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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Now, there was this 13 year old lad who attended a Church of England comprehensive school, who has been riding the school bus the 6 miles from home to class these past two years for free, because of his disability. He's an acute asthmatic.
He was turfed off the bus yesterday, because his mother, a lapsed Baptist, had never had the boy Christened.. so the free ride now costs £270 per annum..
This is interesting, simply because it's beginning to show a position from a Christian Church, which would demand all those associated them will either have to pay, or conform to the rules of the Church itself.
It is as though it must be demonstrated by those who attend, that they are committed to their faith..
Much the same, in a lesser sense, than those called upon to put the semtex vest on.
Although the school has issued this particular student with a free pass, good until Christmas, they are standing by their demand, that all students attending after their 4th year of Senior School, must be Baptised.
Herein begins the segregation.. the line between faith and faith.
And in our own backyard, it becomes not a fight between one Christian faith battling another. That has been common for years, with the Catholics and the Protestants going at each other for centuries.
It becomes a fight of Christians, against pagan, in the true sense of the word.
A demand for commitment.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The leaderof al Q'aeda in Iraq, in a audiotape released Thursday, has called for nuclear scientists to join his group's holy war and urged insurgents to kidnap Westerners so they could be traded for an Egyptian Sheik who's serving life in an American prison..
The called for experts in the fields of "chemistry, physics, electronics, media and all other sciences — especially nuclear scientists and explosives experts" to join his group's jihad against the West.
"We are in dire need of you," said the speaker, who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir .. also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
"The field of jihad can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases in Iraq are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call them."
The 20-minute audio was posted to a Web site that frequently airs al-Qaida messages.

The voice could not be independently identified, but it was thought to be al-Masri's. He is believed to have succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who died in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad in June, as head of the al-Qaida-linked organization.
Now, it becomes even more important for the governments involved in the 'democratic' transformation of the country, to ponder the future of the venture.. perhaps re-evaluate the chance of success on any level..

Thursday, September 28, 2006

An interesting statistic..
One in four Brits have, or have been treated for, a mental illness. That one in four of those, has gone undiagnosed..
When one applies that statistic to say, Westminster, that would seem to indicate that over 110 of our MP's are somewhat, to some degree, crazy...
That does explain a lot..
But if one extrapolates, for surely it's not a problem peculiar to British citizens, there would be an inordinately large number of loonies in control in, say, the US..
And it would certainly explain some of the current actions of the governments of Germany, and France..

Yet another report which seemingly attacks the government's presence in the Middle East. This one suggests that we, by merely being there, are drawing more and more Muslims towards extremism. It is a shame, that those in power and who play with troops in Iraq like chesspieces, have not devised a strategy that would, while working towards supressing terrorism, also engender some sympathy from the local population.
Perhaps, if we intend to keep troops there, it might be wise to begin some serious restoration work.. get the regiments out there who not only fight, but who can directly repair some of the infrastructure that has been destroyed..electricity..water supplies..
If we were seen trying to rebuild some of the buildings knocked down by bombing or shelling, while maintaining our role in support of the elected government..
We are throwing away millions of £'s a day in maintaining a shooting war. Perhaps it's time to divert some of that budget, to openly trying to help those who have never touched a gun.
It might discourage them from a mentality that would support their developing a hatred so powerful, that it demands martyrdom..
It might turn that anger towards those who would doubtless do their best to sabotage such an effort..
It's one thing to look at an occupying army as only a destructive force, and another to see that army working to rebuild. It would also help in underlining the intent of those terrorist groups who would maintain their efforts to disrupt a return to normalcy..
It is the impression of the man on the street that must be changed, if we are to stay there with any chance of success.
Whether we have already gone too far, is moot..
There is one more point which should be touched upon before we put the puzzle away for the night..
Congress has passed legislation that now allows those being held as suspected terrorists, to be tried before a Military Tribunal.
This accomplishes two things, on the whole.
One: it identifies those who are thought to be linked to terrorism as 'soldiers', not civilians, and therefore they're not entitled to the rights of normal citizens, for they are
Two: indeed participating of their own free will in a declared 'war'. This allows them none of the privileges of normal Jurisprudence, and justifies confining such as deemed 'suspect' in places such as Gitmo, or at any one of the many CIA 'compounds' throughout the US.
It also eases the conscience of the American, and perhaps to some extent, the British man on the street, for if they are indeed 'soldiers', they must adhere to a 'military code'. If they breach those Rules of Conduct, as we see them to be, they abrogate their rights of 'citizens', and are indeed beyond the Law as we, the proletariat, understands it.
It's an important step, and once again only underlines the depth of concern the West has for those we call 'fanatics, fundamentalists, outright loonies' who do not share our ethos.
However, it does leave the door open for an outright witch-hunt, the likes of McCartheyism..
Just one of the freedoms which can, and will be taken away from those with dubious connections or backgrounds.
There's Democracy in action for you.
The Government's watching your back.. and more.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Seems so much has been handed us, in snippets, since last one was at this keyboard..
On the British political front, Tony's upstaged all of those who might aspire to taking his job, by making one of the most listenable Labour Conference addresses in decades..
It has now been made abudantly clear that he is going to step down next year, but as one Member of Cabinet stated, it really doesn't matter any more, the exact timing.. Tony has set wheels in motion which Labour, as a Party, would find disasterous to either alter or abort.
The heir-apparent, Gordon Brown, while heaping praise on Tony and his administration (as indeed Tony in turn lauded Gordon Brown as the 'best Chancellor this country has seen in 60 or more years') , was rudly brought down to earth by a comment made by Cherie Blair.
For when Gordon said, in his address, that he had enjoyed working under Tony for lo these past 10 years', Cherie was heard to mutter 'That's a lie...'
However, one can say with reasonable certainty that the next Labour Leader will be the irascible Scot, Gordon Himself.. much to his probable relief at finally getting to move to No.10 from No.11, an ambition long held close..

