn't need to regret the founding of America, because it had never been founded. How different might our lives look? We would not be listening to George Bush's fluent Texan. We would never have had the benefit of Donald Rumsfeld one-liners or clogged our arteries on a Big Mac. But what music would we be listening to on our iPods? Would it be German marching songs or Russian ballads? Would we even have an iPod? Yes, the beloved iPod was designed by a British citizen, Jonathan Ive, a son of Chingford, Essex. But would his design have changed the world of music if it hadn't been for Apple, an American company, based in Cupertino, California?


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