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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

China twiched it's economic muscle today, with the government announcement of a rise in the cost of stock transactions..
Triple, in fact, from .1% to .3%..
Now granted, it is a move that was aimed at an internal demographic.. those who decided, once dealing in stocks was legalised by the Chinese government, that working the market with the family savings was more profitable than letting it accumulate a meager interest payment..
Now if there's one thing the Chinese do enjoy, is gambling.. games of chance.. and they will study the rules of the game assiduously to increase their chances of winning..
Millions of Chinese, in fact, play the markey daily, whether it e a large, or a small sum they might be manipulating, they have a common goal, and that is to 'win'..
Some 300 thousand new trading accounts were opened last month across China..
Some analysts said the dip in share prices was only likely to be temporary...
The World Bank now predicts China's economy will expand 10.4% this year but says it does not appear overheated.
The Bank had previously expected a 9.6% rise for 2007.
That's almost a full percentage point higher..
Now back to the government's move today.. the tripling of the Stamp Duty on stock trades..
It may take some of the smaller players out of the game.. bumping the value of solid companies as more look for gain, plus security..
But.. as 'some analysts' have said.. this could simply be a blip.. a correction in the value of companies that had inflated assets.. or unconfirmed contracts..
But what is of greater interest is the effect it had on Western markets..
The falls in Shanghai depressed sentiment in other trading .. all of the major European indices trading lower though they clawed back most of the losses by the close of play.
London's FTSE 100 was down 0.1%, with the benchmark French and German markets each 0.2% lower, while Wall Street reversed early falls.
However, the same 'some analysts' have warned that a stock market 'bubble' is being created
Last week former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan warned that the Chinese stock market could undergo a dramatic correction.
With the value of the yuan, and the Chinese government's refusal to consider a devaluation.. we could see some serious reprecussions throughout the Economic Community..

Meanwhile.. back at the ranch..
We have an odd phenomina here.. whereas inflation is rising, meainly because of the housing market and the inflated state of real estate..
The US has rising inflation, mainly because of the housing market.. one which involves the de-valuation of property, and the loss of equity to those who bought at what they thought were secure prices, and ended up evicted.. their house re-posessed because of high interest rates..
Yet theirs is the same as ours.. at 5.25%..
And to complete the contrast.. we're talking about some houses in the States who were lured into buying a 'starter house' at a floating rate, for affordable payments.. And some of these houses were only $30Athousand..
That wouldn't buy a lease on a storage space in London..
The cost of living, in general, is the highest among the EU countries..
Our cars cost more.. our food costs more.. we're the most heavily taxed, when the 'hidden' taxes are taken into effect..
Yet, for some inexplicable reason, while re-posessions are at a record high, the majority of those here who have mortgaged their children's future have managed to hang on.. and watch their equity grow..

And perhaps just one more point..
Tony has disappeared from the International State. It's all on George now, so it seems..
Now George is coming under fire from all directions, with some of the shots hitting home.. His funding Bill made it through without a clause giving a definate date for the start of troops withsrawals.. or for setting out what reprisals will be leveed should the deadline for 'peace' not be met..
But there are those who are not happy about that at all..
And in Iraq itself.. their 'Parliament' cannot seem to get past religious differences..
Another criticism of the Funding Bill is a hydrocarbon law that would ensure the fair distribution of oil revenues ..but little progress has been made on this and other areas of reconciliation.
It's Shia v Shi'ite.. and it would appear they can't even pretend to reconcile enough to govern..

