Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Belated thoughts on Woolwich and other musings

I saw a list of don’t’s for Twitter. One was don’t sit in front of the tele and tweet BREAKING NEWS. Even worse, don’t lend spurious urgency to the thoughts gushing from your overtaxed brain by tweeting BREKAING NEWS. I've done a search on Twitter and people actually do this. Yes really. But there again maybe they're ironising and I just don't get it. Another rule is not to tweet “it's too soon to comment on this story …”. Very true that one. That’s my excuse for coming in with my comments about a fortnight late. So the first story I'm going to comment on late is the Woolwich meat cleaver murder on 22nd May. Shocking though it was, that wasn’t what made it a story. Had the killers run off we wouldn't have read about it. It was the videos. And that they didn't even bring their own cameras. We're sorry you saw this but it happens to Muslims every day. The more arrests are made, 10 at present, the less it can be passed off as the acts of crazed psychopaths. And the bigger the question over Jonathan Freedland’s Guardian piece saying the left should not use Woolwich to make its case on foreign policy. Crazed psychopaths they may be, but there's more to it.  

Health Minister James Reilly with
disgusting plain pack cigarettes
At this point I have to interrupt my flow and infringe my own rules. I'm sitting in front of the tele. And it really is brekaing news. Ireland is to be the second country after Australia to have plain cigarette packs with no logos or trademarks.   A lot of mean things have been said and written about health minister Reilly but hats off for this one. Some thoughts on this a few months ago. Reilly is also likely to introduce a 10% tax on fizzy drinks, sweets, biscuits, crisps, and chocolate as a way of tackling Ireland’s obesity problem. The Irish Examiner editorialised : “One thing can be said with some certainty about the war against sugar and fat misuse — we cannot prevaricate for decades like we did on tobacco before making the right decisions, even if they are the hard ones. The stakes are just far too high.”  Good, but oh dear, also bad. "Prevaricate" doesn't mean put off till tomorrow, it means to be devious.  On NPR in October 2009 Diane Rehm hosted a debate about taxing soft drinks. An industry spokesman arguing freedom of choice. Totally demolished. Worth listening to.  But sadly no longer available for download so ask me for the mp3 file if you like but I'll have to remove this sentence if they catch up with me.

Then there's Google and Amazon not paying tax. The salient fact here is they appear not to have broken any laws. These corporations are smirking at states and politicians. Read Google’s Eric Schmidt in The Observer and hear him gloat. And you’ve got countries like Ireland saying come and pay your taxes here we won't ask for much.  And Britain is little better, read Nick Cohen, also in The Observer, about Britain’s reluctance to pursue multinationals.

Next the US has launched an experimental full size fighter drone aircraft from an aircraft carrier called USS George H W Bush. Bet you didn't know they had a ship of that name. A defence analyst is quoted saying “This will be the future of warfare, and it will be a warfare that is a little less risky for humans”. He forgot to specify which humans he had in mind. My thoughts on this.

That’s all for now. Am working on a piece debunking the notion that neolithic passage tomb builders believed the sun would die in midwinter if they didn't do sacrifices; interesting times in the Catholic church with the new pope; and Eileen’s uncle Mickey’s civil war exploits.

1 comment:

  1. You are right that the fact the killers didn't run and hide is what made this news such a big story. Their innovative and, it has to be said, clever staging of a very public press conference is what made this such a big story. I don't doubt that the killers fully expected their public interviews to be their last acts before being gunned down by the police, just as a killer who draws the police into a chase would fully expect it to end in a bloody shoot-out.

    I do, however, think the killing alone would have been big news without what followed. It was an act of terror, and as such is afforded a gigs profile in our consciousness.

    That's interesting about the cigarette packets, and even more so the tax on sugary drinks and food. Write more about that sometime please.

    And thanks for the links to The Observer articles on corporation tax. The one suggesting we may turn into another Italy was particularly interesting.