Monday, February 26, 2007

Could Tehran soon look like this?

I am becoming increasingly convinced that the question surrounding a bombing raid against Irans nuclear programme is not a question of 'if' but 'when'.

At the end of last year I visited Israel as part of a group of Conservative Candidates and we spent five days
meeting academics, policy makers, senior diplomats, miltary spokesmen and politicians from all sides and top of the agenda was the question of Iran; specifically, Irans potential threat as a nuclear power. None of the Israeli's we spoke to felt that Israel was politically unified or militarily strong enough at the moment to consider acting against Iran alone but universally they also said that a nuclear Iran was inconcievable to Isrealis.

They were also universally opposed to the US action in Iraq because they worried, I think wrongly, that the WMD fiasco had damaged US public opinion and their will to act in future.

Like most observers I could never see the point of toppling Saddam because the WMD thing never looked convincing. But I never believed that the Iraq invasion was about oil either.

But there is an alternative viewpoint the Iraq war that perhaps a historical 20:20 might reveal. In the future we may look back and see that the Iraq invasion was 'necessary' in order to make a move against Tehran a possibility; because it put 150,000 troops and a large part of the US fleet within striking distance; plus provides safe landing space for strike aircraft, either from Isreal or elsewhere, to refuel.

America knows through it's own experiences with Libya and Isrealis experiences with Egypt and Jordan that using force or being in a position to threaten force can work in the Middle East.

The US holds Iran to be the main enemy of peace in the region, the root cause of all that is unstable in their view.

So I have come to believe that Iraq and Afghanistan are in fact staging posts in a much more ambitious US plan - regime change in Iran.

And be in no doubt, a change of administration in the US won't make a difference. Although Democrats hate the Iraq conflict they have never forgiven the Iranians for costing them the Carter presidency which gave Ronald Reagan the chance to end the Democrats post-war domination of American politics.

So far as America's involvement in the Middle East is concerned, to use a Churchill quote, now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Will the BNP be standing in Torbays council elections?

Torbay Borough has important 'all-out' council elections coming up in May and as a cursory glance at the local paper will reveal all the parties are moving into pre-election mode.

So far we learn that the Liberals Democrats will probably field a pretty thorough field of candidates in every ward, UKIP are putting up some candidates in some wards and Labour will mount a campaign in a few target wards; all pretty much as usual.

I expect one or two independent candidates to do put in a show but as the mayoral contest and previous by elections have proved they have a mountain to climb and I will be very surprised if any of them win a seat.

But what about the BNP? The last time the elections were fought the BNP had a very patchy record but they did put up a handful of candidates and they did unfortunately win a few votes.

However much the local political activists and politicians oppose each other we are all in the business of trying to improve Torbay; the difference is in how we would prefer to do it. In all but one case I respect the political parties I oppose even if I don't agree with them.

There is just the one exception.

I make no apology for saying that the BNP aren't welcome in Torbay local politics.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The double standards of Torbay's Liberal Democrats and their short memories never ceases to amaze me.
Their call for the Mayor to hold a referendum on whether we should have a super casino is a bit rich after all they did to stop a referendum into whether we should have an elected mayor.
These are the same people who spent many months in 2004/05 criticising the very idea of a referendum when their own positions were threatened and who set up a mystery group financed by mystery money to fight a 'no' campaign which they ultimately lost.
They must think the public are either thick or don't remember their behaviour, or is it a question of jumping on any old bandwagon prior to May's council elections?
Where were they last year when the decision to press ahead with Torbay's application for a super casino was being openly debated within the Town Hall and on the Herald's letters page?
Where were they when Ian Handford arranged a public meeting at South Devon College last November? As far as I know only Cllr Jennings attended that debate and he was in favour of the casino.
The rest of them either couldn't be bothered or were also in favour.
If our MP is so against the idea where was he when, perhaps, he could have really influenced the outcome last year? He didn't attend the public debate either. He did his usual trick of keeping a low profile when it really mattered.
If a referendum was to have any real effect it should have been organised last year. The Lib Dems and their MP should have led from the front in opposing the very idea, but as usual they only do anything when it is too late.
It is pure electioneering which I hope the public see through. One day they might come up with a good, progressive idea of the way forward for Torbay, but ( excuse the pun ) don't bet on it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More technical prblems with Blogger today I'm afraid. Sorry if you have tried to view or post in the last few days.