Interesting to note, that the average Brit is £3thousand in debt, which leads the EU countries by a good margin.. But on the other hand, the same poll reveals the other Member states are quickly catching up, at a rate 3 times the British..

And of course, the confirmation of Bulgaria and Serbia's entry into the European Union has been confirmed, as of the 1st of the coming new year. Yet another pair of bankrupt countries to join in the weight pressing against the fragile web that is keeping Europe as a whole, even close to solvent..
And more home-made terrorism in the US, with a gunman dead and a student wounded after the shootist ran amok.. Pressures in that country are reaching the boiling point, even in the normally detatched south-west. This uncertainty concerning their next government, with the added pressure of being the most reviled nation in this present world, seems to be telling in the most unlikely of places..

This is the time, we one advising al Qaeda, to pull something big off. To stamp a mark either on British or American soil. To underline Isam's position as untouchable, while demonstrating how, with our simple everyday lives, we are vulnerable.
Amdenejad's visit to Venezuela, with even the South Americans condeming American as 'the great Satan', and worthy of a Holy War, is an indication of consolidation of Christian and Islamic ideals, under the umbrella of oil.
The United States, pulling Britain along, is falling into a terrible spiral, wherein it's allies are exceeding few, and it's foes, legion. A spiral in which it must keep itself at war, to support it's own economy, and the choice of 'peace' is not only taken away by the determination of enemies, but by the demands of an economy which is surviving on 'throw away commodities'.
One has stated many times before in these writings, the position one would take to rid this constant threat of terror. That economic sanctions, if not complete embargo's on foreign fuel from the enemy, would hit them a thousand times more effectively than ten thousand troops on the ground in a region that is already, for the time being, lost in religious fervour.
Allow Russia into the WTO.. take what might be the minimum of fossil fuels from that country, as a massive country-wide move towards retooling for alternate energy sources is forced through to the consumers..
Take the wealth away from those who fund the terrorists, and the terrorist will have nothing to work with..
It's time we hunkered down, and looked for the long-term, rather than throwing our efforts at home and abroad towards making the world a better place, for those who don't want what we have to offer, other than the $.
This is not just a diatribe against the Levant, but against all those who would work diligently, to destabalize what we have come to expect as 'our way of life'.
Let the rest of the world do as they will.
Deal as little as possible with those who have no ethic that doesn't even remotely come close to matching ours.
Let the transition to China becoming the next world superpower, supplanting the US, be as painless as possible, while getting our homegrown traditions back on track.
If it were only as simple a move to make.. it it were not such a complex issue, one would say withdraw the Western forces and the Western funding completely and utterly from the Middle East and Africa. Let them decide their own fates, in their own way, but without a steady flow of £'s and $'s to fund their historically endless cycles of violence, famine, pestilence, and oppression.
This is not a world ready to stand united.
Ergo, it is time to become insular to the extreme.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Might be on a slight hiatus here, medical matters to be dealt with..
But before this impending gap, a few notes..
..The Labour Party is doing it's best to patch up it's tattered image, for innoculous comments from Gordon Brown..
..Iranian President Ahmadamajad is trying to woo the Middle East.. watch for developments with the Saudi's
..Hurricane season's about to hit with a vengeance.. global weather pattern changes might be even more violent this season..
..and on the British political from as a whole, watch for Ming to bolster his position as leader of the LibDems with some sweeping promises.. and the Tories might have David making some promises of his own, or more importantly, state some stances on his Party's plans for international affairs..
We'll catch up when one returns..

