Re: the Darfur argument. Well done to Alex and your guest on actually mentioning the role that the EU in impoverishing African countries.**
I may have missed this but I did not hear mention of one of the crucial aspects of the Darfur conflict, i.e. the fact that it is, once again, Islamists (the government of Sudan) versus Christians and other (the dying). The Darfur government is, in effect, carrying out a religious genocide (as opposed to an ethnic one). In the process, they are destabilising the whole region as the conflict spills over into Chad and Ethiopia.
What to do? Well, nothing. There is no way that the US or UK could possibly -- logistically or politically -- go into Darfur, and no one else in the EU will either (isolationists as they are). Certainly, no one is going to attack another Muslim country. And since the UN is not going to do anything either, we may as well stop worrying about it.
Unpleasant though it is, this is the reality of the situation.
People rightly agreed that my view was somewhat pessimistic and the guest referred to above nodded sagely and agreed that an unspecified "we" could enforce a no-fly zone and donate money and aid. Erm, here's a couple of problems with that approach.
- There are, in fact, very few planes in Sudan. The vast majority of the massacres are carried out by government-controlled militias using nothing more air-borne than converted jeeps. A no-fly zone would have stuff-all impact then, apart from allowing the pilots to earn some extra cash by selling nice, clear pictures of the genocide to the newspapers.
- Who, precisely, are we going to give the money and aid to? The fucking government of Sudan who are sponsoring and directing the genocide? Or maybe we should be giving it to those being steadily wiped out? Really?
- So, at best we provide a patch; "here, Mr African Christian, have some of this nice Coca-Cola before you're shot in the head by this nice bearded gentleman. There, feeling better?"
- And at worst we create what Douglas Hurd referred to in the Balkans as the "level killing field"; we deliver money which arms the Christians and our intervention creates a massive civil war. Then what: we just stand back and admire the fireworks?
- Or maybe you suggest that we should give the money to the surrounding African nations whose obvious first priority is to defend the Christians of another nation because they really haven't anything more pressing to consider, eh? Or maybe we should just give them a load of arms so that they restart their various wars?
Tell you what, let's just arm every fucker in Africa. The winners will be the ones that are still alive after the horrendous bloodbath; it'll be great, just like a massive, black Battle Royale. It's the format that reality shows were invented for: this one could run and run!
But seriously, this is the sort of thing that the 18DoughtyStreet presenters should be picking up on. I don't care how wonderful you think that your guest is, if they suggest something totally woolly, you have to firm up the solution. If you're guest suggests a solution to the Darfur massacres that involve "us" giving aid to "them" then they need to specify who "we" and "they" are, for fuck's sake.
There is no point in having a channel that devotes five hours a day, five days a week to politics if you are not going to actually ask specific questions and insist on clear, concise and specific answers. You have the time: fucking well use it. And I know that Richard North would agree with me on this.
* Tim, seriously, I'm nasty about pretty much everyone as a matter of policy: it's nothing personal. Although if you are going to defend ID Cards, then I am afraid that you are going to get a slap: and I can hardly slap you down any less than I did Clarke just because you are a Tory blogger (with whom I have had, in any case, no interaction). Just thank your lucky stars that you are not Gordo, Patsy, Polly or Charlie or you might find that what you got was a light spanking as opposed to a serious beating.
** I originally put in, "(something that Tim signally failed to do when discussing the same subject with Stephen Twigg yesterday)". In the end I decided that this might be needlessly antagonistic.