Good morning and welcome to this, the 273rd itteration of all that’s good and wholesome in the British blogosphere. Starting with international politics then:
This was of course the week after Israel decided to destroy its relations with the rest of the world by boarding a ship bound for Gaza in contravention of its controversial blockade. In doing so with seemingly disproportionate force, and in killing Turkish citizens amongst others, Israel drew condemnation from around the world, including from our foreign secretary and its only muslim ally, Turkey. There are some Conservatives for whom Israel can do no wrong. Andrew Dodge is one. The fact is that Israel, being a sophisticated democracy with advanced weapons is held to a higher standard than those they fight. It should be proud of this, rather than appearing to want to keep the Palestinians as a cowed and subjugated people. As such, stamping ones feet and shouting “it’s not fair” will not win you friends, or achieve the strategic aims set out. Indeed, it could be the moment Israel finally lost. Charles Crawford sets out a set of overwhelming circumstances which could lead to a chaotic WWIII, which focusses on Israel. I doubt it’s that bad (and so does he), but the Jewish state needs to pay more attention to the opinions of its friends in the USA, the EU and especially the Muslim world. It cannot afford provocation.
Of course Israel/Palestine is not the only world issue, though as Mr Eugenides points out, it does attract rather more than its fair share of protest and publicity.
In the UK, I mention Derrick Bird the gunman from Cumbria, who was responsible for the worst spree killing since Dunblane. These events are rare, and the Government’s response was perhaps more reasonable and less Knee-Jerk than previous administrations.
The Labour leadership contest is generating acres of blog-print, and especially Dianne Abbot’s so-far unsuccessful bid. Her shtick appears to be “the others are white men. I’m a black woman, vote for me.” Slugger o’Toole likens this to the struggles within nationalism. Dan Hannan reckons she should just run on being herself. (Being a Tory, I suspect he’d be quite happy with an Abbot-led labour party). Of course, despite the fervent wishes of the Tories and the Left of the Labour party, David Millibanana is going to win in a boring and predictable way.
A place to stand is dismayed at the cost of the Forth Road Bridge expansion project: they’re planning to double-deck it, but at a cost greater per metre than the Millau viaduct, and matched only by some far longer and more difficult structures. Fraud perhaps? There are other options… In these days of budgetary austerity, we cannot afford such extravagence.
The liklihood of increased Capital Gains taxes is causing Ire on the right and schadenfreude on the left. Of course taxes on capital are a) generally the easiest to avoid, and b) most counter-productive and distorting in a chancellor’s arsenal. In this case they are to be on the Tories’ percieved friends in “the city” and as such will be c) entirely political, and d) temporary, when it transpires that of all the taxes available, because of a) above, CGT is the most likely to be on the left-hand end of the Laffer curve. Even Gordon Brown, for a while realised that inflation must be taken into account. Christie Malry goes through the options for the Chancellor most of which tried by Brown, over at the FCABlog.
The health Nanny state is likened to a religion by The Heresiarch, arguing that the perpetual guilt-mongering about smoking, drinking and fatness is replacing guilt about sex as society’s principal pathology.
The Wardman Wire hosted a chat about income from political blogs. You can replay it here. A word of warning: Don’t quit your job just yet…
With the soccer world cup just days away, Chris Dillow reckons that there are truths in National footballing stereotypes. Efficient Germany, flamboyant but brittle latins and so on. Does anyone doubt the inability of an Englishman to successfully take a penalty in a knock-out match? What’s true in sport, is also true in business, or so Says the father of the Roundup, Tim Worstall.
Next week the Roundup is at Suz Blog. As ever, if you spot anything interesting or juicy, please send the link to britblog [at] gmail [dot] com. One self-nomination is allowed and nothing from anything racist, libellous or offensive, or too many from one blog. The hosts will aim to include everything, but can exersise discretion.