Sunday, 20 May 2007

YesBut not a good week to be British

Three events occurred last week which brought no credit to the British Establishment:

In interviews at the beginning of the week Gordon Brown was overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the forthcoming election for leadership of the Labour Party. He stated the election would give the opportunity for the party to discuss policies. In the meantime his henchmen were applying pressure on Labour Members of Parliament to ensure John McDonnell, who wanted to stand against Brown, didn’t have sufficient number of MPs to nominate him. The result Gordon “I’m a control freak” Brown was elected unopposed.

So when Brown takes over from Blair, nothing will change - more spin, “watch their lips say one thing, while their actions do something else”.

The British Ministry of Defence is either accident prone or inept. In the second fiasco in five weeks it has done a 180 degree turn and decided Prince Harry should not serve with his troop in Iraq.

The consequences:

  • The Iraqi rebels can quite rightly claim victory that they prevented Harry from being deployed.
  • The parents of British soldiers sent to Iraq, question whether their children are considered expendable?
  • It puts the lie to Blair’s claims that the British are in control in Basra.
  • What if any use will Prince William & Harry be in the army, if they cannot be placed in any danger?
Is the Ministry going to employ a school road crossing warden wherever William and Harry are posted to ensure they cross the road safely?
What should have been done?

  • A risk assessment should have been done before they joined the army.
  • If Prince Harry was to be deployed, it should have been done with no publicity.

The other debacle was The Ministry of Defence’s handling of the fifteen naval personnel captured by Iraq.

My bog of 20 April took as its subject the squalid attempt by members of the British Parliament to exempt themselves from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Fortunately on that occasion opponents by the use of filibustering foiled the attempt.

When it comes to looking after their own interests MPs don’t give up. On Friday, the Bill was again debated in the House of Commons. To their eternal shame it was approved by a majority of 71 votes. It now goes to the House of Lords for consideration. Hopefully they will have more integrity.

And we return to where we started Gordon “two face” Brown has made a pledge to “bring more open Government”. Supporting the revision of the act to make Members of Parliament exempt from the Freedom of Information Act - a good start Gordon.

YesBut even if all that wasn’t enough, going shopping is like negotiating an obstacle course, click here to see.

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