Brown & The Undead Government

by

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Alan Johnson
Brown in China
Peter Hain
Gaza
Ashdown & Afghanistan – A DIS-Honourable Withdrawal
Levy & Cherie Books
EU Treaty of Lisbon vote
Prince Charles’ support for ‘fundamentalism’
Calling a spade a spade – PC Gone MAD
Davos

Comment at end

27th January, 2008

ARE WE BEING GOVERNED BY “THE UNDEAD”?

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Or is the present PM just unlucky?

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I’m not given to superstition. But I AM just beginning to wonder. Certainly, in comparison, “Teflon” Tony still seems to have a lucky charm secreted about his person. But on Brown’s recent trip to China (see here) my suspicions were raised.

So just in case of the worst scenario, I am advised that this handy kit is just the thing for really deading the undead. A cross, a silver bullet, garlic and a wooden stake.

VAMPIRE KILLING KIT

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Now let me think. Who might have these items to hand? The cross shouldn’t be difficult; the bullet … well … will a used one do, still implanted where it landed, but retrievable?; the garlic … anyone been to France recently?; as for the stake … hhmmm … I’ll have to give that some thought.

But Ive just had another thought. You’ll remember that day in September 2006, when push came to shove, and Blair & Brown had a loud conversation in Number 10? You remember? The threats that Blair said emanated from Brown? You don’t think that the “assassination” implement could have bounced back off the teflon? Nah! Sorry, some say I do have a bit of a wild imagination. That would mean that whoever wielded the weapon could well have been undead for the last 16 months! Surely we’d have noticed THAT?

Time for a song. If you were around in the early 1960s, you might remember this little rendition by The Zombies. I must admit I don’t recall it, just found it on my ‘zombie’ search. Its lyrics are … interesting, in the prescient way of songs and poetry.

Oh Gord! NOT ANOTHER ONE!

HEALTH SECRETARY JOHNSON IN TROUBLE OVER DONATIONS

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Alan Johnson, the jovial, guitar-playing Health Secretary is now in donations hot water too over his deputy leadership bid. HOW MANY MORE? And this a few hours after Des Browne said, in a pre-recorded message for a Scottish broadcast, that he was sure there would be no more such revelations.

But now, Johnson seems to be another victim of unintended consequences. He was the man standing at Blair’s side on the day he said he would stand down ‘within a year’ following the attempted coup. “I’ve got one (friend)”, quipped Blair.

Mr Johnson will know that he is now on his own, as Mr Brown tries to scrape his party’s credibility off the floor, by doing … who knows!

It seems Mr Johnson received £3,334 from a man who wrote a cheque on behalf of his brother. This is against the law as all donors’ names should be clear and unambiguous. And the proxy donor was an immigrant, though I don’t think illegal, and between April and July last year, four donations were not declared on time. Mr Johnson vehemently denies returning his forms late and says the Electoral Commission have got it wrong.

BROWN IN COURT TOO

gordon_biting_nails.jpgAnd, according to this report the present prime minister forgot a return for the 2005 general election and duly received a court summons. The official court papers seem to be dated January 2006. Interesting that we haven’t heard of this before. It is hardly in the same category as the present predicaments of his colleagues, but it might explain why he did not push Peter Hain. Still, at that time, 2005, the chancellor had been looking after the country’s accounts for 8 years. “Prudence”, now running our country, but then possibly losing his papers under his piles of books and papers … well, many of us can sympathise with THAT.

But it does raise some questions about structure, systems and support mechanisms within Labour, which they need to address.

SO ARE THEY ALL CRIMINALS?

Here are my thoughts on this. Despite my jibes, I don’t actually see any of this stuff as evidence of real criminality, as we understand it. You know, murder, violence, drug dealing, theft, corruption for personal gain.

However, it is probably true that at least in some ways, the individuals who stood for the Deputy Leadership may well have broken the law. Of course, if they’d listened to me and others like me, and not pushed Mr Blair out before he needed to go, none of this untidy mess would have happened. The Abrahams affair, the Scottish Leader being pilloried over less than £1,000, Hain’s resignation, Harman’s pickle, the Johnson mystery, and all the Deputy Leadership candidates spending their weekend searching around for anything ELSE they might have missed.

gb4b_cancelled.jpgAnd many must be wishing the Political Parties, Elections & Referendums Act 2000 had been given greater scrutiny. Meant to catch sleazy Tories after cash-in-brown-envelope misdemeanours, and lying under oath, where at least two Conservatives ended up in prison, it has become a bar too high. If you are by virtue of this Act catching the late form-filler, or highlighting the inadequacies of staff, and then hanging ministers out to dry and landing them with a criminal record for this, there’s clearly something wrong.


