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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

This situation with Iran, is becoming something more than risible..
The Iranian Ambassador to the Court of St. James has told British officials, that while he had promised the return of Leading Seaman Faye Turney within a day, that commitment cannot now be met.
Today, that has been recinded, because, according to the Iranian Ambassador, Iran will not be 'bullied' by complaints to the United Nations about these detentions..
A second letter written by Turney has been released, questioning the British presence in Iraq and the Middle East in general.. intimating that British forces should be withdrawn on moral grounds..
This in itself, draws into question the first letter supposedly written by the only female member of the crew kidnapped last Friday, in which she describes her treatment, and that of her fellow prisoners, as 'humane, and with consideration'.
For indeed, there is no possible circumstance that a British serviceman or servicewoman would criticise their superiors in such a public manner, other than by coercion.
We have been told that the captives are being held in a military compound in Tehran. There are only two, one being an actual military camp just outside the city itself, the other being the Headquarters of the Iranian Secret Police, and that inside the capital itself.
This compound, is also the headquarters of the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, a hardcore group who have frequently acted without official government sanction, and would appear to be outside the law..
This suggests that neither the Iranian President Ahmadenejad, nor the actual leader of the Iranian government, the Ayatollah Kameini, has control of this hostage situation, but are being dictated to by those within the Revolutionary Corps itself. That there can be no diplomatic resolution to this situation, for the simple reason the government in Iran has no influence.
The latest development, that being the continued detention of LS Turney, is ostensibly because Britain and the US are circulating a petition to be presented to the United Nations, condemning Iran for the kidnappings, and offering irrefutable evidence that it was an Iranian incursion into Iraqi waters, patrolled by British Forces under a UN Mandate issued by the Security Council itself..
This is a matter which could escallate beyond the point of no return for Britain, and as a consiquence, for the US.
If Iran continues it's intractibility, continues to produce patently false evidence, continues to push the Western powers and the UN, continues in their own particular way in it's attempts to 'humiliate' the West by parading the 15 captives on Iranian television, and continues with it's slightly veiled threats to try the captured troops on charges of espionage.. there will be little choice for the West, and the conflict will be expanded beyond the Sahtt al Arab, and into Iran itself.
Just what gain Iran might achieve, by forcing an armed conflict with such vastly superior forces, remains to be seen..
But again, it may not be the wishes of the Iranian government itself.. it may not be their choice..
It may well be that a fanatic group within the country, within the Iranian military, that is now dictating foreign policy..
But, regardless, the responsibility must be shouldered by President Ahmadenejad and the Ayatollah Kameini, and indeed the Iranian peoples themselves, for allowing such a group within their armed forces to hold such power..
And whatever the consiquences.. whatever the outcome of this fiasco.. it falls at the feet of the Iranian people, for if they support such action, and they themselves do nothing to make a movement towards removing fanatics from holding such power, then they have demonstrated either their willingness to go to war, or their inability to judge right from wrong, or their lack of any ethical sense, or their inability to exercise any control whatsoever over those who govern them..
As such, in any of those cases, each who follows the regeme, is guilty of complicity.
It would cause a deep rift between the West and the radical Islamic Middle Eastern States, should it come to any armed incursion into Iran, whether it was only to retrieve the hostages, or, to remove yet another corrupt and fanatical government..
But to simply allow any group to dictate to those working within a mandate provided by the UN, to do whatever they wish, relegates the UN into an impotent organ in that region.
And that, would be intollerable, and even worse, exceedingly unwise.
Iran expects Britain to conceed..
Iran expects the UN to bluster and bumble..
Iran expects the American public to walk away from their British allies, and demonstrate their lack of commitment to those who have constantly been their allies..
Iran expects to prove to the Arab community that the West can be compromised and humiliated..
And one can only hope, that Iran is wrong.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

'A move to a different phase...'
The words of Tony, concerning the kidnapping of Royal Navy personnel last Friday by members of Irans elite Revolutionary Army Corps..
What this means is, that if Iran doesn't return those taken, for allegedly crossing into Iranian waters while examining a suspect freighter, proof will be proffered to the international community that indeed, the seizure of the servicemen, and one WREN, was illegal.. that it was in Iraqi waters..
GPS evidence, sattelite photographs, the evidence from the HMS Cornwall itself, will be made public..
Now whether or not one can deal diplomatically with Iran and it's leaders, is moot. Whether they care what the world thinks, is something yet to be determined. But it will put Iran in such a position, that there is the possibility no country will stand behind them in future disagreements.. that their credibility as a nation will be suspect in any claim made against another.
And something Iran would like to maintain, is it's support from other Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia.
This will be strained, at the very least, if it is made public that the seizure of the Navy personnel was a planned incursion into Iraqi waters, with the express purpose of causing embarrassment for the West.
Something for Tehran to ponder. Is it... was it... worth it?

