Thursday, October 16, 2008

All Dyslexic Now? (A Letter)

SIR – Wandering down a street in London is a nightmare for walkers trying to determine on which side to pass, with oncoming pedestrians as likely to veer to the right as the left (in North America, people usually extend the rules of driving to the sidewalk and stick to the right). The escalator signs on the Underground read: “Stand on the Right Except to Pass”. London’s street-crossings alert us to “Look Right” and “Look Left”, but the warnings are presumably for foreigners. Leave London and the rules are more haphazard.

Cultural left-right chaos abounds. Drive on the left, stand on the right, and walk somewhere in between. Labour frees the central bank, balances budgets, and invades Iraq. Conservatives support universal health care, gay rights, and are concerned for the poor. Is New Labour dead? If Britain has no rules for left or right, how can it even identify the body?

John Swettenham

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