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Sunday, July 10, 2005


LIVE 8 : Pretty good show & the Floyd were magnificent. Pretty much the only thing that made it political was Sting's amended Every Step You Take with pictures of G8 leaders but I may be misremembering the original. To some extent not asking for money may have lost a bit of focus on the other hand the web-petition now means that Geldof has an email list of 30 million enthusiasts. The proof of this will be whether he keeps the pressure up - to win a minority group has to keep pushing rather than to expect to get everything in one day.

I must admit it is a bit disconcerting to see the government co-opting anti-government protests for themselves. Only Bliar would have the chutzpah to have government ministers marching in demos.

POLICING DEMONSTRATIONS : Well they didn't have any trouble with the big demo - police didn't attack 150,000 -> no fight. Come Monday with the "anarchist" demo the police waded in with the result that according to the Lothian CC they had "substantially less damage than on an average Sunday night". Now either that makes it the most successful riot control operation in the history of the world or the demonstrators weren't actually trying to do any damage.

There was some damage in Stirling when the police stopped a train going to the demo. If the police were to stop a Rangers football special going to a Cup Final in Aberdeen & tell the fans they were going to miss the game there might be some reaction though, since the police have never tried it we don't know how much. My guess is they would leave the Castle standing.

Surrounding the "eco" camp at 2 in the morning must have been pretty scary too. The right to protest (except in government co-opted shows) is being whittled away & I
don't like it.

BOMB : We have been told surprisingly little about the facts all things considered. Indeed for several days the media were carefully not even asking if it was suicide bombers. The one witness interviewed publicly, from the bus, said that there had been an "olive skinned Eastern European looking man" repeatedly fiddling with a bag
so it may well be that this was a suicide, either the boss (police have said they couldn't have all been set by one person) or somebody who copped out underground & was trying again. The police are suggesting that the other bombs weren't suicides & while the use of bags for the explosives means that they could just have been dumped. The idea that so many people could dump bags on the Underground without anybody noticing seems a bit of a stretch but not impossible.

It seems agreed that the bombs only contained 10lbs explosive apiece & would have been much more destructive at 25lbs which suggests they are short of explosive. If this were to turn out to involve 4 suicide bombers it would be an awfully expensive operation for al Quaeda - suicide bombers are the elite soldiers (never officers) of such organisations & a wise leader does not expend such resources lightly - although in an "unrelated" move Berlusconi has just decided to take Italy's troops out of Iraq. This was a well organisms co-ordinated attack not like the ricin fiasco or the shoe bomber & since the viability of a conspiracy is in inverse correlation with the number involved (ie potential leaks) I would not be in the least surprised to see it organised from abroad where MI5 penetration doesn't work.

Re the "Eastern European appearance" - it has been known for some years & occasionally mentioned that our fundamentalist Mujahaddin allies in Bosnia have been trying to recruit Bosnians as terrorists as they have the great advantage of not looking Arabic. Our friends cleansed the Serb village of Bocina Donja & have settled there. It has been claimed that the detonators used in Spain came from Bosnia. Blair called this bombing "barbarism" but naturally never found it barbaric when he was helping them.

I should put a mea culpa here - on May 10th I did a piece about the war against terror being effectively over - nonetheless this is not a major retraction - more people get run over in Britain most weeks & it is clear that al Quaeda have been stretched to achieve this even once. There are much more dangerous things to worry about.

G8 : Damp squib.

A lot of debt is being written off which is mainly a good thing tho personally I would like to see the banks actually losing money. If for political reasons you make a loan to somebody who obviously won't be able to pay it should be your problem as much as his.

Aid is being doubled by 2012. With the dollar in free fall this may be more smoke & mirrors.

Nothing was done about free trade which is what Africa really needs to stand on its own feet.

Absolutely nothing was done about global warming - so at least some good came out of it. Nobody is going to admit that the evidence of GW, never strong, has basically fallen apart however the chances of Kyoto being renewed when it ends in 2012 is low & Russia, which does not really believe in GW & is hosting next year's jamboree won't push. We will just continue wasting a token $400 million a day till 2012 to save face - it could be worse.

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