Saturday, 19 July 2014

MH17 - Hard questions for the US to answer

We have become used over the past few months to a constant stream of intelligence from US satellite and airborne surveillance, channelled through the Ukrainian authority. It has effectively monitored the size, composition and formation of Russian units on the border, has spotted the movement of just three tanks across the border from Russia to Ukraine and has provided Ukrainian units with detailed intelligence on the armour and other fixed defences of the rebels. It is quite inconceivable that the US did not know of the presence of a SAM 11 (BUK) air defence system deep in rebel territory - and particularly so if its target-acquisition radar had been active. 

They question they must answer is who did they tell. No airline in the world would continue to route flights over an area if it had been warned explicitly of the risk of a live SAM 11 system in unstable hands. So just who did the US tell? 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Dutchbat

The people of the Netherlands are more than capable of making sure the right thing is done over the behaviour of the Dutch battalion in Srebrenica in 1995. Their 2002 report on the disgrace has already caused the resignation of one PM, Wim Kok. And I'm going to resist scoring any cheap xenophobic points, for we are by no means immune from their behaviour.

No. What comes to mind is a line from the 1992 film 'A Few Good Men';
Downey: What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong!
Dawson: Yeah we did. We were supposed to fight for people who couldn't fight for themselves.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Cameron gambles that his tent will stay dry until 2015

By putting Michael Gove and Owen Paterson, both men who would make a better fist at running the Party than Dave, firmly outside the tent he risks being wetted by a dual stream. But with the election so close, and the loyalty of both men to the party, he can be pretty sure that his tent will stay dry until 2015.

After that, if he loses the election he's toast anyway and if he wins it he won't care. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Shameless hacks #34

Great newspapers such as the Times, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Merton Chronicle are usually pretty good at spotting a hack trying to slip in a bit of personal on the back of the paper's mass readership. Jane Caro, writing in the Guardian, tells us herself that "Marketers and advertisers – persuasion professionals, if you like (and I was one for more than 30 years) are paid to get their client’s products and services noticed" and then goes on to write "A great deal of thought, time, effort and money goes into developing and honing those brands. Some of which become priceless – think Qantas (even today), Apple, Coke, Disney, Virgin or Penfolds Grange."

More Methodists and Vegetarians for Cabinet posts

In an effort to make the cabinet more representative of the British population, Prime Minister David Cameron is to promote at least two vegetarians and a Methodist into Cabinet posts to replace the omnivores and CofE Cabinet ministers who have just been sacked. The Cabinet already has sufficient atheists, left-handers and people with red hair. Homosexuals, dyslexics and people who don't like fish are also already sufficiently well represented. 

Amongst the vegetarians tipped for Cabinet places are Fiona Strewth-Jumper, MP for Surrey Central and Hugo Dimn, member for Old Middlesex. Ms Strewth-Jumper (Roedean and St Hildas) studied cordon-bleu cookery in Switzerland at private school before becoming an MP, and Mr Dimn, whose family farm five thousand acres in the Home Counties, reached the rank of first lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards before entering Parliament, and has seen duty guarding the Tower of London at night. He is tipped as the new Foreign Secretary.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said "Mr Cameron is determined to make the Cabinet more inclusive and representative of a diverse Britain, with members drawn not just from Eton but from all the major public schools." 

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Great Squanderland Roof

God only knows how this got past the editorial defences of the BBC;
"Jude lives in a henhouse with no roof, in the bankrupt Republic of Squanderland. Purchased for ten million euro at the height of the credit bubble, his henhouse has been rated the asset in Europe most likely to default. To solve this small but symbolic problem and restore confidence in the markets, Europe's leaders need a plan. Sadly, putting a roof on Jude's henhouse quickly escalates out of control. Soon they are committed to building a roof over the entire country, half a mile above the startled voters... But what happens when a structure that's too big to fail finally fails? To the horror of Europe's bankers and politicians, Jude comes up with a dramatic (and rather romantic) solution to the Eurozone crisis..."
It really is the most tremendous fun and leaves no Eurocrat unsatirised ... Do listen to the Podcast if and when it is linked

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Cameron's stupidity helped rise of ISIS

Cameron's stupidity in backing the wrong horse in Syria undoubtedly assisted the rise of ISIS and the loss of northern Iraq to barbarism and primitivism. So one must conclude from the progression of inane and self-destructive policy decisions taken or supported by the UK; As Patrick Cockburn writes in the Indie today
By insisting that peace negotiations must be about the departure of Assad from power, something that was never going to happen since Assad held most of the cities in the country and his troops were advancing, the US and Britain made sure the war would continue.The chief beneficiary is Isis which over the last two weeks has been mopping up the last opposition to its rule in eastern Syria.
We must also face the reality that Putin's Russia and her practical support of Assad has been all that's saved us so far from a despotic Sunni / Wahabbi armed mob at the door of Europe. Turkey's having kept the border with Syria open has allowed in not only the hundreds of volunteer Brit jihadis but arms, money and supplies vital to the brutal advance of ISIS in the Sunni crescent. And now Turkey's own stability is threatened; if the country falls to Sunni radicals, the barbarians will be once again at the gates of Europe. 

Merkel of course is closer to the threat both geographically and in terms of folk memory. In southern Austria the Herrgottswinkel, the room corner with tiny windows and a stout door in which hangs the crucifix, was the last place the family would huddle in defence before being put to death by the Turkish invaders. That Merkel looks to Russia as a potential defender of Europe as well as to NATO is both pragmatic and a condemnation of the lunacy of Cameron's close links with Saudi Arabia, source of much of the ISIS threat.

I don't believe, as some suggest, that Cameron acts deliberately against the interests of the UK; I think he is both a loyal British subject and that he wants the best for Britain. Unfortunately, he is just not terribly bright, nor has he any meaningful understanding of his country's history. Were it otherwise, he would never have allowed us to back so many wrong horses in these races. He would make a half decent ambassador for some capital heavy on tradition and protocol, but a Prime Minister? God help us.