Scottish minister of transport Stewart Stevenson has been frozen out of office. Not by his fellow minister, parliament or his civil servants, but by the utter chaos caused by snow in Scotland that he failed to find prevent or find any solutions to. Apparently conditions in the scottish highlands were rather awful, airports were closed, thousands were trapped on motorways between Edinburgh and Glasgow, some even stumbled on their way to the pub.
Of course, the scots dont put up with such things and Stewart Stevenson had to take full responsibility, pack his back bag and leave office. Read that again, the minister took responsibility, declared himself a failure and left. They may be frozen fools but the scots sure have more spine than most politicians.
Now think about George W. Bush and his handling of Katrina.Read more
Suicide bombers are not funny. A trail of tragedy follow in the path of these fanatics, whatever their beliefs, reasons and motivations. Equally, a suicide bomber is next to impossible to stop, as most security measures aim at making agression so threatening, dangerous or involving such a high risk of getting caught, that it simply isnt worth the effort. All such measures are of course in vain, if the danger is relevant and the risk of getting caught only includes finding the body.
All that said, I almost had to smile when reading the news that someone had done a suicide bombing in Sweden. Not because its a funny thing to do, but because the stated reasons in a mail from the suicide bomber gives “the swedish involvement in Afghanistan” and “the muhammed cartoons” as reasons. My first reaction was, uhm, does Sweden actually have any military involvement in Afghanistan? I was aware Denmark had a few soldiers hiding in a british base in Helmand, but I had never heard of swedish military there. A bit of googling enlightened me, they do indeed have some 4-500 soldiers in Afghanistan somewhere. Fair enough. Low profile and barely enough of a crowd to make coffee for the real armies there, but I guess its the thought that counts. My second thought was, uhm, the muhammed cartoons were done by danish artists for a danish book and infamously reprinted in the danish newspaper Jyllands Posten. Did this guy miss the busstop in Copenhagen and just randomly drive on into sweden?
It seem though that the muhammed cartoons, stupid and offensive as they were, had been reprinted later on in Sweden as well, and as such I suppose the suicide bombers points were valid, although his actions obviously horrid and wrong. But. Why target Sweden I wonder? Their involvement is about the smallest of any country involved in Afghanistan and some private newspaper reprinting what had already been published in other countries and produced by danes doesnt exactly strike me as something that would spur anyone into enough of a rage to consider suicide bombing. But then, admittedly, I dont really understand the logic driving anyone to that stage in the first place.
I hope the suicide bomber was basically a lone nutter, obsessed with whatever weird beliefs he may have held and acting on his own in an act of insane determination to make his mark on the world. As far as I have been able to find out so far, nobody but himself got killed, however two people were injured. Lets pray it stays at that.Read more
London is currently experiencing the most agressive and violent riots in the streets since the Thatcher years. The demonstrations are lead, organised and carried out by students, presumably backed by militant anarchists, thucks and opportunist troublemakers. So far, several building such as the treasury has been utterly trashed, several police officers have been attacked and hospitalised, no other than prince Charles have had his car smashed up and so forth.
The students are angry, well furious, that the government havent disbanded tuition fees – and indeed tripled them instead. Now, they had probably expected that from the conservatives but the students largely carried the Liberal Democrats into parliament and government on a promise of tuition fees being abolished. Whichever way you look at it, either Nick Clegg lied to please the students during his campaign, and never intented to abolish the tuition fees, or he sold out along the way, dropped his promises and reversed his political stance 180degrees – in return for ministerial seats. Either way blatant lies, lost hopes and promises deliberately not kept have always been the fuel that lit political anger and inspired demonstrations in the streets. Nick Clegg has basically taken his party from a role of everybodies favorite pet, a faint hope for idealists and the naughty boy in class who dared speak out when others played tactical games, and bought himself seats in government at the expense of his entire political program (the voting reform was sold before he even took office remember). Former Liberal Democrat leaders and prominent figures voted against their own government in parliament, but thats barely a footnote to the students and libdem voters who feel thoroughly betrayed. In that sense, its probably fairly safe to assume Nick Clegg should enjoy his time in the ministeries, as its more than unlikely he will have a seat there after the next election.
Now does any or all of this justify rioting in the streets, destroying property and hurting people? Of course not. Political violence is a bad thing and innocent people having their belongings ruined or being hurt is obviously out of order. However, the anger, frustration and disappointment created by the actions of the british government and the Liberal Democrats in particular are to blame more than anything else, as one person I spoke to said:
“The students dont exactly make you proud to be british. But Clegg. I would have always voted Liberal Democrat. They were the only straight up idealist party. Now theres nobody left to vote for. I am not a student but Nick Clegg betrayed the voters and proved himself a liar like the rest of them. Never again.”
Taken to the streets by the people directly affected, such levels of disappointment can turn nasty. They shouldnt, but equally its hard to believe how it has surprised anyone that they did. And this may only be the beginning, the british are back on the streets, they are angry and ready to show it.Read more
Unless you have been vacationing on mars for the last few weeks, you probably noticed the latest influx of wikileaks. They contain an overwhelming amoung of classified information of various kinds. Thus, they have kindly done the work for many a lazy journalist in need of a quick scandal or frontpage story. But apart from that, political leaders have referred to wikileads as swines and terrorists, whereas those with a thing for public transparency have been celebrating…
Now, we have learned that Saudi Arabia fancies a war with Iran and desperately tries to convince the americans that this might be a feasable venture. We have learned that Angela Merkel is an administrator with no courage or creativity. We have learned that Barack Obama have tried bribing countries such as Slovenia into taking Guantanamo prisoners in return for photo opportunities with celebrities such as himself…and the list goes on forever.
So…is it valuable information or a criminal act to release such info? Well basically, most of it is irrelevant, a bit amusing or non-surprising slander … theres a couple of potentially destabilising pieces of intelligence such as the correspondence regarding the middle east and north corea – but does that constitute the exposure being a dangerous terrorist act. Of course not. First of all, you have to be a bit more naive and narrowminded than George W. to imagine any of this came as a surprise to the involved parties. Iran isnt just likely to be well informed about the attitude towards them among their neighbours (they do afterall have a fairly efficient intelligence service of their own), they have indeed gone out of their way to manifacture it – had they wanted friendly and trusting neighbourly relations, it probably wouldnt have been first on their list to invest in a nuclear program, long range missiles pointing in all directions and having their political leaders giving speech after speech threatening and harassing the very same neighbours, that has now been exposed as “a bit grumpy”. Surprise surprise.
And North Corea. So, they have a military at the border, so they keep plotting malicious activities…or in other words – nothing has changed since the corean war and everyone know about it. It certainly wont have been scandal of the year in the South Corean ministry of defence that they might be wise to keep a lookout on the northeners and their continued efforts to provoke, militarise and cause havoc. Surprise surprise.
Should we continue? Angela Merkel being a bit boring, Sarkozy being “bizarre”, Anders Fogh Rasmussen cutting deals under the table, Barack Obama acting as though he is trying to bullship his way to winning the next round of Big Brother …. yeah, thats all astonishing news in the “terrorist exposure” end of things we would have never figured out ourselves. Wikileaks is public service, or rather – wikileaks is a nice service for journalists who cant be bothered to dig up their own stories and a marvellous reminder to those of us who briefly forgot what common sense would have told us about international politics and relations, had we thought about it for a second…not much more, not much less.
- For years we have debated the influence of money in politics. We have looked at wealthy businessmen and lobbyists buying elections. Studied how TV commercials flooded living rooms and turned the polls around. In America the Super-PACs came storming onto the scene after an election funding reform with more or…