The Regal Has Landed – Harry’s Home
- READ ALL ABOUT IT – The Daily Stymied
- Israel / Gaza
- Ahmadinejad charms them in Iraq (anagram of his name – Djihad? Me? Nah!)
- Labour Conference – Brown wows ’em at Birmingham!
Comment at end
He’s home. The great spy in the sky the Internet Unbound, has seen to that.
But two cheers for the British press – THEY didn’t do it! It was an
American … German … Australian site that broke the story of his deployment in Afghanistan.
Why only two cheers? Well, sorry to sound cynical – can’t imagine why when it comes to the press – but in my experience the British press only stay shtum when it could be a matter of life and death if they did otherwise. Not one of them would be willing to put themselves anywhere near the blame firing line if Harry and his troops were put in more danger than they already were as a result of a British press leak.
It was self interest wot dun it!
Still, credit where it’s due, and for whatever reason THE dailies did not spill the beans. So I’m happy to give them a one-handed round of applause. OK … enough.
Prince Harry is being hailed as the hero of the hour, following his return home. Of course he’s no such thing. Or no more than is any one of the troops out there. As he himself admits, many are REAL heroes, having saved others’ lives. He was just a soldier doing his job.
But there we are – Harry The Hero – the press again. They need to sell papers.
Notably he wants to get straight back out there. Windsor, he says, is going to be boring. And he says he doesn’t really like England much, with a hint that the press make his life hell. Interesting to know the 23 year old third in line to the throne would rather fight the Taleban than the paparazzi and the red top scribblers!
A SPINNING PRESS: ‘THE SHTUM’ & ‘THE DAILY STYMIED’
The army is expecting a well needed surge in recruitment after Harry’s tales of comradeship, purpose and “making a difference”. And it’s certainly something different to hear a soldier, ANY soldier, coming back from a Middle East war zone with such an upbeat, positive attitude. NOT preaching political rights and wrongs. NOT bemoaning the lack of equipment etc … etc …
That is NOT to say that other such contented ex-servicemen do not exist. It’s just that the press seldom, if ever, choose to tell us about them. With Harry they had no choice. HE had his own tale to tell and he is telling it HIS way.
Today the British press were stymied. For possibly the first time since 2002, they could not spin the story THEIR way.
For an overall sample of what stymied tastes like see this rundown of British media coverage. I really can’t be doing with linking any of the agenda’d crowd here individually.
ISRAEL – GAZA
ABBAS BREAKS CONTACT WITH ISRAEL
After a bloody weekend Israel is under pressure from many in the region and around the world. It will always be so if and when they respond with the miltary power at their disposal to dozens of daily attacks from militants in Gaza. But while Hamas fails to control their militants, or while it continues to encourage them, Israel’s response is to be expected.
The Arab News says
‘Not only have more Palestinians been murdered in the past five days than at any other time in the past eight years, but tough voices from Israel say that the slaughter will continue, that Israel has still not hit Hamas hard enough and that a full-scale invasion of Gaza is coming up.
From a historical point of view, there can be no solution to the problem of Gaza as long as there is not at least a modicum of hope for these desperate people somewhere on the horizon. Thus, in parallel to the fighting, there has been a diplomatic effort between Egypt and Israel, aided by the European Union and the United States, to negotiate a package deal between Israel and Hamas. The idea would be to reopen the Gaza-Egyptian border at Rafah under renewed European monitoring, allow Gazan exports through Rafah, push the Egyptians to patrol the border better, release the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit and arrange a cease-fire in Gaza, with Hamas promising to stop rockets in return for a halt in Israeli military action. While this ambitious plan hardly looks like taking off at present, it is assisted by the results of a recent opinion poll indicating a majority of Israelis favor a truce with Hamas which will cease fire if Israel stops its military operations in Palestinian areas and ends the blockade of the territory which has cut essential supplies to its 1.5 million inhabitants. Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse, with Gaza essentially still closed to normal commerce, with severe shortages of oil, gasoline, medicine and chlorine for drinking water.’
Israel reserves right to act freely in Gaza
‘Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will stress to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at their scheduled meeting in Jerusalem tomorrow evening that Israel reserves the right to act freely in the Gaza Strip against Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.
Olmert will also tell Rice that Israel is interested in continuing negotiations with moderate elements in the Palestinian Authority.
“The fact that Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are not shooting now does not mean they are out of the battle,” he said. “Everyone is watching to see how the conflict in Gaza will end, to decide how to act.”
