I was having a healthy debate in the office with Aussie Susan (who was itching to head off to Irish Village to celebrate St Patrick’s Day at the time) about whether the English know when St George’s Day is when she threw in that St Patrick wasn’t in fact Irish. She said it with absolute certainty and in the old days that would have been good enough; now we have the internet to check and indeed to tilt the odds at quiz nights. I stifled a ‘you are talking absolute nonsense’ and in two clicks uncovered that he was in fact Welsh or maybe even Scottish. According to legend he was born in the still Welsh-speaking Northern Kingdom of Strathclyde of Romano-Brythonic stock, at Bannavem Taberniae. Others consider his birthplace to be in the south of Wales around the Severn estuary, or at St. Davids in Pembrokeshire.
Damned hard catch
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, rock and a hard place, catch 22, which is your favourite? My guess is most people’s vision of a no fly zone would have seen allied planes buzzing around high in the sky making sure there were no bandits hiding behind the sun. As a result the barrage unleashed by the coalition of the willing which includes the UAE came as a bit of a surprise. I didn’t realise that a no fly zone actually meant a no drive zone.
Most sane people want Gaddafi to go sooner rather than later. Or maybe not as the German’s, Russians and Chinese seem to be perfectly happy living with a murderous dictator. Germany, which opposes a no-fly zone, remains sceptical about the value of military action. In an interview Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said Berlin remained strongly opposed to any military intervention in Libya or the use of air strikes against Gaddafi.
Westerwelle words of wisdom, “Your own instinct is to say ‘We have to do something’ but there are non-force options that could still be used against Libya, including ‘targeted sanctions, political pressure and international isolation.”
It seems to have escaped Mr Westerwelle’s attention that Gaddafi has been in power for over 40 years and spent a lot of it living with sanctions and isolation during which he sponsored terrorism and initiated many atrocities including Lockerbie. He’s very mad and very bad . . . and the way his LSE educated boys are shaping up things can only get worse.
So all things considered I’m happy to live with being a western imperialist provided the people of Libya get the opportunity to be rid of Gaddafi and share in Libya’s huge wealth.
Turning swiftly to Iraq, Saddam also had to go, the big mistake was not to plan the peace (same mistake after WW1, one that was learnt from when WW2 came to an end). Let’s never forget Saddam’s treatment of the Kurds. On March 16, 1988 Iraqi warplanes flew over the Kurdish town of Halabja releasing chemical weapons. Within an hour, over 5,000 innocent men, women and children died on the streets. He also persecuted the Marsh Arabs and the UN estimates that up to 60,000 were killed after the uprising in 1991.
The French are the new champs of gung-ho
I mistakenly thought the French had gone all soft and cuddly. Very wrong. First up they got trigger happy in the skies over Libya then some madman climbed the Burj Khalifa. Apparently they made Alain Robert wear a safety harness just to be on the safe side of crazy.
How far can you stretch a brand?
This is a very good subject for marketing types. Without even realising it you are surrounded by brands that started life as one thing before spreading their tentacles in a million different directions. I noticed a Ferrari Dell computer the other day and thought that’s seriously wrong. A mainstream computer brand and a high performance car, nah. Some brand extensions however are perfect (e.g. Dennis the Menance comics and lunch boxes – the latter abandoned by my daughters, adopted by me), my favourite this week comes with the news that Robinson’s are going to be making sweets. I can almost taste them and everything about the new product is right; similar target audience, similar ingredients, similar retail channels etc
How safe is Dubai?
I think most people who live in Dubai would say that it’s a pretty damn safe place to live however according to the British Embassy visiting Dubai as a tourist is a risky business. Brits are more likely to be arrested in the UAE than anywhere else in the world. That’s because we are the worst race in the world for getting drunk and behaving badly.
All power to your elbow
How good is the new Elbow album?
On the recommendation of Tony Dodds (it’s a lot quiety was Tony’s description – opposite of a bit shouty) and a decent review in the Guardian we have been listening to the new Elbow album in the office – build a rocket boys! Below is our rating:
Overall, very mellow, a good alternative to counting sheep.
Top five mad ‘uns
My top five this week is madder than mad people who are still alive.
- French Spiderman
- Muammar Gaddafi (pic below with his plastic surgeon)
- Eric Cantona
- Ian Holloway
- Charlie Sheen
What would a blog not be complete without?
Sport of course, having nearly made it to the end of my blog without covering this all important subject to compensate for the lack of coverage I will leave you with one of my all time favourite sporting pictures.