Saturday, February 02, 2008

Caliphate near

Once again the French have proved themselves meddlesome inadequates when it comes to their Africa policy. Unlike the British, who never want to be tangled up there again, the French fancy themselves a bit of an African player on the ground.

That's the principle reason why Chad is about to be seized by Islamists coming out of Sudan. The French as guarantors of the continuation of stability have failed. Whether that failure is permanent remains to be seen.

Yet if you look at the map below, you can see that, with radical Islamists in charge of both Sudan and Northern Nigeria, the way is clear for a pan-Africa Islamist alliance stretching from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Guinea and the South Atlantic.

Both Sudan and Nigeria are oil-rich countries. No one seems to see where this is trending. Obama wants the US out of Iraq, the British appetite for action seems to be determined by the likes of Matthew Parris and the BBC. All the time vital resources are coming more and more under the power of hostile entities who are essential to the interests of China, and potential allies of Russia (which is in turn vital to Europe's energy requirements).

Oh, and the economies of the West are showing ever greater fragility.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Blogger in spirit.

Students, "on the sudden transported under another climate to be tost and turmoil'd with their unballasted wits in fadomless and unquiet deeps of controversie, do for the most part grow into hatred and contempt of Learning, mockt and deluded all this while with ragged Notions and Babblements, while they expected worthy and delightful knowledge; till poverty or youthful years call them importunately their several wayes and hasten them with the sway of friends either to an ambitious and mercenary, or ignorantly zealous Divinity; Some allur'd to the trade of Law, grounding their purposes not on the prudent and heavenly contemplation of justice and equity which was never taught them, but on the promising and pleasing thoughts of litigious terms, fat contentions, and flowing fees; others betake them to State affairs, with souls so unprincipl'd in vertue, and true generous breeding, that flattery, and Court shifts and tyrannous Aphorisms appear to them the highest points of wisdom; instilling their barren hearts with a conscientious slavery, if, as I rather think, it be not fain'd. Others lastly of a more delicious and airie spirit, retire themselves knowing no better, to the enjoyments of ease and luxury, living out their daies in feast and jollity; which indeed is the wisest and the safest course of all these, unless they were with more integrity undertaken. And these are the fruits of mispending our prime youth at the Schools and Universities as we do, either in learning meer words or such things chiefly, as were better unlearnt."

I wonder what Milton would have made of universal education or 50% university attendance? Probably in this context he would have welcomed the healthy appearance of the Mcdegree. Milton's full text and commentary here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our BBC boys go large

Recently there's been some hoohah over the BBC's funding from the EIB. EU Referendum blog has been on this case for almost four years, as have I, and I think there's a very broad picture here to talk about.

The Huntsman has a detailed analysis of the EIB case.

Surprisingly few people are aware that the BBC World Service is funded directly by the UK Government, not from the License Fee. Think of all those tie ins of expertise and knowledge between the BBC and the Foreign Office. This World Service is growing, not contracting, and its support from the Government is growing too. Lately they launched Arabic and Farsi TV, for instance, through a greatly enhanced funding package. The propagandist possibilities are endless, and they feed back into a BBC "we know best, we're the experts and know secrets" mentality that places them above their real direct funders, the public.

The BBC has not only received loans from the EU banking tool the EIB, it has also received direct funding from the EU.

That doesn't stop the BBC acting as a commercial operation at every opportunity. Its profits are its own, its liabilities are ours through the funding of all sorts with which taxpayers support it. When they're getting away with so much, why wouldn't they be arrogant?

One can rightly say that Conservatives have failed to see the BBC for what it is- a fundamentally unconservative concept and operation. This hydra head of state communications badly needs cutting back.

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