Spring Is In The Air, But It’s Still Bleak Winter In Politics

These pages have been somewhat barren of late – and, no, it’s not because Theresa May has come for me – nor Donald Trump, for that matter, – despite the titles of my preceding two posts. Much as I derive great satisfaction and pleasure from writing here, sometimes life has to take priority and the time for composition, limited. Spring has arrived, the garden is alive with the blooms of daffodils, primulas, and forget-me-nots. Sadly, the weeds always manage to have the upper hand and winter storms have done their share of damage in urgent need of repair.

Not that the crises threatening the world have gone unnoticed. The man masquerading as a U.S. president continues to behave like a rampant dictator, hurling abuse and false accusations at his predecessor willy-nilly, as though above any law. Indeed, given the lack of anything more than a luke-warm rebuke from Republican senators for his accusation that President Obama tapped his phone, it would seem likely that he is.

Five days ago the U.K. media splashed a story all over their front pages of an interview by the now political nobody, Nigel Farage.

In it Farage stated that he and Donald Trump were probably the two most vilified people in the West:

As the BBC reported:

British politician Nigel Farage, who helped steer the UK towards the exit door of the European Union, says that he and Donald Trump have one thing in common.
“We’re probably the two most vilified people in the West.”
He adds that their bond was formed over the “shed-loads of abuse” they have each received. [1]

One really must question why anyone would derive such obvious satisfaction from that unsavoury fact? Surely, to be vilified is not how most people would wish to be treated? Farage appears to consider it an honour to be linked in that way with the most despised and disrespected national leader in the Western world. It says little for the British media that Farage’s words are considered worthy of headline treatment. The BBC should know better. There was a time it would have.

Yesterday, the wanton and rather disgusting leader of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan , accused the Dutch of carrying out the massacre of 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995:

Turkey’s war of words with the Netherlands has worsened after the Turkish president accused the Dutch of carrying out a massacre of Muslim men at Srebrenica, Bosnia, in 1995.
Bosnian Serb forces were in fact behind the massacre but Dutch UN peacekeepers failed to protect the victims.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the failure, still a raw nerve in the Netherlands, revealed Dutch “morality” was “broken”.
The Dutch prime minister called the remarks a “vile falsification”. [2]

Mark Rutte, Holland’s prime minister, was right to call them a “vile falsification.”. It was this man….

…Ratko Mladic, who was responsible for that dreadful crime. The small Dutch peace-keeping contingent were hopelessly outgunned and outnumbered. They were only lightly armed against tanks and heavy weapons. Repeated calls for air support went unheeded. Responsibility for this situation rests squarely on NATO’s shoulders, with a portion back in Washington on the desk of then president, Bill Clinton.

Clinton dithered and dallied over the Balkans. NATO was flying aircraft over the war-zone ostensibly to maintain a no-fly-zone, but all the war action was on the ground. In his book, “America’s War For The Greater Middle East,” Andrew Bacevich writes:

Although authorized to use air strikes to protect peacekeepers…NATO rarely acted on this authority. Between June 1993 and August 1995 [NATO] aircraft actually released ordnance on a grand total of only ten occasions…The NATO air campaign had become an exercise in military masturbation – a display of ostensibly superior power that served chiefly to reveal Western impotence.” [3]

Both UN and NATO authorities had to agree before a single aircraft could attack a target. Little wonder then the Dutch peacekeepers called out in vain for air support. Following the Srebrenica massacre, Clinton and the NATO allies finally decided to take action.**

Erdogan is a mad, power-crazed, politician dreaming of dictatorship. Perhaps now the European Union will finally deny Turkey any further possibility of joining the E.U., at least as long as Erdogan holds the reins of power in that country.

On the subject of reigns of power, Theresa May has finally bullied, cajoled, and threatened politicians to pass the bill allowing her to trigger Article 50, totally disregarding two attempts by the Upper House to amend it. She could scarcely disguise her glee as she spoke today in Parliament. At least some parts of that speech contained downright lies. She stated there had been full consultations on ‘Brexit’ with all other U.K. parties, including (she emphasised) the Scottish National Party, the governing party in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, has categorically denied any ‘full consultation’ on the subject. Indeed, she has gone out of her way to state the opposite:

“The UK government has not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement. Our efforts at compromise have instead been met with a brick wall of intransigence,” the first minister said, claiming that any pretence of a partnership of equal nations was all but dead. [4]

Yesterday, in a speech to the Scottish Cabinet Sturgeon called for a second referendum on Scottish independence, given the huge vote by Scots to remain in the European Union.