Some disturbing figures released today on the state of the British economy.
Some 10.4 Britons live below the poverty line, according to the governments own figures.. and when one takes into consideration that the population of this island is only 56 million in total.. these figures are enormous, not only for those affected, but for the government itself.
And further disturbing figures indicate that the number of children living in relative poverty, has risen by 100 thousand over this past year.
Mind you, this follows three years of decreasing figures for the same predicament, but it does seem to show that the loss of jobs to EU migrants, and EU expansion countries and China, is having an impact on our economy.
Only to be expected though..

Monday, March 26, 2007

It's taken thirty years, and countless deaths.. vitriolic accusations and counter-accusations.. thousands of people living in literal fear for their lives, and those of their children..
But today, for the first time, Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams had lunch together, and emerged to tell a news conference that they had agreed to a power-sharing agreement, that would allow the Stormont Assembly to finally take control of Northern Irish affairs.
No handshake at the end.. each making a speech that promised a 'better future' for those in the Province..
But a landmark. One with more import than the 'Good Friday Agreement', in that it actually will allow each side to argue it's points, one side for Unionism, the other for Republicanism, within a Parliamentary setting..
Two sides, hithertofore diametrically opposed, finally, seemingly, reconciled to non-violent debate on the future of their situation..
One must wonder, if such a timeframe is in the cards, for Iraq. For a time when Sh'ia and Sunni representatives will sit, and announce that they are finally committed to working together.
It's a timeframe that will be closely analysed both in London and Washington, for the thought of maintaining a 'peacekeeping force' in that area, while factions do their best to destroy each other, would be intollerable..
However, it may well be, that we in the West have committed ourselves, as did the British government's over these past 30 years, to keeping a presence, for as long as it takes.
Keep in mind though, that in Northern Ireland, it was a case of Western terrorism fighting Western terrorism, and both fighting the RUC..
A slightly different scenario in the Middle East.
But nevertheless, Ian Paisley will be looking forward to May the 8th, and to becomming Northern Ireland's Prime Minister. The fact that he will have to share power with a man, once a sworn enemy, will give the 80 year old Paisley no qualms however, for a process has finally begun.

The word from Iran on the whereabouts and condition of the 14 men and 1 woman, servicemen in the British Navy, is that all are 'safe' and 'being treated well'. However, just what those terms actually amount to, is debateable. Tehran is refusing to reveal where these British subjects are being detained, as would be expected in any case. For should their actual location be released, a pre-emptive strike against that detention centre would be highly probable..
But what is now being taken into consideration is, that the elite Revolutionary Guard may have planned, and executed this adventure, on their own. This faction of the Iranian Army is, in effect, working under Laws of their own making, and could have worked without the knowledge, or blessing, of either Ahmadenejad or Khameini.
They have said though, that these prisoners are not being held against the release of five Iranians held by coalition forces in Iraq.. there is another agenda in place here.
It's a worrying time for the British Foreign Office, for while indeed the Revolutionary Guard may be entirely and soley responsible for these kidnappings, there is also an equally good chance that they're working, under Presidential Warrant, so to speak, to provoke an international situation..
One which will certainly work, in the Arab World, to Iran's favour.
If they get away with this, and there are no reprisals, the political ramifications will be enormous.
Effectively, it means Iran can freely thumb it's nose at the West, the UN, and all others who might try and curtail their uranium enrichment program...
For if we won't go to war to rescue own own.. it's highly unlikely we'll take any more than diplomatic action against anything else they might do..
These captured servicemen are undergoing 'interrogation' as this is being written, and have no doubt, since the moment they were kidnapped last Friday..
God help them.
And God damn us, for allowing such a situation to arise.. for our 'addiction to oil', and our reluctance to enter an energy rehab program with determination..

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It would appear, that when Gordon takes over as PM, that the man to take his place in No.11 will be Jack Straw.
Now Jack has an impressive dossier, and has a grip on foreign affairs that one seems to see lacking in Gordon, so it would appear to be a good match.
But, Jack and Gordon have disagreed in the past, with some vitriol being tossed about.. over the NHS when Jack was the Home Minister.. over spending on Iraq, when Jack was Foreign Minister..
But there's nobody who can claim that Jack hasn't been around the block..

Iran has, as expected, announced that the 15 British Navy servicemen who are now in custody in Tehran, have 'admitted' they were in Iranian waters illegally. Of course they have.
A gun to one's head, will prompt just about anyone to say anything..
More, of course, to come on this..

And the UN Security Council did decide to hold their vote today, and have passed sanctions against the Iranians, which amount to an embargo on Iranian arms sales, and the freezing of some Iranian assets abroad..
This will quickly, and with an effect greatly exaggerated, have an effect on the Iranian man on the street. Ahmadenejad's government will see to that, and of course, will lay the blame for any shortfalls in market goods, at the feet of the West.
It's a fine line the Iranian President is walking..

