Blurr's intentions. My mistrust of Blair (despite his correct final analysis judgment call over Iraq) is pretty thorough- and developing all the time.
Hence I knew something was amiss when Blair addressed the question of Lords reform during his first public press briefing of his third term in office, and said- rather pathetically after all this time- '"I want to think very carefully about reform of the House of Lords," "I am a bit undecided on some aspects of it myself."
The truth is that gutting and refurbishing the House of Lords has been one of Blair's greatest pleasures in his governing period- a long, protracted meal with plenty of time to digest it- blotted only by the fact that the House of Lords has stalled and mired a number of his schemes. Well, to see his solution to this problem, and to see that he actually has some very firm ideas about what to do with the House of Lords, you need only look at the way he's gerrymandering the House now, satisfying some of the dumbest loyal drones who have brought him to this juncture of third term politics by elevating their nonentities to the Upper House and rebalancing it in his favour by doing so. (with thanks to A Tangled Web)
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Posted by ed thomas at 10:42 AM
Friday, May 13, 2005
Feeling Geopolitical: great thought-food from Kissinger, and Baker of the Times, on the USA in the world and Britain in Europe respectively (and when I say Britain in Europe I intend no connection with the euphemistically named Euroenthusiast pressure group). (via RCP). Also, and related to the previous, EURef puts the Times right on a point of fact, and the point of fact leads to an interesting rumination.
Posted by ed thomas at 2:26 PM
The BBC is just a embarrassment. Never mind Gallowsway and co.- today a solid block of the BBC's web frontpage was devoted to covering the USA they way they like to- that is, with Republican values and personalities on the defensive.
Take the Bolton case. The Beeb's presentation, while not false in strict terms, plays on the ignorance of its readership to increase a sense of Republican crisis over John Bolton's nomination to the UN.
They pile it on: 'increasing pressure', 'A leading Democrat senator' -surprise!-, 'A key Republican senator' (how key? Well, only in the sense that he happened to be on the relevant committee- not key as in, well, important generally). They start with the negatives and gradually unwind- if you can be bothered to read past all the breathless relayal of derring Democrat-do - and the purposeful expression of their 'options' should W fail to do as the BBC expects of him and capitulate to their righteous ululations- and finally we come to Bush's comments, which seem comically simple set against the Beeb's overwrought prose: 'Mr Bush has called Mr Bolton "a blunt guy" who "can get the job done at the United Nations".'
In all the above one can detect the leaden hand of one Justin Webb, who, lo!, is on hand here to add some finishing touches about the 'bruised' President ('cast your mind back' to the horrors of November; now we have a 'plaintive' president- chuckle chuckle- 'Senator George Voinovich, of Ohio, opted for independence' etc,, blah). The aim of course is as it is for the Democrats: a lameduck Bolton serving (if he must) a lameduck President. Carry on screaming, chaps.
For a better., more informative take on the facts, and a far less partisan engagement with the issues, see here.
Say- did I say a solid block? Well, they had a little anti-death penalty fest as well, here and here (at least the second one to cheer up the troops, anyway).
Posted by ed thomas at 8:59 AM
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Bedtime reading for the Beebies about how once upon a time there was a theory...- a theory, see? Compare and contrast.
'Researchers... say 70% of Switzerland's glaciers will disappear in the next 30 years, due to the effects of global warming.'
The alternative view:
'Glaciers have been receding for hundreds of years; that’s because we are still coming out of the very cool period of the Little Ice Age. Ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries. Scientists know of at least 33 periods of glaciers growing and then retreating.
Wish we'd hear the alternative sometimes, even if it would spoil the story.
Posted by ed thomas at 6:11 PM
Monday, May 09, 2005
Yay- get the lynch mob ready for Gallowsway- as Time reports the posse is [apparently- welcoming here suggestions about other British MP's who could be a subject of such revelations] about to 'out' the alleged UNscammer as part of a wider revelation of international figures involved in profiteering out of Saddam's corrupt regime- or maybe just ring the great bells of Bow, since something tells me history's guts will reject hideous George.
Marc at USS Neverdock alerted me to this story, and, if true, we could be looking forward to a second bite at having a decent election in Bethnal Green and Bow. Hooray if so. Also, I might ask of Mr Galloway- since he seems so enthusiastic about court cases- whether he oughtn't to think in terms of a different court and start dialogue with some defence lawyers.
Whilst nothing about the UK election actually sickened me, even Gallowsway's victory and crowing attempt to mire Blair in an Iraq-based demise, I would welcome a goodbye to all that. If Galloway does go down (a big 'if' since he's more slippery than a Tigris Trout), it might lead to an even bigger rollback of opinion on Iraq than this Max Hastings article demonstrates.
Despite his many flaws in his pursuit of an Iraq strategy, Blair deserves vindication on the geopolitical fundamentals, and to weather media round ups of anti-war-founded criticism such as this produced by the Beeb- comprising merely the usual suspects who have always supplied the Beeb with anti-war soundbytes throughout.
The Beeb's anti-war bias is well demonstrated by the absurdly one dimensioned analysis of John Simpson, who has done his best- with his BBC chums- to make Iraq the cause celebre of Blair's downfall. Marc also investigates this one. In it, Simpson claims, absolutely contrary to Max Hastings and his 'sources', that 'Iraq's civil war ' is 'worsening month by month'. Which goes to show that Simpson, like Gallowsway, hasn't forgotten who his Saddamite friends were- and hastens to see things their way.
Posted by ed thomas at 3:48 PM
Sunday, May 08, 2005
The story of the election was probably the radicalisation of Northern Ireland's politics- and a test of Blairism will be Nelson Mandela's chum Peter Hain's ability to get his master's bidding done. NI focused website A Tangled Web predicted the UUP meltdown a long time ago, and continually repeated its prophesies until the fateful day for Trimble came. As the UUP should have heeded those warnings, so they should take this advice.
For an interesting analysis from across the water (the big water) try these guys
Meanwhile, this being VE day, Niall Ferguson is a history guy worth reading on the subject (via RCP)
Posted by ed thomas at 6:36 PM