Don't know why the post I just posted hasn't been posted.
However, what is remarkable is that the BBC's Don't Have Your Say may be becoming Have Your Say (after all). More credit to the Biased BBC blog I'd say.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Posted by ed thomas at 3:53 PM
Coo, isn't he lovely?
That's right, transnationalism has once more given birth- and it's the delightful progeny of the 'international community' (maiden name, UN), and the guilt ridden corpse of masculinity entombed in the Nobel peace prize. They're calling the fresh arrival Mohammed, apparently.
I watched a little bit of Sky and a little bit of the Beeb, and while Aunty Beeb was wreathed in smiles at the way the little chap had emerged from his Iraqi weapons crisis, Uncle Sky was grimacing wryly and saying good humouredly, 'bit ugly, isn't he?' Got to say I absolutely preferred the company of Uncle Sky.
Paul Reynolds, the godfather, was all serious when it came to a formal address. He seemed to think that Mohammed's arrival was a sign that he was a mighty achiever, rather than simply reflecting the fact that Alfie had got cosy amidst the warm embrace of the UN and it's anti-US obstructionism.
This gives an idea what the Nobels think about Iraq.
Posted by ed thomas at 2:19 PM
Thursday, October 06, 2005
I 've read David Cameron's much-heralded speech- and it doesn't amount to much. I notice how he avoids all the difficult issues, such as Europe, Ireland and Iraq, and goes for all the simple ones, like offering 'choice' and 'setting' and so on, in education (things which Tony Blair can claim for himself, and which the public believes are already happening).
But I found the emptiness summarised by a comment he makes about foreign policy:
'And when we talk about foreign affairs, we don't just stand up for Gibraltar and Zimbabwe, but for the people of Darfur and sub-Saharan Africa who are living on less than a dollar a day and getting poorer while we are getting richer.'
Another difficult and vital issue (aside from the War on Terror- and national security, and the London bombings-, which he doesn't mention) is the UN's role in our diplomatic life. Blair, just today, condemned Iran's violent toying with Soutern Iraq by referring to his 'UN mandate'. Politics it may be (though I think Blair does have a high regard for the UN), but it comes with a price- and the price is inertia ove issues of national interest.
Cameron's statement about Zimbabwe shows that he doesn't recognise historical responsibility or national interest and give it any priority over the UN's shapeless moralising. I don't believe that the Conservatives as a party have really stood up for Zimbabwe as Mugabe tightens his rigor mortis-like grip. The idea of watering down still further is amost unthinkable.
What we need is a leader who has some sense of the difficult issues, and can stand up for conservative policies in them. It's by adopting the right principled positions based on our national interest that would differentiate Conservatives from Labour, and give some substance to his idea of renewal. I found Claudia Rosett's analysis of a dynamic national spirit versus a moribund transnational one interesting- no country could be more clearly politically defined than her subject, Taiwan.
Posted by ed thomas at 6:02 PM
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
A little more on the subjects I talked about in the post below- the Miers and Delay situations, which I, perhaps somewhat impetuously (but I think constructively), tied in together.
The Delay 'second indictment' which the press greedily gobbled up, is nicely explained here.
The Miers situation, which I felt had some symbolic connection with the Delay one, is being vigorously pursued by Hugh Hewitt in posts like this and this.
I think that choosing Miers is another sign that Bush has a philosophy something like the following: He doesn't trust establishments. He does trust providence- providence which has brought him into contact with a wide, but not exhaustive, range of the interesting and talented. It doesn't matter if you agree with the idea of providence or not- it's the only summary word we have to express the specific journey a person takes which differentiates them from others (nb- you could make a case for 'fate', but the Greek tragic associations don't really work too well). What this means is that he makes his choices based at least partly on his own personal journey through life. He believes in making selections in a team context, and in the wider one of society and the world.
I don't know what to think of Harriet Miers- and I do care, since in many ways we need the USA to be strong for the safety of civilisation- largely because I don't know her. But I like Bush's balanced approach- rarely picking the biggest name, and never taking the genuinely easy option. I like the way he seems to have the attitude that you've got to displease all of the people some of the time. I've never really been pleased by GWB, and never felt betrayed by him- but I find him very reassuring.
Posted by ed thomas at 4:34 PM
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
The dumb and the less so
No, this is not a plug for honest Jon. Well, not really.
Actually it is to make a point about US politics at the moment.