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Point to keep in mind.
China is still classed as a 'developing nation', and as such there is no limit set on it's carbon emissions..
Yet, and some in China itself are blaming climate change, China's southwestern province if Sichuan is facing a severe water-shortage, as drought has left some 6 million livestock, and half a million hectares of land affected. The Chinese governent has been forced to ship suppies of fresh water into this area, to keep it's agriculture viable.
This is not a new problem, last year Sichuan and neighbouring Chongqing Provinces were hit with similar weather, and other parts of the country are facing the same abnormal weather conditions, producing stunted crops and resultant poor harvests.
Now this in itself, is an indication that China should be working on something other than carbon based fuels.
But rather, China has struck up major deals with Burma, in that case in exchange for hard cash, and the Sudan, in that case for oil, to pay for military arms.
Now these Chinese weapons are not 'state of the art'.. they often fail, but they're comparitively cheap, which makes them especially attractive to countries with limited budgets, but wars to be fought.
There is some concern that Chinese weapons, bought with the bulk of the Sudanese oil output, may have or may be used currently, in Darfur..
There has been some international debate, concerning the alleged sale of Chinese long-range missiles to countries the likes of Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea, there has been until recently, little or no attention paid to the small-arms trade..
In the case of Burma, China has been the main supplier of that country's army since the 1990's, and indeed, it's questionable whether of not the Burmese Army could operate without Chinese weaponry..
Now, herein lies the problem, internationally.
China is dealing in arms, with countries that have either UN, American, British, or a combination of all three, sanctions against the sale of arms..
And while the West doesn't really want to stir up a hornets nest un-necissarily, for as mentioned before, these Chinese arms are not of the highest quality, it does raise questions about China's commitment to UN policy. China is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and has voted itself on imposing some of the sanctions it is breaking..
There is much to be said for the cultivation of good relations with this huge power, but to what extent can we allow the boundaries to be over-stepped?
One must wonder..

Friday, March 23, 2007

An interesting game Iran is playing, with a couple of minor cards being played today.
The first, and largest, was the arrest and seizure of 15 British Marines and Naval personell, as they conducted what has become a 'routine search' proceedure of the Shatt al Arab, the waterway dividing Iran from Iraq..
It's a narrow waterway. But these parols by the British Navy have become so SOP, that when they stopped the ship they wanted to search, they were most certainly in Iraqi waters. The HMS Cornwall is not some clapped out old tub, assigned to a duty comprable to the USS Caine. It is a state-of-the-art frigate, with navigation equiptment capable of drawing a line accurate to a centimetre, down the demarkation strip, which defines Itaqi from Iranian waters.
Therefore, Tehran 'knew' they were provoking a reaction from the West, and to remind us that while most of the attention in Iraq is being aimed at the United States, that Britain is involved.
It also states unequicovably, that Iran is too.
Also doesn't hurt that the price of oil has hit a four-month high on the British markets..
But the reason behind this military action, blatently illegal action, is to remind us that should there be military action aimed at Iran, they'll be ready.
It is a calculated action, which will start the question circulating as to whether Tehran already has a red button, and whether or not they'll be willing to use it.
Or, whether they have the supplies now, to continue with their development program towards nuclear capabilities, and still have enough to sell to terrorists, and whether or not they'd risk losing that much respect among their peers, if they stooped so low..
The last time British servicemen were detained by Iranian officials, they were degraded. Treated with techniques I'm sure they'd love to be able to use at Gitmo. Forced to make public apologies on Iranian national television. But, with perhaps the worst being forced to kneel in a ditch, blindfolded, while having AK-47's fired on command over their heads, those servicemen were released, 'unharmed'.
Tehran is not unaware that we know their arrests and seizures were illegal. But Ahmadenejad and Khamaini are well aware of the fact that we are bound by our culture, not to react in kind, but to be 'diplomatic'.
In the meatime, while Israel went to war over the kidnapping of 'one' soldier, we, with our overwhelming might, will talk.
They know this.
The second, seemingly smaller card played, is Ahmadenejad's refusal to make an appearance before the UN Security Council later today..Saturday.
The Iranian President says the necissary visas for his flight crew 'came too late', due to American manufactured delays.
Now, the State Department says the visas were provided some time ago, and the President and his entourage would be granted access to the US, but, says Ahmadenejad, it's too late...
Even when it was pointed out by the Chinese delegate, that a vote will not be taken at this meeting, merely the 'setting' of a date.. I was too late.
This is a meeting at which the possibility of further sanctions will be placed against Iran, and is of intense importance to the West, because in effect, it will be the Iranian man on the street who will eventually feel the pinch of any further economic cutbacks, and that will only fuel the already blazing hatred most of the Middle East has, for the Great Satan.
This is something we would like to diplomatically avoid.
Jesus wept.
This is a game those in the Levant have been perfecting since we were running about wearing woad.
Rather than the Califf attending himself, this meeting of infidels who would pass judgement on those chosen by Allah, as promised by His Prophet Muhammad(Blessed be His Name).. he will send a lesser official.. the Iranian Foreign Minister and an aide, will travel by commercial airflight.
It appears their visas were available.
And this official, will not have the answers to the questions the Security Council needs, to effectively make a 'just' decision on further sanctions. These sanctions, to be voted on, involve the sale of arms internationally, and the freezing of assets of some Iranian individuals, and companies abroad.
It is amazing, that in this day and age of western 'self-awareness', that these ancient, traditional, transparent diplomatic tricks still symie us.
Perhaps it has something to do with the 'collective guilt syndrome' suffered by the West, which has prospered, to allow that which we allow in the Middle East, and in Africa.
But, if this capture of British servicemen and their inevidable mistreatment and release, and this obvious diversion of a sanctions issue by the Iranian President does not provoke in us, at least a sense of derision for those who would play such games, then something is wrong.
It's reminiscent of that line from Dudley Moore in 'Beyond the Fringe'..
"Yes, we stood their and drank his champaign, and ate his caviar, while sniggering openly, behind our hands..".
Of course, the timing of this is perfect.
George is finding how limited his powers are relative Iraq are now, with the loss of the House and the Senate..
And we in Britain are waiting with 'bated breath, for the date to be announced at which Tony will step down, and Gordon Brown will take power..
And the UN.. is the UN.. subject to diplomacy first and to the end, and dependant on a majority vote.
Seems we have a ring of oil through our diplomatic noses, and at least Iran, is willing to pull it..

