I’ve been very busy with work recently and had to leave the blogging in the capable hands of the new partner in the firm. But there are a few things I would have liked to have blogged on – here is a brief run-down of them:
1. The reconstruction of Iraq is off to a terrible start. But at least Bush realised and sacked Jay Garner and his under-prepared team. The issue of development in Iraq can’t be left to drop off the radar like Afghanistan though and I don’t think it will. But I am still not interested in hearing complaints about reconstruction from people who demanded we left Saddam to continue his looting – they don’t have a leg to stand on anymore.
2. No weapons of mass destruction have been found yet. I still think it is early days but it must be starting to get worrying for the politicians now. The real danger of not finding WMD’s in Iraq is not the political consequences though. We know there were WMDs and if we don’t find them it means they went somewhere and we don’t know where they are – that is worrying. As far as I am concerned the mass graves are enough of a ‘smoking gun’ to justify the war on the terms I backed it. They are also damning evidence of the moral bankruptcy of the old approach of co-existence with dictatorships and the reactionaries who wanted to continue that cold war approach.
3. Should we go for it with the Euro or not? Call me a fence-sitter but is obviously an economic decision and I’m not an economist. Like an awful lot of people, I really don’t have any strong feelings one way or the other. But why does this debate have to become a debate about whether we should be in the EU or not? That argument was decided years ago. It is perfectly possible to be against a single currency while being ‘pro-Europe’ and it is also reasonable to be in favour of the euro while not buying into the Common Agricultural Policy. I suspect any referendum would avoid the real and probably quite dull economic issues. Meanwhile the No Campaign – like the anti-war campaign will bring the far left back into alliance with the far right. Of course this is not a reason in itself to vote in favour of the euro but it is another sign of the bankruptcy of the old left.
4. Are Foundation Hospitals a good idea? If they are why haven’t I heard/read a convincing case for them yet? Why do we need them? Of course we need reform of the public services including the NHS but the specific case for Foundations has not won me over yet. However after they have cried wolf about so many issues I find myself highly sceptical of the hard left/soft liberal claim this is ‘privatisation’.
5. Is Tony Blair becoming ‘too Christian’? That’s his problem. As long as he keeps his beliefs personal and out of policy then I have no problem with having a believer in Number Ten. However with ‘Faith Schools’ he has crossed the line. I am with the fine people of the National Secular Society on this one.