Archive for October, 2009

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

David Miliband

The Foreign Secretary is in trouble with Cameron over remarks made about a Polish politician who leads the gouping which the Tories have joined in the European Parliament. After the Chief Rabbi of Poland waded in and said Miliband got it wrong Cameron has demanded, but will not get, an apology.

David Miliband is not a good Foreign Secretary. He carries too much baggage. Of course we know and share the distress at the toll on his family of the inhumanities of the past and admire the new dawn he and his brother Ed bring to their own story. But Europe is blotched everywyhere with scars from the last century and Europe’s story is that its people, all of them, have embraced each other and moved on to their own new dawn, which brings sunlight to us all. It gives the terrible sufferings and heroic sacrifices of the past  meaning. Meaning heals.

It is in the East that the scars are still tender and the tensions not yet fully eased. In the eastern lands of the EU and Russia’s near abroad, a healing hand, not a heavy one is needed. David’s rush to Georgia while the muzzles of the guns of that hot headed country’s  shattered army remained still warm was very ill advised. John Humphrys reduced him to incoherence in an epic interview about this on Today.

There are shell shocked remnants of the Blair New Labour dream, especially in the media, who think the Millibands are Labour’s best hope for the future. I am not so sure. Labour’s best hope is to reconnect with its  working class roots, left open to the Lib Dems or where racial tensions add to the difficulties, the BNP. Even Cameron is making inroads. What labour needs is not a leader who is too professional, nor too wooden. It needs a good bloke who understands what it is like to be disadvantaged by birth and can reconnect with the mass of the country’s workforce and with the Trades Unions. Alan Johnson.

But before that can happen, indeed anything can happen, we have to watch for the next move of the slickest operator of all, the most powerful politician in the country today, Lord Mandelson.

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

President Obama

Barak Obama is a inspirational leader. Because of this he is President of The United States of America. His decision to allow H.I.V. sufferers to enter the U.S is  courageous . This is just another sign that America wants to rejoin the world community. A good move now would be to allow U.S Citizens to take a vacation in Cuba.

Friday, October 30th, 2009

The Blair Dream Fades

So it looks as if the motorcade factor was not enough. Too few of the movers and shakers in Europe are willing to back the Blair canditature for the Presidency of the Council. Neither he nor his friends have understood a simple truth. Britain’s most glitzi Prime Minister since Pitt the Younger made a fatal blunder over Iraq and then tried to hide the truth.  Like Ted Kennedy, whom he resembles in so many ways and for whom Chappaquiddick was an insurmountable barrier to high office, the memory of Iraq yawns as an impassable fissure on the road of any Blair motorcade now and for ever. We shall have to see whether Tony rises above it all and like Ted  finds a role where he really can make a difference. He is supposed to be a Middle East peacemaker at the moment. Not much happening there.

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Child Protection

As visitors to my website will know I have an ongoing focus on this issue, although it does not come up in my book.

Earlier in the year I put forward a plan for radical reform, the key element of which was the incorporation of both the legal and investigative elements under one roof. This would have the power of a Court but operate the continental inquisitorial legal system supported by properly conducted assessments through full time fully trained Child Protection Officers. It would be robust but sensitive, mindful always that error either way can lead to the needless death of a child. It would be timely and family friendly aware of the trauma beneath the surface of every case.

The Times this week on Monday had a big spread describing all the mounting problems of a creaking legal process utterly unsuited to the task  of protecting either children in need or accused but innocent families. It is hugely costly to run. This causes pain and anguish to the most vulnerable among us. My proposals would put a stop to this. If this country has a fault it is that the authorities  will not listen unless it is their idea. The reason America became the most powerful country on earth is that there, more than anywhere else, ideas are always welcome.

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Foreign Office Priorities

Yesterday I called the Foreign Office and asked for the official view of John Bolton’s nuking Iran by Israel plan. They did not have one. They never comment about things said overseas by foreign politicians. How peculiar. They are not the Home Office. They are the Foreign Office. They can’t afford to be sniffy about foreigners surely?

This morning, over my early morning tea, I listen to David Milliband, yes the Foreign Secretary, telling us why Tony Blair is just the person to be President of Europe. Of course. How silly of me. That’s the kind of thing the Foreign Office is interested in on our behalf. I really must get my priorities straight.

