Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Why Blair Must Resign

As a person who in 2002 supported the Iraq War, I have considerable sympathy with the stance of Tony Blair. Clinton does too. His recent apperance in Berlin last weekend was, I noted, most unsettling to Germans. Their love for Clinton is matched only by their hatred for Blair. Yet Clinton was in town and on all the TV political talk-shows telling the Germans that Bush's position on the war was the correct one. Clinton too would have intervened in Iraq, even if he would have waited a little longer for UN support.

Yet while I think Blair was right then to support the war, the fact that he pinned so much of his case for war on non-existing WMD's means that his position was always falsificable. If those weapons did not exist, then Blair had no case to go to war. We now know--as some people did back then, the heroic Robin Cook amongst them--that the WMD case for war was overblown. Blair was wrong. He led his country into war on false premises. In a parliamentary system--unlike the incomparably inferior Presidential political systems of France and the United States--there is only one action that a political leader can then take: to resign. Blair must resign. It is the only honorable thing to do.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Internet Censorship--Germany

At an internet cafe this morning in Berlin, I encountered, for the first time, censorship controls on the internet. Oddly, the website censored was the very excellent Political Theory Daily Review. My access was blocked, so a pop-up page informed me, because of the word "female genital mutilation." Turning next to the Guardian, I doscovered that too was blocked. The reason? "Spanking." A word, I assume, that cropped up in an article on recent efforts to curb the physical beating of children, a child-rearing technique apparently still popular in Britain.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Crap Blog--Keep it Up-to-Date

A reader writes:

My main objection was to the fact that you hadn't kept your blog up to date. That is such crap! You go to the effort of starting one and then your butterfly mind gets taken up with something else.

Your comments about English football are more than justified, it's the racial generalisations that really get me. English women are ugly. Berlin is so much more civilised than Spain. That is such a low rent American understanding of what is in reality in both cases quite a complicated scenario. It reminds me of my brother's experience in Texas last year, where a fat Stetsoned redneck told him in the queue at D/FW airport, on hearing his English accent, that Britain was crap and class stultified because he couldn't get any of the waitresses in his pub near Trafalgar Square to serve him at his table.

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