Tag Archives: Brown

Gaddafi – mad, bad or “fitted-up”

Politicians are pack animals and their chosen mode of transport is the bandwagon.  They have now gathered around Gaddafi and individually are beginning to bite lumps out of him and then scuttling back to the pack  in order to give the next one the opportunity to rip-off another strip.  The name of the game is isolationism.

The United Nations is busying itself condemning Muammar Gaddafi while simultaneously, the UN Human Rights Council is about to adopt a report which praises Libya’s human rights record. The report  extols Libya for improving its education and  constitutional framework. Several countries have made a special mention of the new legal protections which Libyan citizens now enjoy and the report praises Libyas efforts in making human rights “a priority”.  

The report was put together as a result of the Council’s November 2010 session but now, because of recent and ongoing events in Libya, it seems that it was all a collective “mistake” ( by 47 countries).

UN Watch, a  Geneva-based quango, is demanding that  the report be withdrawn and “the truth” be printed. It seems that in a matter of days, Gaddafi has gone from hero to zero but more importantly, the principle of “doublethink” exposes the United Nations as an organisation which deals in expediency rather than truth.

A few days ago, with encouragement from the United States, the Human Rights Council council passed a new  resolution condemning Libya’s abuses in response to the latest unrest. The Council has called for an international inquiry and has  recommended that Libya’s membership of the Council be suspended.

We have accepted that Gaddafi is “mad”, “deluded” and “isolated”.  But that seems to be at odds with the rather unedifying sight, just a few years ago of Tony Blair trying to get Gaddafi in a clinch and the unbounded joy as BP signed a deal with Libya. Then we had the rather speedy release of Al Megrahi from prison because of his yet-to-be-terminal prostate cancer.

Gaddafi seemed to have been fully rehabilitated and the propaganda machine painted him as maybe a bit eccentric but definitely doing his best towards his people.

Yesterday, when  Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor interviewed the Libyan leader, Gaddafi confirmed that the people “loved him” and that his security forces had been ordered NOT to shoot at his people. 

Elsewhere, the Americans are talking about  Gaddafi “slaughtering” his people.

In propaganda battles of this type, the truth is often the first casualty. So where is the truth hiding?

The reportage from Libya is biased against the Libyan leader and most will say “and quite right too”. However, in the interests of balance, let’s look at another scenario – probably ficticious and purely an illustration of another view.

Imagine a leader who lives an isolated life whilst at the same time, delegating the day-to-day running of the country to his family and trusted aides. He is an ex-soldier and not even remotely interested in the more mundane aspects of administration. He sees himself, not as a dictator but as a figurehead. He is a titular Head of State, such as we have here in the UK . He does not manage – he reigns.

One day, his subjects hear and see demonstrations in adjoining countries and think “We can do that. That democracy lark looks good”.

The street activities in Egypt and Tunisia gave the ordinary voiceless Libyan confidence and resolve, courage and hope.  They prepare placards and go out onto the streets because they too want “democracy”. What they all REALLY want is the  affluence which so-called democratic countries appear to enjoy and a fair share of the oil billions which their leader mistakenly continues to  confuse with his own money.

An air force general and a head of security services both see an opportunity. The air force general orders one of his planes to make a couple of low passes and shoot a few rounds into the gathering crowd. He then orders a couple of pilots to fly abroad and denounce the leader. The air force general then resigns and calls a press conference, blaming his leader for giving orders to kill protesters.

The Security Chief is persuaded by a well-known secret agency belonging to a big Western power. He orders  troops to shoot a few more protesters, then resigns and denounces the leader.

Meanwhile, the leader is in his bunker, being fed good news by his flunkeys. After all, people who once gave the leader bad news mysteriously disappeared.

Ambassadors, diplomats and other senior people all over the world suddenly withdraw their allegiance and denounce the leader.  They resign for a variety of reasons, ranging from self-preservation to being participants in a bigger oil-conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the leader is wondering what all the fuss is all about. After all, he loves his country and specifically requested that his people should not be harmed. He continues to be fed good news and (not unreasonably) declares that the people all love him.

However, his son (who was once very popular among London’s tosserati) then blows his democratic credentials by waving a gun in front of a crowd and declaring that they will fight “to the last bullet”.

Although it is very likely that the leader’s supporters are still measured in millions, Western media continue to only interview individuals who are anti-leader. Close-ups of burning vehicles and bodies in the streets give the impression that many thousands of the country’s citizens have been “slaughtered”.  In fact, the big Western power now openly uses the s-word.

The world’s political pack closes the air-space over the leader’s land and his country’s money is stolen by the politicians who by now, sense that the leader is blissfully oblivious of the fact that he is terminally wounded and has no escape.

He has been totally encircled. The politicians have closed ALL the doors and then paradoxically, tell him to “get out”. Understandably, the leader feels very let down and betrayed  because a few days ago, the same openly aggressive  politicians used to be his friends.

The politicians are already slavering over the prospect of rebuilding contracts, mining, oil and of course….more oil.

So what of the bruised and battered “truth”? Well, that’s purely relative.

A few days ago, the United Nations were about to publish a report praising the truth of Libya’s new approach to human rights. Now, the truth is that they are dealing with a deluded murderer who kills his own people. A genocidal maniac.

The truth always depends on where you are standing.

….and here are a couple of reminders from the family album:

and of course:

plus:

G19 (+1)

 

“Sorry! That should have read: Monsieur Sarkozy is regarded by many as a cult”

There ought to have been just the one hymn sheet because if there are several hymn sheets, we are in for a very discordant Thursday.