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Our Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, has called on all other contenders for the PM's job to get out of Gordon's way, and withdraw..
Her reasoning for having Gordon run unopposed..? That he not have to spend time being concerned about peccadillos, with so much else on the plate of the man who takes Tonys place..
Excellent reasoning..
Just for the record, it was mentioned a couple of days ago, that it would not even be necissary to give the names of those others running.. At that time there were two, but soon there might be three..
And they are, a former Minister, Michael Meacher, and MP John McDonnell. They may well soon be joined by the Environment Minister, David Millibrand, who's had the endorsement of former Home Secretary Charles Clarke.
Mind you, an endorsement from Charles is not quite what one might want.. he left office following a scandal, and left the Home Office itself in utter shambles..
However, the leadership campaign trail may not be as smooth for Gordon as first expected..
Although while there is little doubt he will be the next PM, the amount of support his opposition gets will be a good indicator of the depth of the splits within the Labour Party itself...
Something for Gordon to ponder, after all these allegations of 'Stalinist attitudes and techniques'..
To face appeasing both the Civil Service, and his own splintering Party, while maintaining foreign and domestic matters which are frankly in crisis, may prove too much for the dour Scotsman.
This will prove more interesting than thought, at first..

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One of the oddest moves seen in ages by Gordon today.
Keeping in mind, he's still living in No.11, and is still the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he delivered, without a doubt, his last budget today, and dropped a political bombshell.
Now Gordon's never been one to be reknown for dropping taxes, or reforming the system of taxation, but today, he lowered the basic 10p taxation rate, and raised the threshold for National Insurance contributions...
He dropped what is potentionally £9.5 billion in taxation revenue, while increasing that same revenue by £8.5 billion.. apparently tossing away a billion Pounds..
But, he's removed business tax perks, such as 'Industrial Space taxation'.. which will hit the likes of the airports, the railways, conglomerates who own large tracts of land which industries are built..
And that's how that apparent shortfall will be recouped..
So, if the smoke and mirrors are removed, Gordon's done effectively nothing, for the 2p tax drop for the average taxpayer, will be taken back by those businesses who's profit margins will not be left to absorb the losses they'll incur..
So while the man on the street might think this to be 'The Last Hurrah' of an exiting Chancellor.. a magnanimous gesture from the man who'll next be leading the country.. it is in actuality, nothing more than a headline-grabber..
It's something the Tories will, have a field day with..
The Conservative Leader has already jumped on Gordon's budget.. accusing the Chancellor of 'blowing open' his own arguments..
David, in his reply to the budget, said it proved what the Tories had said all along - "that you can share the proceeds of growth"...adding.. Gordon usually saved pledges for a general election but was in "a deep hole" in the Labour leadership race..
That the tax cut would be cancelled out by the abolition of the 10p rate of income tax...
David told Gordon point blank:

"You are the chancellor who has taken one tax down but put 99 taxes up.
The average family is paying £1,300 more because of your Budget decisions."

This, referring to Labour initial promise, lo all those years ago, that taxes would 'never' be raised under their leadership..
It seems to make no sense whatsoever.. to offer something to the Opposition, that will cast even more doubt on the Labour Party, their direction, and certainly their leadership..

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

One has had to take some time digesting Tuesday's interview with Lord Turnbull, the former head of the Civil Service, published in the Financial Times today..
In it, Lord Turnbull blankly states that Gordon Brown has a 'Stalanist ruthlessness' in his dealings with his colleagues, and that Gordon refuses discussions concerning priorities..
Lord Turnbull continued to say, that Gordon has a 'very cynical view of mankind, and his colleagues'..
Lord Turnbull's comments, unprecedentedly outspoken for such a senior civil servant, came the day before what is expected to be Mr Brown's final Budget before he succeeds Tony Blair as Prime Minister.
The Treasury has refused to comment on the Financial Times interview.
Lord Turnbull also declined to discuss his comments, because he thought he had done "enough damage already.

