Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Give Blair a Bloody Nose

Will the publication of the Attorney General's advice have any effect upon the election? It is a little difficult blogging up a storm from Provincetown on Cape Cod, although it is wet enough to count as one. Now we know that the Legal Officer of the government told Blair that his war was illegal without evidence of weapons of mass destruction and that the Criminally inclined Minister ignored the Code of Ministerial Conduct (doesn't apply to Primes, you know!!)

The advice is here. I don't think that this will have a radical impact upon the election as Iraq is less important than 'skoolzanhospitalz' for the elctorate. However, now that Howard is following the Crosby method of telling the electorate to give Blair a bloody nose, this places the issue of trust in sharp relief.

Let us hope that there is an upturn in the polls for the Tories from here on in.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Down and Dirty

Kamel Bourgass, the Algerian asylum seeker, who has just been found guilty of murder and plotting to use poisons has become the latest fixture in the election campaign. The Conservatives ahve pointed to this court case as an example of how the Labour government has lost control of our borders through incompetence, leading to a security threat.

Tory shadow home secretary David Davis said Detective Constable Oake "was killed by someone who should have been deported when his asylum application failed."
"Unfortunately this failure was a direct consequence of the Government's chaotic asylum policy and its porous borders."

Trying (and failing) to strike a statesmanlike tone, Charles Clarke attempted to deflect criticism by ordering the government department concerned to issue a defence. Civil service neutrality anyone?

A Home Office spokesman said: "The Immigration and Nationality Directorate has recognised its systems clearly needed tightening up and has taken measures to do so."
He said Bourgass had broken the conditions of his temporary release after his application for asylum was turned down.
But immigration officials had seen no evidence before Bourgass' arrest to indicate he was a threat to the UK.

Still, to prove a point, Clarke used this to note how New Labour's police state would have ensured security for all, by allowing arbitrary arrest, ID cards, the removal of civil liberties and a gigantic computer project to deal with it all involving shiny lights, lots of dials and men in white coats.

Charles Clarke denied the case was an embarrassment for the government.
"We have to work even harder to contest the terrorist threat," he said.
"I think things like identity cards, stronger borders to deal with migration issues, the kinds of anti-terrorism legislation that we passed in the last Parliament are all necessary."

However, haven't asylum seekers already been given ID cards? So, why do th rest of us need to carry one?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Whither the Church?

Following the death of the Pope there has been serious reflections amongst theologians and commentators on the direction that the Catholic Church may take. In the secular, dechristianised circles amongst which I move, there is little knowledge of religion or its growth. Yet, some of their numbers view Catholicism as stronger now than for many years and predict the demise of Protestantism.

Meanwhile, Protestantism seems spiritually and morally almost finished, according to Peter Jensen, the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, Australia.
"Mainline... denominations are slowly dying. Let them die a natural death," the New Oxford Review, a conservative Catholic journal, recently proposed.
Is this true? Will only Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam survive the current crisis of faith, as a senior religious affairs adviser to the European Commission predicted some years ago?

This is palpable nonsense given the growth of Pentecostalist denominations. However, the article moves on to explain the stresses and strains accompanying this explosion in Christian belief.

Pointing to Pentecostalism, the fastest-growing Christian movement, he said a "lively religious interest is bursting out in all sorts of forms. This surge in religious fervor poses a structural challenge to Roman Catholicism and mainline Protestantism."
Especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Pentecostalism, which emphasizes the Holy Spirit within the Trinity, has already influenced countless Catholic as well as Protestant congregations.
Rorem called it an "uncontrollable movement."

Crisis of faith or opportunity? What happens if this third-world movement begins to make inroads into Europe and the Middle East, directly challenging the bastions of secularism and Islam? Would the fragile institutions of Euromed survive a moral onslaught of unforeseen and fervent Christians providing new challenges via immigration and globalisation?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Where were the Tories?

Rover goes under. It would not have gone under if the government could give a generous loan whose favourable terms qualify as "state aid" under European Union law. All three parties agree that giving the loan would have been the least worst option.

So the European Union killed off Rover. The Tories are the Eurosceptic party with a large number of target seats locally. So they are currently railing at Europe. Not a bit of it. They are not even mentioning the loan.

This is not even an issue of market intervention. All parties want to give Rover the money.

What is wrong with these people? Don't they want to win the election? Erm, well...
Thursday, April 07, 2005

How Long?

Afghanistan likely to have permanent US military presence. It doesn't say how long we'll be there.

Just so you know how long that is, remember the temporary intervention in Bosnia? Or Kosovo?

.... or Iraq? Nah, why would an artificial state that's never known democracy and is made up of three mutually loathing ethnic groups need a strong military presence?