Friday, September 23, 2005

As I notice yet more worrying (and pathetic) Euro weakness (of course I meant EU 'diplomacy' over Iran, not the slightly dodgy currency) I feel I have to mention too that I may be gone for the next few days. I have a piece of work to do for which the deadline was today, but hopefully Monday will do. Of course I'll just mention how blogging takes up a lot of time and I'm sure to be understood...

In other BBC news, this African news doesn't surprise me. Nor does the BBC's slightly unhealthy interest in this. Somehow all three seem to be of a piece, as often happens when the world out there is filtered through the BBC.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Like him or loathe him, I think it ought to be clear by now that GWB has a scheming brain. Thomas Lifson analyses the details of it (with especial reference to this hurricane season they're experiencing in the South). He concludes that Bush 'knows and understands strategy in a way no other president ever has.' Make of that what you will.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Well, there has been a failure in the UK miliary activities in Iraq- they should have taken on Al Sadr, arrested him and tried him for some of his many misdemeanours. Then they should have said to all the waverers around Mucktada, 'who's next?', and then (to the people) 'we want to involve ourselves in most of what goes on here in Basra, getting to know you and what's best for us to do before we go'. They should have done this a long time ago.

The BBC's Paul Reynolds is still bleating about an exit strategy. Yeah, well, ok- but in doing this almost solid for over a year- almost two years I think- he seems to have missed the point that the troops were there for real reasons, and had serious work to do. Perhaps the defensiveness of the whole UK endeavour, which the BBC has done more than most to promote, has contributed to the failure to exit?

The point is that the Brits had it relatively easy there, but naturally where you have hot-blooded Shia and the mullahs next door you have to move smartly to build on that position, rather than preening about being liked more than your colleagues further north. I don't really blame our troops for this as it's mainly media driven, but nevertheless there is a snobbery about, which I don't like, which may just have got our troops singed recently. I also don't think the situation in the South is desperate, unless one considers that this area was a real potential strength and dynamo to achieve our objectives, and now it isn't so clear that it is.

The Poosh is very clear about this, as on much else. Good stuff. If I understand correctly he's from an Asian background, which is why he sounds so refreshingly patriotic I suppose.

Back of an envelope stuff-

Yes, really- I'm turning it round and round in my hand to read my scrawl, and I'm just glad to have it and my keyboard so close together for once.

BBC World often requires enveloping; I don't want to be mean and have a notepad and pen right at hand, or maybe I just know that pens and paper were made for me to separate them at crucial moments.

After noting down (with a pared down biro squirming in my clenched fist) that Brian Hanrahan was talking about the subsidisation of oil when he meant a reduction in duty, I went on to chronicle a discussion between two eminences from the US and UK (I know them, but their names I failed to note and can't remember) about aid and the UN, hosted by Zanab Abadawi.

First she asked whether the failure of the UN's jamboree to produce reform was a result of John Bolton's 'coming late'. The she said 'the US has made the world resent it; that is the crux of the matter'. When the US former ambassador to the UN (I think that was his role) tried to mention the question of African corruption Ms Abadawi intervened quickly :

'We're not going to talk about corruption in Africa, because I'm sure we all agree we want that sorted out...'

It was then I started scrawling in earnest. I thought, how ridiculous that she thought this point needed no discussion. Until corruption in Africa is controlled and ended, there will be no solution to Africa's problems, and aid is like a sticking plaster on a blown out tyre. Moreover, any approach or mechanism to end corruption will not be simple, hardly a matter of consensus, and deeply controversial there's no doubt.

Then back came the ex-ambassador, talking about how the money was going to be spent (ie, was it all going to be wasted through corruption), and Ms Abadawi was again swift off the mark, 'ok, you've made that point'. Er, no. It was ruled out of court, remember?

All she wanted to talk about was the Millenium Goals and why the US and Mr Bolton were so laggardly. I would write more about this, but my envelope was rather limited in size and my scrawl was rather big. The companion sheet to my envelope remains elusive.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Those wannabe intellectuals.

Is there anyone in the hierarchy of the C of E today who wouldn't rather have been an intellectual if they had had the vigour, discipline or intellect to do so?

I only say because they're forever intellectualising and poking their noses in where they haven't a clue, let alone aren't wanted. They have much to say at the moment about the threat of terrorism and the 'just war tradition' (today's C of E loves tradition as much as the Pope, maybe more) and how the church should apologise to Islam for the war in Iraq.

I'll quote a little and then ventilate:

'By way of conclusion we offer a set of fundamental Christian principles, both theological and ethical, which we believe should guide our thinking and action, not only in relation to policy toward Iraq and Iran, but more generally to the present international order'.

Why thank you very much learned gentlepersons of the cloth. I think you'll find that you can't offer a 'fundamental set of Christian principles' other than the ones you completely ignore which were handed to you for transmission to the society around you, ie. Biblical doctrines. I don't care about your 'principles'; I don't trust your interpretations, which remain as ever grounded in the techno-speak of transnationalism rather than in the plain text which is your only claim to exceptionalism. You never deal with any of the things in your own intray, such as moral decay within and surrounding your church, but feel free to deal in the supposed failings of others. You stand for nothing but genteel and dead-end intellectual dilletantism. By even raising your voice on this issue while your church remains so weakened under your guidance you shame your calling. The best thing you could do for the next ten years is shut up, saying nothing but that which affects your church life directly. By doing so you might just start to plant the seeds of some good- but don't count on it, or the grand effort of saying nothing will all be wasted. (hat tip A Tangled Web)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Continental uplift.

Sort of hoping that Mrs Merkel wins today. I hope she turns out to be more radical that the MSM are saying, just as I hope she puts their 'Schroder closing the gap' theme down properly. Maybe one reason for hoping that she causes a stir is simply that this might distract bored and complacent continentals from their boring complacent lives, where they tolerate sleaze, gross behaviour and the most virulent anti-Americanism- not to mention anti-Britishness (see also above link).

I notice the death figures for Katrina are such that it's possible that the final figure may be less than a thousand- which makes a stark contrast to what happened in France during a heatwave two years ago. The truth is that America at its worst would be like most continental countries at their best- and to say that would be just to go with the economics, let alone the 'can do' attitude of most American states (an ethos which Lousiana may be unusually low on)./ Some interesting reflection on several Euro fronts here.

The day after's Update: actually not very uplifting, was/is it? Wonderful advert for the Lib Dem proportional representation policy though, as they meet in Blackpool.

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