In fact, Lord Turnbull had expected this interview to be published after the budget had been presented..
Now, nobody suggests that these criticisms are not widely shared.
Lord Turnbull's attack mirrors that of the former Home Secretary Charles Clarke - another who went rather further in print than planned... and that of the anonymous Cabinet minister who said that "Gordon Brown will make an f…ing terrible Prime Minister"...
No one close to Gordon Brown protests that there's no truth in the suggestion that their man exhibits "Stalinist ruthlessness", and has, at times, ignored, belittled or insulted other Ministers.
The debate is about whether Brown's uncompromising style was good or bad for government and whether he needs to, and is capable of, changing his attitude if he gets to Number 10.

The case against Brown is clearly spelt out in Turnbull and Clarke's interviews.
Government, they argue, should be a team sport.. and Gordon is not a team player. He and his clique have fought colleagues rather than working with them; divided government rather than united it; and been dictatorial rather than consultative.
He has, in Tony Blair's phrase, been "a great clunking fist".
Now, the question is, does Gordon need to change if he takes the reins of government?
The answer, at least that shared among those closest to him, is 'yes'..
Prime ministers depend on wooing and cajoling other departments and have few levers themselves to pull.
The debate is between those who think he's capable of such change, and those, who like Lord Turnbull, have... well... their doubts...
Lord Turnbull told a BBC Radio 4 interviewer:
“Was too much policy developed at the centre? Yes, I think it was. The occupants of 10 and 11 have got to be very sensitive to the downside of taking over a piece of policy that could be done in a department. It’s often a short sighted view because if you are constantly taking something over you will not develop the capability and also people won’t develop the sense of pride, they will actually feel belittled.”
He goes on.. “All the time you are leaning in the other direction, to say ‘no, don’t do it that way, take it through a cabinet committee or something, something that may look quite bureaucratic but ultimately gives you a better decision and a better sense of buy in’ …That is the tide that you are always swimming against …. I felt I was swimming against the tide which is quite tiring, but hopefully I wasn’t swept away.”
Not the type of endorsement Gordon really needs, with a Leadership battle upcoming.. there are two who will run against him, but the chances of their actually taking the post away from Gordon are that slim, that there is really no point in even mentioning their names.
But, the point remains, that for any who may have watched the television program 'Yes Prime Minister', that the PM must have a solid working relationship with his Civil Servants, and it would appear that Gordon lacks the tact, and the trust, to develop such a situation...
It will be interesting to watch, while the clock ticks down to the next General Election, as to how many points David Cameron and his Conservatives will score, simply because Gordon, as PM, cannot work with his own bureauocracy.

Monday, March 19, 2007

While the Guardian, normally considered to be a somewhat left-leaning newspaper, leading tomorrow morning with a GM modified mosquito, which could help cut back on the 2.2 million deaths from malria per year, for the most part in Africa.. there is a side column that has some bad news for Gordon Brown. A poll would seem to indicate that the Tories enjoy a ten point lead in public support, in the main due to Gordons Europhile stance. This is an issue close to the heart of the British man on the street.
Most do not want closer ties with the ever-growing European Union, and fewer want to exchange the Pound Sterling for the Euro.. with it being generally understood that by taking on the common currency, Britain would be tying it's cart to the lowest common denominator within the Union.. allowing out GNP to be tied with that of the Ukraine, Poland, et al. There is even strong feelings about the numbers of individuals from these new states who hold an European Passport, entry into this country, and taking jobs from British workers.
Now this in itself is a falacy, for those who come here are for the kost part migrant workers, doing the jobs the British spurn, because the average wage is less than that offered by National Benefits.
But what is of great concern, is the movement of British industry, to these new countries, where labour laws are slacker, and wages on the whole, a fraction of what would be demanded here.
This is a problem of our own making, with the Trade Unionists seemingly blind to the fact that jobs will be lost, unless some agreement is reached wherein we become competitive.
Yet another problem which is seemingly being ignored, is that while we send out technology into these developing countries, they are learning the techniques themselves, and will soon, within a decade or so, be producing home made products which will rival our own, at a much cheaper price tag.
The more we out-service, the less we will have to send abroad in the future, for those in these countries which have for decades lived in abject poverty, are finally making a wage, and learning skills which will out pace our own..

Another point to be made, is the practice of terrorists in the Gaza of kidnapping journalists.. A BBC reporter, Allan Johnson, had been reporting in the Middle East for some years, and had presented a picture somewhat favourable to the plight of those in the area. It makes no sense whatsoever to take men and women such as these prisoners, and while in the past, most have been released, eventually, unharmed,, it has been more than a week since Alan Johnson was abducted by armed terrorists outside his hotel, and to date, no group has claimed responsibility, nor has there been any demands made for this mans release. There is some concern for his safety, and while it will not deter journalists going to Gaza or the West Bank, it does put the 'cause' of these kidnappers under scrutiny.. and rarely under close examination, has there been any real reason for these abductions, other than to strike fear into Westerners in general... a tactic which simply will not work.
As long as the military is there. so will the media.. and that is a plus for the Palistinian cause, allowing them a sympathetic eye.
But if yet another member of the journalistic fraternity turns up dead, that 'eye' could well become jaundiced, and questions could be asked of those who control groups the like of Hammas, as to why they cannot control their own.
It is enough that Ehmud Olmad, the Jewish Prime Minister, is refusing to deal with Hammas until they call an end to their terrorist activities. The last thing Palistinians interested in forming their own State would want, is a turn against them in world opinion.. a sense that they are not truely in charge, and do not deserve, nor do they have the influence among their own, to control a nation of their own.

