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June 08, 2007



You make good points here, Chris, but I really think that these words should be turning to ashes in the mouth of Oliver Kamm, because the "National Interest" in question is precisely the Atlanticist foreign policy that he's devoted most of his journalistic career to advocating (I think Oliver actually tends to pretend in his journalism that we could have the kind of relationship he wants with the USA without also taking on their allies and interests in Saudi, but this is surely an example of his dry wit).

btw, I don't think that this one can be blamed on New Labour as the Al-Yamamah deal goes back decades, and presumably the original decision to pay the bribes carried within it the seed of a later decision to cover up paying the bribes, which would in turn imply the halting of investigations into the bribes. Fair enough that one can certainly argue that NL could and should have begun to do something to extricate us from our dysfunctional relationship with the Magic Kingdom, but this isn't a new development; it's not as if New Labour managerialists came across an open, transparent and legal al-Yamamah deal and decided to start covering it up.


By "managerialism" you seem to mean, not only an excessive belief in mechanical techniques for managing, but also an overemphasis on hierarchy and leadership.

But are these linked or opposing? Belief in leadership implies belief in individual judgment, which tends to place common sense above fashionable techniques. Whereas if you have a flatter, more equalised organisation, does this not tend to go with a more committee-type approach of doing things by numbers?

Mark Wadsworth

You're working on the false assumption that Nulab have any goals whatsoever apart from clinging on to power.

To do this they need votes. So they swell the size of the State, lots of captive voters. Nulab are also the political wing of trade unions, in particular public sector unions, which leads to the same sort of sub-aim.

So these f***-ups are part of the plan.

F*** up private industry (regulation and taxes) and you've an excuse to increase taxes on what's left and to increase number of welfare claimants (captive voters) and public sector jobs (captive voters) so that unemployment doesn't fall too much.

F*** up immigration and you've the perfect defense - anybody who even mentions the topic is a racist. And you can employ loads of people in the race relations industry. And you've an army of Mullahs declaring war on us so we need ID cards and 90 day detention, innit?

F*** up education and you've got a stupid subservient population only fit for hte dole queue or a public sector non-job.

F*** up the welfare system and you've got a quarter of children being born to single mothers, more welfare "clients" and more DSS employees sorting out 80 page forms.

F*** up housing (bubble) and you can bleat about "unaffordability" and the State has a foul excuse to interfere with Key Worker and Shared Ownership Schemese and Housing Associations and all the other crap. Housing starts are half what they were in the 1950s.

F*** up immigration and housing at the same time gets us back to where we were above.

F*** up law enforcement, make all the coppers fill in forms 90% of the time and then ignore the data. "Oops, we forgot to build any prisons", and you've an excuse to let violent criminals walk free after serving a few weeks of their sentence.

F*** up the NHS by throwing money at it to compensate for "eighteen years of Tory underinvestment" and then when that doesn't work employ an army of consultants to do these constant "radical shake-ups" and use it as an excuse for even more tax rises "to invest in the NHS".

F*** up so completely that you can just pass responsibility to the EU, "Don't blame us, all we do is rubber-stamp stuff from Brussels". After giving it a shiny 24-carat gold plating, you bastards.

Mark Wadsworth

Sorry, I forgot a couple of things

F*** up the budget for the Olympics "oops, did we say £3bn, we meant £10bn". And to which political party will businesses who want a slice of that £10bn pie make soft loans? Ditto £19bn or whatever for ID-cards, who cares if they work, ****** plc will be happy to make a soft loan of tens of millions to Nulab to get that contract.

F*** up our whole constitution by having "The Human Rights (For Criminals And Terrorists) Act 1998", that's another excuse to overide all our ancient laws and allow criminals to walk free.

F*** up the environment by joining in EU schemes to build loads of new airports, as a result of which ticket prices drop, as a result of which people fly more, hey ... that even gives them an excuse to increase taxes on fuel, oops, oh no it doesn't because of EU rules on VAT. Fridge mountains. Slap a ridiculous 800% tax on landfill sites but cave in to environmentalists who don't like waste incinerators (not clear why not).

F*** up pensions so that OAPs have to fill in 30 page pensions credit, housing benefit and Council Tax benefit claim forms - more captive voters and more DSS employees.


"I think Oliver actually tends to pretend in his journalism that we could have the kind of relationship he wants with the USA without also taking on their allies and interests in Saudi, but this is surely an example of his dry wit".

In relation to *other* aspects of our relationship with the House of Saud, this might be fair comment but regarding this example it isn't. Allowing Saudi princes to trouser a billion quid isn't strictly speaking essential for an Atlanticist foreign policy.


[Allowing Saudi princes to trouser a billion quid isn't strictly speaking essential for an Atlanticist foreign policy.]

but that decision was taken twenty years ago (if at all). Having allowed it, it then becomes essential to not at a later date reopen Pandora's box and start talking about chucking one's allies in jail. We really can't maintain the kind of foreign policy that Oliver wants with respect to the USA and simultaneously launch a criminal investigation into their most important ally in the region.


It was the current goverment that passed this law in the first place.

Why do you pass a law you do not intend to enforce?

Is there any non-sinister answer to that question?


In this case, because it was agreed in the OECD that all the developed nations would do so, much to our chagrin at the time.


well one politician appears to have been persuaded by your book Chris. Instead of suggesting that tax should be increased so that the government could spend more money on the sick, the poor, the underpriviledged etc, he said that the private sector should do this themselves.

Which right-wing free-market American-style republican was this? Step forward Hilary Benn.

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