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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bouquets and brickbats......

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week: I thought that the previous post on the thwarting of the neocon plan to have The Bliar installed as EU President was such good news it deserved to stay up in pole position for at least a week, to give us plenty of time to sip our champagne and smoke our cigars.....

Anyway, a lot's been happening over the last ten days.

Bouquets for:

1. The 'true Labour' New Zealand government of Helen Clark, which has taken the country’s railway network back into public ownership. If they can do it, why can‘t we? (Charlie Marks and David Lindsay have more on this story).

2. Roy Hodgson (above)- manager of Fulham. I’ve been a big fan of Hodgson since the early/mid 1990s when I was living in Switzerland and Hodgson was the manager of the national team. He’s worked the oracle with virtually every club he’s been with- and to pilot Fulham to safety by winning by four of the last five games was nothing short of remarkable. With his vast experience of international football, Hodgson would make a great manager of the England national team-let's hope the FA see sense and give him the job when it next comes up for grabs.

3. To the fans, players and staff of Portsmouth and Cardiff City: how refreshing to see an FA Cup final not including a member of the so-called 'Big Four'. Yesterday's game was far more entertaining than last year's dull-as-dishwater Man U v Chelsea clash; let's hope that next year too, we'll have two unfashionable teams in the final. To make that more likely, why don't the FA give all teams who draw on the Big Four in the F.A. Cup a goal start? The Big Four have an enormous financial advantage and something needs to be done to level things out.

Brickbats for:

1. Boris Tadic, Serbian President and leader of the wonderfully misnamed 'Democratic Party', who said that he would not ‘allow’ parties he didn't approve of -most particuarly, the Serb Radicals, to be part of the next Government in his country, regardless of the level of public support for them. How democratic is that? Judging by the statements of its leader the most anti-democratic force in Serbia is the so-called 'Democratic' Party.

2. To the twerps (and there really is no other word for them), who called for a military invasion of Burma days after the country was hit by a cyclone. It seems that the 'liberal interventionist' brigade can’t go a few days before calling for intervention in one country or another. They'd like us to regard them as 'progressives' and committed 'humanitarians', but isn't it funny how all the countries they’d like to invade are not fully open to western capital...? The Exile has more on this twerpery here.

3. To Cherie Blair, Lord Levy, John Prescott and Alistair Campbell. The late, great Auberon Waugh used to say that mankind isn’t divided by class or political affiliation but into the nasty and the nice- and it’s fairly easy to see which category those four fall into. (Rod Liddle has written a marvellous piece on the things some people do for money in this week's Spectator, which I heartily recommend).


slapheads anonymous said...

2. To the twerps (and there really is no other word for them), who called for a military invasion of Burma days after the country was hit by a cyclone.

Well, if your home gets flooded or worse, I trust you'll be turning down all offers of aid and extolling the virtues of stiff-upper-lipped self-reliance. After all, that's what you seem to expect of the Burmese.

I don't imagine anyone seriously wants to actually invade the country, which would cause more problems than it solves - but are you denying that there's a massive humanitarian crisis there, which the government is exacerbating through its deliberate blocking of aid?

I only ask, because you didn't actually mention any of this in your post.

Neil Clark said...

I see we are in agreement that an invasion/military intervention in Burma would cause 'more problems than it solves'.
It would indeed make the current situation, much worse.
No one, least of all me, is lauding the way the Burmese military govt has responded to the cyclone, but making threats of gunboat diplomacy is not going to make things better.
There's no 'perfect' solution to the Burmese crisis and what to do about some aid not getting through to the people who need it; we have to look for the 'least worst' solution. Respecting national sovereignty in the end saves more lives than disregarding it, as events in Kosovo and Iraq have shown. That doesn't mean of course that a govt has the right to commit genocide on its own soil and escape censure on the grounds of 'national sovereignty', but that we have to be very, very, very, careful before national sovereignty is breached.

Anonymous said...

Neil - if you can't spell names correctly I'll have to stop reading. It's BLIAR. Anyway apart from that keep up the good work.

Neil Clark said...

anonymous: apologies for the typo- I've corrected it.

Dave S said...

