Saturday, March 20, 2004

Remarkable. Umm, well, not surprising really. This post goes some way to explaining what this blog is for. Its function is to record those things which might appear unremarkable but which I'd rather not let slip into the vast generality of 'whatever'. Things like this. Kofi Annan's call for a enquiry into the Oil-for-Food programme is one of those nasty consequences, those confrontational moments, those domino occurrences, brought on by the war in Iraq. It reminds me of pouring boiling water on an ants' nest- the confusion, the scattering and the instant attempt to reorder things to cope with new circumstances. Everything following the war in Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein has to be seen in the context of a salvaging operation. It's an ironic fact that Saddam was a more important part of the international community because of the UN sanctions designed to isolate and weaken him, and the special arrangements for him created a kind of industry in regulating an industry (oil) which could potentially have made Saddam the master of the Middle East.

But it's funny too that George Galloway should win libel damages of £50, 000 against the CSM on the same day that Kofi Annan made his call. You have to think again about the boilng water, the ants and the salvage operation. The CSM accused Galloway of accepting massive bribes from Saddam's oil cash cache, but their documents were found to be forged within weeks of the accusation, and they retracted their comments. That was coming up to one year ago now, yet of course it took Galloway all these months to get his £50 000 paltry pounds. Meanwhile G. faces the Telegraph in a separate libel case, concerning similar allegations on a smaller scale, and different sets of documents that appear to have significantly more credibility. With one oddly protracted win behind him, but more and more documents in the public domain hanging over his 'gorgeous' head threatening death by a thousand tiny Damoclean cuts, it's Galloway's biggest game yet. I wonder what Kofi Annan and George Galloway think of each other? Or is it more instinctive than that- ants from the same nest?

Friday, March 19, 2004

A Gloss on the Play of State. I recall intending to write about poetry, politics and the war on terror. Here's politics; well, a soupcon of economics, and then politics.

How things are: A leftish Government in the UK that's been in power for seven years, spent a lot of money, raised a lot of taxes through National Insurance and indirect taxation, and raided pensions to fund its raises in public spending- but kept unemployment down and maintained low inflation combined with growth. In other words, the 'headline' figures that Thatcher's Tories introduced like wet concrete in the public mind during the 1980's have firmed up and been used by Chancellor Gordon Brown most skilfully to push his socialistic agenda. All the many socialists-at-heart meanwhile play their usual game and moan about how right-wing the Government is- and the key point almost goes unnoticed. They're the governors.

So, in the light of these things, knowing that change is continuous and comparatively rarely merited, whatever clever noises politicians make to say that the only changes being made are necessary ones (and that, dear possible reader, is the genius of Tony Blair in a blinding nutshell), I am led to think about the condition of the dear old Tories. All this is leading where I need to defer to Melanie Phillips again, but I've been thinking along her lines on so many issues recently. The Tories were opportunistic over Hutton, lukewarm on Iraq, fiscally timid, and wrong in their treatment of their previous leader, IDS, who had much to teach them although would never have won them an election (that last point is so overwhelmingly the popular opinion that even in this quiet echo chamber of the web I shall not attempt to overturn it- for now). Well, Mel, I think, rips the balls off the Tory attack dog in this diary entry ce soir.

Heh. The BBC experiences bomb anxieties- according to The Sun. Maybe the people who feel that the BBC were too pro-war in Iraq (It feels weird saying this, but I know some people did claim to feel that) will take this as evidence that the Islamofascists (or legitimate protest movement against western Imperial economies) think so too. I'd ask the question though: why bomb your most eloquent and respectable contact with Western opinion (I am not suggesting that this was some kind of false alarm, just raising the question)? Why bomb the organisation that accepts the view that when Israel breathes too deeply it legitimises some kind of Jihad?

The second thing is that, in the current and foreseeable climate, when it comes to shifty looking Arabs (or even those with an Islamic 'look' about them) we're all racists. I even sympathise with the Beeb with that tolerance which my generation usually has for hypocrisy, having been weaned on the stuff.