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Centre-Right victory in Sweden announced today.. this after decades of Social Democrat rule..
and with Germany's Angela Merkle already under the cosh, trailing in polls..
The NDP has been compared by some politicians, as a short step away from Nazism, yet The NPD's support is partly explained by its hard anti-immigrant stance in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which has soaring unemployment.
Angela, who became the country's first woman chancellor less than a year ago, would have wanted to do well in the state, which includes her home constituency.
The state is currently governed by a so-called "red-red" coalition of Social Democrats and the Left Party.
Manufacturing has collapsed across the former East German state following reunification in 1990, forcing many of its residents to go west in search of work.

It is a solid indication of the crumbling foundation of an idealistic movement, which would have an 'Unified Europe'. With the core nations verging on the brink of bankruptcy, how can any new member state do anything, but increase a workforce, increasing production, of material that no-one will be able to afford..
It's going to be a very strong issue with those on this island in the near future, for if we change Prime Ministers, and it's not to a Conservative Government, we will find ourselves innundated with the debt, and employment problems of economies which have not even begun to contribute to the whole.
The burden on 'modernising' Europe, will fall on those who're trailing the least debt, and at this point, that would be, us.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Just a brief mention of the next hurricane lurking off the West Coast of Mexico.. It seems these storms are comming faster, and with more fury than they have in the past, and Hurricane Lane has many cutting short their idyllic vacations, and taking the first planes out...
One wonders what this pattern will develop into over the next decade or so..
But, the Pope is still at the top of the list..
There is talk there will be no visit to Turkey, which is predominately Muslim..

And there is more disturbingly, talk from usually pacifistic Mullahs, that there needs to be a personal apology from the Pontiff. And that in itself will certainly not be enough for the Fundamentalists..
Disturbing times, not made any easier by the stream of gaffes, both verbal and active, from Western leaders.
One expects to see this, from a Muslim extremist's view, as definative proof that the gap between Christianity and Islam is just too great to span, and that they, in their violence, are justified..

Friday, September 15, 2006

One wonders if 'oops' translates into Latin, or even German..
Now, on the surface, the comments by the Pope , could not have been taken in any other context..but...
The Vatican has denied that Pope Benedict XVI intended any offence to the Muslim religion, after a speech touching on the concept of holy war.
Speaking in Germany, the Pope quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things.

And for some reason, unclear as it might be,the remarks have angered clerics and commentators around the Muslim world.
Now what the Pope really intended, was to make clear that he rejected violence motivated by religion...and that there was no intent to offend particular..
And the reaction..
Pakistan summoned the Vatican's ambassador to express regret over the remarks, as parliament passed a resolution condemning the comments
The head of the Muslim Brotherhood said the remarks "aroused the anger of the whole Islamic world"..
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya condemned the Pope's comments..
In Iraq, the comments were criticised at Friday prayers by followers of radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr..
The "hostile" remarks drew a demand for an apology from a top religious official in Turkey..
And the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference said it regretted the Pope's remarks.

'It regretted'. One must wonder at the intent of such a carefully worded response..
It would appear there is room in the Pope's mouth, for at least one of his feet..

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It was not a pleasant day for Tony, as he faced a meeting of the TUC, Britains largest Trade Unions, obvious to all he was a man playing the last few bars of his song.
For the most part, the demonstrations during Tony's speech, were discurete. Not much shoutng or heckling, but many holding signs protesting Britain's involvement in Afghanistan and Iran, and forcing a reaction from Tony to justifiy British military presence in those areas..
The fact this was his last appearance at the TUC as prime minister was clearly a matter of celebration for some in the hall - notably those protesters who did their best to disrupt it.
But Mr Blair's relationship with the unions has never been close.. Indeed, one of New Labour's core policies was to distance the party from the movement.
And there have always been those who wanted him out and those who disagreed fundamentally with his policies, particularly on the public services and Iraq.

And that was the atmosphere that hung over the entire event. Even when he was pushing all the right union buttons - the minimum wage, tackling pensioner poverty and so on - there was just no enthusiasm from the hall.
There was a bit of emotion as he told the protesters they were playing directly into their enemies' hands.
And on more than one occasion Mr Blair showed his own anger at his critics shouting from the body of the hall and suggested he was getting "warmed up" for the clashes.

But, as the proceedings drew to a close, he launched into an off-the-cuff farewell performance that openly recognised he was nearing retirement - and in the process led to speculation he was planning an earlier exit than currently expected.
He gave a passionate defence of his record, combined with a warning that there is no such thing as a perfect government.
The only thing that mattered, he suggested, was being in power in order to transform society in the way his government had done over the past decade.
That got a bit more warmth - but there was no ovation and it appeared that even some of his supporters had already moved on.

So, the Blair farewell tour has started in earnest and, in two weeks' time, moves to Manchester for the Labour conference.
Even before today, there has been plenty of speculation that he will receive a rough ride at that rally as well.