Hodgson has done an excellent job at Fulham, but what about Phil Brown at Hull and Gary Johnson at Bristol City? Both have worked wonders to get their respective teams just one match away from the Premiership. Regarding Premiership managers, I think Steve Bruce at Wigan and Gary Megson at Bolton also deserve a 'bouquet'.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the parties in Serbia who look to the oligarchic East rather than the (in comparison) democratic West (and EU) gain your support. Kosovo, as part of Greater Serbia's 'living space' (liebensraum), no doubt has lessons for the 'left' in your world.

Philip Cross
(Hope I not banned from commenting on your site. Thank goodness (for you) that the infamous Đinđić and '57 translators' articles resist easy quotation in your Wikipedia entry.)

Douglas said...

I thought of you when I read about Time magazine going neocon. Instapundit saw this article and commented "Is it time to invade Burma? Man, these neocons will stop at nothing."

It seems that sovereignty is a priority for you, no matter how despicably a regime acts.

Neil Clark said...

dave s: agreed. Brown and Johnson have been brilliant.
As well as Bruce and Megson did in piloting Wigan and Bolton to safety, I still think that Hodgson's achievement tops the lot. With five games to go, Fulham were written off- if they had lost at Man City, and Birmingham had kept their lead against Liverpool, they would have been eight points adrift with two games to go, but the rest as they say is history. Hodgson not only kept Fulham up, he kept them up by playing football.

douglas: Thanks for the link. You comment "It seems that sovereignty is a priority for you, no matter how despicably a regime acts." As I've said in my reply to slapheads above, that isn't true. I've said that when clear and unequivoical evidence exists that country A is committing genocide, then the UN should have the right to intervene. But we have to be very, very, very careful before national sovereignty is breached: repsecting national sovereignty in the ned saves more lives than disregarding it, as Kosovo and Iraq have shown.

'Philip Cross':I don't think it at all unreasonable to exclude someone who has spent hours and hours maliciously editing my wikipedia entry in order to show me in the worst possible light, from posting comments here. I have written hundreds of articles on a very wide range of topics, yet the only ones you wanted to mention in your edits were those which you and your fellow Euston signatories believe show me in a bad light.
(such as the two pieces you mentioned in your email yesterday).
You were not interested in putting together a balanced biography, only trying to portray me as an extremist, by twisting my words and misrepresenting my opinions. I will however answer the point you raised in your email.

You write:
Yes, the parties in Serbia who look to the oligarchic East rather than the (in comparison) democratic West (and EU) gain your support. Kosovo, as part of Greater Serbia's 'living space' (liebensraum), no doubt has lessons for the 'left' in your world.

Again, you are misrepresenting what I wrote. My line on Serbia is quite simple: the decision on who should be in the Serbian govt should be up to one group of people alone- the Serbian electorate. I criticised Boris Tadic because he seems to think he has a god-given right to say which parties should be allowed in the govt. If Serbia wants a generally pro-EU, pro-NATO govt then it's up to them. But if they want a EU-sceptic, anti-NATO govt then that's up to them too. I am appalled by the pressure, financial inducements, and threats made against Serbia by outside forces to 'vote the right way'
Parties that support the EU and NATO are labelled 'democratic', parties who have their doubts about both organisations and the benefits of Serbia joining are labelled 'undemocratic'. That's just silly. True democracy means respecting the right of people to vote for who they want to: be it the Democratic Party, the Radical Party or the Monster Raving Loony Party. But it seems that the Euston Manifesto definition is 'the right of people to vote for whoever they want to so long as it's for parties that want to lock their countries into 'Euro-Atlantic structures' and fully open their economies to western capital.

Anonymous said...

Liddle's piece really is top notch.

Exile said...

Anonymong @ 8.35pm:

Kosovo had a Serb majority until the 1940s when they were driven out or killed off.

You are a right spaz, aren't you?

Simon said...

I like the idea of giving teams who draw the Big Four in the FA Cup a goal start. It wouldn't guarantee that we'd never get the Big Four in the final again, only help make it less likely. Saturday's match may not have been a classic, but it was still good to see two new teams in the final.

Douglas said...

When the New York Times, which has done everything conceivably possible to sabotage both Operation Iraqi Freedom and the larger conflict with Al-Qaeda, runs an editorial about invading Burma, I can only surmise that we are all neocons now! (insert maniacal laughter here)