The third thing is that we really ought to know the strategy of the Islamofascists by now, and we all ought to recognise the 'War on Terrorism'. If it doesn't, or didn't, mean anything, it's going to have to.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

End of Day Review of News. War, war everywhere it seems- British troops to patch up a botched job in Kosovo after dozens of recent deaths on the UN's watch (what they don't mention is that this is no isolated incident). Pakistani troops surrounding 'Bin Laden's No2'- or so the Pakistani authorities say. Bombs in Basra and Bombs in Baghdad. Arrests in Spain. I always think about friends who haven't backed much or any of this. Kind of feel like they blame me, but I (and those I support) didn't start the fire, so to speak. Sometimes the way to put a fire out is counterintuitive- ie. you'd think water, but frequently that's no use.

Time for a poem? I've mentioned that this site will contain poems, so here's proof that there will be some unarguable quality here. Poets that I admire include Bill Shakespeare, John Milton, Herbert, Browning, Auden, Larkin and more. Here's one of Larkin's which ties in with the WoT- it really describes the ignominious retreat from the colonial years which, being abdicatory rather than responsive, bred the kind of people who today blow up themselves and other people. It was written in 1969, which gives me one more reason to declare that Larkin was a C20th prophet.

Homage to a Government
Philip Larkin

Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly.
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.

It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

May as well start doing what I'll do a lot: link to articles that impress me. The world's full of rubbish, but some things are less rubbishy than others. Melanie Phillips I like, and here's a diary entry of hers which lays into the BBC. As a British person I have grown up with the Beeb, and that breeds a special kind of loathing. Anyway, take it away Mel, and may someone show up on your records as having linked to you from 'Talking Hoarsely'.

Wow- second post already. Doesn't seem too hard. Look, I appreciate that the links are a bit rudimentary at the mo, and I realise I've left one of the 'e's out our 'general' in the subheading above, and I failed to mention that I'm 27 years old, male, with a mixed employment record following travel and a Literature degree at a good University mainly at taxpayers expense, basically pinning my hopes on hitting some kind of jackpot in the world of writing, which is about as vague and hopeless as it gets. There, the kind of things I find it harder to write. I console myself with the thought that nobody is reading this- but there may be a few people who've come via the Blogger network, so welcome to the asylum. What you'll get here are my thoughts. They are probably not deep, or at all unusual, but I hope they will be well expressed. I hope.

The above lines combined with those below may form the basis of a little 'about me' section, once I get the darn thing in order.

Umm. Ummm. This is a bit strange as I didn't come online intending to make my own blog, but I just have, or so it appears. Anyway, I've been meaning to for quite a while, so here it is. Umm. Ummm. No, I'm not a Buddhist, and that would be ommm (or do I mix up my religions?), just not sure what to do next. Actually I'm lucky enough to have been the recipient of a very direct religious experience that's been given the theological nickname of being 'Born Again'- but I don't know how I'd describe it except to say you'd rather be alive with it than without it, even if life is more demanding as a result. That's the kind of fundamental fact people want to hear at the beginning of a blog- why one's here and what one's about (I have a retro thing about this 'one' business which ebbs and flows a bit). Well, this site might contain some of my poetry (definitely others' poems), will definitely contain thoughts about political events- especially the WoT and related issues (just about anything from colonial ills to cultural decline and whatnot.). It will involve some anti-BBC rhetoric, and maybe even some argument. It will take in places I'm involved in or like- for instance the Czech Republic, Spain or Kenya, for reasons that will become clear if you stick around at all. It will no doubt get more organised as I go, and have a lot of interesting links, because variety is a spice I'm more or less addicted to. This Blog doesn't matter, until it does, but then is always free not to matter again. I think that it will be updated daily(ish), because there's always something to say and well, it doesn't matter if it's said well because it doesn't matter, until it does. The name 'Talking Hoarsely' is gimmicky because my name is Ed, and many will have some inkling about a TV programme that starred Ed, the Talking Horse. Since Ed is a name that often seems to amuse people- Edd the duck, Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards and Ed the Horse- I thought I might as well take advantage of one of these irritating things. I've never watched the show or liked it particularly, but I do know that once I start communicating it can be difficult to pull out, rather like this paragraph in fact- hence the 'hoarsely' bit. Oh, I'm British BTW, in case you needed that clearing up for you and you've got this far. Look, I don't know if this is a wise thing to be doing, but here I am doing it...

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