The Bush war-mongering electoral
strategy succeeded -
the accuracy of my forecasting
will now be tested with a vengeance - I say that he will now play Iraq long,
and allow the American consumers to regain their confidence -
consumer spending will
recover in November, and the Christmas spirit will take over - now is the time
for Bush to play the role of responsible
peace-maker - I believe that, having banished the ghosts of the Hanging Chads,
Bush will turn to domestic
issues, heal the many diplomatic wounds that have been inflicted on allies, defer any Iraq invasion decision and
concentrate on the "war on
terrorists" generally, reckoning that the change will give Americans a good
Christmas, and kick-start a consumer-led recovery from "recession" - I say
this a matter, not of optimism, but political realism...
Having studied your visiting-patterns (from the Hit-Counter record, which is fascinating) it's clear that the Monday-to-Wednesday period is the most popular, tailing off towards the weekend.
I will therefore publish one major new edition every Monday, with occasional additions ( no deletions) in the course of the week, as there have been this week - whenever you visit, you will read the same basic Edition, but the later, the more - let me know what you think..
French UN Victory
The amended two-stage UN Resolution, passed unanimously in New
York yesterday, is being hailed as a
victory for American
diplomacy. But that is wrong
The amended two-stage UN Resolution, passed unanimously in New York yesterday, is being hailed as a victory for American diplomacy.
But that is wrong. The spin is misleading. It is the French who have triumphed, by ensuring that the US/UK will be forced to return to the Security Council for an "assessment", before going to war. True, the US has removed the "executive" element from that assessment, and no further positive Resolution would be required, to authorise military action. But it is thanks to the French that, if there is a breakdown in the Weapons Inspection process, there will be further Jaw-Jaw at the UN - Bush did not want that, but he has been forced to give way.
This was to have been very big week for central bankers. Last Monday 4 November, in the US, UK and EU, the central banks were all poised, Batman-like, to reduce interest-rates and save their economies from recession - the US did, the other two did not. No parts of the Earth moved, or showed any sign of moving. And the real lesson was this - State interest-rate fixing by Central Banks does not now make a blind bit of difference to the performance of national economies. Attempting to fine-tune the "official price of money" is a futile exercise...
Like all liberals, I am delighted that the Government stuck to its guns and extended the adoption laws to unmarried couples, both heterosexual and gay. The Government's second-round victory in the Lords ensured that the second Chamber did not again frustrate the will of the Commons. The Tories have proved only that nastiness comes in widely differing forms.
Who is Martin
But the highpoint of my rail-disrupted Paddington evening was an intriguing chat with an extraordinarily able young man by the name of Martin Mellergaard, of Anglo-Danish parentage, during which we analysed the state of the US/UK economies. He demonstrated a real grasp of modern consumer economics - and then vanished into the night.
Writing in this week's newstatesman, John Gray explores the preoccupations of a bored, affluent society - read his article "Ulrika is a sign that we've got it all". His theme is closely related to my interests in Perpetual Innovation. Bored citizens in the affluent society, he argues, become obsessed with matters of celebrity, fame, public preeminence of all kinds. My view is that, given the opportunity, we would all devote more of our time and energies into governing ourselves.
Wrongful ClosureI am hopping mad at Post Office Counters Limited. In their inefficiency, they still lose much local trade by refusing to accept credit/debit cards. They have not made this elementary commercial advance and yet - aided and abetted by Government subsidy - they are now destroying the facilities of 3,000 urban neighbourhoods.
Corporations are justly criticised by the Left for the arbitrary closure of factories, destroying jobs and communities. Yet the Labour Government is doing precisely the same thing, to 3,000 neighbourhoods across the country. This has been handled very badly.
Our political judgment is increasingly challenged by "moral" issues, and they are not to be ducked. Should gender selection be made generally available, as an option available to parents? Should gender selection be available on the NHS? These are testing issues, for politicians...
Socialists - keep in touch with my latest (unfinished) attempt to track the course of contemporary socialism - a long way to go, but c'est le premier pas qui compte - you can track my thoughts at the Newton Agenda.
