Friday, July 08, 2005

Death toll.

Well, it's rising, as I felt it would- but 'unlikely to top 100', so we are told. It's not close to my nightmares though- I thought the Underground, if attacked, would yield a harvest of death much more catastrophic, terrible though the situation seems anyway.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

At the moment I feel a little relieved that such a well organised attack wrought fewer casualties than I would have anticipated. I still live in fear that the British Government are playing the same game they played with the Tsunami- ie. deflecting attention away from the bottom line about numbers of dead. I also live in fear of the chance that beyond my immediate circle there may be some I care for involved- though at the moment I care for all those involved.

But, beyond that, is there anything to say? Certainly some are saying things- like Galloway, for instance. I think that asserting out role in Iraq or Afghanistan as the reason behind this outbreak of violence in our capital is utterly foolish. We all know that for the terrorists such things are a given 'grievance'- but they had many such grievances before those campaigns (and of course 9/11 came without any possible solicitation either from occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan- unless you consider Saddam's resolution-pressured Iraq directly linked to 9/11, that is), and the US withdrawal from Saudi was a classic example where giving them what they wanted was really neutral as far as violence toward the West is concerned- in fact violence climbed in the Kingdom subsequent to the US withdrawal. So there's no genuine coherence there, only politicking- which leaves Galloway behaving absolutely true to form.

Marc, however, at USS Neverdock, makes a legitimate point on behalf of all those people who might have lowered their guard as a result of the undermining of the notion of a War on Terror by some BBC journalism. 'The Power of Nightmares' assured us there was no real organised Islamic movement bent on our destruction, yet the massive organisation behind the London bombings- the syncronisation, the planning- suggest quite the opposite. It suggests the BBC's flagship programme of the last year, it's main publicised recent claim to excellence, was in fact highly flawed. And as forewarned is forearmed, the BBC has in this regard, and others less well-known, certainly been unconducive to the public good.

The Belmont Club says

'These coordinated attacks are, technically speaking, at far higher level of sophistication than the Madrid attacks of 3/11 which involved a single train. The attack on London was a "time on target" attack which required simultaneity so that one incident did not compromise the subsequent. By implication the personnel involved received some degree of training and planned the operation in sufficient secrecy to prevent British security services from getting wind of it.'

So the lesson is that we are still faced by a real danger, as real as war- and the nightmare can come to a town near us, or where we are.

Most seriously of all- this

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More seriously still- this is a fascinating take on the new Iranian order from Amir Taheri. I have to say I have a greater expectation of clarity and through clarity, possibly progress, from the new kid on the block.

But seriously, we need to outbid our European rivals in the race that matters- to rescue our continent from the grip of a bureaucratic juggernaut. The trouble is, of course, that as yet there's only one bid on the table and it's the Europroject.

No, I am pleased- despite what the Samizdatas say (caution: the main headline is very short and Anglo-Saxon). The truth is I don't live in London and I won't be likely to pay very much for it in money or infrastructural frustration, so Olympics 2012 should be a lot of fun- probably only on the TV, but with recognisable surroundings and more celeb-watching (ok someone will tell me I'll pay for it through the tax burden and that might be true, but I think actually that if any country's capital city can beat the financial blues of the Olympics it's Britain's... and besides, the deeper side of me says that six years is enough time for anything to happen). Anyway, I watched Daley Thompson from the comfort of our living room in my jim jams in 1984 and it was electrifying, so there's some history to my feelings about the Olympics.

Yes, it will annoy Chirac- and it no doubt already has, though the red glow of embarrassment will linger amusingly. Chirac's response according to the BBC has already given me a couple of chuckles. I suppose the line '"He wishes good luck and full success to the British authorities and people in the organisation of the 30th Olympiad." ' seemed somewhat underwhelming. Maybe the translation 'full success' just sounds a bit odd to Anglo ears- or maybe it's intended to sound off-key (I mean does he mean the best we can do, or actually outright success? I'd have been happier with 'all the best'. Such can be the wily use of the French language I always look for whether the Frenchman bothers to use a phrase that can be unambiguous in the English language as well as the French. He could have said that he hopes we enjoy it- the Games I mean not just the 'organisation'- but then again maybe it's the BBC's selection of quotes. You never can trust them; their idea of patriotism can be indulging in international Punch and Judy).

Barroso's incredible political imitation of constipation in praising 'an EU capital' also made me laugh. (Barroso's and other responses here.)

The funniest part though was undoubtedly Chirac having 'praised the "fair play" shown by the French bid team.' How very British! And not only that: it's what we say when the Aussies beat us, implying that all is not well in the antipodean moral garden. Of course it could be true that the Olympic committee have found comfortable places in Seb Coe's pocket or that the French were only caught out in the slips after some vicious sledging- but er, that's cricket! Yippeddee doo da!

More Chirakian responses, plus other fine French whines, tucked away in BBC Sport, here.

Meanwhile, for any Francophiles out there who need cheering up, you could always try googling 'French Military Victories' and follow the link there for a really encouraging read.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Essential Steyn. Had to link this article, as anything which exposes the hypocrisy of the aristrockrats has to be a positive thing.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The BBC's Simpson says this is becoming quite a week. What's with this 'becoming'? It was scheduled in advance- the news was as planned by the BBC as Live 8 was planned by its organisers. It's a week of organised news, and goodness knows what's actually going on in Africa and who considers that it might be a good week to bury bad neighbours. In the same article George Bush is encaptioned as one who will 'do what is best for the US'. He might be the only sane one among the whole circus.

You can read more thoughts here

Nialling it. I'm not sure about the totality of his argument (especially when he veers off into China-ball gazing), but certainly Ferguson raises some interesting parallels concerning Geldof's mission. Personally I remember finding Mrs Jellyby just uncannily up to date...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Pop Goes Reason

According to the BBC reporting Live 8, 'Almost all of the singers involved took the opportunity to explain their reasons for performing.'

However, I bet none of them made so much sense as John Lennon on the subject of pop's charity bashes.

Meanwhile, this is also worth reading (from the same website). Not that I despise St. Bob- not at all. I think he's doing the best that an ageing, wealthy, secularist 'pop star', who finds himself with a cachet outweighing most politicians, could do. The trouble is that the solutions will not come from those 'within the loop', like Bob. (via Steynonline)

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