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A final tour for Tony.. one befitting a Prime Minister who's spent ten years in office trying to bring some stability to his Party, his country, and his world..
One can neither say that Tony's been our favourite Prime Minister, nor that he has been our most successfull, but he has beought Britain back into the World Stage, and through the commitment to the 'War On Terror', has made us a major player again..
Lybia yesterday, and a meeting with the man once described as a 'mad dog' Colonel Gadaffi..
Tony got to watch a deal being signed between BT Oil and Lybia, for continuing sources of crude.. but not much said about Human Rights. Not this time..
Yet, there can be no question question, Tony Blair and - crucially - his foreign policy adviser, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, can take credit for bringing Libya in from the cold.
Lybia was trying to build a nuclear bomb, and getting secret supplies from the smuggling network run by Pakistan's AQ Khan, and the regime in Tripoli was confronted with the evidence.
Mr Blair and President Bush both badly needed a "penitent sinner" back in 2003 - to show there was a positive alternative to the invasion of Iraq - and Libya exactly fitted the bill.
Mr Blair and President Bush both badly needed a "penitent sinner" back in 2003 - to show there was a positive alternative to the invasion of Iraq - and Libya exactly fitted the bill.
Gaddafi could read the signs too, and accepted international rehabilitation as a delivered for Libya hugely expanded trade and tourism after all the years as a pariah state.
Tony visit to Tripoli in March 2004 and his meeting with Gaddafi symbolized an extraordinary turning point in relations with one of the most troublesome regimes in North Africa and the Middle East.
And in Sierra Leone, Tony's seen as a bringer of peace, and the beginning of what could be a democratic country.. He's exceedingly popular in the country, for the help Britain gave eliminating rebel factions and bring about the first stable government that country has had since it gained independance, ironically from Britain itself, back in 1961..
This is the picture Tony wants left of himself in the pages of history..
But.. in other areas, the likes of Darfur..the position Tony found himself in is an inevitable consequence of the long decline of British power in the post-imperial age, but also of the dynamics created by participation in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
These foreign wars have sucked up military and political resources to a degree that effectively prohibits involvement in major interventions elsewhere around the globe.
Simply put, Tonydid not have the military resources, the international clout or domestic support for any foreign military intervention that was not related to national interests.
And 'national interests' are perhaps the bottom line..

A new statistic to be digested. The Global Peace Index take into account a country's involvement in foreign conflicts, and it's internal crime figures, to tell us the 'safest countries' in the world to live in.
Norway tops the list.. Britain's at 49 out of a total of 132.. and not surprisingly, Iran comes in as the back marker. This list is the brainchild of an Australian entrepreneur.. the one who owns and runs 'yoick'.. and considering the manpower that's been put into the effort, it could well become a globally accepted standard..
Something else to keep an eye on..

One more small point to mention.
Today was the first General Meeting of School Heads and Advisors in Britain.. sparked by government legislation that would have teachers effectively becoming 'spies'.. albeit low-key ones.
The government wants teachers to 'watch' their students, and report to authorities any they suspect of holding 'radical' or 'inflammatory' views.
Taken broadly, this could mean any kid extolling the virtues of Marxism.. to those espousing violence through quotations from the Q'ran..
As of the noon-hour, the meeting had unanimously condemned the government suggestion, underlining that schools are a place of learning, of development.. and while ideas such as those which might be considered revolutionary may well be spoken about, there could be no better place for such discussion.. That cogent arguments, in the language of those discussing, is the forum children need to convince those bent on defeating our society, to have impressed upon them the advantages they enjoy within this society.
Now, should a teacher overhear a discussion that would lead directly to injury to the public, they would naturally inform those authorities involved in dealing with such problems.
But to become spies.. is simply too Orwellian for our educators..

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Finally.. the inevidable compromise has been reached.. and the final American effort to stabalise the new Iraqi government has begun.. by throwing thousands more troops at the insurgents..
Their numbers are finite.. their lines of supply, while numerous.. will be shut down to a tremendous degree.. their allies will re-think any detection of association..
And if the Americans manage to demonstrate to the man on the Iraqi street that it's safer to go to the market.. to take a bus.. standing in line to enlist in th Iraqi Police Force.. because they are there and stopping these killers before they can act.. then it will give the separate factions within the Iraqui government.. the Shi'ite majority reaching agreement with the Sunni influence and experience.. and could lead to an efective basis from which to form a workable infrastructure..
30 thousand more American soldiers and their accompanying machinery by mid-June..
Elections beginning to loom..
And while George can't run again.. it's imperative that he instill in the American public the conviction that what he has started, deserves to be completed. That his 'War On Terror' should not be sidelined or back-burnered..
That a Republican will be needed to continue to steer this massive machine he has set in motion..
But.. 'is there enough time' is a serious consideration when considering swinging national opinion..
Gordon has slightly less time to effect the same here.. although he has been given an 'out' by Tony, with talk of British withdrawals from Iraq and re-deployment in Afghanistan..
However.. that was tempered with the caveat, that the 'situation be stable and in the hands of the Iraqi Forces..'
One again is somehow drawn to extrapolating the future of France in this conflict.. Nikolas Sarkozy might well extend a hand to both Britain and the United States that France would be willing to extend 'help'.. be it either diplomatic or in Lobbying for the inevidable request that all forces in Iraq, be under the control of the UN..
That, is the logical 'last step' before the withdrawal of all Western troops from that country..
But George wants the appearance that the Americans will hand over a 'job well done'.. and an infrastructure in place.. Tony, of course, wants that as well.. It will define what's later recorded in history texts, with the luxury of future retrospection and analysis..
An era has come to an end here in Britain, with the disappearance of Tony..
The same will happen in a couple of years in the US..
It is more than interesting to keep an eye on what their successors make of this..
'This'.. in the broadest sense..

