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

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

An interesting vote upcoming this Thursday, as the country goes to the polls to have their say on local seats, and the alternative voting issue..
The Conservatives are defending some 500 seats in local councils, while the LibDems and Labour are campaigning for their 18 hundred or so..
This vote could be taken as a bellweather for the next General Election, and it's moot how this will turn out for the Tories. Cameron's economic policies will certainly be the foremost issue on peoples minds.. whether they agree with his austerity cuts to keep the country on an economic even keel..
But, with the last quarterly figures, which indicated a .5% rise in GDP, would seem to indicate the Conservatives are on the right track.
However, as they say, the proof of the pudding's in the eating, and whether or not those who have been made redundant due to the cutbacks in the civil service recognize the necessity of the measures, will be reflected in tomorrow's vote.

Meanwhile, Portugal has come to an agreement in principle with the IMF and the Eurozone, for a loan of 78 billion Euros to prop up their punched out economy. This is a three year deal, worked out over these past few weeks with the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF..
One can only hope this loan will not go the way of that given to Greece, who's economic situation is still shambolic, and has required that country to default on even the interest payments on the money given them..
The bulk of this loan to Portugal will be born by Germany and France, and it begs the question, how long can France keep handing money out when itself is close to bankruptcy, and how long will the German taxpayer put up with bailing out fellow members of the EU..
It's been interesting to watch the value of the Euro climb against the British Pound Sterling.. something good for Britain, but decidedly not good for those in the single currency..
Only time will tell, as to when the Euro will finally implode, leaving those countries which have made these utterly improbable loans with no option but to opt out of the single currency.

And in Canada, we see the leader of the Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff, resigning following a crushing defeat in Monday's General Election. The Conservatives of Steven Harper took 167 seats, giving them a clear majority government.. a vast improvement on the last results..
And it would appear that of all the countries affected by this recession, Canada's going to be one of the first to emerge from it.. Historically, the $Am has always been more valuable than the $Canadian, yet today, the Canadian dollar's worth $1.07US, and indications are it's going to rise.
Good news for those crossing the border from Canada to shop in the US, but bad news for Canadian exporters, who's main market is the United States..
However, with a majority government finally in Harpers control, the 'true north strong and free' can continue unhampered in the Tory recovery programs.
That's a good thing. For that which Canada exports, will always be in demand, regardless of the cost to the buyer..

And of course, there's the Middle East..
It's interesting, the reaction in New York to the death of bin Laden, and the heightened security risk they could be facing.. Over the course of Monday, there had been more than sixty reports of suspicious packages.. an increase of some 60 percent over the day before.. Now, what the Attorney General was glossing over, was the apprehension felt among any American gathering in a large group, or in a city street.. It's expected that there will be retaliation for the killing of Osama, and that it likely come sooner than later..
However, Eric Holder, the AG, said there was a wealth of information recovered from Osama's house, and it could lead to the end of a number of al Q'aida cells and planned attacks..
And fuelling the cospiracists.. Barack says they'll not be releasing pictures of bin Laden's body after the Seal Team had finished with him.. Odds are though that they'll leak, and be posted somewhere on the Net.. one American report has it that publishing such pictures would be seen as disrespectful in some circles, and could indeed lead to the creation of a martyr for an organization which is slowly dying out.. Not to say terrorism is even slowing in it's frenetic pace, but this particular group, this al Q'aida, is a shrunken entity.. And if it would even attract a dozen more to the cause, seeing the dead body of their leader, then one must agree the suppression of the photo's is a matter of national, regional, and worldwide security. The reports all indicate that the influence of Al Q'aida had been much reduced, and that in fact the leaders of the movement are somewhat bemused by the youth-led revolts around the Middle East.. The real enemy(ies) remain, in Syria for the most part.. Hammas..Hezbollah.. several al Q'aida cells.. Jemiah Islamabad, all dedicated to fomenting violent unrest throughout the entire North African coast.. and all dedicated to the destruction of Israel..
Proof Osama bin Laden is dead must be forthcoming, but the tabloid approach to the pictures is not warranted..Now while on about the Middle East, it's worth noting a merger not to be ignored.. the Palestinian political factions Hammas and Fatah have been sepated, literally,since 2007, have healed their rift, and signed an agreement of what amounts to an amalgamation of the two largest factions in Palestine..
A united front, which will press their case to the UN and Israel, with the weight of the vast majority of Palestinians behind them. Let alone the capability for even more attacks on Israeli settlements, it effectively creates two fronts.. Fatah on the West Bank, and Hammas in Gaza..
Mahmood Abbas, the Palestinian Authority President and Fatah Party leader, says their fight was no longer against fellow Palestinians, but was solely with Israel..
Reports are the recent popular uprisings have inspired the two party leaders to join forces.. and indeed, they will have a much louder voice in the political arena..
This is not a joining the Knesset will welcome..

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