All entries for Tuesday 16 January 2007

January 16, 2007

Why are the SNP taken so seriously?

Asked what the Act of Union (300 years old today) had done for England and Scotland, an SNP spokesman told BBC Radio 4 tonight:

Well, back three hundred years ago, it made England look strong and powerful.

And that, apparently, is it.

Regardless of what you think about nationalism and the idea of Scotland becoming independent, isn’t it more than a little disingenuous to suggest that Scotland hasn’t benefitted one jot from being politically and economically joined to England?

True, they would have had a lot of North Sea oil to themselves, but I’d be interested to know if Scots think that England has ever done anything for them.

My suspicion is that the Act of Union has strengthened both countries over time, and that in denying this outright, the SNP are making themselves look silly. There are still arguments for independence today without disregarding three hundred years of history, no?

Cock–up after cock–up at the Home Office

Home Office Corporate Logo (somewhat tweaked) As if things couldn’t get any worse…

It turns out that of the sixteen terrorist suspects on control orders, and wearing electronic tags to keep track of them, three have escaped.

This news comes in the week that it was revealed the Home Office hasn’t been updating files on people who committed crimes abroad.

David Davis, the Conservative Shadow Home Secretary, has claimed the scalps of a number of home office ministers. Could John Reid be his next? His department seems completely incapable of doing its job.

There’s probably a case to be made that the Home Office is permanently “unfit for purpose”, encompassing too many different roles. And it’s rumoured Gordon Brown will split it into two when he becomes Prime Minister.

The question is: why can’t that be done now?

Obama starts his run

From AP:

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday he is taking the initial step in a presidential bid that could make him the nation’s first black to occupy the White House. Obama announced on his Web site that he was filing a presidential exploratory committee. He said he would announce more about his plans in his home state of Illinois on Feb. 10.

Barack Obama has announced what we all already knew. He’s the first black politician to launch a credible bid for the White House. His opponents claim he’s not been clear about his views, and that Democrats don’t yet know what they’d be voting for.

There’s some truth in that, but his freshness has got to be a good reason to vote for him after eight years of Bush. And Hillary Clinton will still be worried that her once sure-fire candidacy will be snatched by the Illinois senator.

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