Abject Fear

Just spotted this on Rafael Behr’s blog:

Assuming the next election is in 2009, there will be a group of first-time voters who were born in 1991. To them the flabby corruption of the late Tory years is a hazy memory. All they have really known is New Labour government.

The only other thing I know about this generation is that it finds Little Britain funny.

For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, these facts combined fill me with dull terror.

I wish he hadn’t pointed that out.

Politics needs David Cameron

This evening’s Question Time was revealing, I thought. Tory leadership contender David Cameron was one of the panelists, and he came over very well indeed. At one point he said that he doesn’t believe people should compromise their values, and that if he agreed with a Labour policy he’d say so. I don’t know whether this is a standard line from leadership contenders, but it didn’t get a great reaction from the crowd or the other (non-MP) panellists, so I’d guess not. Throughout the show I thought he spoke clearly and put his arguments very well. That I happen to think his values are deeply flawed is irrelevant – I entirely agree that MPs should stand up for what they believe in, regardless of partisan point-scoring opportunities. I’m aware that everybody does, but for a leadership hopeful to actually state his agreement with some Labour policies during his campaign takes some guts.

Indeed, tonight’s discussions between David Cameron, Labour environment minister Ben Bradshaw, and Lib Dem Mark Oaten were civilised and full of information and honest debate. It was great! There were no arguments from hypocrisy, name-calling or general obfuscation. Although I support Labour principles, I’m not na

Straight Talking

He gets it. He really gets it. When half the media and most of the intellectual left are doing their best to sympathise with suicide bombers, the Prime Minister is taking a stand I consider to be entirely correct. Like he says, democracy isn’t ‘Western’, it’s human. Bend over backwards to understand other viewpoints, sure, but it’s perfectly ok to decide that they’re entirely wrong. That the people you disagree with are of a different culture is of no consequence. Logic and morality have no boundaries. Sorry to be preachy, but the alternative viewpoint is way too close to cultural relativism for me to keep my mouth shut. It’s a condition 🙂

Midday Roundup – Flamebait

The Conservative party are being told to adopt the ‘faith, flag and family’ approach so successful for the Republicans in the US. Hmmm, just when I thought I couldn’t get any less likely to vote tory…Blunt roundup of my political leanings: faith = backwards, illogical and dangerous; flag = pointless patriotism that’s rarely for the greater good; family values = prudish selfishness that often seems to descend into nonsense.

I’m sure that didn’t annoy anybody.

Talk Politics and (perhaps) Bloggers4Labour have come out strongly against the ‘pro-war left’. It must be a little daunting for them given that most UK political websites are very much of the ‘pro-war left’, so good on them for making a stand. I personally think their argument is attacking a large straw man, but I’m not enough of a political junkie to produce an effective counter. Hopefully Harry, Popinjays or norm will write something in response.

Standing Up

Via (as ever) Harry’s Place, I highly recommend this blog post on reactions to the London bombings. It’s hard to know what to quote as it’s all a good read, but I’ll take the same as Harry’s Place:

The root-causes cited often sound familiarly like, if not identical to, those “grievances” the authors of “understanding” have against the United States and Britain. So this week it is Iraq we have been punished for; the dead Indonesians paid the price for Afghanistan; and 9/11 was for, you know, US foreign policy and “our” support of Israel. (I know I’m using a lot of inverted commas here but the children of Foucault deserve to have some thrown back at them).

All of these explanations are partly true. Shock horror and, indeed, no shit (emphasis on the partly). Even if we accept – and we should – that the chief cause of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is Islamic fundamentalism, those who attacked our capital were, i’m sure, not fans of regime-change; the Bali bombers did, I’m sure, think Australians deserved to die – extra – because of the removal of their allies The Taliban; and Mohammed Atta et al were, we know, opposed to (the existence of a) US foreign policy.

But, so what?

Are critics suggesting that we design our foreign policy in order not to piss off Islamic fundamentalists?

Quite. The only way to stop attacks is through security – foreign policy should be about what’s right, and independent of anything else.

A Measured Response

Let’s be sensible links to an excellent opinion piece in the New York Times this morning. If you want to read it, you can hit bugmenot for login details. I’ll quote mostly the same paragraphs Let’s be sensible did…

Tony Blair was as eloquent as ever when he faced the press at the G-8 summit meeting yesterday, but what was most impressive was what he didn’t say. After uttering three sentences of gratitude to the other leaders for their support after the London attacks, he dropped the subject of terror.

Instead of giving murderers publicity on worldwide television, he talked about poverty in Africa and global warming. When a reporter tried to distract him by asking what “went wrong” in London, he said it was the terrorists’ fault and went right back to the business of the G-8.

Instead of promising security at home, he discussed problems overseas that he could do something about. Instead of talking about the need for Britons to move on, he moved on.

I hadn’t really picked up on that, but it’s completely true. You may disagree with Tony Blair, but you have to admit that his leadership skills are of the highest order.

Moving On

I’m not going to dwell on London today. The news coverage is excellent, and I don’t want to fall out with anybody over the politics. Harry’s Place has some great links to various articles, albeit with a left slant. But then, so do I 🙂 If you want to find out exactly why I and others consider George Galloway and his ilk to be entirely wrong, that’s the place to go.

Channel 4’s G8 Coverage

I was just starting to make lunch in the kitchen, and turned on the news to watch Tony Blair’s G8 announcement. Only Channel 4 was covering it live. The various leaders walked out onto the patio and Tony Blair started to speak, but there was no sound. The newsreaders apologised profusely, and after about a minute or two they started the statement again, this time with the sound present. So he spoke about climate change, aid for Palestine, and the need to combat terrorism. And then came the following:

We stand in solidarity with Africa…and we come to announce a plan to end African poverty

Woo, great. The question is, how far will it go to meet the aims of the Make Poverty History campaign? I waited with baited breath.

Channel 4 cut back to their newsreader.

And you can hear what that plan is on the main news at 1900.

and the bloody programme ended! I ran into the lounge and turned on BBC News 24, but he was just finishing up because of the extra two minutes caused by the C4 sound delay. I should have watched the BBC from the start. I can see why the major news websites are quickly becoming people’s primary source of information.