William Underhill

A Sober Man and True

The British press might do well to emulate Lord Justice Brian Leveson, the judge presiding over the ethics hearings following the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Can a New Government Save Ireland?

Irish voters look sure to punish their political masters in this week's election. Polls suggest that the ruling Fianna Fáil government, widely blamed for the economic trauma of the past three years, will gain barely 15 percent of the vote, down more than 20 points from the last election in 2007.

Swiss Banks Take Aim at Despots

For decades, a Swiss bank account was the favored hideaway for assets snaffled by the world's most kleptocratic leaders. The roll of dishonor includes presidents Marcos of the Philippines, Mobutu of Zaire, Abacha of Nigeria, and "Baby Doc" Duvalier of Haiti.

British Unions Threaten Strikes for Royal Wedding

British trade unions have a sure touch when it comes to antagonizing the public. Drivers on London's Underground are considering strikes to coincide with the royal wedding—blighting the occasion for tens of thousands of well-wishers. Overseas visitors hoping to join Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29 may also face disappointment: British Airways cabin crews have proposed strike action around the same time.

Ireland Swerves Left

Whether the Irish bailout saves the country from ruin, one winner is already emerging. Free-market parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have dominated the country's politics for more than 60 years, but the economy's nosedive is now throwing power to the left.

Europe Struggles for Relevance Post-Lisbon

Good news for true believers in the European Union: this week President Obama will make an appearance at an EU-U.S. meeting in Lisbon. Europhiles haven't forgotten Obama's previous blow to the bloc's prestige when Washington canceled a meeting in May: a no-show widely interpreted as a snub at a moment when Europe hoped to reinvent its global standing.

The Anglo-French Future

At the 2004 banquet to mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, the grand Anglo-French friendship pact, Queen Elizabeth allowed herself a small example of British understatement. She told her French hosts, "Our historical relationship has not always been smooth."

News for Murdoch

Media baron Rupert Murdoch is once again setting his sights on London. His $54 billion News Corp., which already owns The Times of London and tabloid The Sun, now plans to shell out $12 billion for a full takeover of broadcaster Sky TV. If the deal happens, media analyst Claire Enders has predicted that Murdoch will control half the U.K.'s newspaper and TV markets within a decade.

Britain Squeezes the Affluent First

From the headlines in London, you might think Prime Minister David Cameron is in trouble. When his government announced plans for a modest first cut in welfare payments last week—higher-earning taxpayers will forfeit their "child benefit" entitlements—the right-wing Daily Mail warned that the possible loss of some $30 per child per week would unleash THE FURY OF STAY-AT-HOME MUMS.