Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A Step Too Far

A report by International, published today, condemns Israel for denying the Palestinian people access to even the basic minimum amount of water required for living. The average Palestinian receives 70 litres of water per day though some receive less than 20 (the minimum required during a humanitarian disaster) meanwhile many Israelis are free to enjoy their swimming pools and hosepipes.

The plight of the Palestinians is not helped by the Israeli blockade and the fact that some Israeli soldiers use water tanks for target practice.

The response from Israel has been typically evasive with them claiming that they give to Palestinians the amount of water agreed under a 1990 agreement and going on to say that it is Palestinian mis-management that is the problem. There are two problems with this explanation that are vital for the survival of many Palestinians. Firstly, it is Israel who has control over the water supply to Gaza? These subjected people can only get something as vital as water from a country which wants to see their total defeat and this is a huge problem facing any Palestinian government. The only way this can be solved is if, as Donatella Rovera of Amnesty puts it, "Israel must end its discriminatory policies, immediately lift all the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians' access to water". Secondly, the Palestinians do have an inefficient water infrastructure but this is mainly down to Israeli military operations targeting Palestinian water doing major damage, including $6million worth of damage during the Cast Lead operation last winter.

It is about time the international community did something about this situation as we have moved far beyond politics now and Israel is now slowly killing the Palestinian people by denying them the source of life even many third world countries now take for granted.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Internet Campaigning Hits the Spotify

It seems that Conservative chairman Eric Pickles is now more famous than a lot of his party's MPs with a host of public appearances and this morning he added Spotify to the list. In a new advert which will start during the free songs the service provides Pickles will address the primarily young audience and highlight the innumerate failures that a Labour government has made us suffer from over the last 11 years.

Like many attempts by politicians to address such a fickle audience the advert has unsurprisingly been criticised for being excessively 'cheesy' and any self-respecting person would no doubt agree the 45 seconds are cringeworthy.

Nevertheless the importance of using the internet cannot be underestimated and it is certainly understandable that the party wants to broaden its base in the months before a general election. In fact, that the advert is so 'bad' is almost part of its charm and means that it has gained undue press coverage and will certainly be remembered for some time yet.

Furthermore, Pickles has proved himself as an asset to the party through his various appearances and his instantly recognisable voice and personality is something the Tory party should certainly think about using in the future.

By the way you can listen to the advert here courtesy of Paul Waugh.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The French (Counter)-Revolution

If Labour thought the in-fighting in their party was bad then they can take some comfort from France's ruling conservative party which is currently fighting it out in the country's court system. The case is being seen by some as a new class war with the aristocratic ex-PM Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin challenging the bourgeois President Sarkozy who, in no uncertain terms, worked his ass of to get to the top.

The case concerns a smear campaign (Clearstream) by Villepin back in 2004 which accused Sarkozy of accepting illegal kickbacks from arms deals. This was later proved to be false but Sarkozy went on to bring charges against Villepin who, he submits, knew the information was false but went on to use it anyway.

The stakes are high and French commentators wait for the decision with bated breath. A win for Sarkozy would effectively end De Villepin's career while a finding of not-guilty would be a damaging blow to the Sarkozy presidency. From an independent point of view, I think France has to hope for the President to come out on top of this dispute. Sarkozy is a man of action and during these troubled times this is exactly what all countries need but in particular one with a continental, protectionist economy.

Monday, 19 October 2009

BNP Stoke The Publicity Fire

With the BNP making the news again ahead of Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time it is unsurprising that this fringe party is trying to make the most of the coverage as any party would. Unfortunately for those of us who read the politics pages the BNP are filling headlines with their usual bile which makes Jan Moir look like Mother Theresa.

Today the BNP website announced an attack on the two non-white panellists who are also due to appear alongside Griffin on Thursday night. Having read the article I'm sure you'll agree that it is complete nonsensical diatribe which you wish you hadn't even bothered opening never mind reading; I mean halal cake....seriously?

Unfortunately the papers seem to disagree that this isn't worth the time of day with the London Evening Standard running with almost a full-page story and editorial comment. The paper realises that they themselves are contributing to stoking the race row but is only reporting the news that is being created more by the Labour Party more than almost anyone else.

The culprit this time is the Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain, who has suggested that the BBC may face legal action unless Griffin was removed from the panel. Now to me and surely everyone else with half a brain this is completely illogical, the BBC simply responded with a succinct "our understanding is that, if there was an election tomorrow, the BNP would be able to stand". There we go, in what is barely a full sentence the argument and subsequent news story is destroyed.

I hope Labour are happy with themselves for once again giving the BNP undue publicity, unless they have realised that they themselves are slowly becoming a fringe party and also need the coverage?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Marcus Cleaver for Supreme Overlord

Let’s face it, human society has become stagnant. For all this talk of the modern technological age the best two advances in the past decade have been ‘Pirate Sex’ and ‘Hole in the Wall’. Meanwhile atheism only thrives because God is too fucking embarrassed of us, which leaves us to aimlessly wander around the planet distracting ourselves by fiddling with our ringtones.

In fact if there was a nuclear holocaust tomorrow, the average person’s last thought would be ‘Oooh I’ve got an app on my iPhone to measure radiation. Oh wait it’s just melted....as have my hands’, before a fissure appears in their freshly carbonised skull and their brain is turned into a molten bubbly mess.

