I have to do the morning shift tomorrow. Mornings are terrible things, invented by Satan to disrupt God’s holy and greatly civilised plan to start the day with lunch. I am certain that mornings are the root of all evil. Nobody likes them and everyone is in a bad mood. What more proof do you need?
Anyway. I am on limited whisky (just Black Bottle, none of the strong stuff) due to this getting up early crap but will make up for it tomorrow evening at Smoky-Drinky. I will also have a photography gig which I hope to be paid for in booze rather than taxable cash. I know, it’s ‘payment in kind’ but if I’m not pouring then I can’t quantify it, can I?
If my pal Alec’s pouring, nobody can quantify it anyway.
So I have been musing on what the various races of humanity are good at. All are good at something. I will not dwell on the black races of African descent who are good at every bloody thing. Best dancers, best singers, fastest runners, football, anything involving physical activity and the sods have it covered. They are up there in the comedian and acting stakes and have some neat thinkers too. No wonder the world hates them, they are just so damn good at everything.
Even Shirley Bassey. A Cardiff girl from the rough dockland area of Tiger Bay who should have had a nasal passage bypass accent that would make a drunk Australian sheep-shearer wince. Brilliant singer. How did she escape that terrible accent to become such a great singer? Is it because she was black? You’ll see a beautiful white girl in Cardiiff and then she’ll speak and your ears will suppurate. Unless you’re lucky and she’s not local.
Enough of those original humans. Let’s go on to the lesser forms.
Chinese. I love these people. They live under one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet and none of them give a flying fuck. There are few laws beyond ‘don’t piss off the government, don’t kill or rape or steal, otherwise just shut up and get on with it’. They had a place called Kowloon where nobody gave a damn about any laws at all, especially building regulations, and the government has only recently done something about it. It wasn’t in the way so it was ignored.
They’ll eat anything and they can take any Western idea, copy it and make it cheaper. They can live on next to nothing. If there is a race that can be said to just not care, it’s China. Wonderful place. One day I will visit it again. Mae win ti.
Japan is pretty much the opposite. They are like the Doozers of Fraggle Rock. Build build build. It’s out of date. Smash it and build a new one. Do it now. NOW! Everything is fast and crowded. Too fast a life for me.
India/Pakistan, the whole area before the West imposed the idea of countries on them… industrious and sensibly ignoring of all health and safety. They’ll run shops as long as people want to buy and if that means opening at 7 am and closing at midnight, they’ll do it. Family is so important that granddad might open the shop and grandson close it. I have great respect for that. Family businesses are, or used to be, the mainstay of Britishness before the supermarkets. We have forgotten but those we taught our ways have not.
I’m not going through the whole planet tonight. Too little time.
I wondered what we whiteys were good at. Gadgets, yes, we invent them but then the Chinese make them cheaper. What else?
Wars. We love wars. War on the other side of the planet that has nothing to do with us? We are so there, man. No need for invite.
Thing is, we love them so much we don’t want them to end. So the government makes sure they never do by declining all requests for trivial resources like bullets and by handing out redundancy notices to those on the front line.
It is with some relief that we find Cameron’s ambitions to be the new Warmonger Blair thwarted by the House of Conmen, and let’s hope that totally wrecks any chance this slaphead has of ever coming back in politics. Heir to Brown s likely to be his fate and if there is a fate worse than death, that must surely be it.
Finally, for those who want to scream ‘Racist!’, here is a Canadian of Indian heritage talking about the Chinese and Jamaicans. Have fun with your mind-melts.
You could argue that the English were good at organising other people, and that’s what earnt us the Empire. Unfortunately it’s all gone too far, which is why the Hydra of modern politics has happened.
I’m actually pretty well pissed off this morning over the Syria thing.
What is happening in Syria is civil war; an internal struggle that has so far had little impact beyond its borders – save the refuge problems. It certainly doesn’t affect any UK interests, properties or territory. Historically, Syria is also one of the few countries where we have no colonial or protectorate links. Syria just isn’t our problem… France’s possibly, Russia’s perhaps.