As a side note, Nigel Farage has been elected leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) to replace Roger Knapman.
Mr Farage is an MEP for the South East and already UKIP's leader in the European Parliament.

Mr Farage pledged to make UKIP a "truly representative party", ending its image as a single issue pressure group.
At a news conference after the count, Mr Farage explained what he hoped to achieve.
"There is now an enormous vacuum in British politics.

"David Cameron clearly has decided to abandon Conservatism, and on the big issues of the day you cannot put a cigarette paper between the three major parties.
"There is no real voice of opposition out there today, and the UK Independence Party - I know we're known as being a single issue pressure group - well we're most certainly not going to be a single issue pressure group in the future.
"We're going to be a party fighting on a broad range of domestic policies and together if we're united and disciplined we will become the real voice of opposition in British politics."
He said he intended to make UKIP "a fully-fledged political party that is offering the public a real choice".

UKIP plans to field some 500 candidates for the next General Election, and it hopes to improve it's runing record..
UKIP has never had anyone elected to the House of Commons, but gained 12 Euro MPs when it finished third in 2004's European Parliament elections, with 16% of all votes.
The party did not do as well as it had hoped at last year's general election, losing its deposit in more than 450 seats, but it has begun to establish itself as a force in Westminster by-elections, coming third in two recent contests.

Monday, September 11, 2006

There's one other item of interest, which deserves mention. This has come to the fore in Britain, but has been overshadowed by commemmorative services for those who died, or were injured, in the NY events of 911, and the London attacks of 711..
That is, the use, after two years of being in effect, of the dismissal of the 'double jeopardy' system in the British judiciary.
The care in itself, is important for the most part, to the members of a dead daughter, and to the man who admitted while in jail for another offence, that he had murdered her.
This is, or was, an 800 year old law, brought into effect for the most part, to prevent the official hounding of a man found innocent by a jury of his peers.. It was altered, three years ago, to allow the re-trial of anyone acquited of a crime, should any new and 'compelling' evidence come to light..
Originally, it was thought this change three years ago would have re-opened some 350 cases, but to date, only the one man has finally been brought to justice, and only due to his own stupidity.
One must ponder this little known change to our judicial system, for while indeed it might bring a few to justice, it could also lead to the incessant persecution of those who are entirely innocent..
It's a fine line between justice, and revenge.
It's hard to believe, that it's been five years since the toppling of the World Trade Centers.
Five years since 'the War On Terror''s been declared Presidentially.
Five years, and the site is cleared, and plans accepted for the construction of a replacement.
Five years, for the American man-on-the-street to recover from the inial shock and it's concomitant fear..
And five years for that same American man-on-the-street to become accumstomed to the workings of the Homeland Security Agency, and to develop, to some extent, the assuredness that 'it won't happen again, not here'..
Thousands will gather in New York today, but perhaps less to recall the terrorist attack, but to mourn those who lost their lives in the attack. And those who died deserve to be remembered, equally as much as those we recall on Remeberance or Memorial Day, for they were the first Western innocents to fall victim, to this ongoing war.
Here in Britain, we had our own day of rememberance fr those killed in the London Underground, and on the busses, just last month..
But what was a clearly defined 'War on Terror' that George announced just 5 years ago, has been a muddled, divisive, and unclear issue today..
In France, Le Monde declared the day after 9/11: "We are all Americans now", a placard at a demonstration in London recently read: "We are all Hezbollah now".
Al-Qaeda has lost much of its leadership. It has not toppled governments as it had hoped. Western forces have not left the Middle East, and in particular the government of Saudi Arabia, guardian of Mecca, which is probably Osama Bin Laden's ultimate target, stands.
Yet Western and other publics are left in fear, and rightly so. Al-Qaeda is no invention.

Its impact - or that of its sympathisers - was seen not only in New York and Washington but in Bali, Madrid, London, Morocco, Istanbul and elsewhere..
Fear is a powerful motivating factor. Fear after 9/11 led to the Bush doctrine of the pre-emptive strike.
But this doctrine has not been endorsed by all.
Doubts, divisions and defections have developed among American allies. For many around the world, sympathy for the United States has changed into suspicion and, for some, even into hatred. The prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, the treatment of prisoners, secret prisons and rendition flights all added to this feeling.

Professor Michael Clarke of King's College, London, is gloomy in the short term at least.
"If I was Osama Bin Laden sitting in my cave, I would think I was winning," he said.
"I would consider that I am still at large, I have a global movement, I strike a chord with young Muslims everywhere, I am an inspiration not a planner and I have lured the US into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq of my choosing and of my way of fighting."
He added: "Nor is the West countering the easy narrative offered by the jihadis. They are, and I agree with the Bush language on this, Islamic fascists, but we are not engaging enough in the war of ideas and are instead dwelling on their actions. They can counter that by dwelling on ours, in a game of moral equivalence."

