Have a look at the Guardian article I've posted on Tom's Journal (see link on right).
Is the world's only superpower really that insane? Extract follows:
"So here we have a major political constituency - representing much of the current president's core vote - in the most powerful nation on Earth, which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war. Its members see the invasion of Iraq as a warm-up act, as Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates" will be released "to slay the third part of men". They batter down the doors of the White House as soon as its support for Israel wavers: when Bush asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002, he received 100,000 angry emails from Christian fundamentalists, and never mentioned the matter again."
This is from Zapatero's speech as candidate for the Prime Ministership on Thursday, and it is exactly what the vast majority of the Spanish people wanted to hear. I wonder whether any British pro-European will be as forthright in the Great Debate that is about to start there.
"It is time to recover a consensus that should never have been broken. A consensus that, in this order, must leave clear a convinced commitment to Europe; must set Latin-America and the Mediterranean as our preferred centres of attention; must maintain with the United States a relationship of countries that are partners and friends, based on reciprocal loyalty and frankness … In this framework, the European Constitution represents a milestone in the process of peace, liberty, progress and welfare that we Europeans have been working to establish and develop for fifty years now. Convinced that what is good for Europe is good for Spain, the government will do everything in its power to ensure that the projected European Constitution is approved before the Irish Presidency ends [on 30 June] and can be signed in Madrid in homage to the victims of the bombings of 11 March, as all the European States are expecting.
"Morocco demands and deserves special attention and relations that seek profound understanding. I shall make this clear to the Moroccan authorities in the visit that I shall make in the next few days."
Spain now has a new government. For a description of the democratic constitutional process involved click on comments below.
Tony Blair is off to America again to help George Bush's election campaign. Apparently Blair did not even make the usual courtesy call to Kerry when he won the primaries, in case it offended Bush. (see continuation in the following comment)
Last Wednesday a convicted fraudster persuaded the French shareholders, who are now a majority of shareholders in Eurotunnel, to vote to oust the existing board, and put in the nominee of the crook Nicolas Miguet.
This seems to have been fueled by nationalism and ignorance. Miguet promised them a rise in the share price from the present less than 50 cents to 2 Euros. As the real probability is a fall to zero, accelerated by the know-nothings appointed to the board this is breath taking even by the corrupt standards of French politics. Miguet apparently has connections with the far right, though I have never seen these spelled out, and has convictions for fraud in share dealing. His nominee for Chairman has accusations of tax laundering when he was head of a small bank.
Probably they will find they have office but no power as the holders of the debt will probably replace them with more competent people - maybe even putting back the original board which was very competent (it wasn't them who incurred the debt, and they were doing their best to pay it off).
Click on comment below for my thoughts on the recent news about Gibraltar. What news about Gibraltar? Precisely.
These days every grievance seems to be resolved with a cash settlement. Two examples among many:
The relatives of the Lockerbie victims received massive compensation from Libya. Today an English court has open the way to cash settlements for the parents who had organs removed from their dead children without their approval.
I feel uncomfortable with that trend. I can see why someone would want a grievance investigated and guilt either admitted, or established, but why the cash? I think if I were to get a payment in compensation for a killed relative, or my child's organs, I'd feel guilty about it rather than compensated.
Spain now has a Prime Minister elect who opposed the Iraq war, who wants to see Bush defeated in November, and who will bring Spanish troops back from Iraq as soon as possible (with considerable implications for Poland). There will be a major change in Spanish foreign policy that will bring it back to where it was before Aznar hijacked it, pro-European and against the madmen in the USA; this will greatly please the Spanish foreign service. As far as I can see, all the minority parties in the new Congress, even the Canaries, will support the government to a greater or lesser degree. Blair has lost his only serious ally in Europe; Zapatero won't have much time for him.
We have had four extraordinary days, starting with the largest terrorist attack in Europe for fifteen years, which was the worst violence in Spain since the Civil War, a worrying Saturday when things seemed to be in danger of getting out of hand, and culminating in the unexpected defeat of the government at the polls. The government had spent a year Not Mentioning the War and it seemed to have passed from day-to-day politics, but the attack on Thursday, followed by the government's appalling political handling of it, brought it back with a vengeance and the government crashed very badly indeed as a result. At 23.30 on TVE, when the scale of the defeat was perfectly apparent and the presenter knew that he had therefore lost his job, he announced that an advertising break would be followed by more analysis. In fact he never came back and they showed a film!
Following the attacks, there was no emergency legislation or state of emergency, and no call for it. There was no exceptional deployment of the army or Guardia Civil (who do not usually operate in cities), and there was no call for it. There were no calls for sadistic punishment of those responsible, and there were no outbursts against Muslims or immigrants. There was no call for the elections to be postponed and polling day passed with absolute normality only three days after the attacks. What there was, was a calm and deep-rooted belief that the normal constitutional procedures of the Democratic State can – indeed must – be able to handle such an event without being distorted by it.