However, on humanitarian grounds we cannot stand by while a State uses chemical weapons against a civilian population. International law bans the use of these weapons and where a State chooses not to recognise the law they are fully aware that there will be ‘other consequences’ for their use. Assad gave assurances to the world that he would NEVER use these weapons on his own people. Whether he personally sanctioned their use or was incapable of securing them, he and his regime is absolutely culpable.
So how does this concern us? Depends really on what you’re attempting to achieve. I don’t believe anyone is seriously considering putting feet on the ground to police the actual chemical weapon stocks or secure them for removal. And certainly their destruction is not viable either in the present circumstances. The only remaining option is to make their use ‘expensive’. Put simply, we send a message (by way of example)… Use these weapons and kiss goodbye to one of your airfields complete with some shiny jet aircraft. Kiss goodbye to that depot where you are hiding some of your soviet era tanks. Kiss goodbye to that nice palace you and your wife love so much.
So again, why us?
Simple. Punitive strikes ‘could’ be launched by the perfectly capable Saudi, Turkish, Egyptian or Jordanian air forces. The problem is Syria’s ability to hit back. While they have a limited military reach beyond its borders they are more than able to hit their neighbours… and this has very real and obvious risks of turning a back yard scrap into something far more widespread.
Britain has an absolute moral responsibility by virtue of its position on the Security Council, it is also one of the few countries with the precision military ability/tools to get the job done. We are also comfortably distant to make us a tempting target for Syrian military reprisal… those assets we do have in position and our facilities in Cyprus are perfectly able to defend themselves (as evidenced by the defensive jets we just placed at Dhekelia, Cyprus).
I’ve sat aghast this past couple of days watching the news and listening to stupid comparisons with Blair/Bush and the Gulf War when the perfect equivalent would be Clinton’s limited cruise missile strikes on Iraq in 1993, 1996 and 1998. I’ve watched as they’ve repeatedly interviewed Caroline Lucas and other military geniuses wearing Green Peace badges on their lapels. I’ve listened as they’ve cited the latest opinion polls. It’s all bollocks! The general public has little real understanding of the issues and the actual implications of action or inaction. If we listened to the people then the majority of those that didn’t want another war with Germany in the late 1930’s would have led to these Isles becoming someone else’s Lebensraum.
Then last night, our gallant politicians strutted upon the world stage with a summer pantomime of such cowardice and indecisiveness that even Widow Twanky would be left blushing. I have little doubt that Cameron was trying to do the right thing but his mistake was dancing to the The Star Spangled Banner instead of standing sure and saluting our own flag. Its times like these that make me admire the French.
And then that little traitor Milliband, for purely political reasons, pulls the rug at the last moment even though we’ve already placed assets in theatre. My contempt, my anger, my rage for this slimy turd is without limits. God help any representative of the Labour Party that happens upon my door step in the next few weeks. Seriously, a face full of toilet duck awaits any twat wearing a red rosette (although a few blues and yellows might get it too) along with a “Chemical weapons. How the fuck do you like it?”. Milliband is now touring the news channels telling the Syrian people we haven’t forgotten them and; “The UK must find “other ways” to put pressure on President Bashar al-Assad after the Syrian authorities were accused of a chemical weapons attack.”. Oh! And how do we do that Ed? Send tersely worded letters? Hit the report Tweet button? After the Labour Party and their cowardly friends ripped out the UK’s teeth, why would Assad, or anyone else, listen to what we have to say on any matter? At this present moment, Sweden looks scarier than the UK.