It has been four years now since combined American and British forces invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam, and still there is no peace in sight. Sunni's continue to kill Shi'ites at willand vice versa, and ethnic divisions remain unresolved. The guerilla warfare escalates, fed by neighbouring Arab countries the likes of Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,,
And there seems to be no reasonable end in sight for the American and British troops still occupying the most volotile areas.
It has been said before in this missive, that we should consider a complete withdrawal of our forces, and while that would end our involvement in this violence, it would hardly stop it.
Indications are that 75% of Iraqi's have little or no confidence in their elected government, and fear that should the Allied presence withdraw, the area would quickly deteriorate into a civil war of mammoth proportions, with each of the religious factions fighting for control, not by negotiation, but by indiscriminate killing. And there is also the issue of Kurdistan, and it's fervent desire to ceceed and form a nation of it's own.. George has said that it will be a matter of months before security can be enforced.
In truth, that scenario will never take place, and it is time to reconsider our position in this conflict.
It is perhaps time to call in the United Nations, to take over peacekeeping duties, and in effect, put in plave a permanent polive force in that country, to ensure there is at least a modicum of ballance.
Now whether or not the United Nations would consider this to be a similar scenario to that of say Kosovo, is moot. Whether or not the UN would want to become involved in a Middle Estern crisis is a major decision, and would put the UN itself in a position of fighting a war which can have no winner..
We may well be stuck there, and with Britain withdrawing troops from Basra, and redeploying them in Afghanistan to actually patrol the border with Pakistan in an attempt to halt the passage of arms and men to swell the forces of the Taliban, it means the US will need to increase it's presence on the ground.
Now George has less than 18 months left in power. Tony has about three.
How the successors to these leaders will deal with this legacy is undetermined, and that is a concern for the West, with it's dependance on Middle Eastern oil..
How Gordon, and whomever takes over from George, will direct their countries forces, is of imperative importance, and we, those who have no voice other than in vehicles such as this, and the media itself, are hanging, blowing in the wind, left to wait and watch, while the future of our civilisation hangs in the ballance.
A matter of some concern, for all involved.

Now, a purely internal matter here. Gordon's new budget Gordon Brown is expected to raise taxes substantially on larger-engined cars in Wednesday's Budget.
Some reports suggest that road tax on the least fuel-efficient cars will double to about £400 a year.
At the same time, business groups have urged Gordon not to introduce more company taxes.
Businesses are paying almost £12bn more in tax in 2008/9 than they were when Labour came to power, the Engineering Employers' Federation said.
Surging taxes have hit manufacturer profitability hard and turned many companies away from the UK, a trend that had to be expected with the expansion of the EU..

The problem Gordon faces is, to run the country's infrastructure with any sense of efficiency.. the NHS, The Social Services System, the Pensions Plans.. he needs more money.
Now this does not take into account the enormous amount of money we're spending fighting foreign wars, yet another drain on the Exchequer.
Gordon must raise taxes, and this is going to hit the British man on the street who holds a budget hard, for we will see an increase in our base rate, if only to try and curb the continuous rise in housing costs.
One cannot envy Gordon his job at this point, for what he's about to do will make him thoroughly unpopular with Labour, with homeowners, and with the middle earners who will bear the brunt of these tax increases.
It does not bode well, for his chances of winning the next election, for this country has a long memory, and most of us keep our receipts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A demonstration of the waning powers Tony wields among his own Party..
While his Bill, which will refurbish and increase our arsenal of nuclear Trident missiles, did pass through the House, it was only with the support of the Tory Party, which voted unanimously in favour of the measure..
93 of Tony's Members voted against him..
4 Cabinet Ministers have resigned their posts over this issue.
Now, this is the time Gordon's sitting back, gauging the tenor of those he might call upon to fill 'his' Cabinet posts.. remember at all times, that he is a Europhile, and the strongest military in Europe, is a high card at the diplomatic poker game..
With our construction of five new aircraft carriers, three new destroyers, and now the upgrading of our nuclear capabilities.. Britain could be played as the best equiped to become the 'US' of the 'EU'.. and one wonders if indeed, that is a role we could, or should, assume..
It's interesting, that for the first time in literally years, the MOD has invested in television commercials.. both for the Territorial Army, or the Reserves.. but also for those looking for a carreer in the Regs..
Glamourising the possibility of having both the physical and mental capabilities to be a member of todays 'The Few'.. and emphasising the pay.. and the training..
It's always been a popular opinion, at least among those of a certain age, that a term in the Army, or the Forces if you will, would do wonders to straighten out today's youth.. that it will instill a sense of discipline, and the necessity of teamwork..
And while that training is available, and always has been.. it's only that over the past couple of years, as previously mentioned, that we are actually seeing a 'push', if you will, by the Forces to recruit, and they seem to be aiming at those who might feel they have no future..
And they appear to be having some success..
It's almost the modern day equivalent to a 'Press Gang'.. minus of course the cudgels..

