I couldn't help being interested in this article about Tony Blair's foreign policy principles (via Con. Home), and one particular quote, in the light of the Woolmer case discussed in the post below.
"What happens today in Pakistan matters on the streets of Britain."
It's ironic too in his choice of language:
"Be a player not a spectator"-
and certainly whatever you do don't be a coach.
In a way the Woolmer case would be the perfect illustration of the "Pakistan point", were it to be the case that the British had decided to close down the Jamaican investigation to prevent another inflammatory anti-British issue for the imams in the madrassahs to ponder, and for the Pakistani population in the UK to absorb as another "grievance". That Mark Shields must be a rubbish policeman- he said at one point that he was 100 percent certain that Woolmer had been murdered... or maybe he's just amenable to a good talking to from his erstwhile colleagues from Scotland Yard.
By the way, Pakistan has a population of 165 million with 37 percent below the age of 14.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Still No Cricket.
So, from the BBC we receive the news that Bob Woolmer was not murdered after all. Or at least we think we do. Who knows what to think now? It was held to be certain after a decent period for initial investigation that Woolmer had been strangled. Then that was questioned. Then it was asserted that he was poisoned and strangled. What was noticeable was the interventions of the Pakistani cricket authorities, again and again pushing for a naturalistic explanation. Then the UK police stepped in; and the UK pathologists. My reaction to that was twofold- good to have extra police weight behind the investigations; bad that they were becoming internationalised and politicised too early in the process.
Whatever Woolmer's state of health (and the family stated he had no serious health issues), he was a lifelong sportsman who still exercised with his team. How unhealthy could he have been? The only cause of such sudden death brought on by stress that is generally known is a heart attack, and this is so easy to determine it could have been immediately announced.
If this is the final resolution by the authorities then there is nothing more to be said (the motivations for a cover up are quite obvious); but that still doesn't make it cricket.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Who needs money?
What LGF says about kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston's statement is all too true:
"unfortunately, what he says isn’t that different from the BBC’s day-to-day reporting under normal circumstances"
I feel a touch of the old Humbert Wolfs coming on. Sing along:
"You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God! the
But, seeing what
the man will do
no occasion to."
Nowadays no-one is scared of the British polity, so why bribe when you can just take hostages?
Yet one could reaonably ask, why bother when the Beeb are so pliable to the cause of the terrorist anyway? I think it's something in the criminal mind- they just want to make sure. And anyway, criminality is fun, innit?
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
When I make a few remarks on the British legal system, one of the things I have to explain to the uninitiated is how numbers just mean different things in Britain. Take the case of Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal. He's the guy who preached serious hate and went to jail for a hefty
nine years. four years. And now he's out and sunning himself in the Caribbean (which, after all, is what he should have stuck to).
According to the BBC at the time "The judge recommended that el-Faisal, from Stratford in east London, should serve at least half of the sentence and then be deported."
Maybe we're there now, taking into account custodial time before the trial. Or maybe we're not. And maybe that too is a point worth arguing. In any case, it's simply absurd to append the tag "nine years" when we only mean four.
But that's me naively assuming that a crime carries a price, rather than prison as being a form of social management. We're all part of that continuum.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
When a comment is a rebuttal.
Matthew Parris has one of those typically high-handed moments of his, concealed under his trademark upper-class self-deprecation, as he debates the insufficiency of democracy.
A commenter sets him straight:
If you can't trust democracy, who can you trust? For the last 900 years (approx) in England we have been moving towards greater democracy because of the failures of kings (King John, Charles I, James II and others). Our rulers are not necessarily wise.
Taxation without democracy is nothing more than demanding money with menaces.
For a democracy to function, the electorate must be fully and impartially informed. Therefore the press must be free and impartial. I am not sure how this could be achieved but could the owner of this newspaper please take note.
Ian Wyld, Marlborough,
I agree with almost all of this, but it seems pretty clear how a "fully and impartially informed" public could be achieved, and that is by imposing a free market on the UK media through the progressive privatisation of the BBC. Naturally legal powers would need to be buttressed against monopoly interests (which should be the number one priority of the Government of the land in all sectors), and obviously the public would perforce have to wake up to the idea that there is no "given" view to be held, but all this would be to the good, and democracy the winner.