Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Brief Criticsm...

From a comment by Bloggers4Labour on this post.

In Venezuela, Cuba, and so many other countries, the top priority for their governments is to open their economies, cede political power, tackle corruption, and stop blaming the country's problems on internal and external enemies. Only then will their social programmes be tenable, and only then should the international Left offer their support. As usual, the 'Decent Left' reference is a smokescreen used to conceal the accusor's abandonment of their commitment to liberal principles.

I'm picking this comment out, because it interest me far more than the actual post itself. I agree with a good deal of what's being said, but I have to seriously disagree with a couple of his prescriptions.

Open their Economies

Opening up economies is a prescription favoured by a large majority of economists, but this consensus is not without it's critics. There are also clear examples of countries that have followed this prescription and ended up economically worse off as a result (Argentina, for example).

Free markets and open economies are not necessarily the best way to encourage economic growth, in a recent Prospect article, Ha Joon Chang makes the point that Toyota would not be the gigantic corporation it is today without the Japanese government protectionism. The first Toyotas were not very successful and many thought that Japan should have just let in Ford and GM and left Toyota to making looms. Many economies have become successful pursuing policies other than those currently prescribed on the pages of the Economist.

Stop blaming the country's problems on Internal and External enemies

I suspect that B4L's actual opinion on this is a little more nuanced than the obvious literal interpretation. It's a fact that countries have enemies and their actions can have a clear effect. It would be foolish to deny that economic sanctions on Cuba have caused problems for Cuba's economy or that RCTV played a part in the 2002 coup in Venezuela. While we shouldn't let such problems blind us to creeping authoritarianism, we should be careful not to indulge in a one sided blame game.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Distinct lack of Balance

My opinion on this whole Phillip Lawrenct/Learco Chindamo business was forged by Chris Paul's excellent fisk of Iain Dale, the fact that Mr Chindamo was only 5 years old when he came to Britain swung it in his favour. Mr Chindamo is likely have barely any memory of Italy, it is only his home by a legal technicality.

What is bugging me though, is the lack of coverage the mainstream media has given to this fact, I've sat through the Radio 4 6'O'Clock news, and ITV news parading a number of it's citizen journalists giving their both barrels opinion on the human rights act. All the while I've heard no one even mention the fact that this man was only five years old when he came to this country. The omission of this fact has seriously distorted the coverage of the subject in the mainstream media.

I hate to accuse the BBC of bias, I really think the coverage they've provided could have made more light of this fact.

The Daily Mail on PCSO's

The mail recently had the story "PCSOs 'solve crime every six years", it's a fine example of the fact that when it comes to the Daily Mail, we just can't bloody well win. For years we have heard calls for "more bobbies on the beat" the government come back with Polics Community Support Officers as a solution.

As far as I can tell, these officers do exactly what you would expect from a bobby on the beat, patrol the streets, providing a visible police presence to reassure local residents. Now it appears the Mail is jumping on unfavourable statistics. Statistics it's all to happy to discredit when convenient.

Police out on foot patrol don't tend to detect crimes going on since most people on seeing a police officer or similar don't commit crimes. Thats just common sense, the effect of police officers on patrol is something that can't easily be measured. So it's not surprising that the statistics don't show very much.

Surely the fact that PCSO's are walking through crime free streets is a good thing though.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

We Can’t Turn Them Away

I suspect that few people haven't heard of this campaign by now, but it is one that deserves our support. Des Brown has said that there are 20,000 Iraqi's who have worked for our armed forces at some point, but among those there are those who are seriously at risk, interpreters being one particularly high risk group. As Idiots4Labour observed, interpreters are not the only people at risk but what matters here is not the colour of the collar, but the danger these people face. There are Iraqi's who are seriuously at risk and as the campaign says, we can't turn them away.

I penned a letter along these lines to Charles Clarke (my MP) last weekend. No response yet, but I'll be sure to post my repsonse when I get it.

In case people didn't know, there's a big list of supporters (courtesy of Tim Ireland) here, and some nicely constructed banners, courtesy of Unity here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Unemployment is as high as it was under Thatcher in 1979

So says Guido Fawkes in some kind of quixotic prediction of the Tories victory at a snap election. Perhaps he's suffering a bout of madness brought on by some hangover from his drug fuelled youth. It's his £50 (after the state has taken it's necessary dues of course) I suppose.

Lest we forget though, perhaps a reminder is in order of what happened to unemployment after the year of 1979. This one should suffice.

Hat tip: Kerron's dim & distant past

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Iain Dale, David Davis, Professor Keith and the Labour Apology

Iain Dale is getting on his high horse over the comments of one Professor Michael Keith, with regard to comments about the Sonali Greens housing block, a housing block that David Davis supposedly suggested should be "burned to the ground". Of course, David Davis is unlikely to have ever said those exact words, so lets take a look at what's actually going on here.

A little digging reveals the following New homes block is for 'Asians only', Sonali Green also gets a mention in this paper on Ghettoisation in London.

What David Davis actually said was:
"There would rightly be outrage if a council offered a whites-only housing block.

"I firmly believe that we should look to achieve integration rather than segregation in our society. This is the sort of thoughtless policy that feeds extremism."


Key to this is the fact that the development provides specialist services, halal meals, Bengali-speaking carers and Islamic praying facilities. These facilities are needed, since the residents in this block will largely be old Bengali's who speak little English and are unlikely to integrate further into British society.

Looking at this from the council's point of view, it would seem sensible to have a housing block with all residents who need the same set of specialist services in one place. This would be the most cost effective and practical way of providing the services.

David Davis may not have said what he Professor Keith suggested, but he does stand accused of opposing a council's practical measure for no reason other than to score a few political points all in the name of "integration".

UPDATE: A clarification (for Iains benefit), David Davis adopted a position that opposed Sonali Green a position he presumably stands by and has not taken back and has certainly not apologised for. Any apology from Prof. Keith should be phrased something along the lines of "I apologise for saying that David Davis said he wanted to see this development burnt down, it is clear now that he was merely opposed to the idea of the council providing the best possible services to Bengali Senior citizens.

citizenandreas [at] slick47 [dot] co [dot] uk