Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013)

09/04/2013
thatcher election wave

The start of it all: Thatcher conquers 10 Downing Street

The British media are evidently awash with coverage of the death of Margaret Thatcher, former Conservative British Prime Minister.

There’s saturation coverage on all my UK online sources: you’d be forgiven for thinking a catastrophe had occurred within the British royal family. (No, Thatcher will not receive a state funeral, as some have proposed.)

Reaction across the UK (and beyond) has been, as expected, extreme. We’ve had the usual formulaic ‘tributes’ from prominent politicians; vituperative negative comments by extreme UK public figures: even street parties to ‘celebrate’ her passing – I received a comment from a shocked Bulgarian friend currently in UK, saying that:

“there certainly was a celebration in London, which sounds quite crude – in Bulgaria we do not celebrate anyone’s death, even the biggest enemy.”

The underlying motif of much of what I’ve read today has been along the lines of ‘Love her, hate her – no one remained indifferent to her’. Along with the frequent observation that her political ethos was invariably divisive, at all levels of UK society.

My own views, for what they are worth?

I was living in South Wales throughout Thatcher’s ‘reign’, and saw at first-hand the effects (good and bad), many of which remain as part of her legacy. [1]

And – no, I have never voted for the Conservative (political right) Party.

*******

I thought the editorial in today’s Guardian was reasonably balanced and comprehensive. [2]

And, for a personal slant on Thatcher (and her husband, Denis) from a former British Ambassador, this article seemed to tackle the problem of ‘personality’ versus ‘political achievement’ in the writer’s usual direct manner. [3]

[1]: BBC Online

[2]: The Guardian

[3]: Craig Murray

Image: BBC

Advertisements

BBC: I’m so bloody angry about this!

29/12/2012
What! - serving American propaganda!

What! – serving American propaganda?

I’d intended to take a few days off from this blog, to enjoy some days of peace and quiet, non-contention, and so on. ‘Peace, man’, as they used to say in the 60s.

Then, I saw an online report this evening, stating that:

“the BBC World Service could broadcast programmes aimed at residents of North Korea for the first time, under proposals being discussed by MPs, corporation bosses and US officials.

Barack Obama’s administration is encouraging the Foreign Office to back plans to establish a BBC Korean service to help open up the most secret country on earth.[1] [my emphasis]

“They, [the US], believe the BBC’s reputation for impartiality could help build up trust “with [the?] communist state’s 24 million population.” [so, they – the US – admit they have no credibility at all?] [my comment]

Look!

You may have noticed my completely sympathetic remarks about North Korea and its stupendously charismatic new leader. Plus, the BBC is, deservedly so, under attack for a recent load of complete cock-ups (I’ll return to some ‘lighter’ aspects soon); but it’s a British institution, funded by the British licence payer  (internally), and by a direct British government grant derived from UK tax payers (specifically for its foreign services), i.e, the BBC World Service.

So, why  is the US involved in this, at all?

  • Is the UK really the 51st. US state?
  • What is the meaning of this much mis-quoted ‘special relationship’, which invariably means the UK wagging its tail to North (US) America?
  • Who the hell pays for this UK government-funded service? (and, that’s bad enough, in terms of national democracy vs. short-term political expediency)
  • Who, finally, are those spineless English (the BBC Trust, presumably, led by that stubborn hero of British public credibility, Lord Patten) sucking up to?

Bugger off, UK government – use your own initiative – you are currently vociferous enough about ‘UK sovereignty’ vis à vis the EU, for example.

Bugger off, Obama administration – use CNN and Fox TV for your stupid, vapid propaganda! Get out of our garden, you miserable, malicious… !

[1]: The Independent

US justice: “One in a million”?

01/12/2012
30 years, and counting…

30 years, and counting…

“A convoluted legal row has erupted over [Jerry Hartfield] a Texas prison inmate who has been behind bars for more than 30 years after his case was overturned.”[1]

Please take a moment to read this tragic story for several reasons, including:

  • The Texas ‘justice’ system (yep, that’s where Bush comes from)
  • Incompetence (yep, that’s where Bush comes from)
  • Failed bureaucracy (deliberate tautology, on my part)
  • Inhumanity (yep, that’s where Bush comes from)
  • State criminality (chorus! all together now!)
  • Justice versus Vengeance? (no chorus)

Unwanted exclusivity quote

“It’s one of those one-in-a-million deals,” Mr Hartfield’s defender, Kenneth Hawk, told the Associated Press. That’s his defence, speaking?

Then think of Bradley Manning quaking in court, having been incarcerated in ‘harsh’ conditions ‘for his own safety’ for about 3 years before coming to pre-trial (and they say the Bulgarian legal system is slow!).

And, whatever you think about Julian Assange’s online activities and alleged offline capers, pause to wonder why, precisely, he fears extradition (I almost wrote ‘extraction’) to Sweden, with its own kinky legal procedures possibly leading onwards to that man-trap of US ‘justice’.

Or even the young UK guy, Richard O’Dwyer, who cannot now be extradited from the UK to the US for allegedly running a website that provided links to unlicensed streams of TV shows, but who still has to travel there to pay the fine imposed in a plea-bargain deal. I wonder if he has bought himself a simple one-way plane ticket?[2]

And more; British businessman Christopher Tappin accused of brokering arms deals (forget entrapment by US ‘Intelligence’), also having to settle on a plea-bargain to avoid disappearing for ever into a dingy US jail. Whether guilty or innocent.[3]

Oh, Land of the Free, Leaders of the Free World…

… until they, somehow, “forget” you for 30 years. But then, only one in a million, according to Hartfield’s own defence attorney. Ha, ha!