FLATLINING IN CHINA

Still, on his recent visit to China Mr Brown was being interviewed when a machine in the background, remarkably like a life-support system, suddenly seemed to flatline.

What?Had GB/PM popped his clogs and none of us had noticed, least of all him? He didn’t physically collapse, so we couldn’t be sure.

But was he now a member of the undead, fated to be around for eternity, or at least until somebody (can’t imagine who) puts the wooden stake in? And to rub it in, (no, not the garlic), the Labour Party’s YouTube site has some idiot dropping a stake … er … piece of wood in the background while Brown talks to camera! Can just imagine his word in the ear afterwards:

‘WHO LET THAT E***NG GUY IN? WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE SAYS HE’S A FRIEND OF MINE?’

[Glad they managed to find the missing stake anyway. I was racking my brains about who'd have one of those. Should have known it would have been Downing Street.]

You’d think they could have afforded to re-do the video. After all, it’s only 76 seconds long. Or were they finally happy with the Gordo-smile, so left the clanging in, as the better option? Well, if that’s the case, imho, they’ve dropped a clanger.

Watch the video and listen out at around 55 seconds.



SMILING GORDON:

Who told Brown he needs to smile more? Well, sack that guy. It doesn’t work for Brown and it never will. He ain’t Tony Blair. Mr Blair knew when to keep the smile off his face. This video is not the place to be struggling with the unnatural false smile just because some voice training/PR person told you that your voice would be less solemn and your face more friendly with a turned up mouth. Honestly, Gordon. It doesn’t work for you, the ‘conviction’ and deadly serious politician.


“I’M THE HEIR TO BLAIR”

You get the clear feeling panic’s setting in when this kind of article appears in the papers. (Goodness, if we’re not careful he’ll be using the words “islamist terrorist” next!)

Perhaps this was the only way he could get the two post-Hain ministerial promotions, Blairites both, to help bail him out! Or perhaps he really meant it. Just wish I knew.

////////////////////

Excerpts:Today’s Mail:

BROWN BECOMES HEIR TO BLAIR ON WELFARE

 
“Gordon Brown will today position himself as the ‘heir to Blair’ on welfare reform by embracing plans to open up back-to-work schemes to private firms and charities.

The Blairite blueprint for reform of the welfare state was dismissed by the Treasury before Mr Brown became Prime Minister.

But Mr Purnell made the extraordinary claim that Mr Brown should now be seen as a true ‘heir to Blair’.

‘Gordon Brown is clearly the heir to Blair,’ he said. ‘They created New Labour together and he is building on the reforms of the last ten years but there is unfinished business.'”

A little clue, Mr GB/PM. You don’t do away with Britannia on the back of the pound coin if you want the voters to believe that you believe in Britain. Yes, I know it’s the Daily Mail, but the poll there today says that less than 10% of those polled think ditching the symbol of our sea-faring past is a good idea.


A GOOD READ, OR TWO?

And meanwhile Lord Levy (of the cash for honours inquiry) and Cherie, (of the TBPAC – Tony Blair Protection & Appreciation Corporation), are due to complete their books by the autumn. Lord Levy, no fan of GB/PM, is promising a warts and all account of his time as a government and party adviser. He might even criticise Mr Blair. Who knows? And Cherie? Well, I wonder how many beans she’ll spill? Neither of them will show their manuscripts to the cabinet office for approval, (as employees would be required to do), as neither was on the government payroll. Can hardly wait.

  


 

HAIN’S GONE – BUT SHOULD WE LAUGH OR CRY?

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Not sure what to make of this. It does make me wonder if things are right in how we structure and organise politics. All right, some have been wondering that for years.

I have no axe to grind, unlike Guido Fawkes, on whose site the picture below appeared. But there seems little doubt that Peter Hain broke the law.

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But if the law is an ass, are we allowed to kick it on this occasion? Or do we ignore it because it’s a nasty scheming corrupt politician who is suffering? And what’s more, hoist on his own petard, since Labour brought in the 2000 law which Hain is said to have broken.

There’s no easy answer. And perhaps I’m too soft in thinking that politicians are people too, and not necessarily corrupt when this kind of thing happens. After all, wasn’t the law brought in to discourage corruption, cash-for-questions, back-pocketing and funding from foreign nationals?

