Daily Archives: July 17, 2011


Another One Bites the Dust

A few bungs down police trousers and an extraordinary two way relationship that made New Scotland Yard an annex of the Murdoch empire, have done for Sir Paul Stephenson. A moment’s reflection that the callous killing of an innocent Brazilian man was not considered worth the resignation of anybody. And on the phone hacking scandal, while Stephenson was as enthusiastic an establishment schmoozer as any, it was his predecessor Blair with whom most of the guilt lies. Like Brooks, at the most charitable possible interpretation Blair was a lousy manager who had no idea what was happening.

I am however rather suspicious that Brooks’ arrest comes just in time to avoid any questions about her relationship with Cameron and others at the select committee – or indeed why she was a facebook friend of the committee chairman.

I am still rather puzzled by why the police have not informed approximately 3,750 of the over 4,000 potential phone hacking victims that their names are on the list. By not informing the victims, of course, the police have so far limited the number of civil suits against News International.

It is hard to recall, (and nowadays I try not to recall it) but there was a period of a few weeks back in 2003 and 2004 when I was front page news, and there were a good few tabloid stories about Nadira’s belly dancing past. Now I wonder….

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Cheering UP

Unfortunately my plans for a weekend of drinking and watching golf were foiled on Friday by a really acute attack of illness, which by 3am Sunday morning had become quite alarming. Happily I feel a good bit stronger now. I did watch the golf all day yesterday, but I felt so unwell that when I awoke this morning I could not recollect any of it.

I am much cheered to learn that Sheikh Raed Saleh was released from jail on Friday. It is quite incredible that he could be imprisoned on the word of the Home Secretary – as grubby third rate politician – for his political opinions, but without clearly definable cause, and after he had already given on this visit a couple of public speeches in which he had said not one word which anyone claimed as constituting an offence.

Both the UK and US governments encouraged the Greeks to prevent the Gaza peace convoy from sailing. This from the invaluable Mary, who should take over writing this blog:

Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central, Labour)
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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Greek Government on the Gaza Aid flotilla.
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Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 13 July 2011, c385W)
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David Lidington (Minister of State (Europe and NATO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Aylesbury, Conservative)
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Officials from our embassy in Athens have discussed the matter of the Gaza flotilla with the Greek authorities and have relayed to them the United Kingdom’s position on this. Our travel advice for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories gives clear guidance against any attempt to enter Gaza by sea. We continue to advise against participating in flotillas or overland convoys to Gaza because of the risks involved.

So between Saleh and that, it seems any attempt to support Palestine is simply to be blocked by the force of the state. What astonishes me is that so few people seem to care about this growing fascism.

When you have a fever, thoughts run though your head insistently, in a different pattern of thinking to the normal. Anyone know why this is? While I was ill this morning, I kept remembering one incident. When I stood as an independent anti-war candidate against Jack Straw in Blackburn, the large body of New Labour supporters inside the count booed and jeered me like a football crowd when my result was read out. The BNP candidate – who had been booed a little – turned to me in some astonishment and said “They hate you more than they hate me.”

I did record that in Murder in Samarkand, but had only ever thought of it as an amusing incident. While I was sweating last night, it kept hammering at my brain as important. Now I feel a bit better, it still seems important.

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