Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Suez fifty years on, Doha and the Lebanon

The Suez crisis was used by my father as an opportunity to introduce me to the editorial and opinion pages of the national press, a daily habit that has continued thereafter. He declined to offer his own opinion on the rights and wrongs of that matter, leaving me to form my own view. I noted however that from that point on The Observer ceased to arrive at the house with the other normal Sunday broadsheets. Suez was undoubtedly the end of an era for Britain and France and the beginning of a new role for the USA. Israel seems to continue as possibly the main victim . The USA, quick to cite overwhelming economic justification for its own operations in Panama decades later, is today saddled with the consequences of its opposition to the re-taking of the Suez Canal following its nationalisation by President Nasser. My own first transit of the canal some five years later was under the guidance of a Russian pilot. I believed that the USA was wrong, but we must now live in the world their then high moral tone created! The collapse of the Doha round of trade talks might seem unconnected, but the Suez crisis must have had a positive influence in the enthusiasm in France for the Common Market and was surely instrumental in Britain's eventual entanglement. The failure of the latest trade round (read The Guardian report of today from here) must mark the biggest yet failure of the EU in its principal task as a trading block. Can it survive this latest blow? EU federalists have been desperately seeking areas other than trade for the non-democratic and corporatist conglomerstate to advance in spite of the democratically expressed opposition of the only voters whose opinion has been sought. The EU rapid reaction force is one such area. Tony Blair has suggested an international peace-keeping force be introduced into South Lebanon. The Israelis are reported that they would not object to an EU force filling that role. Given that it took months for NATO to agree the terms of engagement for such a force in Afghanistan, is this the EU's chance of salvaging its future? I hope not but it will be interesting to see if they even try.


The Summer 2006 edition of the pamphlet from New Alliance may be downloaded and printed from this link.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pub ban for non-paying Paters

As I predicted just such pub bans and other dire developments in my novel written in 1996 I had to post this newspaper link. The title of the piece being:

Pub ban for absent parents who don't pay for children

It is more than a shame that much of the ghastliness I had ten years ago set as far ahead as 2014 is now already well in train.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blair's authoritarian administration in temporary retreat

I was tempted to refer to Blair's 'Government' in the title to this post - but of course there lies the problem - Tony Blair and his bunch of bullying incompetent ministers are incapable of such a task. Spin is what they can manage, spin involving ever larger elements of deceit. Now we even see a simple operation such as the evacuation of British citizens from Beirut subject to deception. In their rush to show EU solidarity they utilised two Chinook helicopters to rush in the entirely useless High Representative of the corrupt EU organisation, only afterwards and presumably as an afterthought for the benefit of the families of its employees, they apparently decided to utilise these desperately needed assets in Afghanistan and Iraq, as 'backhaul' transportation to Cyprus. The lying government machine then trumpeted this as the British evacuation being underway, while French citizens were already arriving at Roissy and reportedly even many Irish citizens actually back on their emerald isle. Following ID cards and Police Constabulary mergers the only recently hailed home sellers packs are now being dumped, deferred or just reduced depending on what report one believes - the Daily Mail item is linked from here. They will of course - all be back as they owe their origin to the self-same non-democratic EU. In perhaps the most disgraceful piece of personal dishonesty this week, David Cameron and William Hague have tied and jointly ensured that Britain will not have one mainstream party that now even pretends it will resist the ever larger corporatist construct that is the EU. This week also brought the shame of Britain's Prime Minister being ridiculed on the matter of the corruption of democracy by Russia's Mr Putin. Which brings us to party funding where the the future is of course the EU, other debate is a sham! Taxpayers already fund Britain's politicians. The large sums of money flowing to the parties via the MEPs is of course ours, the fact that these re-cycled taxes are then entirely within party control and gift is made even plainer from William Hague's disgraceful blackmail. How much of Britain's hottest day today will be due to the visible or constrained anger of its citizens? All too little I'm afraid!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Battle of the Somme

Ninety years since the terrible slaughter of the first day of the above battle we should perhaps reflect on the lost values of those who fought. Both my grandfathers fought in but survived the Great War. One Great Uncle was not so lucky and was killed at the Somme and in tribute I reproduce the obituary as published in his local Harrogate newspaper: 2nd - LIEUT. E. PERHAM, West Yorkshire Regiment, who was killed on July 24th, at the age of 23, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Perham, of Kent Road, Harrogate. He was educated at Giggleswick, won the Hastings Scholarship for Queen's College, Oxford, and graduated there with classical honours. A fellow-officer writes: - "The battalion has suffered, but none will be more regretted than Lieut. Perham. He was always so plucky ancd cheerful in the trenches and out that everybody, including the whole of his company, got to look forward to his coming. On this last occasion he was left behind owing to his damaged ankle, but the battalion had so many casualties that he insisted on going up to help."