But it raises some questions about the Labour party’s procedures for checking donations/loans at ANY time. You’d think they’d have a roomful of legal beavers checking all the financial ins and outs of any leadership or election campaign especially after the year they had had previously. Or didn’t they notice the discomfiture when Blair was the one under the spotlight – because it was only Blair & friends being pilloried, and not them?

FIRST CABINET MINISTER TO BE QUESTIONED AS A SUSPECT?

I read somewhere that Mr Hain, if questioned by police as seems likely, will be the first cabinet minister to be investigated as a suspect by the Police in a criminal case. Not sure if this is correct; but if so, it could be an ignominious end to what has been a career devoted to causes in which he strongly believed.

We can all be clever and throw dozens of reasons at our computers as to why this come-uppance is deserved. But, all in all, I still feel sorry for Peter Hain.

Meanwhile the other two in the (possible) firing line – Harriet Harman (Deputy PM) and Wendy Alexander (Scotland) have yet to hear if they are to be charged. The News of The World says in an ‘exclusive’, that the Deputy PM WILL be questioned by the police.

A police investigation per se, and being questioned by the Police as a suspect in a criminal matter, are two very different things.

Although the amounts involved are smaller, one of them, can’t recall which, according to a Radio 4 report, could end up in prison for up to 12 months! Surely, THIS cannot be right?

Who’d be a politician? It all ends in tears.

See BBC report

What do others say? The first one to comment here is, as it happens, Alan Johnson.

 


GAZA – HOLE BLOWN IN ISRAEL’S SANCTIONS:

THOUSANDS STILL ON EGYPT DAY TRIPS:Israel, given no option, has agreed to restore supplies to Gaza, after thousands of Gazans were taking regular day trips to Egypt for the shopping! Quite a way to go for a bottle of milk. The sanctions lasted ten days only, and after five days, the wall was breached. What WERE the Israelis thinking? Didn’t they realise there was another way out of Gaza? A wall in the way! So WHAT? To the terrorists working under the guise or protection of Hamas, blowing up a wall is childsplay. Israel was left today with no choice but to agree to Egyptian demands. They have now agreed to allow fuel in for power stations. I’m not quite sure yet about other supplies … ancillaries like … food! In any case it was the lesser of two evils. Control and restrict imports from Israel OR allow shipments of arms to cross back into Gaza from Egypt. The reason Israel closed their own borders with Gaza was the relentless attacks from within Gaza. But now, the heroes of the hour may well prove to be Hamas. Whoever puts food in the bellies of its people have gone a long way to winning the hearts and minds argument. Will this be a step forward or backwards? We can be sure the situation will not remain static for long.Continuing to stand back from talking to Hamas will likely prove difficult for Israel and Fatah now.

BLAIR SAYS – “NEW STRATEGY NEEDED”

There certainly is!

At Davos, Tony Blair (watch video) said that the international community should not start communicating with Hamas as a result of the present situation. But he said it was clear that a new strategy was needed. He said that he hoped to isolate the leadership from the people and that the present position was extremely dangerous. The Fatah and Israeli leaders would have made their position clear to the envoy.

 Whether this line can be held is another matter entirely.

The “new strategy” will be awaited by many.


ASHDOWN WITHDRAWS AFTER ‘NO’ FROM AFGHAN PRESIDENT:

DISASTROUS DECISION FOR AFGHANISTANashdown_sarajevo_jan30_2006.jpg!

How daft of President Karzai. Does he really think that Paddy Ashdown is desperate to leave his comfortable English garden to put himself in the firing line, literally as well as metaphorically in Afghanistan? Yesterday, after a few weeks testy negotiations, the Afghan government made it clear that they’d prefer the British General, John McColl as UN envoy. And in Davos President Karzai criticised the allies, in particular the British, for something that happened four years ago!Why criticise now? It must be internal politics pushing him to a position which he must surely know is an unwise one. Our soldiers and envoys are putting their lives at risk for THEM. For the sake of democracy and a settled Middle East. To help rid their land of the Taleban and stabilise the region.

 But this move seems to be symptomatic of wider tensions between President Karzai, some within his government and Britain. It is suggested that Ashdown would be considered too strong a figure and even threaten President Karzai’s position. Highly unlikely.

 This article described his appointment yesterday as “toast”, quoting unnamed sources.

Excerpt:”Karzai does not want Paddy Ashdown in the job because Ashdown, the international community’s representative in Bosnia from 2002 to 2005, wanted too much power, the paper said, quoting unnamed diplomats.”

