Daily Archives: June 27, 2007

The Liar moves on

The Liar is going to be peace envoy to the middle east. Well, its somewhere the skills of a fluent and easy liar could be extremely valuable. If, that is to say, he’s credible to the parties.

So, what’s (almost) the last thing he does as British prime minister? He sticks up two fingers at Islam, by knighting Salman Rushdie[1]. This must surely be a calculated gesture: Rushdie’s claim to merit is as a novelist, and novelists don’t get knighthoods. If the intention was to set a new precedent, I’d expect to start with an author with a decent claim to britishness, not one who has rejected this country and now lives and works in another continent (not to mention being born in yet another).

If he’s going to make any progress, he’s going to have to talk seriously to the people he calls enemies. Like Hamas. That’ll enrage the powers-that-be in Israel, and many who control the purse-strings of elected politicians in the USA. But it’s unlikely that just talking will be enough: he’ll have to go right out on a limb and cause serious offence to some of his friends if he’s to win any kind of trust amongst people who see him as a leading figure in a conspiracy against them. Will he do that? Or will he just pursue the current line?

Or is there a Third Way, in which he acts as fall guy for someone conducting real negotiations behind the scenes, leading to something like the 1993 Oslo agreement? And if so, will the international community stand behind it this time, and stop another Netanyahu just tearing it up again and expanding Israel’s Lebensraum – and sending a clear signal to palestinians that peace does not pay?

Oh, and good riddance.

[1] Just to be clear: I firmly support free speech, and Rushdie’s right to publish his satanic verses. It’s the artist’s rôle to challenge, and even offend. But a national leader acting in an official capacity should be much more sensitive.

The Scottish Empire

From today, we are officially a colony in the Scottish empire.

I’ve nothing against foreigners. Nor even necessarily against foreign rulers. But our new PM comes from the government that was fully warned about the Westlothian problem, yet went right ahead and created a deep democratic deficit.

Mr Brown has got a couple of assets: the first brain since Thatcher, and an aversion to the outright lie. He also has hands deeply stained with the blood of The Liar’s crimes. Let’s hope he can be a bit less of a charlatan than his predecessor. Fixing this particular bit of constitutional nonsense would be a useful start.

Mr Brown, so long as the Westlothian problem persists, every English vote you get is a negation of democracy.