And read my own Big Theory itself, at
I love the online newspapers, which are my access to the world - share them with me - click through to their Homepages from here -
What's in a name?
Quite a lot, if it's Hrothgar Habakkuk. He was the august Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, who died this week. I heard him lecturing at Cambridge, when I was studying History (1957) and he was the Chichele Professor of Economic History at Oxford.
He was a Welshman, a South Walian born in Barry and educated at the local state school. His father was Director of Education for Glamorgan, also a founder of the Cardiff Fabian Society, in 1939. What's in name? Let me give you the very Welsh explanation..
Paul Burrell is the pitiable victim of English social class - his "Revelations", as published in the Mirror this week, confirm his naivety, almost innocence - he was rightly acquitted of the allegations against him. But the catalogue of professional legal incompetence is difficult to credit..
The Labour Cabinet should be thoroughly ashamed of having unleashed the pantomime of mayoral elections throughout the UK. If there was ever a political disaster waiting to happen, this was it. Yet New Labour, obsessed by the "heroic" view of politics, persistently made the wrong judgments.
What Lula wants, Lula gets...
The two most powerful themes of global democratic politics are proving
to be managerial effectiveness and
social justice - and it looks as
if South America may lead the way in strengthening perceptions of social justice.
If their Lordships
You will know that I favour outright Lords abolition, heralding a harder-working single-chamber Parliament. But as common sense is not likely to prevail, I am casting around for a compromise.
And Clive Soley MP, has come up with the idea of full indirect election. PM patronage should be stripped out, and the inheritance of power should be stripped out. The Members of the new Second Chamber should be selected by secondary election, thus subordinating their democratic authority unambiguously to that of the directly-elected Commons. I am now pragmatically backing the Soley Compromise faute de mieux – read his own words.
Labour flunks the Housing Test
I am a housebuilder by trade. I have served both Bovis Homes and Barratts as Managing Director of their "London Divisions". And I say that John Prescott's "Urban Summit" last week was a grave embarrassment to anyone with understanding of the issues. Please dally for a moment, to find out why...
Who should be Home Secretary?
Nick Cohen, writing fearlessly in this week's newstatesman, asks the question which has been flickering across my mental screen for several months. Who makes the best radical Home Secretary, David Blunkett, or his Shadow Oliver Letwin? I am deeply ashamed of David Blunkett, and of a Labour Government which can keep him in his post - he is loutish, insensitive, intemperate, authoritarian, and with no liberal instincts.
...but those assessments should play no part in determining a teacher's remuneration. I remain opposed to performance-related pay for teachers and lecturers. But pupil/student assessments would enrich our educational system - both objectives are achievable.
I browse too..
...just occasionally, through earlier months, to remind myself of how much has happened since the start of 2002 - and last February, I came across this perceptive sociological analysis of the collapse of American corporate governance, by the Manchester Professor Karel Williams writing inThe Guardian. Professor Williams' comments reinforce the case for root-and-branch international company law reforms, for which I argue at Tame the Corporations!
The departure of Estelle Morris continues to reverberate. I believe that she was profoundly unhappy at having to "deliver" divisive, elitist, and inegalitarian reforms, and the abandonment of comprehensive education. These were the same criticisms as those levelled powerfully by Frank Dobson, on Sunday. And subsequent commentary has reinforced my view that the real casualty of the spat will be Tony Blair
My Knight's Tale...
As the Granada/Carlton merger proceeds, unitary national TV images will suppress the older ITV regional identities. Forty years on, the Anglian Knight, will disappear. It was under the Knight's aegis that I first broadcast, in 1962. Also where I was first sacked, for a political indiscretion...
Follow my Russian Tour Diary, now unfolding in splendid technicolor
Now up to date! I have re-structured my Diary to give you a day-to-day means of looking back, throughout the year just click through
Organisers! Let me know if you have any notices of meetings which might be interesting to readers like you - I'll be happy to give publicity to radical gatherings of the Left...
Check out previous Diary Page
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