Saturday, 12 November 2011

Europe of the Technocrats

Democracy is imperfect; but what is the alternative?

The Greek Prime Minister was hounded from office because he proposed putting austerity measures to a referendum. This would never do: the measures would probably have failed to be approved.

He is now replaced by a technocrat, a former EU Commissioner.

Berlusconi has now gone after the approval by the Italian Parliament of an austerity package which was passed at the speed of light.

Who will replace him? Another technocrat - an unelected technocrat.

Strong men for hard times; or the decay of democracy?

Thursday, 8 September 2011

West Lothian question

Note that the West Lothian Question has raised its head again and that a committee has been set-up to investigate the issues involved.

Basic problem is Westminster being simultaneously a UK and an English Parliament.

SNP and Plaid Cymru never vote on English matters; so the culprits are primarily in the ranks of the Labour Party.

Seems that the LP is now 100% Unionist with only challenge coming from Northern Ireland: strange reversal of the Party's historic position!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

It may be goodbye to Gaddafi, but it’s far from Mission Accomplished

The situation in Libya is full of uncertainties and ambiguities, and the ultimate outcome is very problematical.

The rebels are replete with former employees of the dictator. Have they really changed?

Apart from that there is no agreement about anything among the opposition with the exception of getting rid of Gaddafi.

The NATO action has been expensive and destructive. It is based upon sophistry, and a bizarre interpretation of a Security Council Resolution.

Oil interests are already making plans for exploitation of the country.

So what does the future really hold?

It may be goodbye to Gaddafi, but it’s far from Mission Accomplished:

Those who suggest Libya could be a template for intervention are deluded. War should be a last resort, not the first or only option.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Cameron Defends Tough Jail Terms for Rioters

Cameron Defends Tough Jail Terms for Rioters: "Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday praised magistrates for meting out punishment to rioters one day after two young men were given jail terms for inciting others via Facebook".

No doubt most people will accept that the context of rioting justifies harsher sentences than usual; but the inconsistencies will undoubtedly lead to the Court of Appeal which will undoubted make some revisions.

The social media can be used for good or ill; so I have little sympathy with those who think that inciting riots on Facebook was merely a game.

Our electronic activities are not really virtual!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Michelangelo's San Lorenzo Basilica exterior could be revived

Michelangelo's San Lorenzo Basilica exterior could be revived:

"Nearly 500 years after Florence ditched Michelangelo's grand design for the exterior of San Lorenzo Basilica, the city's mayor wants to finally realise the artist's vision."

It would be a cultural triumph if this incomplete facade were completed.

It is not unique in Italy, but incomplete building of this quality are rare elsewhere.

Modernists may suggest a contemporary facade, but they would be wrong!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The (non-)effect of Hackgate

According to Spectator:

No Labour bounce, no drop in approval for Cameron or his government. That's the impact that two weeks of front pages dominated by the phone hacking scandal on the opinion polls:

This seems to prove my feeling that (for better or worse) the public is not so obsessed with the hacking scandal as members of parliament or certain areas of the media.


Good journalism

I guess that the public are already becoming bored with the whole hacking business. I have some sympathy for this trend: other matters such as the East African crisis, the fate of the euro , other parliamentary concerns, etc., are certainly being ignored. Moreover, a sense of proportion is in danger of being lost.

However, I wish to make a point which has been comprehensively ignored: Such newspapers as the  News of the World were really appalling in content apart from the news-gathering methods which were so illegal. The paper (and it was not unique) was in terms of journalism and quality of writing utterly reprehensible.

Rebekah Brooks was editor of such a newspaper. She is undoubtedly intelligent; but the fruits of her labour was sub-journalism. She, of course, continued her illustrious career at the Sun: another infantile publication.

We shall discover whether she was really ignorant of what appears to have been a culture of law-breaking for the sake of a story. But there is no doubt that to call the content of the News of the World good journalism is a betrayal of what journalism is meant to be.