15 July 2006

The Middle East

Since the Palestinians elected a Hamas government, little has been going right in the Middle East.

Now, Israel is bombing targets in Lebanon, while Hizbollah is firing rockets into Israel. It's still being called a crisis. It's almost, if not quite, a war.

Here are some general thoughts of my own on this situation:

  • Some of Israel's targetting does not seem to make logical sense- i.e. the international airport in Beirut.
  • The Lebanese haven't been particuarly vocal on this situation. Probably don't want to be seen as supporting the terrorists. Why don't they do something about it?
  • Just what do Hizbollah hope to achieve by randomly lobbing rockets at Israeli towns? It's just making the Israelis angrier.

I hope and pray we can find some solution to this before it's too late.

08 July 2006

NEC Elections

As a card-carrying member of the Labour Party, I get to vote in NEC elections (I'll also get to vote for the next leader and deputy leader).

The NEC, for those of you not in the know is Labour's main decision making body. It's made up of (and I quote):
  • The leader (Blair)
  • The deputy leader (Prescott for the time being...)
  • Treasurer
  • 12 TU members
  • 6 constituency party members (the ones I get to vote for)
  • 3 government ministers
  • 3 MPs or MEPs
  • 2 Councillors
  • 1 Young Labour Representative
  • 1 "representative of the socialist societies"
  • The leader of the European Parliament Labour Party (I don't know who that is).

So who's running for the NEC. Notable names are:

  • Lorna Fitzsimmons- former MP for Rochdale until the students there voted her out.
  • Helen Jackson: Former MP for Sheffield Hillsborough.
  • Walter Wolfgang- yes, that Walter Wolfgang. The one who got thrown out of the Labour Conference for heckling and got us accused of being fascists.

There seem to be two distinct blocs:

  • The Grassroots Alliance (Wolfgang and his crew- noticeably anti-Iraq war)
  • The leadership's preferred candidates. I voted for most of these.

You can vote until 31 July.

07 July 2006

A Year On

I don't need to remind everyone what today is the anniversary of.

A year ago, London had just won the Olympic Games. I was home for the day and nowhere near Central London. I had the day all planned out. Those plans were not to be.

I was making my way to a television to watch MacGyver, which was scheduled for 9am. The radio on and as I was walking, I heard that there had been an explosion at Liverpool Street station.

I switched over to the news channels and then cleared MacGyver off the planner. I wasn't in the mood to watch it.

It wasn't immediately clear these were actually explosions. The initial reports were saying power surges.

I spent much of the rest of the day reading the news sites and watching the news reports. I didn't feel in the mood to do much else. Al sent me an email checking whether I was OK. I really appreciated that.

Two weeks later, they tried to repeat their act of barbarism. Fortunately they failed.

On a couple of occasions afterwards, I had reason to travel through the section of the Tube where the Aldgate bombing took place. Whenever the train passed through that area, the lights flickered. It was not a pleasant reminder.

A year on and Sir Ian Blair says further attacks are 'almost inevitable'. I hope he's wrong. I fear he's right.

01 July 2006

Yet another four years of hurt...

Before this competition started, I was predicting that England would go out in the quarter finals. Events have proved me right.

Rooney joins Southgate and Beckham in the "We went out thanks to you" club. I'm not sure if the stamp was intentional (only Wayne knows that), but it sure looked painful. Then again, he really shouldn't have shoved that Portugese player. May not have deserved a red, though, but that doesn't excuse it.

However much we've been practising penalties, it clearly hasn't been enough...

Sven's reign is over. Roll on McLaren.