How Blair Would Have Responded To Shoe Attack

December 16, 2008

Muntadar al-Zaidi, the shoe throwing journalist has become a mini celebrity in Iraq and support for him is rising while he remains in custody. George Bush’s response to the shoes being hurled at him was to tell a pathetically weak joke about the size of the shoes which summed up his clumsiness in dealing with all matters relating to Iraq.

Had the shoes been thrown at Tony Blair, I suspect he would have responded by saying that it was only due to the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime that a journalist could throw a shoe at a visiting head of state and not end up being killed by state police along with the rest of his family. He would have added that while many disagreed with the war in Iraq, at least there was enough freedom now for a journalist to attend a press conference and express his view regardless of the manner in which he chooses to do so. Blair would have called for al-Zaidi to be released immediately and in the best case scenario would have invited him to a meeting in front of the cameras to discuss his concerns with al-Zaidi probably ending up apologising for his actions.

Perhaps I am being too kind to Blair but he certainly would have had the nous to defuse this incident instead of the way Bush and the Iraqi Government have responded and allowed it to escalate with allegations now of al-Zaidi’s mistreatment by the security forces and thousands marching to demand his immediate release.

A Severe Recession!

December 16, 2008

We often hear that it is only after alcoholics and drug addicts admit to their addiction can they really be helped. Until they admit they have a very serious problem, a remedy that will effectively help cannot be provided.

I suppose the same principle applies to an economic crisis – until the Government admits to the scale of the problem, an effective solution cannot be found. It is therefore interesting to note that two Government Ministers have admitted that the recession is likely to affect us more severely than ever before and more than other countries.

Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, expects the recession to be ‘deeper than any that we have known’ and Chancellor Alistair Darling notes that ‘…we are likely to be more severely affected as a result of the profitability being reduced and I’ve made that point on many occasions’ – which he actually hasn’t but one more fib by a Minister to go with the many Brown tells doesn’t make much difference.

Now we have these admissions is there any chance the Government might put forward policies that are likely to help people struggling to cope with the economic downturn instead of the ill thought out measures of the PBR and reckless plans of borrowing based on the premise that we are better placed than others to deal with the economic slump?