The extent to which Iraq has influenced events can be seen by looking at the language used by George before and after the invasion.
On 31 August this year he told the American Legion in Salt Lake City: "This war will be long... but it's a war we must wage, and a war we will win...The war we fight today is more than a military conflict; it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st Century."

His use of the future tense in "We will win" contrasts with what he said before the invasion. On 26 February 2003, he declared in a speech in Washington: "We have arrested, or otherwise dealt with, many key commanders of al-Qaeda. Across the world, we are hunting down the killers one by one. We are winning."
The change of tense shows how far any expectation of victory has been put off.

And nor has Washington been effective in solving another motivating factor for the jihadis - the Israel-Palestine conflict. Its portrayal of Israel as a victim in the war on terror sits uneasily with, say, the Europeans, who generally see the dispute as territorial not ideological and therefore amenable to a compromise.
Thus, there is therefore no agreed and clear narrative for the "war on terror".

Professor Clarke is more optimistic in the long term.
"It will get worse before it gets better but I expect western policy to win eventually because it offers a superior political, moral and economic model. However we have not made things easy for ourselves by mistakes, first in Afghanistan by allowing Taleban and al-Qaeda leaders to escape and then on a grand scale in making a strategic mistake by invading Iraq.
"This is probably going to take a generation to resolve, until the angry young jihadis turn into tired old men, as the Marxist-Leninists did."

But what a legacy we have created for our children..
One can only hope that those who follow, especially in political posts, are up to dealing with a Middle Easetrn Plan which has been fermenting in that area since 1949, and the formation, by the West, of the State of Israel..
If we seemed confused, imagine another 30 or 40 years of conflict.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

One rarely finds onself in a position to merely rant about the general degredation of this ethernet we all share.. To make an unqualified comment on that which is happening to this medium we are all afforded these days.
but, it would seem, certainly to those in days not that long ago, that such a medium woud be used for the exchange of important local events.. that it would be used for the discussion of ideologies and thoughts which might, to some be entirely foreign, and perhaps incomprehensible..
Instead, one has found the main body to be of personal advancement, of the proliferation of ideologies which, when perhaps taken as archetypes, might be founnd interesting, if not practicable.
One has to be disappointed in the general use of this medium.. for while computers and access to the net increase exponentially on a daily basis, little of real substance is passed along. This is perhaps one of the true shames of our era, the misuse of the internet.
We advertise.. we occasionally engage in some quasi-meaningful debate in one of the many chatrooms available..
But we miss the point of this opportunity entirely.
This series of comments provided here, try to explain what is the issue of the day in this particular region, and how it affects other parts of the world.
But the chatrooms, wherein forums could be use for mutual elucidation, are for the most part a series of greetings, or salutations, to those who frequent those particular arenas.
There was a time when Philosophy was discussed in the Philosophy chatrooms, where religious dabate or political exchanges could be made in those rooms dedicated to that purpose.
But we have lost out way here.
It would appear that any serious conversation is discouraged, being that those who frequent the rooms available have all grown to know each other. There would appear to be no new fresh input, no resonance to that which is happening around us at any given time of our day.
And, in fact, that input is practically discouraged, as disturbing the status quo.
We are missing an opportunity that has been granted no other civilisation in this history of this world.. we are ignoring an venue for public debate which has never before been available to us on a massive scale..
And this is a great pity, for we seem to be trivialising that which could be our greatest asset.. the free exchange of popular or individual opinion..
Perhaps one day this medium will achieve it's potential, and become an open forum wherein differeces of faith, politial affiliation, or whatever, without being drowned out by those who regularly attend the available outlets, and who might think 'it's all been said before'..
Never, will it all have been said.
Never will all opinions be voiced coherently.
Never will this medium lose it's freshness, unless we allow it to.
That, without really needing to be said, would be a travesty.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ahh.. you have to love it when political rows turn into a circus..
The former Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, has put it as bluntly as he could, calling the heir-apparent to the Labour leadership, Gordon Brown, 'stupid', for his continued insistance for a date for Tony's withdrawal from office..
He noted, quite rightly too, that people were angry at photos of Mr Brown smiling broadly amid the chaos..
And it goes deeper than that..
A straw poll taken by the BBC shows that the vast majority of people see the Labour Party in burnout, and are smewhat wary of Mr.Browns ability to take the reins in a time of such national and international turmoil.
Mr Brown should have stopped the plots against Mr Blair, and still had to prove he was fit to govern, argued Mr Clarke.
Brown, supporting MP John McFall, who was one of the 17 Junior Ministers to put their name to a letter demanding a date for Tony's reliquishing the leadership, accused Mr Clarke of a "mixture of hubris and a plea for recognition".
And former minister Glenda Jackson said the party would be watching to see whether Mr Blair distanced himself from Mr Clarke's comments.

