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

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..

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