Saturday, 7 June 2008

World becomes more peaceful, no thanks to Labour's Britain tho...

The world became more peaceful this year, according to a survey out this week.

But Britain fell well behind most of its European neighbours in the rankings of the world's most peaceful countries, coming in at 49th place, with Ireland the sixth most peaceful country.

Iceland, Denmark and Norway, were in the top three positions, with war-torn Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Afghanistan the bottom four, out of the survey of 140 nations in the Global Peace Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

But the world did get a bit more peaceful compared to last year, according to a measure of 24 different indicators.

The factors include internal ones, such as levels of crime, government corruption, prison population, spending on weapons and the threat of terrorism.

External factors include relations with neighbouring countries and military involvements abroad - a reason why the UK falls down the rankings compared to similar, democratic western nations.

Sixteen of the top 20 most peaceful nations are European, with Germany ranked 14th and France at 36th.

The US, with its high levels of violent crime and military "World Policeman" role is ranked 97th, behind China, 67th, but ahead of Russia in 131st place.

The index has won the backing of an influential and distinguished group of supporters including Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Joseph Stiglitz and Professor Muhammad Yunus as well as endorsers from the world of business including Sir Richard Branson and Sir Mark Moody Stuart.

Supporters of the index urge policymakers to focus more on education, wealth and well functioning government and emphasise the importance of business in building prosperity and peace.

On average, scores for level of organised conflict (internal) and violent crime, political instability and potential for terrorist acts have all got marginally better.

In contrast, the world's armed services have grown on average per country, as has the sophistication of its weaponry.

Steve Killelea, founder of the Global Peace Index, said: "The world appears to be a marginally more peaceful place this year. This is encouraging, but it takes small steps by individual countries for the world to make greater strides on the road to peace."

It looks to me like we need to be taking a few of those small steps here in the UK.

The full rankings can be found here.

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