Sunday, 27 September 2009

Neighbours of a dark star

Iran is surrounded by Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Iraq. Russia and Kazakhstan are across the Caspian Sea. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE are across the Persian Gulf. Oman is across the Arabian Sea. Iran is not just an evil empire on a dark star full of creatures bent on the annihilation of the human race; Iran is one of many states of Asia Minor. As an optimist I have to believe that none of Iran’s 13 immediate neighbours is egging them on to develop hydrogen bombs.

Scotland's police state

The Baroness Scotland saga rumbled on in our household. I looked the story up on the Mail website. It looks a clear case of more to it than meets the eye. Heavy policemen batter the door down of the Tongan maid. There are insinuations that they were trying to fit her up for a robbery. How ham fisted is that? You have to believe that Pat Scotland lied about seeing the maid’s passport before hiring her. That now becomes the crime: the unseemly scramble to cover her tracks supported by the apparatus of a police state.

It’s illegal not to cut the deficit

Gordon Brown turns up in Brighton for the Labour Party Conference and announces that he is going to make it illegal for the government not to halve the deficit by 2015. This will apparently give Middle England confidence that a Labour Government would achieve this target despite spending money hand over fist up until next year’s election. It is hard to think of a crasser insult to the general public. I just wonder if his audience is not the Americans and others who can see this country going bankrupt yet spending money unrestrainedly.

When it’s time to shut your fat face

William Hague says we have to take action against Iran. However, this is the statement of a man who will be sipping Pinot Grigio in his smoker while others go out and lay their bodies on the line. It seems that the Iranians are developing a nuclear capability and it may not be entirely peaceful. What would be really useful in this situation would be for Hague to shut his fat face and David Miliband to talk nicely with his EU counterparts to see if there’s anything they can do as a group.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Cameron and Murdoch snuggle up

David Cameron employs Andrew Coulson as his Communications Director. Andrew Coulson carried the can for Rupert Murdoch over the 2006 phone hacking scandal. Rupert Murdoch announces that his mouthpieces will be supporting the Tories in the election campaign. These mouthpieces report little on the revival of the hacking scandal apart from tucked away confirmations that a worried looking senior policeman called Yates doesn’t see any reason to prosecute anyone. We are talking here about the Sun, the Wall Street Journal,Fox , for God’s sake, the London times aka The Thunderer and of course the News of the Screws.
For some reason, the man Murdoch is not in jail.

Everybody's second favourite cause

I went to a rally organised by the Electoral Reform Society. I was hoping to be inspired, but it was worthy rather than exciting. None of the speakers could convince me that proportional representation was a great cause for our age. I think it’s because the voting mechanism is just a means to an end. The people there were passionate about other causes and united by frustration at not being able to make progress with them. The Climate Changers, Youth Activists, Pensions Rightists are really more worried about their things, but I guess that proportional representation would be their second choice on a single transferable voting paper.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

The Beetles are coming

Before I forget it I want to record what I learned today listening to the BBC’s Discovery program. It was about a plague of mountain pine beetles in British Columbia, which is largely due to climate change and a monoculture approach to forestry which has provided an abundance of congenial hosts. The beetles had previously been thinned out by the cold winters, which have recently been a couple of degrees higher. The long lodge pines have been reduced by 40%. Skillful control measures by local foresters have led the beetles to flee east into Alberta and they are en route to New Jersey.