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Just a brief note for the moment..
It has been decided, after a years study and a capital outlay by the government of £418 million.. almost a billion American dollars these days.. that 'gangs'.. the word itself.. stygmatises what is, in actuality, 'groups of troublesome youths'..
The Youth Justice Board issued this enigmatic statement.. to quote:
"Young people on the cusp of antisocial behavior and offending must be given the right emergency exits to avoid falling into more serious group offending and gangs in those areas where they exist. Troublesome youth groups is one which is getting more mentions. It distinguishes between groups who are causing a bit of trouble and proper criminal gangs."
This cost £418 million?
This took a year to conclude?
This utter nonsense can be taken seriously by those who commissioned it, or even by those who authored it?
It is not often that any 'Holy Text' is quoted in this commentary.
The Gospel of John, Chapter 11, verse 35.. about sums it up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Something to take note of.. something which might pass un-noticed or given little thought..
But, the Punjab, in the north of India has traditionally been a source of some problems for the Central Indian government. Throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, Punjab was the site of a violent insurgency by Sikhs who desired an independent homeland...
Indian security forces killed a good number of Sikh militants after they seized the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Sikh religion's most important site...
And in revenge.. Sikh soldiers shot dead Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister.
Not an area one would like to see in any turmoil.
Well, it is.
Now Sikhism is a mixture of Islam and Hinduism.. basically it is founded on the premis that ritualism is not necissary, but that one can come closer to God through meditation and devotion.
And the Punjab has Pakistan on one side, and India on the other..
Sikhism also has a few sects.. one of which is called Dera Sasha Sauda, and the leader of this sect has united all the others in common outrage, for appearing in a commercial dressed as Guru Gobind Singh.
This is comparable to Sinead O'Conner tearing up the photo of the Pope..
Thousands took to the streets last week.. one man shot and killed..
The Sikh Community throughout the Punjab has called for a general strike today..
Security Forces are reportedly on patrol..
But here again, we have a situation in the East.. motivated by religious dissention..
which could escallate, percolate, into yet another Indian 'civil war'.
Not what India needs at the moment, with both a burgeoning economy, and the immenent results of global warming, as more of the Eastern lowlands are expected to be inundated..
However.. India's current Prime Minister.. Manmohan Singh.. himself a Sikh, has called for calm.
Let it be so.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Now.. this must confirm the circular nature of history, and the individual common response to success.. Ancient Rome springs to mind.
The story is simply this.
An American tourist.. now here it must be suggested that it is not only the American wealthy who have gone to such excess, that it could be any nationality.. was on a cruise to the Norwegian fijords.. a pleasant place to see in spring..
He developed stomach problems while his Five Star Liner was docked in the Firth of Forth, off Edinburgh, and the doctors on the ship decided he needed hospital attention, and should be taken ashore to the Royal Infirmary.
This was done.
The tourist had emergency surgery, and is now recovering comfortably..
Now to the historical similarities..
This man weighed in at 32 stone.. 203 kilo's.. 447 pounds.. and was so large he couldn't be loaded over the side to a launch.. he was too large for an effective air ambulance rescue, considering the conditions on the open sea..
So they called in the RAF.
The Sea King Rescue 177 is often used for search and rescue, but was originally designed for military use - including anti-submarine warfare and general tasks including heavy lifting.
