Thursday, May 10, 2007

If you view one thing on the internet this week, I recommend this, a Bloggerheads discussion between Robert Wright and Eli Lake. Bloggerheads, in case you are wondering, is a site where two way video conversations are broadcast. Robert Wright's a liberal, Eli's a conservative journalist. Eli's embedded in Iraq, following the "surge" of US troops there; Robert's back in the USA. It's nighttime in Iraq when this is recorded, daytime in the USA. Eli's account is full of excitement and tension- the real thing in other words. (via Instapundit)

Also fascinating, to get into the mood of Lake's reporting, this from Michael Yon- Rattlesnake- embedded with the British army and active on night missions. Again, electrifying.

I should also add that I will be away for the next few days, visiting relatives. I may be absent from these pages for five days or so. Then again, maybe I won't be.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ah, happy days. Some joke, perhaps? The BBC had it as their front page photo all day.

As Mark Steyn said about the BBC in a recent column, "On the European Union, on the Iraq war, on Northern Ireland, on Islam, on America, the BBC trends not merely well to the left of the Conservative Party but well to the left of Tony Blair’s New Labour."

Is the IPCC doing harm to science?

Look out for a big BBC climate change splash this weekend, unless that is they think the weather's too cold in London or they think people are looking the other way. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), you see, is due to release another climate change paper on Friday.

Der Spiegel have written an interesting analysis of the current state of play, explaining the international wrangling that goes on about the use of language, and how the EU (with the UK) has tended to have its way in hardening forecasts.

What struck me most was this concerning CC "denier" Richard Lindzen:

"Lindzen's arguments sound convincing, but they are still nothing but claims, popular theories as opposed to a transparent global process, a global plebiscite among climate researchers."

I grew up in a family headed by a scientist, and this was not the way I understood it should work. Politics and science just don't mix, which appears not to be good enough for some.

Oh, another highlight from the Spiegel article (unserious one), concerning Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC:

"When colleagues describe him they mention his beard, the way he combs his hair straight across his head and his diplomatic skills."

Ah, I think this is the polite German way of saying that he has a wicked comb-over.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Nations Run Deep : France's positive moment.

I've heard recently from several sources of an old quote from the perennially influential Adam Smith:

"There is a great deal of ruin in a nation"

True enough, but the corollary must be that there is a great deal of repair required from time to time.

I am glad to hear of Nicholas Sarkozy's victory in the French Presidential elections, but Commentary's Michael Gurfinkiel sounds a cautionary note, and with good reason.

It's difficult reading his analysis of the situation, with France dominated by elite bureaucrats in Government, and by numerous, youthful and active Eurabian inmigrants on the the ground, to see how Sarkozy will be more than temporary respite for France. Maybe he will show people what needs doing- ie. a massive and alien revamping of France's political culture and social ideas. It's doubtful that he can actually do this himself, but perhaps he can be a trailblazer who buys France some time.

It would be nice for Europe if he can be more than that.

My comparison of the French situation with that of Britain, meanwhile, would be that while the French need to swallow their pride and accept alien solutions to their problems (and I mean more traditional Anglo-Saxon ones), Britain needs to awake to its own interests and show even greater robustness in its elected War on Terror. What we have seen in France is creeping Islamisation; in Britain we are vulnerable to the sudden terrorist shock. The French need to take their self-imposed blinkers off; the British to wake up. Neither is in a good position, but the French have taken a step forward today, undoubtedly.

By the way, I rather enjoyed the sour grapes BBC comment that "the BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says he will have to work hard to unite the French, and try to win round those who voted against him". Clearly since this vote was a choice of two philosophies, it would be a betrayal of Sarkozy's voting base to pander to the Royalists. But that's, I expect, the Beeb's only consoling consideration at the moment. I wonder whether the Beeb will ever tire of their boilerplate.

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