Now, one has to understand how politics is seen on this small island. It's on a par with 'Eastenders' and 'Coronation STreet'. It's a source of entertainment, as well as being acknowledged as the machine that will decide British policy.
One thing can be taken as a given. That being the Conservatives laughing quietly in the background.
One looks forward with great anticipation as to what will be said in Manchester at the end of this month, as Labour holds it's annual Conference.
In the meantime, Tony has quietly declared that he will step down, within a year's time.
What an ignominious end to a fairly competent run as Prime Minister..

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Things are going from bad to 'very' bad for Tony, and his government appears to be slipping out of his grasp, let alone control, over the issue of when he's going to resign..
There has been today a wave of resignations by junior members of his government over his refusal to name a date for resignation as Labour leader.
He branded ex-junior minister Tom Watson, the most senior person to quit, "disloyal, discourteous and wrong" for signing a letter urging him to go.
The resignations came as Mr Blair faces growing pressure to name a departure date before the end of the year.

Just minutes after Mr Watson announced his decision to quit, Tony said he was going to sack him anyway.
Watson and the six parliamentary secretaries were among 17 normally loyal Labour MPs who signed a letter calling on Mr Blair to quit.
The six were: Khalid Mahmood, Wayne David, Ian Lucas, Mark Tami, Chris Mole and David Wright.
They resigned saying 'it was no longer in the country's best interests for Mr Blair to remain in office'. Mr Watson has already been replaced by junior transport minister Derek Twigg.

Now it was reported earlier here, that rumours were flying about that Tony will go on May 31st next year but Number 10 has insisted it did not leak the date adding it would not be giving a "running commentary on dates".
Meanwhile, leading Brownites are calling for the prime minister to make a public declaration about when he will go, so that he cannot go back on it.
One of the chancellor's closest allies, who asked not to be named, has said: "From Gordon's point of view there has to be a public statement.
"Blair has to let it be known when he will go and there has to be a public declaration."

Ex-minister Doug Henderson, also a Brown supporter, says he cannot see what Mr Blair will achieve in the next 12 months.
"There should be a new leader in place by the end of March," says he, in time for the local elections and mid-term polls in Scotland and Wales.
Ex-Cabinet minister David Blunkett believes that it was now "pretty clear that there is an understanding about a date next year - whether it's 31 May when he announces it, is open to speculation".
Commons leader Jack Straw says Labour MPs should stop their "obsession" about the timetable for Mr Blair's departure, but he added that he would be "very happy to serve with Gordon Brown".
Conservative leader David Cameron said the government was "in meltdown", while Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell added that Mr Blair "should either resign or state a date".

Meanwhile, back at the Conservative ranch, David Cameron is in India, where he stated the benefits of globalisation cannot simply be celebrated.
There are depressed towns in the UK "where the winds of globalisation feel like a chilling blast, not an invigorating breeze", said he..

A few hours later Burberry said it was laying off 300 workers in the Rhondda valley and moving production abroad.
David said it was wrong to blame immigrants for driving down wages, when it is actually the result of globalisation.

Cameron added that the West was "dangerously complacent" about the economic threat from a furiously growing India and China...
A bilateral free trade agreement between the EU and India could be the answer if no progress is made in the Doha round of trade talks.
He compared the booming Indian economy with Britain where competitiveness has been moving "in the wrong direction" since Labour came to power,saying India should be on the United Nations Security Council, and also in the G8.
Globalisation should not allow the homogenisation of culture and cities across the world , Mr Cameron said.
"I don't want a world that has become a kind of bland universal mush where our distinctive cultures and histories and identities have are gone. I want India to be India and Britain to be Britain."

Best of luck with that, David.