Custom made, it would seem..
It would seem that the excesses of the present, are frighteningly close to those of the past.. when a man would have 20 servants already delegated to carry him in times of need..
And this man's weight, is sadly not anywhere near that of some who posess fine minds.. producers and employers..
Again, historically, it has been difficult to define the line between genius, and insanity.. between success and excess..
Historically, when our wealthy become obese, and those with power unhealthy, society turns against the oligarchs..
Now that is not to say that all of our leaders and financially influential are fat.. most who are the epitome of their chosen fields are not.
They make George and Tony run.. it's for their own good. You think they want to?
Another piece of the puzzle.
An interesting development in the expansion of Chinese economic clout..
China has bought a 10% interest in the American equity firm Blackstone, for a reported £1.5 billion.. or $3 billion US..
Now this gives Blacksone a decided advantage in expanding it's areas of influence in China.. Blackstone was one of the companies that recently pulled out of a takeover bid for Sainsbury's in the UK..
What's interesting however, is not that Blackstone has sold 10% of it's company to China, but that the funding comes from the Chinese governments newly formed 'State Investment Fund'..
This intimates that China is now ready to spread it's cash around, worldwide, to diversify it's foreign ownings, under the aegeis of a State department.. This also intimates that China is set now, to truely enter the worldwide economic community, with a ton of cash to throw around.
There was a time, not that long ago, where the man on the street knew little about China, it's history, it's political development. But with the coming emergence of China as a non-isolationist world power, educational programs have sprung up like weeds, pushing a fast-track indoctrinational knowledge of what has, to this point, been a 'sleeping giant' among the world powers.
Even Nanny Services have been bombarded with requests from those who can afford £500 a month for their kids to be taken care of by surrogates, for Nannies who can teach Cantonese or Mandarin.
Doubtless it won't be long before those languages are included among those offered in schools, both Public and State.. for the indications are there to be plainly seen, that the need for either of the Chinese dialects will have more relevance than say German, or French, in this developing world..
There was a pertinent question asked in 'chat' this morning.. chatrooms by the way can be an invaluable source of public opinion on certain matters.. on the meaning of 'globalisation'. Does it mean the eventual dissolution of national barriers to make way for economic development..? Does it mean the amalgamation of States to form conglomerate economic entities..? Does it eventually lead to a 'World Government'..?
Is the EU the natural response to the US..?
Problematic to all of these scenario's is the ubiquitous problem of Africa, but can that, in time, be brought under control..?
It might well be said that the emergence of China into the world arena, could be the driving force behind the West's attempts to solve the disparities between the living standards of those in the Third World, before the Chinese move in themselves with their money, and a political system that if altered slightly, could prove attractive to those in turmoil and poverty..
A 'State Investment Fund', running under a system that is doing wonders within the boundaries of it's own country..
Something to ponder, when we in the West are throwing our disposable cash away on irretrevables the likes of bombs.. bullets.. the machines of war.. and to a great extent wasting our resources outside our own countries..
The Chinese are at this point, completely unconcerned with ideologies other than their own, and so far, have incurred the wrath of no idiologically driven States..
They are in a position to do that which we cannot.. and that is expand without having to fight a history of colonialism.
Again, something to ponder..