Theresa May & Nicola Sturgeon

Theresa May, in return, told the U.K. Parliament that now was not the time for Nicola Sturgeon to “play at politics or create uncertainty,” which is somewhat surprising, coming as it does from one who has done nothing but play politics and create uncertainty since the day she entered 10 Downing Street.

To quote George Monbiot in today’s Guardian:

In her speech to the Scottish Conservatives’ spring conference, Theresa May observed that “one of the driving forces behind the union’s creation was the remorseless logic that greater economic strength and security come from being united”. She was talking about the UK, but the same remorseless logic applies to the EU. In this case, however, she believes that our strength and security will be enhanced by leaving. “Politics is not a game, and government is not a platform from which to pursue constitutional obsessions,” she stormed – to which you can only assent.

A Conservative member of the Scottish parliament, Jamie Greene, complains that a new referendum “would force people to vote blind on the biggest political decision a country could face. That is utterly irresponsible.” This reminds me of something, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. [5]

If Monbiot had only one virtue it would be his ability to expose the hypocrisy of politicians intent on pulling the wool over the eyes of its electorate.

It may be spring outside; the crocuses may be blooming, the birds nest building, the bees buzzing industriously. But in the world of politics there’s still a stark chill in the air, dark clouds loom on the horizon, and not one ray of sunshine pierces the darkness to raise the spirits and instill a grain of hope.

I think I’ll rejoin the daffodils.

[1] “Farage: ‘Trump and I most vilified in West'” BBC, March 9th 2017

[2] “Turkey-Netherlands row: Erdogan slams Dutch over Srebrenica” BBC, March 14th 2017

[3] “America’s War For The Greater Middle East,” Pt II, Ch. 9, Pge 167, Andrew J Bacevich.

[4] “May’s intransigence forced us to seek new referendum, says SNP minister” Guardian, March 14th 2017

[5] “Theresa May is dragging the UK under. This time Scotland must cut the rope” Guardian, March 15th 2017

[**] Further reading on the Dutch involvement at Srebrenica can be found here: “Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: The Dutch peacekeepers still haunted by memories of the massacre” Independent, July 9th 2015

4 Replies to “Spring Is In The Air, But It’s Still Bleak Winter In Politics”

  1. I do so envy your “daffodils, primulas, and forget-me-nots” RJ! We see few of those in SW OK, though I have actually seen one crop of daffies along the pathway to a house just outside of town. Haven’t seen primulas or forget-me-nots since arriving on these shores. All we can see newly peeping through in our narrow strip of garden out front, apart from some delicate weedy clover leaves, are patches of sedum spectabilis. These soldier on, season to season, after being transplanted years ago from a pot outside Anyjazz’s old home, they are survivors of all indignities thrown at them by Oklahoma’s extremes of weather.

    Had to waffle on about garden things because I recall little about the Bosnia unpleasantnesses of yesteryear; and am as disgusted as you are with recent antics of Trump and May. Sturgeon is a bright spark though, she needs to be cloned!
    Happy Springtime!

  2. Twilight – (taking a quick break from the daffs!) I really missed the spring hedgerow flowers when I moved to America. Living in mid-Wales the country lanes were massed with daffs, primulas, and lots of other lovely small flowers I couldn’t identify. It was a joy to walk passed them. I was so glad to find Brittany is very similar. Our garden is quite old and many of those ‘wild’ plants have seeded here, as well as what’s been planted over the years. (I have to say the weeds do very well, also!)
    On the subject of plants, from the video available over here of Angela Merkel’s recent visit chez Trump it looked, from the expression on her face, that she could well have planted the Donald – though not in a horticultural sense. I don’t think she was very impressed with him, or his entourage.

  3. Masa – yes, Japan’s politics are very convoluted, and made no easier by the stranglehold the US has on your government. I honestly can’t remember when politics anywhere was ever considered an honorable occupation (except by politicians, of course). Even those politicians who start with the best of intentions get sucked into the corruption and elitism that’s always prevalent in governments.

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