This looking for radio/editorial work in Canada is proving to be a harder task than ever one expected..
Seems the trend in North America is swinging, or has swung away from informing people through the medium of radio.. newsroom staffs cut to the bone.. one station in Cambridge has only one newsreader.. obviously a rip-and-read operation, and this is a travesty.
It used to be, and not so long ago in fact, that a newscast was a 'show' in itself, a kitchen-table summary of the local, national and international goings on. This five minutes an hour, or five every half-hour newscast was an artform, to conceive, write, edit and present a product that left the listeners informed, and perhaps more precisely, educated as to what was happening around them, concerning their various forms of government, their crime rate, their economy, their 'poco mundo'.
One dispairs that this era seemingly has passed, that now it's all snappy talk and patter, or predigested pap written for the toothless mind and presented by those who's main concern is to present a modicum of information in the least time possible.
Radio news has always played an important part of informing the public, before they hear it on their six or ten o'clock television presentation. Because of it's frequency and immediacy, it has filled a void, allowing the listener to digest the facts as verbally presented, before seeing it in pictures..
It's disturbing to think, that either the public, or those who run radio stations, now feel the man on the street disinterested in the development of the news around them. It bespeaks a society which wants only entertainment, music and chatter, from a medium with a long history.
Consider, there are places still, where television is unavailable to the larger part of the population. There, they get what information they have, in toto, from radio broadcasts either from their local stations, or from institutions as BBC, or CBC, overseas services.
It may well be that North American society is saturated with news coverage, and has become disinterested in a format which offers continuous updates. But one might hazard a guess, that those who make the decisions at each and every radio station, have decided that they can either not find the talent, or cannot afford those with the ability to make 'the news' saleable.
One news reader for an entire station.
That, again, is a travesty, and a dis-service to their listening audience.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Had to comment on this..
George has compared Osama Bin Laden to Lenin and Hitler in a speech to US military officers.
"Underestimating the words of evil and ambitious men is a terrible mistake," he said as he quoted extensively from Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures.
He said the world had ignored the writings of Lenin and Hitler "and paid a terrible price" - adding the world must not to do the same with al-Qaeda.
George has been defending his security strategy as mid-term elections loom.
His speech on Tuesday - the day following the US Labor Day holiday - coincided with the country's traditional start date for election campaigning.
"Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them," he said.
But, he added, the US and its allies could be confident of victory in "the great ideological struggle of the 21st Century" because "we have seen free nations defeat terror before".

Now. it is significant that George made these comments to a military audience, but the gist made it to the public verbatim. He might well have gone on national television, but rather, he's chosen those who put boots on the ground to get the message first..
And although there have been several nations defeat terror before, it was usually through the use of counter-terrorism, in third world countries..
It's a brave face George is trying to put on this conflict.. a matter of 'National Honour' almost.. a duty that each and every American has since 911.. But it's moot how long the American public, apathetic as it might be on the one to one level, will stand for the casualties, and the cost, of trying to keep the world a 'democratic' place.
It's moot as to how long it will be, before there is a demand for the word' democracy' to be defined..
Difficult times for Tony..
There have been two letters sent to the PM, in effect demanding that he step down asap, implying his leadership is now harming the Party. The second of these letters has been signed by 17 MP's, one a junion Member of Parliament, and that puts an entirely different light on Tony's effectiveness as Prime Minister.
Labour has it's annual Convention later this month in Manchester, and there appear to many who would have him give a firm date for his departure. There are reports this evening that May 31st next year is the day Tony will hand over the reins, and that's when the fun will begin.
There are a few who will throw their hats in the ring, however, if Gordon Brown, the front runner for taking the leadership, does indeed succeed, it will mean a drastic change in British Foreign Policy.
Gordon's a Europhile, and would prompt movements that would take the emphasis off Britain's alliance with the US, and put it more in line with deeper involvement with the European Union.. and a stepping away from the present close relationship with the US. There could be a re-thinking of the British comitment in Afhanistan and Iran, a possibly a referendum on Britain's adoption of the Euro.. The powers in Brussels would be reinforced by a much more prominent role to be played by Britain, and would influence the European Hegemony's influence over global affairs in general, from carbon emissions, through government national subsidies, to the 'Westernisation process' of those who're waiting in line to join.
Turkey, for example.
There has been a sugestion from within the Labour Party that Tony's doing a 'Margaret Thatcher' in staying on too long. That in fact his recent performance has been to the detriment of Labour in general. It would be a pity for such a Prime Minister to suffer the same fates as Churchill.. Callaghan..Thatcher.. to be discarded by the public and their own 'faithful', as being past their sell-by-date.
For despite what Party one follows, it must be admitted that Tony has taken this country through some heavy seas with a reasonably stready hand on the tiller.
To be chased by a rabid mob of his own Party Members, and hectored to vacate No.10 at a time not of his own choice, would be a travesty.
Having said that, one would give good odds the next government, whether it be with a stunning majority or merely enough to ensure their policies pass through, will be David Cameron's Conservatives.. To date, the one policy statement they have released, is that they would 'increase internal spending, on such as education, urban renewal, and the NHS. That statement, somewhat vague in itself, does not explain where the extra monies will come from, but does indicate that emphasis on foreign involvements will decrease. And knowing the Conservatives, it could well mean the antithesis of Gordon's plans, and a drifting away from Europe and even closer ties with the US.
Then again, this relative silence from the Tories, as they watch their popularity grow and Labours wane, could simply be no more than a biding of time..
It is possible Labour will self-destruct over the next few months. This upcoming Party Conference in Manchester, will be an interesting affair, to say the least.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A report from the University of Newcastle.. worth reading..

