Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Isn't it about time Charles spoke up for his co-religionists?

It's all very well for Prince Charles to be concerned about Islamaphobia, but it might have been more appropriate for him to use his visit to Egypt as an opportunity to highlight the treatment of Christians around the Islamic world. No doubt it wouldn't have gone down very well. But it would have provoked a debate that many in the West would rather avoid.

How about Saudi Arabia where Christians aren't allowed to practice their own faith? Or Pakistan where Churches have been firebombed? Or even Afghanistan, which is free from the Taliban, but where a man was sentenced to death for converting to Christianity?

Prince Charles once said that he would like to be the defender of all faiths. Well maybe he should make a start by defending his own!

I await tomorrow's budget with baited breath....

The Sunday Times reports that Gordon Brown is about to raise taxes on Wednesday's budget to an all time high.

Despite the bad news, Gordon Brown remains one of the best chancellors this country has ever had. Many of our newspaper editors seem to have forgotten the boom / bust cycle that used to make Britain's economy the sick man of Europe. We have now had over twelve years of sustained economic growth, something that would have once been unthinkable.

And remember, most of the tax rises have been through indirect taxation, we still pay less income tax than most Europeans. So if you don't want to pay Gordon Brown's taxes, save your earnings and spend them abroad!

Ken Livingstone has a one track mind

I knew it wouldn't be too long before the Mayor put his foot in it again.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Retreat from Democracy

There is a thought provoking editorial in today's Sunday Business. As the third anniversary of the Iraq war passes, Bush's dream of planting democracy in the Middle East seems to have gone pear shaped. On the contrary, quite the opposite has happened, with much of the world as well as the middle east moving in the opposite direction:
  1. The Ukraine's orange revolution has turned sour. Yushenko, the candidate the West championed has become increasingly unpopular and could well end up losing the upcoming parliamentary election.
  2. As Putin tightens his grip over Russia and silences the opposition, the growing middle class seems happy to to turn a blind eye, and an increasing number of Russians look back nostalgically to the days of Stalin.
  3. The Palestinians have elected Hamas for their Government, a party committed to terrorism and the destruction of Israel.
The news however is not all bad. The Palestinians also chose to boot out a corrupt administration that embezzled funds and lived a life of luxury whilst everyone else lived in squalor. Having voted in Hamas, Palestinians will now face the consequences of their actions, and if they don't like Hamas, they will have a chance to vote again in a few years time (unless that is they decide to junk democracy before then).

And with regards to Iraq, it is simply to early to tell what the outcome will be. Iraq was always an artificial country. Once it ceased to be a dictatorship, it was always likely that the simmering ethnic and religious hatred bubbling beneath the surface would erupt onto the streets. We should have learnt that from Yugoslavia. Bush may have simply hastened the inevitable, the break up of Iraq.