Barack Obama is hoping that: ” G20 countries will do what is necessary to promote trade and growth.”M le President Sarkozy wants to create a Financial Interpol to police the financial services industry. The delusional Gordon Brown’s not-so-hidden agenda is to rescue his image and somehow emerge as King of the World but he persists in spouting inane generalisations such as  “clean up of the world banking system” and “more regulation of tax havens”.

Sarkozy is right. A Global Financial Services Authority is what is needed. If there are at least 20 Financial Services Authorities and the only thing that binds them is the hope of “greater co-operation” then all that is being thrown into the heaving fiscal mix are more junkets such as this G20 and more opportunities for the financial bandits to operate between even wider cracks within the world economy.

Somehow, it has been decided that “protectionism” is bad. Perhaps Mr Brown should spend more time thinking about the United Kingdom’s issues rather than constantly trying to put alleconomic problems in  the context of the “Global Economy”. Where was the Global Economy during the years that he stood at the Dispatch Box preening and accepting the plaudits? There was little credit given to the Global Economy when the British economy was behaving itself and Brown was  self-actualised and not self-delusional . History has already demonstrated that the Iron Chancellor’s image was so frail that it could be shattered and buried by one sentence from Vince Cable.

So the modern-day equivalent of the Tribal Elders will be talking economics but they will be thinking politics. Any summit such as this G20 meeting enables the leaders to discuss world economics but always with one eye on domestic politics.

Brown is very aware  – as are all the other G20 leaders that he is a dead man walking and the long-term fallout from the current economic crisis will be managed not by Brown but by the Conservatives led by David Cameron. (Somebody had to say it!)

So is this G20 summit necessary?

Brown is a historian and knows that Chamberlain was the first Prime Minister to engage in the sport of Summitry. Churchill’s meetings with the American and Russian leaders continued this fine tradition and in the 80s, Margaret Thatcher travelled as did Tony Blair in the 90s.

Currently, the technology is in place to make Summitry an obsolete sport but large numbers of politicians sitting round huge tables  still seems to be a popular diversion. Each already knows the other’s views and the odds are that there will be more conflict than accord. For instance, M Sarkozy is being backed as the first to flounce out.

The fundamental question is ” What is the problem and how do we sort it out?”.  That approach could  be a very fundamental error. In recent years, politicians have grown into the habit of putting themselves under tremendous pressure by asking the above question and then feeling the need to produce almost instant solutions – and of course we have become conditioned to expect that approach and more crucially, so have the media.

Brown the historian should know that the real question should not be “What’s the problem?” ( the modern politician’s approach) but ” What’s the story”  (the historian’s approach),  that is to say – let’s establish 100% how we managed to get into this mess. This approach takes time but in the long term , will produce the correct solutions.

Most Governments have already shown by their random actions of the last six months that they prefer to treat the symptom and not the cause.

In this respect, Gordon Brown should learn from both John Major and Tony Blair who both understood that firstly, the story of the Northern Ireland problem needed to be understood and that the solution would then follow as a by-product of that understanding. The whole process took a very long time but as recent attempts at destabilising the situation have shown, the solution is rock-solid.

This could be a time for reflection and not necessarily the customary politician’s sprint to action.

Gordon the Goldphlogger

There is a very simple rule that every investor follows : Sell High and Buy Low. The rule is not Rocket Science and is so simple that it can be even be followed by a history graduate from a Scottish University. Or so you would think.

Between 1999 and 2001 the Gold Price stood at a 20-year low.  Rumour has it that the Bank of England counselled the then Chancellor of the Exchequer not to go ahead with his proposal to flog-off 415 tonnes of our gold. He ignored their advice and announced his intentions. The price of gold then fell even further.

The word on the streets was that he was going to spend a large proportion of the gain on Euros. That made most experts think that he was preparing us for  an entry into the single European currency. The European Central Bank’s announcement that countries wishing to join the euro would have to sell off their gold reserves reinforced that view.

At the time gold represented about 17% of the country’s total reserves. The gold disposal would  reduce that by 10% and leave us with the lowest bullion holdings of any major country. This was our first step towards third-world economics.

The Bank of England had been advised by senior gold traders that the Chancellor’s actions would depress the gold price even further, thus producing an even worse selling price. The Bank of England said that unfortunately they had little or no influence on the Treasury.

The sale went ahead.

Fast-forward to March 2007.  Gold achieved an all-time high price of $1000 per ounce and the price is set to rise even further over the next few years.

So far, the actions of that Chancellor have cost the taxpayer at least £3billion and in the future, the loss is set to rise.

Who benefited from the Delboy-type deal? China. They bought most of it.

Just had a thought! With his obvious investment acumen, perhaps he’ll   buy it all back when the price tops-out in a couple of years!!

2008 BUDGET (Move over Darling)

The leader of the Liberals – you know, the Cameron clone – had it spot-on yesterday. You could not see Prime Minister’s lips move as the Chancellor delivered his Budget speech. Or could you?

The Chancellor managed to achieve just the right tone of moribund apathy that you would expect from a dead man standing. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown sat there with his Archie Andrews rictus-like grin and nodded. Many years ago, I shared a platform with Alistair Darling. I faced the audience straight after his riveting talk on Pensions. I could not go wrong! With Mr Darling as my warm-up man, I could have been a Jehovah’s witness with a speech impediment and I would have gone down a storm.

You know the way that a nervous mother mouths her child’s every word at the school Nativity play? It’s not surprising because she has spent days and weeks helping her sprog to learn lines and knows them off by heart. Yesterday, Brown was that mother!

Would little Alistair screw up his lines? Was his tie straight? Did he remember to comb his hair? Did he sound as if he was reading his mum’s shopping list?

Yes.