But back to Tony and his defeat.. for indeed, it was just that, on a personal level.
It now demonstrates to the man, that he is losing the trust of his Party.. that there is suspicion, that he will try as hard as possible, to push as much as possibe, through as quickly as possible, to ensure he has a place at least in history, as a Prime Minister who tried.
There's also a growing conviction that Tony is laying the groundwork for scenario's.. for international situations, that will literally take decades and odds are a couple more elections, to settle..
This, to a large extent, he has already done. But there remains the question of how, once he is gone, will Gordon maintain the carefully constructed relationship with the US.. and the equally precariously ballanced relations with the EU..?
And should the government change hands come the next elections, what will the Tories be faced with.. ?
The possibility of having to untangle a skein of Gordon's making, that has US trade agreements, US self-protection agreements.. US placement agreements.. completely entwined with what could be completely and diamentrically opposing agreements with France, Germany and Italy..
And of course, the continuing, ubiquitous, 'War On Terror'.. But we'll leave Afghanistan alone for the now..
It has to be understood by this present government,and any which might follow for some years to come, that any Diplomatic efforts exerted by all nations attempting to tease Iran into lessening it's moves towards nuclear capabilities, will only result in delays, and delays, and more delays, while Iran moves into the next stage, the purchase of long and medium range missiles..
And Akhmadenejad will smile with Chavez of Venezuela, and call the US 'devils', and continue to rail for the 'utter destruction of the States of Israel'.. and Chavez will continue to follow George around South America.. to Columbia, Uruguay, Panama.. to contradict any earlier statements made by America and the incumbent Presidents..
And Pyongyang will continue to offer small concessions to UN Inspectors.. releasing more and more of the trade embargo's against them..
All of these problems will be inherited by whomever takes power both in Britain, and the US, and even the EU.. It will be chaos while diplomatic positions are worked out.. while concessions are agreed upon.. while the dust settles..
The next 19 months are going to be very interesting indeed..
And if all that was not enough..
We have several of China's bordering countries concerned with the buildup of the Chinese Armed Forces from something practically non-existant, to something that in the not too distant future, that will be something to be reconsidered..
And the EU's bordering on allowing Turkey into the Union.. and that puts both Asian and European politics and policies to the job of reconcilling, while China watches.
Interesting times..
Economies are in for a long period of instability.. as the politcal status quo comes to an end..

Monday, March 12, 2007

'The European Constitution'..
'The Berlin Protocol'..
Now what is to addressed, and is actually the salient cause for concern, is the passing of an EU Bill, which would, albeit under a different name, be a Constitution..
Now this would fly in the face of any suggestion that the EU is a democratic union, for it would bypass the rejection of the Constitution by the Dutch, the Swedish, et al.. who voted against the agreement in national referendae..
It also begs the question, when will we in Britain have the question put to us..?
Before Tony leaves, which is exceedingly doubtfull, or when Gordon Brown, who's a confirmed Europhile, takes power until the next election..?
It is a cause for some concern indeed.. this possibility of a 'constitution under another name' being passed by EU Parliamentary Members, without the approval of the populations of the represented countries..

