Saddam deserves to be British citizen, say BBC listeners

Mark Jones markjones011 at
Fri Dec 27 02:59:22 MST 2002

Owen Bowcott
Friday December 27, 2002
The Guardian

We may be about to go to war with Saddam Hussein, but listeners to the BBC
Today programme have just voted him one of five foreigners "most deserving
of honorary status as a British citizen".
The appearance of the Baghdad Butcher, as he is known among human rights
groups, alongside such notables as the Burmese opposition leader Aung Sun
Suu Kyi and the former US president Bill Clinton, caused some surprise.

Between now and the end of the year, the Radio 4 programme is running a
"One-in, One-out" competition, with listeners asked to chose from two
shortlists of five people: who is most worthy of citizenship and who most
deserves to have it revoked.

As well as President Saddam Hussein, Ms Aung Sung Suu Kyi and Mr Clinton,
the other foreign contenders are the Australian spin bowler Shane Warne and
the US president, George Bush. Warne, one listener, suggested, "would
provide the drive and inspiration that English cricket needs".

The praise for President Bush is more ambiguous: one listener applauded his
contribution to entertainment, another described him as an "outstanding
world leader" while a third backed his nomination because "as a British
citizen he would no longer be eligible to be president of the USA".

To make the matters more interesting, both Nelson Mandela, who received
around 50% of the "in" votes, and Tony Blair, who received around 50% of the
"out" votes, have been excluded from the rest of the competition.

The Today website provides a succinct profile of President Saddam Hussein:
"Iraqi president and novelist. According to the US he is a producer of
weapons of mass destruction, the key figure in the axis of evil and public
enemy No 2 [behind Osama bin Laden]."

It also hints at the political sophistication of the programme's listeners.
"One general sentiment dominates nominations," the Today website notes. "He
will cause less problems over here where we can keep an eye on him."

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