And now we have Gordon Brown leading Great Britain. Lets see what the man does, on the World Stage, for the next 18 months at least..

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Something to keep an eye on..
There is a meeting of the UN Security Council Scheduled, to discuss the continuing problem of Kosovo..
Russia maintains it's an internal matter, yet the UN has been involved in peace-keeping in the area for years..
This has become one of two major disagreements which have sprung up between George and Vlad.. the other are American moves to increasing their nuclear capability in Eastern Europe..
Now.. Condaleesa's meeting with Vlad at the moment.. and her job is to reach some basic agreement on both issues before the scheduled Security Council meeting, and to defuse the statements that the US/Russia are entering a new 'Cold War' phase..
Vlad's movements towards restoring some of the Powers of the State which were de rigeur under Soviet rule, and stepping down the move towards Capitalism, have not pleased the White House..
But.. while many issues stand between the Americans and the Russians.. if Vlad and Condi can hammer out a compromise before Wednesday, that meeting will be cancelled.
If that meeting does take place, expect some heated exchanges..

Monday, May 14, 2007

It should be interesting, to see the results, is there are any, os the Pope's visit to South America..
This is a continent that has always been a bastion of Roman faith.. but of late, there have been significant numbers deserting their parishes, to join evangelical Protestant church's..
The Pope made quite an empassioned speech.. decrying the 'governments in South America which repress the masses, and maintain the massive gap between the rich and the poor..'
Now he named no particular regeme, but did point out that the spreading influence of Marxism and Socialism, were the cause of situations which go directly against the teachings of his Church..
There was a time, when Brazil was 89% Roman Catholic..
Now, it's closer to 75%..
It's hard these days to find South American priests.. and the Pontiff blamed the social systems which have developed over these past decades, wherein the poor have little to hope for, and have turned to drugs.. alcohol.. violence..
The Pope put the onus on the various South American governments to rectify this situation..
While most of the crowds Benedict faced were smaller than organisers of the trip had expected.. there were a million who turned out in Sao Paulo Sunday to witness the Canonisation of the first South American Saint.. a Franciscan monk by the name of Friar Galvao, for those interested..
A million voices could give something for Brazils leaders to think about, in the wake of Iranian President Ahmadenejad's visit..
Not to mention Venezeula, with the Perez Government already under international indictment for Human Rights Violations..
As previously said, South America is a continent cultivated by the Church, and those who came in it's name, and under it's auspices..
The Pontiff may be a voice, that some may listen to..