Thursday, October 29th, 2009


President Ahmadinejad is reported to have said that he is willing to move from confrontation to cooperation over nuclear fuel. This is very welcome news. It is a success for the Obama administration’s decision to give diplomacy the lead role in this divisive issue. The doves will see it as vindication. So may the hawks. Netanyahu and John Bolton will hail it a victory for standing firm. As with all diplomacy there will be something for each to clutch at. What is needed now is more fodder for the dove than less for the hawk. The latter’s road to Armageddon is not a good one to tread.

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Lib Dems

I discover the Liberal Democrats have as one of their policies a written Constitution for our country. Good for them. They may very well find that this gives them several hundred thousand very useful votes at the General Election. Caught between UKIP and the Lib Dems, the Tories could find their road to Downing Street less open than they thought. I discover also that in West Sussex, at the County Council Elections, the Tories had a net gain of one seat. Actually they gained ten from Labour but lost nine to the Lib Dems, all seats with a UKIP intervention. Hmmm…

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Expenses and Constitution.

This gets a complete Part in my book 2010 A Blueprint for Change. The reforms I propose would, if in effect, have made the MPs Expenses scandal impossible and, should they hit on some other scam to deceive us, would give the Crown not only the power (which it now has but has ceded to Downing Street) but the statutory duty to dissolve Parliament  and give the people a chance to vote in a new one. It is called democracy.

The more I delve the more alarmed I become at the utterly ineffective and ramshackle collection of ceremonies and precedents at the heart of our nation. The safeguards and rules that order the process of government and protect the people from exploitation, erosion of freedom and general ineptitude and which, above all, enshrine the very fabric of democracy and which every other free state around the world save Israel and New Zealand has, is missing here. I refer, of course, to a written Constitution.

In my book, I stopped short of this, believing that most urgent reform was needed now and setting up a new constitution would take too long. I still believe this in the short term, but in the long term we have to go that way. We cannot go on as we are. The worst thing of all that I have encountered is the total disinterest in the media. Mention the c word and you are greeted with an ill concealed snigger. Another nutter. Up the same old nutters cul de sac. We are clever savvy people who deal with the real world, not the broken dreams of silly old men.

Well times are about to change. Because the pennies will shortly drop, not as now, here and there now and again, but in a geat cascade like a vomiting jackpot in Las Vegas. There can be no such thing as a Constitutional Monarchy without a proper, accessible, open and understood constitution. Instead we have ended up with an Unconstitutional Democracy.

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Israel and Iran

John Bolton, the Republican ultra neo-con in the U.S., who must be one of the most alarming politicians in the world today, is reported to be advocating an Israeli first strike nuclear attack on Iran if negotiations with the latter fail.

This must be one of the most preposterous public declarations since the end of the cold war. It is also insane. Were such a thing to happen there are  nuclear nations who might think it right to nuke Israel in retaliation. Even if restraint applied, and one must pray it would, the consequences for the world would be cataclysmic. No nation without nuclear weapons would feel safe  and none who had them would dare disarm.  President Obama’s attempts at nuclear disarmament would be grounded for a generation. Israel would become a shunned state and a wave of anti-semitism would sweep the world. The detonation of a nuclear bomb in the US by terrorists would become a certainty and there would be no shortage of those willing to help with secrets and know how.

Meanwhile the hawks in Iran will be even less willing to negotiate with the rest of us and will accelerate their programme, citing these ravings as just cause to prepare.

That this man gets air time beggars belief.

Monday, October 26th, 2009


Of all the issues this is the most sensitive and raises the rawest passions. Racial prejudice hovers menacingly at the edge of every argument. The subject gets high ratings in the league of things people worry about.

I accept there must be some orderly and fair quota of new immigrants because we are a small country with finite resources. I am very happy that we have a multi cultural society and I am blind to race and colour. I do, however, see real social problems building up in what used to be called working class areas where there are strains on services, resources and housing and where community cohesion is broken down because of a lack of traditional job opportunities in local factories and other important sources of employment. Wrongly those suffering from this deprivation turn to immigration as the cause of their plight. The root cause is the shape and social function of the post monetarist economic model. This model has demonstrated catastrophic flaws leading to crisis and recession, yet the policies of all the political parties appear designed to patch and mend and to keep it going.

There is a shocking degree of failure of the mainstream parties in all of this as we head towards what may become an even greater crisis ahead. This can explode into a frightening combination of financial crisis, ethnic violence and social breakdown unless heed is taken of the warning signs. If the BNP is anything, it is a wake up call. Baiting Nick Griffin is not an adequate response and sidelining his party will have no effect nor even be possible until action is taken to deal with the root. The precise conditions which allow extremist parties to flourish are the ones which the political class have failed properly to resolve.