That remark proved too much for Lord Ashdown and last night he stood out of the reckoning for this very important position.

That is a great pity. They have lost an honourable man who would have done taken this difficult task VERY seriously. His work in Bosnia for Tony Blair after Kosovo was intense and committed. He cares deeply for people in need and their interests would quickly become his. Karzai has been foolish to turn him down.

Today Mr Ashdown said that it seems to be part of the pressure including remarks made a few days ago on the British role in Afghanistan. He said he did not want to be an instrument used by others to make further trouble for this country’s position in that country. Well said, Lord Ashdown.

So, if Mr Karzai only wants to appoint someone he can manipulate, does that send out the right vibes to those who are still working hard to cleanse his country of terrorists? He should understand that this country’s support for Middle East involvement is on a knife edge.

Much of the time the articulate Afghan leader has seemed a voice of sense and moderation. I wonder quite what’s happened here?


“MINGIN’ PRESS” says Sir Ming Campbell

And talking about former Liberal Democrat leaders, Sir Menzies Campbell has been throwing a well-deserved blow at our press. It seems he blames them for his demise. Their constant remarks about his age was destructive, he believes. He’s right, of course. As I have said here on many occasions, the press will traduce anyone’s reputation for any reason, as they have done with Blair. But he is young and tough enough to survive regardless, even if in another guise. But for Sir Ming, it is now too late. Not that I’d absolve all of his colleagues of at least some responsibility. Nevertheless, the British press are largely run by a bunch of juveniles who make Guido Fawkes’s blog look mature.


I’ve heard Brown called all sorts of things in relation to Blair but never this as on the Norwich University Foreign Policy page (Blogging Davos)

“And many of the usual Davos suspects are returning: Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Tony Blair and his protégé, Gordon Brown, not to mention former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, fresh from winning the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Protégé?

Hhmmm …


“THERE IS MUCH TO BE DONE” (on fundamentalism’s future, said Charles!)

Prince Charles’ Support of Fundamentalism – Did he REALLY write this?

I saw this reference to a newly disclosed letter Prince Charles wrote to Mahathir Mohamed, the former prime minister of Malaysia in 1996. As I have found before on the internet, it was of the sort I would initially interpret as a spoof. Or perhaps an April Fools’ Day prank. But since it’s January, and it was September (11 years ago) when he wrote it, it must be for real.

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mahathirweepsjune02.jpgmahathirweepsjune02.jpg

Mahathir Mohamad is famously anti-west, anti Israel, and was pro-remaining in power for as long as possible. Indeed, he was prime minister of Malaysia for 22 years (July 1981 – October 2003), which makes Tony Blair’s ten look like a warm-up (well, perhaps it was). In fact when the former Malaysian PM announced he was going to stand down in June of 2002, it upset him so much he broke down in tears at the realisation that he was going before his time.

 

Prince Charles said in conversation with this man that he was – “determined to continue the battle to spread the message that proper fundamentalism is in the best interest of the future of our world.”

WHAT?

It was written in September 1996. That was eight months before Tony Blair’s first government was elected. Eleven months before Princess Diana died. And five years prior to 9/11.

Perhaps the passage of time and events since have taught our future king something. We can only hope so.

NO religious/political fundamentalism has a place in today’s world.

By Tim Walker and Richard Eden, excerpt:

Charles’s letter in support of Islamic ‘fundamentalism’

“Demonstrating the extent to which he sees himself as “defender of faith”, the Prince of Wales wrote to Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia, saying that he was “determined to continue the battle to spread the message that proper fundamentalism is in the best interest of the future of our world.”

Charles told Mahathir, who later claimed that Jews “rule the world by proxy”, he understood the “frustrations” Muslims experience “as a result of apparent Western misunderstanding and misrepresentation. I have, for a long time, despaired of the ignorant and thoroughly evil ‘role’ of the tabloid media in deliberately misrepresenting Islam and reducing everything to the level of the absurd.”

The hitherto private letter, which Charles wrote in September 1996 after Mahathir had given a lecture to the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, of which the prince is patron, has just been published in Malaysia in Dr Mahathir’s Selected Letters to World Leaders.

“We now live in a Press State where everything is dominated by the lowest common denominator and by the most ludicrous of ’sound bites’,” Charles also told Mahathir. Relations between countries seem to be decided by tabloid newspapers nowadays and I resent it deeply. Important issues are reduced to the level of farce, as I know to my cost having expressed an interest in the contribution made to this country by ethnic and religious minorities and by my desire to include other faiths, such as Islam, in the celebrations surrounding the forthcoming Millennium. In an attempt to show how much we share in common and how much we can learn from each other, I have discovered how easy it is to be misunderstood and misrepresented. I have even received several letters accusing me of becoming a Muslim!”

Charles said he saw the appeal of “proper fundamentalism” in “a world, in my part of it at any rate, which is increasingly without meaning, without roots, without a spiritual dimension and which worships the God of Technology.” He finished his letter with the rallying cry: “There is much to be done…!”


MEANWHILE – EXPENSES BREAKDOWNS SOUGHT:

The House of Commons has been ordered to release a detailed breakdown of expenses claimed by six MPs including Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. The ruling by Information Commissioner Richard Thomas is likely to set a precedent for all MPs. He said that headline figures for claims under a series of headings, including staffing allowances, incidental expenses and stationery, should be broken down for publication. In a statement, Mr Thomas’s office said: “In the Commissioner’s view the legitimate public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the prejudice to the rights, freedom and legitimate interests of MPs.”The decision, based on the Freedom of Information Act, follows a request for the detailed spending between April 2003 and March 2004 of Mr Blair, Mr Brown, John Prescott, Michael Howard, Charles Kennedy and Jonathan Sayeed. It goes much further than previous rulings by the Information Commissioner for the details of spending on travel and the costs of staying away from home to be released. A source said that while the ruling applied to only six people, it was indicative of how Mr Thomas was likely to treat requests applying to all MPs. His decision is made on the grounds that such expenses arose from MPs’ role as public representatives and were reimbursed by the taxpayer.”The Information Commissioner has ruled that a breakdown of the total amounts claimed by some individual MPs for travel, incidental expenses, staffing, central IT provision, centrally purchased stationery and additional cost allowance should be released under the Freedom of Information Act,” the statement added.Far be it for me to suggest anything politically motivated here, but isn’t this the Richard Thomas who said that the country risks sleepwalking into a surveillance society” because of government plans for identity cards and a population register?He said that there is a growing danger of East German Stasi-style snooping if the State gathers too much information about individual citizens.

 The (pdf) report of the original hearing dismissing charges against one of the above named can be read here. Excerpt:
“Item 14. If the Committee, too, accepts my analysis of the wider position as set out above, there is no reason why it should not dispose of the matter now.”

14 July 2005 Sir Philip Mawer
So why now?

What is it about the 2003/04 year that is of such great interest in this regard? A House of Commons report in October 2007 reported that in the last financial year Tony Blair’s expenses were £97,000

“Then chancellor Gordon Brown, Tory leader David Cameron and then Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell’s claims were all around the average – at £135,525, £143,385 and £142,810 respectively.

But claims by Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time, were comparatively low – amounting to £97,084.”


TREATY OF LISBON:

 The Lib Dems allied with the Government over the EU vote last week. Landing a blow against those calling for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (or Constitution as those against describe it) the Liberal Democrats voted with the government so ensuring its passage through the Commons. The House of Lords may be a different matter.Interesting though that the Liberal Democrats, who often scream about civil rights and listening to the people, on this occasion have turned a deaf ear.That may be because, to them, the issue of Europe is strong on their Positive List. Principle before expediency? Is it fine when the Lib Dems are standing on principle, but not always so acceptable when others do? Or am I being just too cynical? Still, I congratulate them on this, if not much else. A referendum as called for by the antis, would be a rag to the rags … bull, in the hands of our newpapers. Of that we can have little doubt.


LIST OF MPs WHO VOTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT

Here is a list of the MPs who voted this week for the Treaty of Lisbon to be taken to the next stage of ratification, so that you can write to congratulate or reprimand them:

