Ban the Brits?

November 19, 1993

What a disaster for Baltimore should Mayor Schmoke heed the plea of three City Council members that he veto the show by bands of three British regiments at the Baltimore Arena Dec. 8.

The bands have been touring this country uneventfully since September. But these alleged statesmen would have Baltimore say no.

Britain is this country's closest ally and took part in our most recent war with Iraq. The Royal Navy joined the U.S. Navy off Haiti. But what do the State Department and Pentagon know? The Baltimore City Council is in charge of foreign policy here. Not the whole council, mind you. Councilmen Martin O'Malley and Timothy D. Murphy and Council President Mary Pat Clarke suffice.

Perhaps they are Baltimore's security council. If so, they were asleep at the switch every time a Royal Navy warship called at the Inner Harbor on a goodwill visit to great public approbation.

While many Baltimoreans of English and Scottish and other origins enjoy these bands and marchers and pipers, there are Irish-Americans and others who disapprove of British policy in Northern Ireland. Those who sincerely believe what Messrs. O'Malley and Murphy and Clarke proclaim are free to boycott and to demonstrate.

These self-appointed censors should not be permitted to dictate what a larger number of Baltimoreans may watch. In trying to persuade Mayor Schmoke to cancel the booking, this Council trio wants to do just that. His obliging would be a national embarrassment to appease grandstanding politicos.

What those who disapprove of the Brits, like those who disapprove of the wrasslers, should do is stay away. If they can persuade enough fellow Baltimoreans to join them, the offending attraction would stay away, too.

Meanwhile, those Baltimoreans who can't get enough of "Thin Red Line" and "Scotland the Brave" have every right to be so entertained, without a few elected officials taking that right away.

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