According to Yadlin, Hamas was pressured into deciding “that the situation is intolerable and that the siege must be broken and a different equation forged in the conflict with Israel.”
Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin suggested that Hamas wants calm in Gaza so that at a later stage it can take over the West Bank. Diskin added that “Hamas has a greater advantage in combat in the built-up area,” which dictates the IDF’s current modus operandi.
Diskin said Hamas was surprised by the intensity of Israel’s response, and by the fact that even when it cut back its rocket fire, Israel continued to attack. He emphasized that Hamas can stop the rocket fire if it wants to.
“If Hamas understands that continued fire endangers its assets, it will try to arrange with the other organizations for the fire to stop,” Diskin said.‘
Interesting LA Times report – ‘Babylon & Beyond’ on an evident lack of concern in Iraqi media outlets for the fate of the Palestinians over the last few days. Some might say that they have enough of their own misery to contend with. But it seems the visit of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has consumed their press interest. He had some choice words as usual. But whether his re-positioning visit as a friend of his neighbour is anything more than a p.r. exercise – and we know he is practised in this, time will tell.
Meanwhile, the hope and expectation might have to be re-assessed that settling the Palestine/Israel issue was the only game in town for peace in the Middle East. (If the phrase was ever more than a sprat to catch a mackerel to begin with.) Eyes in the back of one’s head seem essential as we watch those who watch us.
Read the BBC’s report here
If there is a germ of truth in Hamas’s call for a ceasefire, surely that chance, however small must be grabbed by both sides. Some day, somehow, someone on both sides is going to have to sit down and TALK. Much as many sympathise with Israel’s refusal to engage with those who wish to see its destruction, or refuse its right to exist, what other option is there? Apart from all-out war and further deaths of the innocent.
IRAN SAYS – ISRAEL TO BE UPROOTED
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on his first visit to Iraq that Israel would be uprooted and its leaders tried for yesterday’s “attacks on Gaza”. The saviour of the east has spoken.
And he informs the world that Iraq doesn’t like America. I imagine that carries as much weight as his accusing America of bringing terrorism to the region! Pots & kettles?
Much as I am loathe to speak on behalf of others, I might hazard a guess that America does not much like Iran. So what, Mr Charm Personified? There are only ever allies in politics – never friends.
Anyway, perhaps we can be content if Ann Richards’ words are accurate, “I’ve always said that in politics, your enemies can’t hurt you, but your friends will kill you.”
Meanwhile in the present desperate Israel/Gaza situation, more moderate voices have spoken too. We can expect the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to be belligerent, but the USA and the Middle East Envoy, Tony Blair have urged calm and restraint. The UN security Council, in its time-honoured way, had a meeting, but didn’t say much, apart from – “stop it, boys”.
It could be a momentous week.
UNDERWHELMED BY LABOUR’S SPRING CONFERENCE?
What? What do you mean which conference? Birmingham, of course.
‘As the applause died down in the Birmingham conference centre, Gordon and Sarah Brown dawdled awkwardly on stage, apparently unsure which way they were supposed to exit.
It was a mix-up of the sort which simply would not have happened to Tony Blair, whose every step was choreographed by a small army of minders.
But things have changed under Gordon Brown. The sureness of touch which characterised the Blair years has been notably lacking over the past eight months.’
And members of the disinterested public are beginning to notice that they are failing to register the ppm on their political comptometer. Or to put it another way they’ve noticed that something is missing. Well, hello!
It’s called charisma, vision, nous and drive; aka Blair. Quote:
‘A number of Labour voters hankered after the “charisma” of Mr Blair – even if they said they were against the way he “spun” the war in Iraq to the public.’
Sandra Samuels, a member of Labour’s national policy forum who is hoping to stand in Birmingham Ladywood when Clare Short steps down, said: “Blair is an individual that has charisma – Brown is working on it.
Charisma is like style. You’ve either got or you haven’t got it. Sorry, Gordon.
And who told the semi-detached headline readers that the war in Iraq was “spun”? No less than the British press, who now bemoan the fact that the forces have had a boost because of Prince Harry’s dedication to his job. They need to understand job descriptions better:
Soldiers fight – politicians decide – journalists report.
Times report Labour’s ongoing fight to raise funds before new rules are brought in.
Watch part of Brown’s speech. Nice words – though nothing we haven’t heard before. But poor delivery. Now if you want to hear REAL presentation and real determination to deliver – go and listen to a Blair conference speech.