Ainger, NickAinsworth, rh Mr. BobAlexander, DannyAlexander, rh Mr. DouglasAllen, Mr. GrahamAnderson, Mr. DavidAnderson, JanetArmstrong, rh HilaryAtkins, CharlotteAustin, Mr. IanAustin, JohnBailey, Mr. AdrianBaird, VeraBaker, NormanBalls, rh EdBanks, GordonBarlow, Ms CeliaBarrett, JohnBarron, rh Mr. KevinBattle, rh JohnBayley, HughBeckett, rh MargaretBegg, Miss AnneBeith, rh Mr. AlanBell, Sir StuartBenn, rh HilaryBenton, Mr. JoeBerry, RogerBetts, Mr. CliveBlackman, LizBlackman-Woods, Dr. RobertaBlears, rh HazelBlizzard, Mr. BobBlunkett, rh Mr. DavidBorrow, Mr. David S.Bradshaw, Mr. BenBrake, TomBreed, Mr. ColinBrennan, KevinBrown, LynBrown, rh Mr. NicholasBrown, Mr. RussellBrowne, rh DesBrowne, Mr. JeremyBruce, rh MalcolmBryant, ChrisBuck, Ms KarenBurden, RichardBurnham, rh AndyBurstow, Mr. PaulButler, Ms DawnByers, rh Mr. StephenByrne, Mr. LiamCable, Dr. VincentCaborn, rh Mr. RichardCairns, DavidCampbell, Mr. AlanCampbell, rh Sir MenziesCaton, Mr. MartinCawsey, Mr. IanChallen, ColinChaytor, Mr. DavidClark, Ms KatyClark, PaulClarke, rh Mr. CharlesClarke, rh Mr. KennethClarke, rh Mr. TomClegg, Mr. NickClelland, Mr. DavidClwyd, rh AnnCoaker, Mr. VernonCoffey, AnnCohen, HarryConnarty, MichaelCook, FrankCooper, RosieCooper, rh YvetteCousins, JimCrausby, Mr. DavidCruddas, JonCunningham, Mr. JimCunningham, TonyCurry, rh Mr. DavidCurtis-Thomas, Mrs. ClaireDarling, rh Mr. AlistairDavey, Mr. EdwardDavid, Mr. WayneDean, Mrs. JanetDenham, rh Mr. JohnDevine, Mr. JimDhanda, Mr. ParmjitDismore, Mr. AndrewDobbin, JimDobson, rh FrankDonohoe, Mr. Brian H.Doran, Mr. FrankDowd, JimDurkan, MarkEagle, AngelaEagle, MariaEfford, CliveEllman, Mrs. LouiseEnnis, JeffEtherington, BillFarrelly, PaulFeatherstone, LynneFisher, MarkFitzpatrick, JimFlello, Mr. RobertFlint, CarolineFollett, BarbaraFoster, Mr. DonFoster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)Francis, Dr. HywelGapes, MikeGeorge, AndrewGeorge, rh Mr. BruceGerrard, Mr. NeilGibson, Dr. IanGidley, SandraGilroy, LindaGoggins, PaulGoldsworthy, JuliaGoodman, HelenGriffith, NiaGriffiths, NigelGrogan, Mr. JohnGwynne, AndrewHain, rh Mr. PeterHall, Mr. MikeHall, PatrickHamilton, Mr. DavidHamilton, Mr. FabianHanson, rh Mr. DavidHarman, rh Ms HarrietHarris, Dr. EvanHarris, Mr. TomHavard, Mr. DaiHealey, JohnHenderson, Mr. DougHendrick, Mr. MarkHepburn, Mr. StephenHeppell, Mr. JohnHesford, StephenHewitt, rh Ms PatriciaHeyes, DavidHill, rh KeithHillier, MegHodge, rh MargaretHodgson, Mrs. SharonHolmes, PaulHood, Mr. JimHoon, rh Mr. GeoffreyHope, PhilHorwood, MartinHowarth, DavidHowarth, rh Mr. GeorgeHowells, Dr. KimHughes, rh BeverleyHughes, SimonHuhne, ChrisHumble, Mrs. JoanHunter, MarkHutton, rh Mr. JohnIddon, Dr. BrianIllsley, Mr. EricIngram, rh Mr. AdamIrranca-Davies, HuwJames, Mrs. Siân C.Jenkins, Mr. BrianJohnson, rh AlanJohnson, Ms Diana R.Jones, HelenJones, Mr. KevanJones, LynneJones, Mr. MartynJoyce, Mr. EricKaufman, rh Sir GeraldKeeble, Ms