Excuse me now, I’m off to watch a cowboy movie.

[1]: The Independent

[2]: CMU

[3]: The Independent

Image: Prison Studies

Pharaoh Morsi’s new Egyptian pyramid scheme?

24/11/2012
hosni and mubarak

Spot the difference! Morsi (L.), Mubarak (R.)

President Morsi of Egypt has been in power since the end of June, 2012. Not an easy job, I’m sure we all agree.

But, given the entire social groundswell process under which he was swept into this position, what should we make of his latest moves?

What’s a pyramid scheme?

Definition: “A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public.” [Wikipedia]

One plus, one minus

On the positive side, he was responsible for brokering a ceasefire between the state of Israel and the Hamas leadership of Gaza. That must be applauded, even though the Israelis have since shot one protesting Gazan farmer and wounded another twenty Palestinians.

So, the minus… ?

His own country is in uproar – to put it mildly. Street demonstrations, stone-throwing, arson attacks on Morsi’s party offices across the territory, fighting after Friday prayers – what’s been going on?

Rule by presidential decree

Mohamed Morsi has, “after comprehensive consultations” (with whom, I wonder), issued a wide-ranging decree that, in effect, provides him with immunity from all judicial investigation, and gives him powers over almost everything while standing up for “the protection of progress and democracy”.

All this, of course, purely and reluctantly on a temporary bias, just until a new constitution is formulated  and new parliamentary elections take place. Sure!

A rather pertinent question

“How can you enact a transition to democracy, instil respect for the rule of law and separate the powers of the judiciary, legislative and executive, by overriding all three?”[1]

Morsi maintains he has “initiated these measures temporarily and unwillingly, when all other options have failed”; but the fact remains that he has done it.

“if he succeeds in pushing a new constitution through, it will halve his power, as Egypt will become a democracy in which an elected prime minister and president will hold equal sway.”[1] Sounds good, doesn’t it? The benevolent despot, forced to enact measures for the ultimate good of – “those others”…

Egypt today

Meanwhile, Egypt now finds itself in a situation where they have to accept  “the power to enact any other measure he [Morsi] deems necessary to deal with any “threat to Egypt’s revolution.”

His predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, ruled Egypt from 1967 until 2012 under emergency laws – purely temporary measures, constantly renewed, of course!

“The law was continuously extended every three years since 1981. Under the law, police powers were extended, constitutional rights suspended and censorship was legalized.”[Wikipedia]

What now?

The frantic public demonstrations of frustration and anger on the streets throughout Egypt surely prove that this is not what so many ordinary citizens fought and died for in their Arab Spring.

“This is a crime against Egypt and a declaration of the end of [the] January revolution to serve the interest of the Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship,” wrote Ibrahim Eissa, chief editor of daily Al-Tahrir. “The revolution is over and the new dictator has killed her. His next step is to throw Egypt in prison.”[2]

Well done, the Muslim Brotherhood, it seems! But, ordinary, disenfranchised Egyptian citizens have already seen this before – isn’t that why they’re out on the streets, again?

A self-inked, presidential pen can, with a flourish, sign away all that those Egyptian citizens fought for?

Spring… summer… autumn… winter… spring… ad nauseam…

[1]: The Guardian

[2]: The Independent

Images: thesun.co.uk

Israel: media spin war, bomb blast eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth retaliation

22/11/2012
tel aviv bus bombing

Ceasefire cancelled?

UPDATE: Ceasefire agreed despite Tel Aviv bus bomb outrage.

Spiegel Online does it again! My daily email alert provides two stories about the Israel-Gaza “confrontation”.

I suspect they employ an online editor with an acute sense of macabre irony. Why else would these stories be featured consecutively? Be that as it may, the short reports make for interesting reading. Here are quotes from each news item.

israeli media spin offensive

Click on the image to go to the article.

“Israel’s new media strategy takes into account the cultural differences and tries to make sure that nothing gets lost in translation. And the name of the latest Gaza offensive alone, Pillar of Defense, is already easier to process than the chunkier official title, Operation Amud Anan, a biblical reference to the pillar of cloud that God transformed himself into in order to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and protect them from the Pharoah’s army.”

Phew! How bloody grandiloquent [my emphasis, above].

israeli retaliation

Click on the image to go to the article.

“After such an attack there can be no cease-fire,” says Ginat [a self-proclaimed Israeli moderate]. “How can someone negotiate an end to the violence and then do something like this? With that the negotiations have come to an end.” Though no one has claimed responsibility [my emphasis] for the attack, hardly anyone in Israel doubts that Hamas was behind it [hysteria, propaganda? – my question]. In the Gaza Strip the radical Islamic army and party was said to have celebrated the news of the attack.”

That last sentence – if true: Hamas idiots, a**eholes – unless they have an awful, cataclysmic agenda in mind, including one for even their own civilian population.

It’s interesting that, in the case of the suicide bombing in Varna, Bulgaria, back in mid-July, that killed 5 Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian (Muslim) driver, as well as injuring another 32 Jewish tourists, Israel (and the US) almost immediately publicly declared that it was the work of Hezbollah. Bulgarian security, anti-terrorism forces and spokespersons still refuse, after 4 months, to be fully drawn on this, despite admitting the possibility, while they continue their investigation.

In a rabidly hysterical society (Israel), it’s all too easy to instigate a primitive witch hunt, isn’t it? Let’s wait for some real proof, even in this lamentable case. Thankfully, no one was actually killed in this attack, unlike…

[1]: Spiegel Online International

[2]: Spiegel Online International

Image: Spiegel Online International


%d bloggers like this: