Diana West

Woodhouse said a lot of other things as she surveyed her fellow passengers, her squawky voice weirdly reminiscent of an Eliza Doolittle grown old without having met her Henry Higgins. "All bleeping foreign bleeping bleeps," she says. "Where do you come from? Where do you come from? Where do you come from?" She estimated that 30 percent of the train's passengers were in the country illegally.

Off with her head.

Expletives fly regarding England ("this bleeping country is a bleeping joke"), Pakistanis, illegals, pigs.

"I wouldn't mind if you loved our country," she said, lucid, to a Pakistani beside her.

"Long live Pakistan," he said twice in Urdu, later leading a chorus of the Pakistani national anthem.

Woodhouse then notices her "victim" recording her. "Oh, look, he's filming," she says. "Hello, government." She leans into the camera.

"Why don't you tell us your name, as well?" Juttla the "victim" says.

"Why don't you tell me where you're from?" she says.

"I'm British, I'm British, yeah? I'm British," he tells her.

"Right. OK," she says.

"So, what's your problem?" he says.

"Oh, what's your problem?" she says.

"Yeah, you should watch what you say."

"Watch what I say?"

"Yeah."

"I used to live in England. Now I live in the United Nations."

"So keep your mouth shut then."

"Why should I?"

Twenty-one weeks in jail, folks.

Why, Woodhouse quite rationally asks, "am I not allowed to express my opinions?"

"We don't want to hear your opinions," Juttla replies.

This tears it. "Why is it all right for you but not all right for me?" She's shrieking now, her voice cutting the air like a ragged-edged razor.

There is background laughter, but nothing is funny. For a few, farcical minutes, a nation's tragedy, its unmarked passing, has taken the spotlight, the lead role played by a drunken secretary because there is no one else.

"Just keep your mouth shut," Juttla says for the umpteenth time.

"Why should you open your gob and I can't open mine?"

"Because you questioned me first," he says, which isn't true. Juttla questioned Woodhouse first, asking for her name. Surely, Big Brother would want to know.

"I'm sorry," she says. "Not one rule for you and one rule for me."

Oh, yes, Jacqueline. One rule for indigenous islanders.

One rule for everyone else.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).