Thursday, February 25, 2010

I have been trying to listen to Obama's healthcare summit but like everything else on the lousy connection provided by Orange, I keep losing the signal. I switched to Orange last October and have spent hours on the telephone to Bombay ever since. I have finally given up on Orange in despair and with high blood pressure and am switching to another provider. Orange now want to charge me a cancellation fee of over £200 and a disconnection fee of £28. They have been charging me for months for failing to provide a decent service. They'll have to sue if they want to charge me for leaving as well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rather an interesting interview ????

After the Today programme's interview with Andrew Lansley this morning, James Naughtie commented,"Rather an interesting interview". Actually it barely kept me awake, but it did illustrate the two worst problems with British politics and British media. The story is how spokesmen of three parties tried and failed to reach concensus on care for the elderly.

The politics problem is a classic example of how useless the House of Commons is at improving legislation. Party point-scoring always takes precedence over writing better laws, not just when an election is approaching. The media problem is the preoccupation with process over substance, so as usual we learn nothing of the policy issues but everything about who said what to whom first. The BBC couples this with an insistence on devoting only a few nano-seconds to each subject and the interviewer's usual refusal to allow the interviewee to complete a single sentence.

How can we ever have a grown-up political debate in Britain ?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Did Blair lie to the Inquiry ? (1) Regime Change

The inquiry panel asked Tony Blair if regime change was a valid objective. He replied, "No,the absolute key issue was WMD", but almost every other answer showed that the answer should have been "Yes". He conflated the two issues of WMD and regime change, saying that they were "...two ways of saying the same thing". He told the inquiry that the only commitment he had given Bush at Crawford was " deal with Saddam". The panel suggested that he and Bush had been agreed on ends but not means and he responded, "Agreed on both...".

At the end when infamously Blair refused to admit any regrets, he said, "Responsibility but no regrets at removing Saddam Hussein. He threatened not just a region but the world." The inquiry tackled him on the Fern Britton interview where he said that despite the lack of WMD, "I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat." His disingenuous response was to pretend that despite his experience he had been tricked.