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Guardian - Nik Cohen - Britain craven in the face of despotism

an interesting piece, where the truths he reveals are not the ones he intended, eg his reflexive anti-Russian stance is wrapped in anti-germanism, a bizarre combination.

But he nevertheless says interesting things, just ignore the prejudice.

The Saudis' successful attempt to bully the Serious Fraud Office was a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, they said, a conspiracy that, shamefully, the Blair government had joined.

'No one suggested to those uttering the threat that it was futile, that the United Kingdom's system of democracy forbade pressure being exerted on an independent prosecutor whether by the domestic executive or by anyone else. No one even hinted that the courts would strive to protect the rule of law and protect the independence of the prosecutor by striking down any decision he might be tempted to make in submission to the threat.'.........

Europe's most blatant example is Vladimir Putin's Russia. When its agents poisoned Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210, the Russians were as astonished as the Saudis that Britain insisted on bringing alleged criminals to justice. 'I don't understand the position of the British government,' a foreign ministry spokesman spluttered. 'It is prepared to sacrifice our relations in trade and education for the sake of one man.'............

In The New Cold War, his study of Putin's impact on Europe, Edward Lucas of the Economist argues that the Russian elite has understood that money can be used to undermine freedom because there are many in the West who believe that 'capitalism is a system in which money matters more than freedom'..............

The 'light touch' regulation of the City Gordon Brown boasted about for so many years meant in effect that Britain profited from offering international finance a latitude it couldn't find in New York. We can't shake off our dependence on funny money, as Gordon Brown and David Cameron showed when they reacted to the judges' ruling by moving to curb the power of the judiciary to expose corruption and intimidation.

... a more realistic appraisal was given by Jonathan Swift, who witnessed the founding of the City's money markets in the early 18th century and wrote: 'Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies but let wasps and hornets break through.'



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 13th, 2008 at 04:54:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But he nevertheless says interesting things, just ignore the prejudice.

Like the piece by Anthony Browne that Migeru posted in Saturday's Open Thread.

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire

by marco on Sun Apr 13th, 2008 at 05:13:54 AM EST
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Not quite exactly. Cohen says interesting things about Britain and the rule of law, it's just that his exemplars were a bit skewed. The piece in the Mail was just a typical Daily Mail right wing 15 minutes of hate.

You have to read the Mail to understand. It's not quite Limbaugh-in-print but it has its moments.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 13th, 2008 at 05:21:06 AM EST
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The Voice of the Turtle
"Hurrah for the Blackshirts"

A famous example of the Daily Mail's longstanding commitment to impeccably balanced and unbiased coverage of controversial political events. This headline appeared on the front page of the 8 July 1934 edition, and accompanied a piece on Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists that read, in part: "If the Blackshirts movement had any need of justification, the Red Hooligans who savagely and systematically tried to wreck Sir Oswald Mosley's huge and magnificently successful meeting at Olympia last night would have supplied it."

Subsequent articles emphasised the paper's unstinting support -- on 15 January 1934, the BUF was described as "a well organised party of the right ready to take over responsibility for national affairs with the same directness of purpose and energy of method as Hitler and Mussolini have displayed". This betrays the paper's similar enthusiasm for Fascist parties elsewhere in Europe, especially Adolf Hitler's burgeoning Nazi movement ("The sturdy young Nazis are Europe's guardians against the Communist danger").



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Apr 13th, 2008 at 06:31:55 AM EST
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I gathered as much from follow-up comments in that thread.  And yet, some of the points he made would be valid and worth consideration, if presented in a less paranoid and xenophobic frame. e.g.:


  • The credit crunch has brought home to all of us in Britain how over-reliant our country has become on financial services.
  • What is happening [i.e. the sudden and dramatic expansion of China's and India's economies] is so extraordinary that economists have had to invent a new word for it - this is not an economic cycle, but a supercycle, a shift in the world economy of historic proportions.
  • Troubled Angola recently shunned Western financial aid because of the amount of Chinese money pouring into it, in return for commodities.
  • And the bitter truth is that, after centuries of humiliation in foreign affairs, there is a nationalist mood in China that the country's time has come again, that it can again claim its rightful place as the world's most powerful country.
  • Its comparative weakness over the last few centuries is, in fact, but a blip in the last 2,000 years, during which China was the world's most economically and culturally advanced nation.
  • As their economic confidence grows, Asians are discovering pride in their own cultures and are less inclined to mimic Western ones.


Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sun Apr 13th, 2008 at 06:59:18 AM EST
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