Another little break from AIT, this time inspired by CIP to scrappleface.

Apologies for the caps, its directly lifted and I didn’t want to change it (read: couldn’t be bothered to type it all out again). Or perhaps he really did spend the entire speech shouting; its possible, the things he said deserve to be shouted. This is Sanchez, on the evil stupid Iraq war (though the beeb said he was an inglorious part of Abu-Ghraib). There is plenty more quotable in there – “THERE HAS BEEN A GLARING, UNFORTUNATE, DISPLAY OF INCOMPETENT STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP” would do, though he knocks party-partisanship lower down. HE signs off with ” PRAISE BE TO THE LORD MY ROCK WHO TRAINS MY FINGERS FOR BATTLE AND MY HANDS FOR WAR.” I don’t suppose its any use quoting “Thou shalt not kill”, people are always rather selective in their bible readings.

scarppleface commented on this under “Retired General Upgrades War to ‘Nightmare’ Status” which I thought rather good. In fact the later article there calls attention to Sanchez remarks on the media, which I was about to say “are worth reading” before realising that I only skimmed them, so perhaps they aren’t after all. If i had more time.

But this is really only an excuse to steal the following funny from scrappleface: “Gore Wins Nobel Prize, High Court Gives It to Bush… Although former Vice President Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize this week for his work as a global-warming performance artist, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled early today that President George Bush would receive the gold medal, the diploma and the $750,000.”

Brown Bottle

Broon bottles it says the BBC. Well no, they put it more politely: “Gordon Brown has said he will not call a general election this autumn”. Jolly good, all the politico-types can go back to sleep again. Of course, the true Brown Bottle (scroll to the bottom) was in Viz, but it proven hard to find a picture online.

From the point of view of the smaller parties (Green 🙂 this is a relief and will make my personal autumn a bit easier. But where does it leave Brown?
Continue reading “Brown Bottle”

The Legacy of Blur

From the title, you can tell I’m not very keen on him. I’m writing this not because my thoughts are terribly valuable on him, but because its a convenient place for me to write this where I’ll remember it. Because on previous things – like, say, the invasion of Kosovo – I’ve tended to forget, after, what my thoughts were, before, under pressure of events.

At the moment, Blairs reputation is dominated by the disaster of Iraq. Since this is a real disaster for which he shares a lot of the blame, this is fair (I know it was mostly US troops but our (his) support seems to have been very important: likely it would not have happened had we said no). The Economist says that in 5 years time this will be less important, and his other achievements will come to the fore. I think that will depend on how Iraq plays out. Since I can’t see a happy ending (obvious possibilities are a long slow collapse if we don’t pull out or a quick one if we do; anyone care to propose a plausible happy scenario?) I think that in 5 years he will still be best remembered, badly, for Iraq. What else should we remember him for?

The Economy? Its been doing well, but unequally. More importantly, Broon gets most of the credit for this, which seems reasonable given that he was chancellor, or maybe just the giving interest rates to the Bank was the thing. Anyway, not Blair.

Northern Ireland? Its a peace process that seems to have largely worked. I’m unsure how much credit Blair gets for this (or rather, how much he deserves). Compared to Iraq, it seems like a small thing; more, Iraq makes it look like an accident. I also suspect that the two sides had run out of anything else to do. That said, even if Blair got lucky, he seems to have pushed things along somewhat.

I’ve seen it said, more and more, that he didn’t really know how to govern or what to do. Certainly the stupid target culture he brought in was and is useless (or posivitively harmful). That the only really effective thing he managed to do was reform the Labour party. But a lot of people hate him for that, too. And the H+S sh*t* has got worse under him, but then it just keeps getting worse no matter who is in power.

Overall… begins to look a bit like King Log, apart from Iraq; hence thumbs down overall.

Parklife was good, though.

[Oh, and PFI too – another disaster. But mostly Broons fault]

[Update: a couple of things I forgot, added here where only those who read by RSS will see them: (1) devolution (2) House of Lords reform (only half way, but still a good thing) (3) minimum wage (4) interventions in Sierra Leone and Kosovo (less sure about the last) (5) Increased toleration -W]


No not me, sadly 😦

RP has a nice article on and exceprting a piece by Richard Benedick on Climate Policy. One bit that struck me:

These UN mega-conferences have by now developed a predictable pattern. Considerable time is occupied by tedious problems of coordinating positions and tactics, both inside the huge national delegations and within blocs of countries such as the European Union and other regional or “like-minded” coalitions. There are the usual dire warnings– fully justifiable–of impending global catastrophe. There are trivial protocol debates and ritualistic ministerial speeches exhorting complicated and unrealistic actions. There are cultural diversions such as boat rides on the Rhine or dance performances in Marrakech. As the end nears, all-night negotiating sessions contribute to a sense of destiny. But despite the customary self-congratulatory finale, the results at Nairobi, as at preceding meetings, were embarrassingly meager. . . Part of the problem, as he sees it, is a short-term obsession with targets and timetables. The climate meetings, obsessively focused on short-term targets and timetables applying only to industrialized nations, have become trapped in a process that is unmanageable, inefficient, and impervious to serious negotiation of complex issues that have profound environmental, economic, and social implications extending over many decades into the future. . .

I added the bolding. I’ve never been to one of these things, but my impression is that another major part of the problem is that these conferences, whilst just about a waste of time, and certainly a waste of money and GHG, are nonetheless a fun boondoggle for a large pile of people. They are also a jolly useful substitute for any kind of action. Its also become pretty clear that they are never going to achieve anything, so no-one really gets blamed for them failing.

The thoughts re the comparison with Montreal are interesting, but I’m not sure how useful they are. Global warming is a much harder issue; ozone turned out to be fairly easy.

Uprising of the poodles?

If you haven’t been following UK politics recently, you can be excused, cos its been dull. The main story has been “when will Blair go” and “will he name a date”. My reading of this has been, why should he, when no-one has the guts to push him out. Yesterdays news was that the Sun (dubious low-iq semi-porn paper with a large readership and hence influential, hence seems to get more that its fair share of leaks) reported that the date would be next may; this was interpreted as being “given the wink” by Blair since he didn’t deny it. So far so dull and much the usual slimy politics.

But today: excitement: the Grauniad (non-dubious high-iq no-porn 😦 paper with smaller and less influential readership :-() reports: Blair faces crisis over resignations… Tony Blair today faced an implosion of his authority after seven government members resigned in protest at his refusal to publicly name a departure date. They are fairly minor people, true. Possibilities: they have summoned up the backbone to do what they think is right despite the consequences (unlikely). Or, they have seen which way the wind is blowing and want to show loyalty to the new regime (more like it).

Or am I too bitter and cynical in my old age?