Saturday, May 12, 2007

One more note for the now..
It would seem the government of Iranian President ahmadenejad is deliberately trying to self-destruct in the eyes of the International Diplomatic Community..
Iranian American scholar Haleh Esfandiari, who's in her late 60's and is the respected director of the Middle East Program at the Smithsonian Institution's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, traveled to Iran to visit her sick 93-year-old mother last year.
On her way to the airport to return to Washington in December, she was robbed at knifepoint and stripped of her Iranian and American passports.
Since then she has been interrogated for 50 hours, according to her husband. The Intelligence Ministry's purpose in interrogating her is unclear, because the answers to most of its questions are available online at the Wilson Center Web site, according to the center's director, Lee H. Hamilton.
Interrogators have tried to coerce her into false confessions about her activities and the activities of the Wilson Center, which they seem to believe is driving U.S. policy against Iran. Finally, on Tuesday, she was locked up in Tehran's Evin Prison.
Ms. Esfandiari's imprisonment is particularly poignant because she has been advocating dialogue and a restoration of diplomatic relations with Iran.
Some Iranian Americans accuse her of being too "soft" on Tehran. Her arrest only tends to strengthen those who argue that the Ahmadinejad regime is too cruel and irrational to make an attempt at dialogue worthwhile.
Some scholars believe Ms. Esfandiari may be a pawn in the infighting in the Iranian government, too, with Ahmadinejad trying to create "enemies" to strengthen his position.
But Ms. Esfandiari is no enemy of Iran, and her efforts to promote understanding are not causing the world to lose respect for Iran.
Her imprisonment certainly is.
Ahh.. the complexities of Middle Eastern politics and diplomacy.. where the taking of 'hostages' is still seen as a firm bargaining point..
It will soon be time, for both the Ayatollah Khameini and Ahmadenejad to enter the 21st century, and leave such antiquated Levantine tactics behind..
Also of interest today..
This from the Wall Street Journal..
"We've been watching the debate over Al-Hurra, the U.S.-funded Middle East TV channel that has lately developed a reputation as a friendly forum for terrorists and Islamic radicals. A bipartisan group of Congressmen has called for Al-Hurra's news director, former CNN producer Larry Register, to resign -- and it's time he and his supervisors gave taxpayers some answers.
With an annual budget over $70 million, Al-Hurra is part of the long arm of America's public diplomacy in the Middle East. The network was established to provide a credible source of information in the region, in a market dominated by Al-Jazeera ..."
How al-Hurrah is on the daily reading list.. and while it is true that it is beginning to report the sense of futility that is creeping into every Westerner involved in Iraq.. it is not yet, as far as one has been able to discern, become a mouthpiece for terrorists or Muslim radicals.. unless presenting them as the extremists they are..
al-Hurrah is becoming more friendly towards the Iraqi search for self-determination.. but this in itself might be disturbing to some in Washington who would sooner see their efforts, to date, as successfull, and on the timeline.
To take al-Hurrah to task over it's less than 'Stars And Stripes' format, would be a huge public relations blunder on the part of the Americans. If anything, they should be putting money into more media outlets in the area, to express in terms the Iraqi man on the street can understand, what it is the West is trying to do, and how Fundamentalists are blocking the progress..
To explain to that man on the street, how desparate the West is to get out of their country.. and to leave a stable government in charge..
An interesting idea posited by the editors of the LA Times for Tony..
That once he steps down as PM.. he could be a prime candidate for a 'World Environment Czar'..
"As efforts to combat global warming pick up steam" the editors write, "a new, transnational body will eventually be created to mediate and enforce greenhouse-gas treaties -- sort of an environmental equivalent of the World Trade Organization. Blair, a top spokesman for sensible climate change policy, would make an ideal founding director" ...
An interesting, if futile post for a somewhat worn-out looking politician..
Enforcing worldwide emissions is going to be an impossible jb in itself... with the US not having even signed up to the Kyoto Treaty, and China exempt from any restrictions, because it's a 'developing nation'..
One wonders if Tony has the stamina to take on such a position, were such a body formed, and were he asked to be the first in charge..
Considering the manner in which Tony is leaving, for make no mistake he is being forced out under a timetable not of his making.. it might well be the man has, perhaps for the time being, lost the drive to 'serve'..
Tony is both a politician, and a diplomat.. He's had ten years of hard-fought experience dealing with domestic and international crises..
Whether he would take the job if offered.. if such a regulatory body was indeed founded.. is moot..
But like the man or not, one would have to admit that if he did take such a post, he would do the best he could.. and use all the powers he was granted to enforce the rulings of his advisory council..
Something to think about..
A new furore at the United Nations, over the nomination of Zimbabwe to head the UN Commission on Sustainable Development..
The Chair of this Committee rotates through the regions of the world, and it's Africas turn, and Zimbabwe has been put forward by the African nations to be their representative.
Now the United Nations, the European Countries, and the janitor at the UN have all asked the nomination be changed, because Robert Mugabe's government if falling apart economically, is repressive, has one of the worst human rights violations records in the world, and is about to lose it's power source of Mozambique for a debt of only $9A the moment households in Zimbabwe are limited to 4 hours of electricity a day, between five in the afternoon and nine at night..
This casts, says those somewhat alarmed by the nomination, some doubt on the ability of Zimbabwe to contribute significantly in the Chair of this Committee..
However..Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UN, Boniface Chidyausiku, said his country was 'entitled' to hold the chairmanship.
"It's our right. We're members of the United Nations and we're members of CSD, and the Africa group did make a decision and endorsed Zimbabwe...They're making a storm out of a teacup."
End quote.
Now not to be pedantic, but if one is about to assume the Chair of a vital UN Commission, one should at least be aware of the dangers of 'storms out of a teacup'...
Tempests too..
In, as well..

