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Showing posts from July, 2009

We are Neda

Today in Tehran tens of thousands of mourners including Mr Mousavi have courageously gathered to remember Neda, who was shot dead by a sniper from a pro-Ahmadinajad faction militia - should I call it the Praetorian Guard? The world is watching.

Three pillars, three fundamental values

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a FAIR, free and open society, in which we seek to BALANCE the FUNDAMENTAL VALUES [N.B. plural] of liberty, EQUALITY and COMMUNITY. By joining the party we all sign up to these words, which commence the preamble to the party's federal constitution. Rather good aren't they? I like them. I like striving for balance between the three values. I have put in capitals the bits that don't get enough emphasis sometimes, yet I have not noticed anyone putting a constitutional amendment to the party conference to take them out. The preamble has lots more good stuff in it, such as that we believe each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet and, by safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long term continuity of life in all its forms. Hear hear. I'm all for that. I don't want to be a tadpole in a pond that's going stagnant. Also we champion the well being of individuals. Hear hea…

A liberal response to the global population crisis

To remind you, dear reader, of some excellent policy adopted recently I am posting the following text which was passed unanimously by the Liberal International Congress in May 2008.
"The 55th Liberal International Congress,
Noting that
(1) The human population of the world, currently about 6.7 billion, is more than double what it was in 1960, and is continuing to increase at a rate of an extra 1.5 million people per week;
(2) This rate of increase threatens the sustainability of the world’s resources;
(3) Population increases can enslave people in poverty;
(4) Reproductive health conditions are the leading cause of death and illness in women of childbearing age worldwide; and at least 200 million women want to plan their families or space their children, but lack access to safe and effective contraception;
Recalling that the 54th Liberal International Congress in Marrakech, 2006:
(A) Reaffirmed the absolute imperative at the beginning of the 21st century to raise the living stand…

Hush - don't mention the central problem

At a Federal Policy Committee meeting earlier this year I argued that the Lib Dems had a responsibility to talk about the threat to the environment from the growth in the world's population (which has more than quadrupled since 1900), and I mentioned in support that Sir David Attenborough had talked about this issue. To my surprise, I was denounced by another committee member for (allegedly) dragging Sir David into politics.
So even though the denunciation was twaddle, in that environmental science is not politics, and someone of Sir David's national treasure status is way above politics, I won't drag him in. I will just quote what he reportedly said when he became a patron of the Optimum Population Trust earlier this year: “I’ve seen wildlife under mounting human pressure all over the world and it’s not just from human economy or technology - behind every threat is the frightening explosion in human numbers.
“I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve wit…

Iran: the minority that will not let go

I am thinking about places in the world where women are oppressed. Iran for example. There, I gather, militia roam the streets intimidating and attacking women who behave or dress in ways of which they disapprove. In my country, such militia would be arrested and tried for public order offences. It is not that the British have no opinions about what is acceptable dress or behaviour in public and what is not. Of course we have opinions. But individuals behave in a way that is their own choice, provided that it does not contravene a specific law, and it may be a poor choice, but it is the individual's and not imposed. Live and let live, and mind your own business, are mottos here. And gangs who roam the streets trying to impose their own ideas on others tend to get arrested.
So what essentially is different about Iranians? I suspect, nothing is. A minority of society suppose they have a superior social and ethical code but that is normal in any society. The trouble is th…