Ever since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, there has been a seemingly endless flow of self-congratulatory comment in the West about how former communist countries — and even some which have remained communist — are gradually westernising and learning the ropes in the capitalist jungle. Very often, these countries’ so-called progress is in fact cultural decline: the advent of bars for transsexuals in Havana, for instance, has been adduced as evidence of Cuba’s ‘liberalisation’.
Jonathan Mirsky says that the state visit to Britain of China’s President is no cause for celebrationWhen China’s President Hu Jintao sits next to the Queen at her state banquet for him on 8 November he will be a contented man. In the words of the Royal Academy of Arts, ‘China Turns London Red’. Somerset House, the London Eye and other buildings will be illuminated in the Communist party’s preferred colour to mark, says the Academy, ‘an extraordinary moment in Britain’s continuing relationship with China’.
By mid-century, the world’s population will be 50 per cent higher than
it is now, says Richard Ehrman, but the boom will come from developing
countries, not Europe, and that’s very bad news indeedIf demography is destiny, then, on the face of it, Britain should be
feeling pretty smug. In late May the number of people in the UK finally
passed the 60 million mark. By 2031, according to official projections
released last month, there will be 67 million of us.