I notice that the media have managed to avoid mentioning the idiocy of the Texan legal eagles who indicted Rep Congressman Tom Delay on charges which relied on legislation which postdated his alleged offence. Instead the Beeb and others race straight ahead to the 'new indictment'. If that had been US legal authorities versus the Islamofascist I doubt the utter stupidity of the first indictment would have been missed so glaringly.
In the light of this conspiracy of dumb, is it really so stupid of Bush to choose a new member of the Supreme Court from outside the loop- but of course part of Bush's, someone whose abilities he has seen close at hand? Unless you just distrust and hate Bush per se, that is. Furthermore, if Ms Miers had been educated in the real Texan jurisprudence of dumb, it is doubtful if she could ever have headed a successful law firm. I suppose I have the right to be suspicious of people like the aforelinked Sullivan who buy into the idea that the second Delay indictment is actually an additional one, and not a replacement for the abortive initial one (designed of course, for the very media misrepresentation which is ongoing).
I got into this issue via the slightly personal exchanges of sorts between Sullivan (the aforelinked) and Hugh Hewitt, whom Sullivan accuses of basically being a fawning sycophant of the President. I have to say that Sullivan is an idiot. He seems uncontent while anyone else is on the other side of a debate. He whines like a child in personal and emotive language, being totally prone to psycholanalysis of the president. You could almost guess he'd just come from the shrink's couch to his computer. Meanwhile, if Hewitt is guilty of anything, it's of praising his own profession too much, thereby making it look like Bush's choice within that profession was really straighforward, when in the current global situation (which is what America and its legal framework will have to face up to) it was anything but.
When you look into the likes of Sullivan, the dumbness of the media generally, and the dumbness of much of the oft-praised legal eagles- and the way that they'd all like to huddle together in one self-righteous lump screaming at big bad Bush- you have to say that Bush may at least be slightly less dumb than his opponents, and thus well placed to make history happen the way he'd prefer.
Posted by ed thomas at 11:04 AM
Blood and Iron
I think the Bali bombings should have taught us some useful things- things we shouldn't need to be taught, but that we're learning with painful slowness.
One important thing is that Islamists repeat their targets. That means they are not engaged in some geographical lottery of explosive protest, with the names in the hat being those who have offended Islam, but a sustained assault. It might be comforting to think that the safest place to be would be somewhere which has already been targeted, but that's clearly false logic.
Mark Steyn has a great article about the Bali bombings, aimed at the Australian public. It's more and more important for us to think globally (and act locally) to counteract what the Islamists are developing.
We can see the Bali situation as a microcosm of the Islamist strategy and the potential it has. Steyn paints the picture a little:
'When the suicide bombers self-detonated on Saturday, the travel section of Britain's The Sunday Telegraph had already gone to press, its lead story a feature on how Bali's economy had bounced back from the carnage of 2002. We all want to believe that: one terrorist attack is like a tsunami or hurricane, just one of those things, blows in out of the blue, then the familiar contours of the landscape return. But two attacks are a permanent feature, the way things are and will be for some years, as one by one the bars and hotels and clubs and restaurants shut up shop. Many of the Australians injured this weekend had waited to return to Bali, just to make sure it was "safe". But it isn't, and it won't be for a long time, and by the time it is it won't be the Bali that Westerners flocked to before 2002.'
I highlight what is surely the significance of Bali- it won't be the same again. It's been changed, and by Islamofascists. That's their victory, their template, and their credential for the place at the head of history which they seek.
Sometimes people list the achievements of the US in its War on Terror. Sometimes even the sceptics, like the BBC, do that. They main reasons are either to say, 'well, it's working', or 'it's worked'. Many who do that are either getting cold feet or trying to egg on those whose feet are cooling.
The reality is that for all the talk of neo-colonialism no-one has the appetite for that anymore. The only would-be colonists out there are Islamofascists. They'd love to colonise the whole world. They know the dynamics include blood and oil, and a commerce in ideas. So, like every good international sales manager, they have a big, big map of the world imprinted on their minds. They have outposts and representatives worldwide- some violent, some not- aping, a little, the way the British Empire began with Raleighs as well as Drakes. I'm not saying Islamofascism has anything so positive to offer, but it has the dynamism of a nascent Empire. It's that grand vision which we have to confront, and most would like to pretend it doesn't exist in any significant form.
Posted by ed thomas at 10:22 AM