I don’t frankly give a damn for the damage to the ‘special relationship’ or our very public knee-capping in front of the entire world. We’ll recover, we’ve had these set backs before. But we now have lost some of our moral authority which will only embolden those that call for our seat on the UN Security Council to be handed to the EU. We have lost some of the raison d’État to maintain a cruise missile submarine fleet and questions will inevitably be raised about the need for the two aircraft carriers currently being constructed and the aircraft for them. Why have these things if we’re unlikely to use them? Sure, some people would be happy for our military to become purely defensive, to scrap the big stuff in favour of watch towers and barbed wire around our shores. But we should be careful about reducing our military ‘reach’ while countries like Iran, China and others are set upon increasing theirs.
So what next for Syria? Well, we’re out of it. No one anywhere is going to care what the UK has to say on the matter… watch now as France and the EU step up and claim the high ground. Our military can go back to playing war games with Moldova, Pitcairn Island and Umbatooba. Syria will still get their firework display courtesy of the Americans… although today they will probably be toasting Ed ‘Chemical’ Milliband’s good health. The UK media can return to important issues like what Rolf Harris did or didn’t-geridoo 30 years ago. And everyone else, including the media, Milliband and his supporters, can cheer that today (yesterday) they made no difference whatsoever to anything. Proof, if any were needed, that they and us are becoming ever more irrelevant.
Final note: Sorry for the length, I really needed to get this off my chest. I’m not a war monger, but sometimes doing the right this IS doing the right thing. I wouldn’t support a direct intervention in Syria, as I said, it’s not our problem. But not stepping up when a regime permits the most horrific of crimes against innocent civilians is sickening.
Today, I’m deeply ashamed to be British.
I think you’re wrong on a number of points.
1. the evidence that the gas attack was by the Assad government is slim, it is far more likely that this was a false flag operation by a faction of the opposition, quite possibly iranian backed. I suspect that the disgusting Napalm attack on the school (for fucks sake who could do a thing like that?) as designed by the same people to stiffen the backbones of British MPs. THe opposition now know that western intervention is now the only way they can win.
2. the modality, and objectives of the attack have not been made clear, so that the whole thing looks like Obama backed himself into a corner with his foolish talk of red lines and is now trying to extricate himself. Cameron simply said yes, assuming that he could carry the HoC, and is now probably feeling rather foolish
3. how is the intervention going to help Syrian children? (answer, of course, it’s not)
4. what happens if it doesn’t work?
5. how do you prevent escalation in to a regional conflagration??
Sorry but the whole thing is riddled with similar holes, it would/will be madness to go through with it on this basis.
I think you’re wrong on a number of points.
It wouldn’t be the first time.
Let’s work through your points… I’m no expert, nor do I know if a response is required or welcome but if nothing else at least you’re posing the questions. Sadly everyone else seems so preoccupied with riding the various bandwagons that they’ve not even stopped a moment to consider the issues.
1. I disagree. I think the evidence, although not yet demonstratively conclusive, is pretty strong and more importantly is coming from multiple independent sources. Yeah, yeah, ‘if’ you can believe the evidence of course. But we have to start somewhere.
Those that know the locality seem not to think it a likely target for an ‘inside job’ but the idea target for the Assad regime. Having said that, it is always possible it was staged of course but by the day this is growing ever less likely. The only actors suggesting such a possibility are the regime itself and Russia… even China has shifted to a more neutral position. And I’d have to say, Iran is highly unlikely to have played a role… and certainly not on the side of the opposition.
Much has been said on awaiting the UN report – something I’m fully in agreement with – because they will hopefully be able to identify the agent used. Chemical weapons are often ridiculously easy to make but some are way beyond what is possible in a back-street workshop/lab and some of their delivery systems are also highly complex. If the agent use proves to be this second group we’re almost certainly looking at the Syrian State.
Incidentally, the UN inspection team is mandated ONLY to report on whether a chemical weapon attack took place. They are specifically barred from determining blame… they wouldn’t have been allowed into Syria otherwise. Now, if you, the Assad regime, were certain you didn’t do it, wouldn’t you be positively encouraging the UN to apportion blame rather than preventing it?
