Friday, November 28, 2008

Trouble brewing

Seven years ago on 9/11, spin doctor Jo Moore sent an email around her department saying that it was "a good day to bury bad news". Yesterday seems to have been another episode of the same behaviour by the government.

The brutal attacks in Mumbai have rightly captured the public attention and will no doubt continue to do so. Yesterday was also Sir Ian Blair's last day in office as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London. He has been in cahoots with the New Labour government for years, backing them on 42 days and the Jean Charles de Menezes killing in 2005.

Yet we are supposed to believe that the government knew nothing of the arrest of an MP - a member of the Shadow Cabinet - until after it happened? An arrest that involved nine anti-terrorist police officers and resulted in Damian Green's offices being searched and him being held for nine hours? An operation that Boris Johnson and David Cameron were informed of but powerless to prevent?

Ian Blair, Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown are all complicit in this, and it stinks. Damian Green was acting in the public interest by exposing dangerous flaws in government policy, such as the number of illegal immigrants being allowed to work without security clearance in airports and Parliament. For them to have him arrested is a desecration of our democracy and I dearly hope that this is the beginning of the end for the lot of them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Another year, another birthday. Tomorrow I will definitely be in my mid-20s (!) which seems quite old compared to where I've come from. (I suppose it also seems quite young compared to where I'm going.) It's a good chance to reflect on the year that's passed, and also for more years in the past. Here are one or two things that have happened in each of the last 9 years.

15: became a Christian
16: passed GCSEs, got baptised
17: passed driving test, started final year of school
18: passed A Levels, started gap year
19: travelled the world for 4 months, started university
20: finished first year of university, fell in love
21: lived in Canada for a few months, started final year of uni
22: graduated, moved to London
23: got a Master's degree, started my first job
24: ?

Note the upward trend and slightly worrying lack of failure or suffering in that list. Behind it is God's grace and faithfulness: saving me, teaching me about trust, prayer, faith, grace, godliness, evangelism, maturity, leadership, discipleship and teaching. I am thankful for the past year and pray that the next may bring more of the same - spiritual growth, that is. As for worldly success, I could take it or leave it.

I do have one or two things in mind for the near future though... :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

American geopolitics

Given that over a fifth of 18-24 year old Americans are unable to locate the Pacific Ocean on a map, and that only a third of Americans are taught geography in school (!!!) it's easy to question the geographic literacy in Washington. After the complete cock-up of the Iraq war I had been wondering if anyone in the US was aware of the importance of place, culture and nation vs. state. A "political map" of the world in which countries are neatly delineated doesn't reflect the reality of life in a lot of countries: look at this map of Somalia for instance, where the 'government' controls less than 1/3 of the country.

All is not lost! The National Intelligence Council has published a comprehensive, detailed and nuanced document analysing geographic trends to the year 2025. I've been dipping into it this morning and am pleased to note an acknowledgement of the differences between Sunni and Shi'a populations in Iraq, the potential conflict between North and South in India (driven by religion and culture) and the emergence of an Islamic discourse in European politics. Well, I'm not happy to read about that but it's good that it hasn't escaped people's attention anyway.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Change has come

I stayed up to watch the election results on Tuesday night, but I couldn't take Wednesday off work so went to bed at 2:30, after most of the states' votes had started coming in. So I missed the concession of McCain and the acceptance of Obama.

Watching Obama's speech does make you appreciate the qualities of oration and presentation he has. I can't imagine a book of "Obamaisms" being published any time soon! He has echoes of JFK in his vision of America, and I almost expected him to say "ask not what this country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country".

All that remains is to see whether he can actually provide any change. Hopefully he is not Tony Blair in disguise.