And finally, the deed is done.
Tony has endorsed Gordon Brown, saying he has all confidence Gordon will wear the mantle well..
Now again, there are many even within Gordon's own ranks, who have their reservations.
Gordon is Scottish, and while has the ability to analyze, integrate, correlate, formulate when it comes to matters financial, his ability to work on the world stage, with his somewhat volatile and caprecious personality, is moot.
Now.. say many.. he is learning.
He's been photographed smiling so much these past few days, that it's obvious the strain it makes on the mans face.
Gordon is a politician, and that's indisputable.
But is he a diplomat..?
He has slightly less than two years to prove he is, or somewhat less time to learn to be one.. There are certainly some rough edges to be honed off..
We live in interesting times...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yet another domino is falling.. Tony will be gone as of the 27th of June..
That leaves a lame-duck President to deal with a Prime Minister who's future is definitly undecided in the next poll.. with a new right of center French Prime Minister who's raring to go, to get France back into the International Community..
Here.. Gordon's going to face the legacy of Tony's commitments, both domestic and foreign, while appearing to give enough originality to future Labour plans to give the impression he's capable of running the country..
He's going to need to forge his own personal relationship with George .. and that should be interesting.. a Texan and a Scotsman..
However.. Tony's running blocker for him in his last few weeks.. He has a busy travel schedule mapped out.. Washington included.. no doubt to give a sketch of what to expect from Gordon the Prime Minister, as opposed to what they've seen of Gordon, the Chancellor..
We'll not go into an evaluation of Tony's years in office at this point.. his highs and lows have been recorded on the day..
But along with the rest of the leaders of the G8+5, and the Heads of State in the new EU member countries, we will wonder at the direction Gordon will take on issues the likes of immigration.. of a migrant workforce.. of the insideous homogenisation of Britain into what's certainly going to become an United States of Europe..
Even Turkey is bowing to demands that it form a secular government, to allow the expansion of this hegemony into Asia Minor..
And how will Gordon deal with the impression of the man on the street, that Britain, which has resisted invasion for a thousand years, has handed certain aspects of our 'freedoms' to an united Europe.
Even on a smaller level.. but a significant one in these times.. how will Gordon deal with the Englishman's attitude towards a Scottish Prime Minister..
Complicated times.. with the public leadership changing in the West in a relatively short period..
Talk may be expected.. rhetoric which will defend the maintenance of the status quo for the now.. but the larger mechanism for change has already been set in motion, and it is still questionable how our new leaders will deal with all that faces them.
Interesting times.
Times which can see situations which would appear to demand immediate response, such as the recent incident on the Shaat al Arab..immediately, as it happened.. times in which our leaders must be prepared with contingency plans for any given situation which can be implemented immediately.
These are days when digesting all the salient points of an issue, a process which should take weeks, is publicly completed in a weekends Summit.
Or at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council..
One cannot envy George the mantle he's assuming.
One can only hope he already knows how to juggle..

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Interesting days..
Tony will endorse Gordon as his successor..
The French have chosen a hard line rightist approach to repairing their economy and putting the country back on the map..
And Sir Patrick Moore says the problem with the BBC these days is that women are running it.. too many cooking shows.. lifestyle nonsense.. 'Would never have happened in the old days'..
Much to digest in those three issues..
Oh. And George, it must be said, looked as happy with white-tie and tails as a cow being led down the chute towards the electrodes..

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Today's the day for the French..
Will it be the pro-American pro-entrepreneurial Nicolas Sarkosy.. or the pro-EU socialism of Segoline Royale..

Interesting the results of this Thursday's British elections.. While the majority of voters up here voted against the seperatist stance of the SNP, the Scottish National Party did manage to get a plurality.. of one seat..
Of course, this is effectively a lame-duck government.. because Labour is that close and coalitions are difficult to maintain over a 4 year session.. but it is being hailed by Alex Salmond as a massive victory for the case of separation from the Union.. He would dearly love to have a chance over the next 4 years.. to demonstrate to the Scottish peoples, that this is a country that could stand alone..
He'll have a fair deal to prove.. that we can survive on a shrinking tax-base.. deal with an ageing population.. maintain the services provided by the NHS.. even deliver the post..
All this without increasing taxes..

Now, back to the French election for a minute..
The US media seems to be backing Sarkovsy as a shoe-in.. with indeed the Washington Post saying it could usher in a new era in dealings between the US and Europe..
This, considering the leanings of Germany's Angela Merkel and of course, our own Gordon Brown..
This might be somewhat optimistic..
We'll see what the Berlin meetings produce..

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

George is still trying to 'fight the good fight'.. with his veto over a Congressional move that would have tied funding of the war to a timetable for withdrawal of American troops..
But with Tony leaving in a matter of weeks, and a new agenda to be worked out with Gordon, George and his advisors must be feeling the squeeze..
Setting the date when the last American boot will lift off the ground in Iraq at this point, would be tantamount to setting the date for the beginning of the first Iraqi Civil War..
One would expect Gordon to continue with the strategy set out by Tony, with a 'war of attrition' eventually becoming policy..

Things have gone, not unexpectedly, somewhat quiet in the French contest.. The fanfare should begin next week in earnest..
At the moment it's consolidation of the 'party faithfull'..admonitions from the candidate him/herself..
Should be interesting to watch for fluctuations in the value of the Euro as these votes are cast and counted..

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