Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Middle East”

Reasons to be Fearful – 1,2,3

  1. Putin
  2. May
  3. Trump

Possibly in that order! Read more…

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Force of Numbers

Are we about to see an example of governments’ hands being forced by pure force of numbers?

Hungarian riot police have fired tear gas [into Serbia] and water cannon to force migrants back from the Serbia-Hungary border.

Hundreds of people have massed at a closed crossing point near the Serbian town of Horgos, and are involved in a tense stand-off with police on the other side of the border.

Some migrants threw missiles, including stones and water bottles.
BBC News Website, 16 September 2015 : Migrant crisis: Clashes at Hungary-Serbia border

We have seen tear gas and water cannon used, but these migrants (the type of migration and reason for migration is immaterial) have committed a lot of time and money to get this far, have endured numerous deprivations and believe that within the EU there lies a better life. They may also have a different attitude to the sanctity of borders – seeing them as artificial constructs imposed by others rather than our view of a border defining our land.

What happens when say a thousand Syrians rush a Serbian-Hungarian border post?

Are we prepared to see the use of bullets? Read more…

Mindsets: Borders

Everyone seems to be talking about “the migrant crisis” with consecutive “special” programmes tonight on BBC1 (Desperate Journeys: Europe’s Migrant Crisis) and on ITV1 (Breaking into Britain: Tonight). A picture of a dead Syrian child being recovered from the beaches of Turkey seem to have brought about a reverse of Cameron policy (not sure if Osborne has U-turned as well).

We seem to lack a coherent approach to a number of mixed issues;

Globally:

  • the crises in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and people fleeing for their lives;
  • poverty in parts of the world leading people to migrate for a better life;
  • people smugglers;

Parochially:

  • a chaotic approach to planning public services in the UK;
  • a toxic relationship between the current British Government and Europe;
  • (very parochially) fear of UKIP undermining Conservative support.

One of the issue is that in respect of “borders” there are multiple mindsets. Read more…

End of Term Report: Conservatives

The Conservatives did not win a majority at the last election. So how have they done in the last five years?

How do we measure what they have done? On one hand we can measure “how well they have governed” – if we can agree what we mean by “well”. On the other hand we can look at it from the point of view of raw politics.

Read more…

Respect!

Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi has resigned from the government, saying its policy on the crisis in Gaza is “morally indefensible”.
BBC 5 August 2014 : Baroness Warsi quits as Foreign Office minister over Gaza

Respect! Read more…

Prime Ministerial Dodging

Another interesting exchange in the House of Commons (my emphasis)

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green): The Prime Minister said that the most recent bloodshed in Gaza and Israel had started with the Hamas rocket attacks. I deplore those attacks, but does the Prime Minister not accept that they are not happening in a vacuum, but are a consequence of the ongoing Israeli occupation and siege of Gaza? Given that this is the latest in a long line of Israeli breaches of international law, does he recognise the growing movement that is calling for an embargo on all military co-operation with Israel?

The Prime Minister: I do not think that we should in any way seek to justify or explain away rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel. [Interruption.] That is, I am afraid, rather what it sounded like. We must be absolutely clear about the fact that we condemn those rocket attacks, and must make it clear that if they stopped there would be a ceasefire, and we could then make progress.
Hansard 21 July 2014 Ukraine (Flight MH17) and Gaza

The Prime Minister stonewalled on any attempt to get him to condemn Israel for disproportionate action and attacks on civilians – despite many attempts to get him to do so. All that the House of Commons got from him was:

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that international law should apply to everybody, and in what we say to the Israelis we stress the fact that, although they have a right to self-defence, in order to be legal self-defence has to be carried out in a way that is proportionate, and that is why we have been urging restraint.
Hansard 21 July 2014 Ukraine (Flight MH17) and Gaza (In response to Frank Dobson)

Yet he was happy to condemn Hamas. What is going on? Read more…

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