Also, we’re not talking here about a singular event. I could just about imagine the opposition using a couple of drums of bleach, acid and a stick of dynamite on a street corner but in multiple locations, across a wide area, almost simultaneously?
2. Obama is a fool of the first order. I’m quite okay with red lines… but you have to back them up. It seems the POTUS skipped that part. In fact, he seemed to be wishing the red lines away last week until the French piped up.
No doubt Cameron was doing a ‘me too’. He should have had the balls to stand up for what’s right without regard to the Americans or their interest’s. We’re more than able to lob in a couple of punitive cruise missiles and its my disappointment that we didn’t do so… even though I realise that’s not the fashionable position to hold currently.
My real anger though is reserved for the squeaky rat formally known as Milliband. He was offered a heavily watered down compromise by the Government with a guarantee of a second vote before taking ANY military action. The motion (not that anyone has bothered to read it) was little more than a rebuke of Syria and a statement of intent that the UN should be allowed to complete their work. Shamefully, the HoC voted against it. What’s the rat and his fellow ‘tea drinking surrender monkeys’ telling the world; that it’s okay to use chemical weapons and our Government shouldn’t work with the UN?
3. Well lets quote the stated aims of our Government: The Resolution relates solely to efforts to alleviate humanitarian suffering by deterring use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any action in Syria with wider objectives.
Its not a difficult concept to grasp. The tactical use of cruise missiles on a few select military targets would both degrade Assad’s military capability and probably embolden his opponents. In other words, he would need to access if future use of chemical weapons was worth the cost… currently, their use has cost him nothing and gained him plenty. Ultimately, if we’re successful, he stops using them and civilian lives are saved… at least from the horrors of a choking slow death.
4. Good question. I have no answer but that shouldn’t mean we don’t try what we feel we can to check the use of chemical weapons. It could well happen that Assad continues his attacks and we exhaust our missiles – unlikely but who knows? – but to not try? Is that the right thing to do?
5. In my original comment I suggested one of the reasons the UK should take a lead was to excuse Syria’s neighbours from having to get involved.
I don’t happen to believe there’s a significant risk of escalation into a regional conflagration – aren’t you glad I don’t run the military? Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi-Arabia, Russia and others are all currently playing minor roles in Syria. Limited action by the west wouldn’t change this.
If the west were to entertain the more serious notion of invasion – and I don’t think they ever would – many of those currently involved in Syria would retire to the sidelines. All that is except Russia and Iran. Russia has significant interests in Syria, not least their naval base at Tartus. A quiet word and guarantee that its future wouldn’t be affected might be enough to see them stand aside. As for Iran, my worry is the Americans would need to buy them off with a deal on their nuclear program… the kind of geopoliticking that causes all the problems 20 or 30 years down the line. I have to say though, I think this is all moot.
Sorry but the whole thing is riddled with similar holes…
Actually, it’s not. It’s just that everyone has put their oar into the water and proceeded to row in every direction but forward. I’m completely not surprised the public doesn’t know what’s going on. Syria isn’t Iraq. I haven’t heard one single authority suggest that we might even entertain the idea of invasion. If I’m honest, we (the rest of the world) have been purposely and very correctly undermining Assad’s regime with the aim of forcing him into negotiation with the opposition. Both Russia and China are playing to protect their own interests while riding rough-shod over those of the ordinary Syrian’s dying in their homes. Our media seem almost universally hung-up on Blair, Bush, Iraq and WMD’s when the parallels here are Bosnia, Libya and Clinton’s cruise missile strikes in the mid-1990’s. And just when we needed some clear thinking and leadership from our politicians, we get a bunch of incompetents following the latest opinion polls in The Sun newspaper. Milliband and Cameron, Statesmen? Don’t make me laugh!