SallyKeeley, BarbaraKeen, AlanKeen, AnnKeetch, Mr. PaulKelly, rh RuthKemp, Mr. FraserKennedy, rh Mr. CharlesKennedy, rh JaneKhan, Mr. SadiqKidney, Mr. DavidKnight, JimKramer, SusanKumar, Dr. AshokLadyman, Dr. StephenLamb, NormanLammy, Mr. DavidLaws, Mr. DavidLaxton, Mr. BobLazarowicz, MarkLeech, Mr. JohnLepper, DavidLevitt, TomLewis, Mr. IvanLinton, MartinLloyd, TonyLove, Mr. AndrewLucas, IanMackinlay, AndrewMacShane, rh Mr. DenisMactaggart, FionaMalik, Mr. ShahidMallaber, JudyMann, JohnMarris, RobMarsden, Mr. GordonMarshall-Andrews, Mr. RobertMcAvoy, rh Mr. ThomasMcCabe, SteveMcCafferty, ChrisMcCarthy, KerryMcCarthy-Fry, SarahMcCartney, rh Mr. IanMcDonagh, SiobhainMcFadden, Mr. PatMcFall, rh JohnMcGovern, Mr. JimMcGuire, Mrs. AnneMcIsaac, ShonaMcKechin, AnnMcKenna, RosemaryMcNulty, rh Mr. TonyMeacher, rh Mr. MichaelMerron, GillianMichael, rh AlunMilburn, rh Mr. AlanMiliband, rh DavidMiliband, rh EdwardMiller, AndrewMoffat, AnneMoffatt, LauraMole, ChrisMoon, Mrs. MadeleineMoore, Mr. MichaelMoran, MargaretMorden, JessicaMorgan, JulieMorley, rh Mr. ElliotMountford, KaliMudie, Mr. GeorgeMulholland, GregMullin, Mr. ChrisMunn, MegMurphy, Mr. DenisMurphy, Mr. JimMurphy, rh Mr. PaulNaysmith, Dr. DougO’Brien, Mr. MikeO’Hara, Mr. EdwardOlner, Mr. BillÖpik, LembitOsborne, SandraOwen, AlbertPalmer, Dr. NickPearson, IanPlaskitt, Mr. JamesPope, Mr. GregPound, StephenPrentice, BridgetPrentice, Mr. GordonPrescott, rh Mr. JohnPrimarolo, rh DawnProsser, GwynPurchase, Mr. KenPurnell, rh JamesRammell, BillRaynsford, rh Mr. NickReed, Mr. AndyReed, Mr. JamieReid, rh JohnRennie, WillieRiordan, Mrs. LindaRobertson, JohnRobinson, Mr. GeoffreyRogerson, DanRooney, Mr. TerryRuane, ChrisRuddock, JoanRussell, BobRussell, ChristineRyan, rh JoanSalter, MartinSanders, Mr. AdrianSarwar, Mr. MohammadSeabeck, AlisonSharma, Mr. VirendraShaw, JonathanSheerman, Mr. BarrySheridan, JimShort, rh ClareSimon, Mr. SiônSingh, Mr. MarshaSlaughter, Mr. AndySmith, rh Mr. AndrewSmith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)Smith, GeraldineSmith, rh JacquiSmith, JohnSmith, Sir RobertSnelgrove, AnneSoulsby, Sir PeterSouthworth, HelenSpellar, rh Mr. JohnStarkey, Dr. PhyllisStewart, IanStoate, Dr. HowardStrang, rh Dr. GavinStraw, rh Mr. JackStunell, AndrewSutcliffe, Mr. GerrySwinson, JoTami, MarkTaylor, Ms DariTaylor, Mr. IanTaylor, MatthewTeather, SarahThomas, Mr. GarethThornberry, EmilyTimms, rh Mr. StephenTipping, PaddyTodd, Mr. MarkTouhig, rh Mr. DonTurner, Dr. DesmondTurner, Mr. NeilTwigg, DerekVaz, rh KeithWalley, JoanWaltho, LyndaWard, ClaireWatts, Mr. DaveWebb, SteveWhitehead, Dr. AlanWicks, MalcolmWilliams, rh Mr. AlanWilliams, Mrs. BettyWilliams, MarkWilliams, Mr. RogerWilliams, StephenWillis, Mr. PhilWillott, JennyWills, Mr. MichaelWilson, PhilWinnick, Mr. DavidWinterton, rh Ms RosieWoodward, rh Mr. ShaunWoolas, Mr. PhilWright, Mr. AnthonyWright, DavidWright, Mr. IainWright, Dr. TonyWyatt, DerekYounger-Ross, RichardTellers for the Ayes:Mr. Tom Watson andMr. Frank Roy.