I like to think that my last thought would be ‘At least a lot of other humans will die, plus hopefully that pretentious Apple Store on Regent Street will now just be a pile of smouldering rubble’. But it doesn’t have to be this way people for I, Marcus Cleaver, am prepared to lead human civilisation into a new dawn.

With me as your God-like figure at the top, the intellectual elite will be allowed full freedom to work towards a better society whilst the infidel (namely those in the Facebook Group 'Prevent Marcus Cleaver's Attempt at World Domination’ will be....removed.

Utopia awaits.

Join the Facebook group here!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

No Split Over Europe

There is no doubt that during the 90s the Conservative Party were split over Europe and during this weeks party conference both opposition parties and the mainstream media have more than hinted that a similar problem could plague a future David Cameron led government.

The party policy towards the Lisbon Reform Treaty seems prima facie consistent with all major figures showing scepticism towards the rehashed Constitution Treaty that was rejected by both the French and Dutch voters. Certainly, if the LRT is not in force before a Tory election victory, the British public would be given a chance to have their say. Furthermore, it looks like Britain would vote 'No' to Lisbon despite the frankly ridiculous attacks by foreign minister David Milliband accusing the anti-federalist stance of the party as "embarassing".

The supposed problems for Cameron are apparently going to arise if the LRT has been passed by all 27 member states of the EU as the Conservative leader has not announced if there will be a referendum in this case. The question has come to light again this week, unfortunately coinsciding with the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, as the Irish electorate resoundingly approved the treaty, making the passing of the LRT more imminent.

There are many sensible reasons for not announcing the Tory position just yet, the first being that it would be unfair to interfere in the debate that Poland and the Czech Republic (the two countries yet to ratify the LRT) are having in their respective countries. The second reason is that it is most likely going to be 8 months before the Cameron family move into Downing Street and it is anyone's guess as to what shape the treaty will be in at that point. If it is still in it's infancy then it may well be worth having referendum but it would also be understandable not to if the LRT is, by then, operating with full force.

The fear that Britain will lose face with the EU and farther afield if it regails on it's ratification is a petty one. I would rather the government did what the voters wanted rather than keeping up appearances abroad if that was deemed to be the best step forward for the UK.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

A Quick Look at the Figures from @PoliticsHomeUK

OK this is a bit embarassing but the only way I can get the internet to write my blog is to go our university library and what with it being a Saturday it's closing soon so my look at these figures is severely limited.

The look at over 200 marginal constituencies is quite interesting to present a political map of the UK, particularly so this year with a general election coming up in the next few months.

The headline figure that a potential Conservative majority of 146 last year has been halved to only 70 this year, doesn't look great especially alongside other figures that seem to suggest less trust in the Conservative party on the whole. This though is perhaps an unfair comparison as Labour were at breaking point last summer and since then the political climate, at least, has calmed down.

Despite being cut back in some areas such as the North, the Conservatives are in a strong position and this only looks to be increasing with The Sun newspaper now backing the party and the Manchester Conference still to come. The party will also be pleased to know that the expenses scandal seems to be something of a distant memory.

Meanwhile Nick Clegg will be pleased that his party have upped their number of seats from 2008's figures but will still be disappointed that he could well lose some of his MPs from the South-West in the next election. He will be wanting to try and capitalise more from Labours seemingly inevitable demise.

Anyway I'm about to be shouted at but will perhaps try and write an update at some point. Please do read at least the first 11 pages of the document linked to above as it should give a good indicator as to the election in 2010.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Mao to Come From China

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC), a birthday which is culturally seen by the Chinese to be particularly significant. It is needless to say then that the celebrations will take place with military precision; something synonymous with the Chinese regime since the 2008 Olympics.

But the excessive security seen last summer could be stepped up even further for this years parade. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked and those living along the parade route were told that they could be shot if they stood on their balcony or even opened their window. Despite all this the parade, like the Olympics, should be nothing short of spectacular. With participants ranging from squadrons of jet pilots to students holding placards; this years parade will be the largest ever. China will also be showing off their new military hardware to which experts around the world will look forward to with baited breath.

All of this sounds very Satlin-esque and many commentators are likening the Chinese regime to the Soviet Union which collapsed in the early 1990s based on tell-tale signs of decline such as corruption, social discontent, autocracy and increasing militarisation. This may all be true to varying degrees but there has been no sign of major protest in China since the Tiananmen protests of 1989. Instead Communist China appears to have made great steps forward in its 60 years. Life expectancy has doubled with better healthcare available and China's ever growing university system now has 20.2 million students in higher education. Admittedly by global standards China is still a poor country with 207 million people living below the World Bank Poverty line but the central government is making efforts in this area.

Another way in which the PRC is different to the USSR is economically. Whilst the Soviets remained isolated in terms of the global economy, China has cemented its place at the centre of the financial world since joining the World Trade Organisation eight years ago and has recently proved itself by being the first country to pull through the global recession. Boasting foreign exchange reserves of $2 trillion, China would be the last country you would bet on having a financial meltdown.

China has achieved this bed of stability through its own flexible brand of Leninism known as the Beijing Consensus. Whilst Mao Zedong would perhaps have more than a few complaints if he came back to modern day China, he would no doubt be happy with the standing of his PRC on the world stage and the inevitable progress it will make in the future.