New research into climate change in the Western Himalaya and the surrounding Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains could explain why many glaciers there are growing and not melting.
The findings suggest this area, known as the Upper Indus Basin, could be reacting differently to global warming, the phenomenon blamed for causing glaciers in the Eastern Himalaya, Nepal and India, to melt and shrink.
Researchers from Newcastle University, UK, who publish their findings in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, looked at temperature trends in the Upper Indus Basin over the last century.
They found a recent increase in winter temperatures and a cooling of summer temperatures. These trends, combined with an increase in snow and rainfall - a finding from earlier in their research - could be causing glaciers to grow, at least in the higher mountain regions.
These findings are particularly significant because temperature and rain and snow trends in the Upper Indus Basin also impact on the water availability for more than 50 million Pakistani people.
Melt water from glaciers and the previous winter’s snow supplies water for the summer ‘runoff’ which feeds irrigation both in the mountains and in the plains of the Lower Indus. The vast Indus Basin Irrigation System is the mainstay of the national economy of Pakistan, which has 170,000 square kilometres of irrigated land, an area two-thirds the size of the United Kingdom.
Being able to predict trends could contribute to more effective, forward-thinking management of the two major dams in the Upper Indus Basin - called the Mangla Dam and the Tarbela Dam - and thus allow a better long-term control of water for irrigation and power supplies. These dams have the capacity to produce around 5,000 Megawatts of electric power.
The amount of runoff depends on the elaborate interplay of weather conditions. One third of the runoff - that which comes from the higher mountain regions - is largely dependent on the temperature in the summer, research shows. Specifically, the fall of one degree centigrade in mean summer temperature since 1961 is thought to have caused a 20 per cent drop in runoff into the higher mountain rivers.
Yet two-thirds of runoff - that from the lower mountain regions - is dependent on the amount of snow in the previous winter. Heavy winter snowfall is followed by a greater volume of summer runoff.
Dr Hayley Fowler, lead author on the research paper and a senior research associate with Newcastle University’s School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, said: “Very little research of this kind has been carried out in this region and yet the findings from our work have implications for the water supplies of around 50 million people in Pakistan who are dependent on the activity of the glaciers.
“Our research suggests we could be able to predict in advance the volume of summer runoff, which is very useful in planning ahead for water resources and also the output from the dams.”
Co-researcher Mr David Archer, a visiting fellow with Newcastle University, added: “Our research is concerned with both climate change and the climate variability that is happening from year to year.
“Information on variability is more important for the management of the water system as it will help to forecast the inflow into reservoirs and allow for better planning of water use for irrigation.
“However, information on the impacts of climatic change is important for the longer term management of water resources and to help us understand what is happening in the mountains under global warming.”

Seems to be a word to the wise..
For those who might have wondered who they were reading these past few years, a photo of this author has been added. This is not meant, in any way, to aid any Legal Institutions to put a face to the words, but merely follows requests from some of the faithful who stop by..
Tony's in what has been called 'an unique' situation by some of his political confreres. He has to date refused to give a date for his departure, and with Labour's Party Conference coming up this month, there is enormous pressure upon him to do so.
He has been warned not to take the path Margaret Thatcher chose, and stay on just that little bit too long.. he's been told his Party will need time before the new General Election to allow the new Leader to set out policy, and his popularity is at 31% at the moment, the lowest he's had since coming to power 10 years ago..
Gordon Brown seems to think he'll take the reins, and this might quite posibly be so, but it may well be that he'll be Leader of the Opposition, with so many wondering if Gordon's really the man to take us into the upcoming political vacuum that will follow George's departure.
This is the end of an era, and it's better than good odds that David Cameron and his Conservatives, will be given a chance to show us what he and his Party are made of. Certainly David has a far better public image and Gordon, and one doubts the ability of Labour to form the necissary alliances, determine the proper foreign policies, that will need to be forged, post-Tony.
On the National Front, it would appear that we have developed a 'Homland Security Agency' of our own, without being informed of it. The news that over a thousand Britons are being watched, as possible terrorists, is a disturbing thing. There have been several raids, arrests, and seizures over this weekend, perhaps the most disturbing being the search of an Islamic School in East Sussex, and 17 residential properties across London.
Now this Islamic School is not really a school at all. It's not registered with OFSTED, the government's school watchdog, and has, one might say, been operating outside the ageas of any government inspector. This school is associated with the Jameah Islameah group, those who allegedly plotted and carried out the Bali bombings a couple of years ago..
But that aside, it is starting to appear that this is becoming a split culture, with Islamics, whomever they may be, suspect, if not by the Authorities, but by their neighbours.
Once again, the terrorists are winning this battle, by turning one section of our society directly against a particular other.
To the man on the street, this is not what one would call a 'tense' situation yet, but should this segregation of one reasonably large part of our population continue, it will become an issue..
More on this as developments arise..

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The news that British Police are keeping tabs on thousands of our citizens, on the off chance they may be involved in terrorist activities, is a subject that deserves some deep attention.
As all the facts are not at hand, one will refrain from getting involved in commentary, yet.
But it will be a subject explored in the coming few days.
Patience, is a virtue.

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