Yet another issue which has been raised here, are the separate 'Green Plans' by the Conservatives and Labour.
While The Tories want the agreement reached at the recent Paris Summit implemented on a yearly basis here in Britain.. Labour is insisting that the entire 20 year target be examined under that 20 year term.
Tony's justification for this approach, is that should carbon emissions be judged on a yearly basis in this country, it would adversely affect British industry.. that by putting 'carbon pricing' into effect immediately, we would price our products out of the market, as they became less and less competitive with those same products produced by those countries with no such plan in effect..
It has been mentioned, that while there is an UN Environmental Meeting planned for December this year.. there is no guarantee that the US will sign up to it, and the US produced, as has been mentioned several times before, 25% of all emissions released into our atmosphere..
Close behind are China and India, with China exempt from any restrictions whatsoever, due to it's being classed as a 'developing nation'.
Taking all of this political waffling, and simplifying it, would leave us with the bottom line that regardless of what action we in Britain might make, we will have little or no impact on the overall picture.
That it will take the passing along of Western technology, and Western innovation, hithertofore protected by Patent Law, to those countries most likely to need it.
And it will take the US itself starting to use these innovative measures itself, through legislative enforcement.
It would seem that there are indications that California, alone and as a State, may seek representation at these forthcoming meetings, and would agree to global targets. And being that California itself, having the sixth or seventh largest economy in the world, could act as an incentive for the rest of that Republic to follow suit.
However, States the likes of Michigan and Pennsylvania might use their considerable clout and their lobby groups, to block any national agreement, for the sake of their particular economies, and the cost which would be incurred in re-tooling, and reoriganisation throughout their industrial concerns..
And then there is India, and Russia, and never to be underestimated, China..
It would seem, that we, as individuals throughout the world, have little choice but to accept the fact, that business and profit.. that improvement of standard of living for those who've lagged behind for decades, if not centuries, will take precidence over any movement towards reversing the change in our overall ecology.
It is not a rock and a hard place, for that at least implies choice.
We, as individuals, have no choice whatsoever.. We must simply stand and watch, as our ecostructure changes.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A brief note here..
European countries the likes of France, Germany, Britain, have been seeing industry shift it's production, and it's Home Offices, to the newer members of the EU for years now. It's a trend that this economy has started to adapt to.
But one wonders, what will be the reaction, of this phenomina hitting the United States?
The Benz Company merged with Chryster some three years ago. A 'mering of equals' it was billed as..
But now, Benz has announced it's firm intention of dissolving that partnership, and wants some other financial concern to buy it out.
Now there is money, albeing perhaps somewhat suspect in origin, in the newer EU countries, and while there has been interest expressed by one American company, it would not be surprising to see some attention paid to an acquisition such as this, by say Russia, or Romania..
And this would mean that Chrysler, an icon of the American car industry, could move much of it's production out of the US, resulting in the loss of American jobs..
This also raises the question, whether the American Government itself would allow such a kick in the backside to American pride, and would not consider stepping in itself..
Interesting possibilities.. for even if an American company does buy Chrysler back.. one must ask how much government money will go into the back pocket of any such concern...?
It's the ecological and financial problems that are facing Chrysler away from Benz.. Chrysler produces some real gass-guzzlers.. 4X4's.. not only expensive, but ecologically unpopular..
More than three years ago, this missive suggested that the only action that would save the American auto industry, would be the realisation that cash had to be spent, at that time, towards re-tooling for production of hybrid, or electric cars. That technology already available at that time should be utilised, slowly exposing the American public to the facts of the matter, that the internal combustion engine is killing our wallets, and indeed, us.
Toyota has done it. While as yet only a prototype, they have a car they can mass produce, a hybrid, that is far more efficient, and cheaper to run, than anything on the road today. They believe it will sell, and sell big.
It's time for a loud wakeup call for the American car industry.
Spend the money.
Spend it now.

Monday, March 05, 2007

As George pumps up the rhetoric, preparing the American public for an escallation of hostilities in the Middle East to include Iran, there have surfaced a plethora of reports from some very respected analysts against such action..
Now while the threat of Iran developing nuclear capabilities is a very real one, and Ahkmadenejad's threats against the State of Israel equally serious, it must be taken into account, that which we have already learned in Iraq.
That while we could easily walk in, with our overwhelming military superiority, and defeat any organized military resistance, we will never be able to contain the situation. That the good old days, when a conquored peoples merely laid down their arms and capitulated, are gone for good, and any action we effect, will be one that will tax our resources, and our patience, for decades.
And take it a step further.
Iran has been developing enriched uranium for quite a while now, and has already the technology to create a small nuclear arsenal. This simply could not be found by any invading force, in time to stop a bomb or two being constructed.
While diplomacy is simply not an option either, for indeed we are dealing with a society, or the leaders of a society, that are bent on destroying the West and all it stands for, and any improvement in relations will be a chimera, designed to buy time for the radical Islamics to refine their plans, neither is military action, unless we ourselves are willing to start tossing atomic weapons around like confetti, to destroy what infrastructure exists in the Middle East.
We could take out Tehran, we could take out Baghdad, we could make the area uninahbitable for centuries.
But, if we choose to take the moral path, and merely invade and search for the materials that certainly exist in Iran, we will have lost before we begin.
There are those in the Middle East who are not plotting the downfall of Western Culture, who are merely trying to eek out an existance in a landscape that is somewhat inhospitable and difficult. There are those who follow Islam without any thought whatsoever of violence.
But if we, as a society, decide to try and take what little they have, to destroy that which has taken them centuries to develop, we become the enemy of all.
Perhaps, at this point, it would be best for us to withdraw.. entirely.
To take our military machinery, in toto, and return to the problems that face the Western man on the street.
To let them come to us, threaten our way of life in a manner more substantial than 911, or 7/7..
And when those threats appear, chase those responsible without involving the general public of the countries that might harbour them, train them, or supply them.
Employ strategic strikes against specific targets, and leave problems the likes of establishing a Palestinian Homeland to diplomats.
After all, there was a Balfour, and while his plan took decades to implement, a similar plan for the Palistinian people would be welcomed, and the world works exponentially faster these days than it did at the turn of the last century.
Let us become 'the good guys' in the eyes of the Middle Eastern man on the street. Let the inflamatory words of the radical Imams be exposed as the misinterpretations of the Q'ran that they are..
Let us shower them with money, dispersed by international agencies, and not by the corrupt governments of the countries we would intend to improve.
Let us not give the impression we are trying to change their sense of values, their traditions, but encourage the continuation of their way of life, with the added bonus of a better standard of living.
Their way of life.
Not ours.
We are between the proverbial rock and the hard place, and frankly, there is no viable solution

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