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

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tony's facing a couple of difficult hours this morning, as he faces the Liason Committee, which itself is made up of the Heads of various Select Committees..
Now this is a question period which happens regularly.. twice a year.. and he'll likely have one more of these before he steps down as PM..
But the questions he faces this morning are telling.
Britain's continuing role in the Middle East. Should we continue to send forces into the area, or should we try a diplomatic approach more vigorously. This issue in itself will define the relationship the Labour Government intends to pursue with our No.1 ally, the United States. What with Republicans blocking debate on George's latest announcement that he intends to send another 21 thousand or so soldiers into Baghdad, it would appear George is going to make use of his time in office, to ensure there can be no backing out.. that the situation will require Western presence regardless of which Party might control the White House in a year and a half's time..
Britain has the luxury of cutting back on it's forces on the ground, and public opinion is beling led towards that eventuality, especially with the release this morning by the Sun newspaper, of cockpit recordings from US aircraft, which attacked a well-marked British convoy, killing one British soldier, and wounding several others. The point has been emphasised in the British media, that the pilots involved in this tragedy, were reservists, on their first mission, who had been fed incorrect intelligence.
It has not helped the British man on the street, to reconcile himself to our involvement in this conflict, allied with soldiers who cannot tell who's the real enemy.
Add to that the growing tensions between the British Islamic Community, the British public, and the tensions recently raised by the arrests and continued confinement of 9 British Muslims, who are suspected of plotting to kidnap and videotape the beheading of a British Muslim soldier.
This has turned into what was commonly called a 'cluster-f***'.
Tony's also going to have to answer pointed questions about climate change, and what Britain can do about it.
In his initial address to this Committee, Tony pointed out that we in this country, contribute only 2% of all carbon emissions currently released through industry into the atmosphere. He also pointedly announced, that the US and China contribute 40%, and that literally nothing can be done towards controlling human effects on our climate, unless there is a global consensus.
And quite frankly, with the US moving at a snails pace towards moving away from carbon-based fuels, and China still considered a 'developing country' and therefor exempt from any controls whatsoever, there is absolutely nothing we in Britain can do, that would have any real effect on our biosphere. If we went completely 'eco-friendly' immediately, we would see whatever benefit we might make swallowed up and lost, regardless of how many hydrogen based cars or motorbikes we might get on the roads, or how many energy efficient lightbulbs we change to.
Back to Britain's minority communities for a moment. There is a foofoorah ongoing about 'faith schools', and their effect on the children that attend them. Accusations have been flying about that such schools secularise groups.. instill within their communities an element of isolationism, where the government is desperately trying to boost the idea of being British first, and whatever else, second. In this, the government is failing.
It has been pointed out, that we are developing a 'ghetto society', wherein Muslims, WASPs, recent immigrants, are deliberately grouping together in their own neighbourhoods. The tolerance shown of television in soaps the likes of Eastenders, simply does not exist, and will not exist until there is a reason to be proud of being British again.
This process, if it does or even can develop, will take generations, and the formation of a trust which simply, today, is not there.
On to the EU, and Britain's future involvement in this organisation. Tony's stance is, that while the EU is in such financial difficulties, it would certainly not be in our interests to broaden our ties. It is a fact that even the government is seemingly aware of, that the EU is a teetering group, constantly expanding to take in economies which are thoroughly under-developed. That the Euro is vastly over-inflated in value, and to link our economy to the likes of France, Germany, Italy, which are all bankrupt and still the mainstay of the EU, as well as Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, which are all desperately trying to industrialise in the aftermath of the dissolution of the USSR, would be disasterous. Yet, therein the problem, for as we are a member of the EU, we are required to allow immigrants from these countries to flock to us in search of British wages, while also allowing them the freedom to maintain their own societies, and reject British common values.
Now, we are not against immigration, for indeed these people are willing to work at jobs the average Briton would turn their noses up at. This generates tax revenue for the government, whichever might be in power.. and gets these 'distasteful' jobs done.
But this again reflects badly on the average Brit, which generates resentment, however misdirected.
Tony has little time left before Gordon Brown takes the reins, and whatever he might propose will have to be reviewed by his successor. But, there are situations already set in motion, which must be addressed by any government in power.. Situations which will take years to resolve.
Take this latest statement from Tony, in answer to a question from the Committee, concerning our presence in Afghanistan. Tony insists that while Afghanistan will 'never' be what we see a democracy to be, but our goal there should be to give the Afghani people a chance at 'regional democracy'.. which suggests that the best we might be able to do, is allow Afghani's to 'elect' their Warlords.
What tripe! Should that be our true goal, then we might as well pull out now, as the Russians did.. and conceed that we cannot impose Western ideals or methods, on those from a culture that has a long history of internal strife.
There comes a time when it must be admitted that there is no 'International Community', but merely a coalition of Western powers with more money than sense.
There was a time, when the Levant was first approached by Britain in the 18th and 19th century, that trade agreements were reached without intervention in the manner in which the individual governments of these Middle Estern countries conducted themselves.
It seems now, that we suffer from hubris, and it is doing us no good whatsoever. It is time we cleaned our own house, and left other countries to do the same..

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