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

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It doesn't appear this will be remembered as a bumper year for British, or European livestock farmers.. the opposite, in fact..
While Britain has been struck by repeated outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease.. northern Europe, especially Belgium, has been killing off it's stocks of sheep and cows infected with 'blue-mouth' disease.. some 2 thousand animals euthanised so far in that country..
And now, this blue-mouth infection has crossed the Channel, and has been detected in Surrey.
This particular disease affects an animals head, causing swelling.. it's throat, causing problems with breathing, and it's joints, causing open lesions, and is transmitted by midges..
And the probem is.. how does one control the midge population..
Now, it's not the massive cull of cattle we experienced some two years ago here, at least, not yet.. Exclusion areas appear to have stopped a general spread of the current foot-and-mouth outbreak..
But what it does mean is, that animals cannot be shipped to market.. that existing stocks are running out of grazing lands.. and their owners are close to dispair..
Beef futures might be worth looking into..

There is still talk floating around Westminster, that Gordon could call a snap election as early as the 25th of next month.. barring that, perhaps sometime in November..
Polls would indicate that Labour has weathered the various crises.. Northern Rock.. foot-and-mouth.. the EU's Berlin Accord.. and apparently holds close to a five point lead over the Tories..
But the question is, will Gordon gamble with a job he's been waiting ten years for, simply to extend his mandate for a mere 18 months or so longer than the one he now has in hand..?
As it stands, Gordon appears intent on tackling the ongoing problems with the NHS.. the outbreaks of MRSA.. cleanliness in general in hospitals around the country..
He has pledged that each and every one of them will undergo a 'sterilisation' process.. a thorough scrubbing of all surfaces.. all air ducts.. everything within the hospitals themselves..
However, there is the nagging voice of the medical community, saying 'bugs' the likes of MRSA can be controlled, but only up to a point, what with the continous traffic of patients and visitors, and while a scrubbing of the facilities should be de rigeur for all hospitals, it should not be seen as a measure which will eradicate the problem of infectious diseases being introduced to the wards, from outside..
This may be the wrong issue for Gordon to pin his election campaign to.. perhaps a definative stance of a European referendum.. or a cap on housing prices.. or care of the elderly, might be better brought to the fore..
Nevertheless, those within the ranks of Labour anxious to take their government to the polls, say they're ready.. They have the funding and infrastructure in place..
And while this may well be the start of Gordon's first General Party Conference as Prime Minister, it will almost certainly be his last, before we're called to decide who will sit in power in the House of Commons..

Well.. Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki has told the UN, that he can personally guarrantee the safety of UN personnel, should they decide to return to his country..
The secretary general..Ban Ki-Moon said there would be a new "regional support office" in Baghdad to foster dialogue between involved countries and an office in the southern city of Basra was also being considered..
This could be seen as a major move towards a pull-out of American troops from the country.. leaving only those required by American committment to the maintenance of UN Forces..
An out for the US.. and a development to be closely watched..

Especially with the sabre-rattling heard this weekend from Iran..
Ahmadenejad's parading of a souped up ballistic missile, and five home-made jet fighters at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Iran-Iraq War.. and his bald statement to the effect of those who threaten Iran with war, would find themselves in hotter water than they could imagine.. or words to that effect.. are aimed directly as France, and the US.. both having issued warnings to Tehran that should the supply of arms and money into Iraq from Iran not stop, a military solution might be all that's left as a viable option..
It would be something of compounding a disaster to remove the Iranian government from power.. While it on the surface, would be a comparitively simple operation, for the Iranian Armed Forces are no more competent than were their Iraqi counterparts.. It would simply involve the West in yet another 'control situation'.. guerrilla warfare which could keep us occupied.. and economically unballanced.. for decades..
It would seem that we are left with only two viable options..
Nuke them.. or utterly ignore them.
Destroy their society in one fell swoop.. or build an economic wall around the entire region. Stop buying their oil. Break off all diplomatic relations. Sever all economic ties.
For once, let it be our money that draws the line in the sand.. And make that intent clear to all the Levantine oil producers, that their product is no longer needed.
Time we moved on, and took our economies in an entirely different direction..
But, the time is now..

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