Diplomatic Exchanges

In the Middle East, Egypt seems to have brokered a cease fire, or rather a cease of rocket launches and bombings between Gaza and Israel. Rockets have been fired into Israel and in retaliation air strikes that have taken place on Gaza and in retaliation rockets have been fired into Israel and so forth. This vicious circle of violence seems to have no beginning and no end. As usual, recent exchanges of violence have resulted in many more Palestinian dead than Israeli dead. The most recent body count is 25 to nil, in favour of Israel. Continue reading

My Voice is Too Small

Political connections and a strong lobby group can do things that a good cause and holding the right moral position cannot. When governments make decisions they succumb to the influence of the powerful. Continue reading

Climate Change Policy – the Curate’s Egg

The UK Treasury does not attach enough importance to climate change issues. Joan Walley, a labour MP has argued that by the Chancellor making statements that emissions will not be cut at the expense of British business the Treasury is undermining investor confidence in low carbon industries. Greg Barker talks about the need to review the system to ensure that we are not simply shipping emissions abroad and Mr Cameron wanted this government to be the greenest ever. These statements show the current muddle of British climate change policy. Continue reading

“by their friends you shall know them”

Politicians are supposed to have private lives. They should have friends, relations families and even in some cases lovers and mistresses. Having a private life enables them to understand the people whom they are elected to govern. As such they are entitled to keep their lives private, unless their private life prevents them from doing their job properly. This would be easy for politicians to achieve were it not for democracy, which gets in the way of their privacy. Continue reading

Politicians Papers and Policemen

The scandal continues to enliven a dull July. The politicians are embarrassed because they have associated most closely with newspapers and their journalists, some of whom have hacked into people’s telephones, including those of politicians. The papers are embarrassed because hacking is a criminal offence which they conveniently ignored in their efforts to expose wrong doing and bring us our daily or weekly does of salacious gossip, in order to sell more newspapers. The policemen are embarrassed because they have been supposed to investigate crime and for many years failed to investigate this type of crime properly, because some of the police were very close to the newspapers, not only in unhealthy close contact but also apparently in some cases in receipt of largesse from the newspapers. Continue reading

The economics of nemo dat quod no habet

The arguments rage over “cuts” (which is the word that the UK opposition parties use to describe government savings and “savings” which is the word used by the government to describe cuts in government expenditure.

There are freely interchangeable but neither word really communicates the process that is now happening. Latin has a habit of communicating in a few words a concept that takes many words to explain, so at the risk of appearing pretentious I shall use a Latin phrase, nemo dat quod non habet, which roughly means “you cannot give what you have not got”. Continue reading

Waking up to War

I woke up yesterday to discover my country was at war. The newspapers said so. It had apparently declared war on a tyrant, because he was a tyrant and was tyrannising his own people, as tyrants do. He has been tyrannising his people for forty two years but now it seems war was appropriate. Last week it was appropriate for the Security Council of the United Nations to vote unanimously that the tyrant should be tried at the International Criminal Court at the Hague, notwithstanding that two of the members of the Security Council, China and the United States of America, refuse to accept its jurisdiction and do not recognise it as an international tribunal. Continue reading

Eating the seed corn

If you live in the United Kingdom and turn on the BBC you will have heard a great deal of news about “cutbacks” and the hardship that they will cause. In truth, they will cause hardship in the public sector; most of the private sector has already suffered the pain. Our Prime Minister, Mr Cameron, apparently thinks that the BBC spends most of its news concentrating on the hardship that cuts will bring rather than the reason for the cuts that are occurring. Continue reading

Sale of English Woodland suspended

The Coalition government of the United Kingdom has decided to abandon its policy of a large scale sale of the forests owned by the government quango, the Forestry Commission.  Many people regard this as good news because access to forests for the public will be secured. I think that there is a more important issue than public access. Continue reading

Mr Cameron’s Green Agenda

Politicians and leaders of nations have two ways of communicating their ideas to the public. The first is in a speech; they universally like to make speeches and they probably attach too much importance to their effect. The second way is by writing. In writing the words can be studied, and it is easier to form a logical reaction to the words and develop arguments supporting or gainsaying what is written without the interference of emotion that political rhetoric raises.

Mr Cameron, the Prime Minister of Her Majesty’s Government, wrote yesterday in the Observer newspaper about a green economy. He writes “there is a compelling economic case to be made for fighting climate change …The green effort should not be downgraded or swept under the carpet because of spending cuts and austerity…” Continue reading