How is bombing the fuck out of the place not direct intervention ? I can’t agree with you on any of this. I am totally unmoved by claims that intervention is the morally correct action, just for once it seems we’ve stepped back from our deluded post imperial pretensions and recognised that the use of state power to bring death and destruction to other states in the name of humanitarian action is never right. When is it permissible to kill some to defend others ? Only if those others are in some way under our protection or our immediate kin, doing so in the name of abstract principles is sentimentalism given a spurious moral justification. Let the idiots in Europe claim their worthless moral high ground, let them and the US have their killing spree in the name of a grand cause the consequences of which they haven’t even begun to think through, perhaps we have finally begun to realise in this country that the state and it’s killing machine are out of control and its high time we reigned it in.
How is bombing the fuck out of the place not direct intervention ?
I feel as though I’m in the Twilight Zone… has anyone actually looked at and understood what they were voting on the other night? Seriously, I’m looking at myself thinking is it ‘just’ me or has everyone else gone stark staring bonkers?
I agree whole heartedly with your point about reigning in our ‘killing machine’. I earnestly believe we’re better than that… but like it or not, we do have a role to play in the world and sometimes that may mean bringing out the big stick, or at the very least threatening to do so. You might well argue it’s no longer our place to lecture others. But if not us, then who? Are you suggesting we leave it solely to the Americans? Perhaps we should retire and invite the Chinese to step in and keep order?
I’d like to agree with your comments in their entirety but sadly we don’t yet live in a world where that is possible, safe, nor wise. The world (not just the UK or the other powers) decided long ago that the use of chemical weapons were beyond the pale. Except they’re not. The UK just told the world that in some circumstances we’ll stand back and allow it.
I don’t have all the answers… I’m frankly scrambling to get my head around many of the questions but I do know that sitting on our collective fat backsides has never been the solution to anything, EVER!
I’m frankly scrambling to get my head around many of the questions but I do know that sitting on our collective fat backsides has never been the solution to anything, EVER!
In this case I disagree. Giving the Chinless Wonder props for being an all-around bad fellow, I am willing wager whatever replaces him will be worse as far as humanity is concerned.
Just going by recent past experience.
Don’t agree with your argument, however on a point of fact, Dhekelia does not have an airport. Episkopi does and it goes by the name of RAF Akrotiri. They’re about 100 miles apart by road.
If it’s of any consolation to you, reports out of Cyprus indicate it will again be used to assist “our allies” (go Google “Cyprus Mail”).
That includes our radar station situated on Mount Olympus, that more than a few Cypriots really don’t want.
Click to access 0060.pdf
Contentious issue indeed.
Thank you Smokingscot for the correction.
I know both places very well indeed and while making my original comment had also been having an email exchange with someone in the Cantonment… blind rage, loss of concentration and lazy fingers did the rest 😉
On a lighter note. I can’t agree with you about the Cardiff accent Leg, I think Welsh girls sound lovely wherever they come from but then I’m odd like that I like Brummie and broad Noo Yoick too.
On a lighter note…
Yeah, I owe Mr Leg a huge apology for going off-piste above. Sorry.
No problem. Everyone gets a say here, everyone in the world aside from one guy in Norwich.
I’m pretty much in the Frank Davis camp on Syria though –
What’s you got against black bottle? It’s 40%. It’s £11:50 on a good day. It’s 3 times as bladder-efficient as red wine. It vaguely reminds one of the times when Arbeg was affordable. OK, it’s cooking whisky, but who among us hasn’t finished off the sherry in the back of some cupboard at 3:15 in the morning?
For sheer unparalleled undrinkability, there is (or was) something called “100 pipers” that I got for about 8 quid in a convenience shop a few years ago. After a few tenacious stomach-wrenching shots it went down the toilet, followed by a bowel movement to take away the smell. I’d be interested to hear of anything more vile.
Black Bottle is a good blend. I buy it when I can’t get the single malts. Also Whyte and MacKay, Stewart’s Cream of the Barley, and several others.
The worst I’ve had was a supermarket own-brand one. That wasn’t even good enough for an Irish coffee. It went down the sink and did a good job of flushing out the sink trap.