PC GONE CRAZY!

And in case you missed it – what’s wrong with our leaders? I mean – what else is wrong with them? The American internet press has grabbed the story of our Home Secretary’s Threat to Islam stuff and run with it. I liked the angle at this one, despite its title, mainly discussing the anti-Islamic Activity tag from the government – “First they came for Piglet”

The Americans despair of us, my compatriates; they really do.

And as for the Three Little Builders nonsense!!!Come on, come ON, come ON!!!


STOCK MARKET ‘MELTDOWN DAVOS’:

The sliding stock markets worldwide and President Bush’s cash injection into the economy were the issues focusing minds here. It might have put GB/PM’s Northern Rock worries into context and perspective on his visit. And at the end of the week the Hero of France (no, not Blair), the man who messed about with a few euros in his bank’s backroom, had them all talking in Davos.

I tell you – these computers can be dangerous in the wrong hands!


America watches Blair:I’ll write a Davos page soon, to follow this one.


I’ve decided against writing a Davos page. A bit busy right now. Instead I’ll provide links below for you to go and see what they were up to in the Swiss Alps. And perhaps a few snippets of after-thoughts. Later.


DAVOS Blair’s Middle East videoFaith & Modernisation videoWorld Economic Forum on YouTube
DAVOS WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM – A WEEK OF POLITICAL BUSINESSkarzai-davos.jpgKarzai says: “Britain To Blame”Afghanistan’s President Karzai criticised the British today for their decisions. Excerpt follows:

‘Speaking to a group of journalists at the Davos Economic Forum on Thursday, Karzai said he shouldn’t have listened to British and U.S. officials who said he should remove the local security forces that were already in place in Helmand province, The Times reported.’

Opening plenary with the co-chairs.

The co-chairs of the Annual Meeting 2008 give their perspectives on the theme of the meeting and the issues at the fore of the agenda.

  • Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007); Member of the Foundation Board; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
  • James Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase & Co., USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
  • K. V. Kamath, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ICICI Bank, India; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
  • Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates, USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
  • Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo, USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
  • David J. O’Reilly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chevron, USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
  • Wang Jianzhou, Chairman and Chief Executive, China Mobile Communications Corporation, People’s Republic of China; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008

Chaired by

  • Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

This link takes you to ALL the video webcasts, podcasts and vodcasts for the week’s sessions.

Middle East Peace Process Video

Davos – Forbes video network website covering the World Economic Forum at Davos.

Mr Blair has asked the American presidential candidates to beware protectionism, especially if there is an upcoming recession.

Excerpt:

DAVOS, Switzerland — Tony Blair cautioned U.S. presidential candidates not to lock themselves into damaging protectionist or isolationist policies they could have a tough time walking away from once in office.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal yesterday at the World Economic Forum here, the former British prime minister expressed concern that a suddenly more gloomy outlook for the global economy could lead the U.S. and other nations to close themselves off.

“I understand all the protectionist pressures in the U.S.,” Mr. Blair said. “On the other hand, I think it would be extremely unfortunate if people bolt themselves in positions that become difficult to extract themselves from, because the reality in the world is that we’re going to have to open up world trade, not close it down.”

An excellent link with loads of interviews with Davos participants.


Faith and Modernisation Video


Postscript – interesting snippets:

This Aug 2007 Congress bill in the US to establish the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism.


On Andrew Marr’s Radio 4 programme Start the Week this morning, Martin Amis was discussing his new book The Second Plane, and his thoughts on jihadism, islamicist fundamentalism, the “fraud of multi-culturalism”, and the west’s seeming liberal suicidal tendency (this emboldened last are MY words, not Amis’s, though I understand that he too subscribes to this opinion).It’s good to know that there ARE some journalists out there in this great (dis)United Kingdom who are no longer afraid to use good old common sense.Taken from the Start The Week page:The novelist MARTIN AMIS has been the focus of much controversy over his journalism in the aftermath of 9/11. He is not, he declares, Islamophobic, but is instead “Islamismophobic” or anti-Islamist. He explains his views and argues that Western liberals have given in to ‘moral equivalence’ on the issue of terrorism. The Second Plane: September 11: 2001-2007, a collection of essays and short stories, is published by Jonathan Cape.In the year that marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the lawyer, campaigner and UN Special Rapporteur, ASMA JAHANGIR, warns of the attacks on these rights by nations using the pretext of the ‘war against terror.’ Recently released from house arrest in Pakistan, she argues that targeting Muslims in anti-terrorism measures is counter-productive and that intolerance cannot be wiped out by intolerant behaviour by governments. Asma Jahangir will be giving an Oxford Amnesty Lecture on Wednesday 30 January and a talk on the subject of human rights at the University of York on Thursday 31 January.Click to listen.

Amis’s contribution is at the start.

 




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