Monday, 2 August 2010

Bludgeoning through Bureaucracy

(Apologies for the lateness of this blog, and my recent inactivity. I simply hadn't had something inspiring to write about)

“You can’t bludgeon your way through Bureaucracy, Commander Sheppard”
“I can bludgeon pretty hard”
Mass Effect

Now I don’t like David Cameron. For starters, he is a Conservative, a political ideology I am opposed to. I don’t like his plans for the economy (especially as my home town is the guinea pig for his ‘Big Society’ plans) and I just generally find him to fit the bill of the slimy, un-trustworthy politician. Yet I find myself developing a grudging respect for the man, thanks to his actions in India and Turkey.
In-case you hadn’t noticed, or are simply far enough detached from the frivolities of teenagers to do so, the above quote is from a game. It might seem odd to insert a quote from such a media, but I find it reflects adequately what Mr Cameron has decided to do (as well as being a line that always makes me smile). Whereas Labour decided to side step any issue, or turn a blind eye for fear of losing an ally, Cameron has simply gone in with a cudgel and told them what he thinks. Because if Pakistan is double dealing, they are as much a detriment to our plans (a term used in its widest sense when you consider how much of a mess they are) in Afghanistan as they are an aid. A country cannot be an ally and an enemy at the same time, and Cameron has made it clear he will not sidestep the situation like his predecessors.
And let us not forget that it was a combined effort of many countries, including Britain, that allowed Israel to come into sovereignty in the first place (and their excellent military). I find myself agreeing with our Prime Minister that their actions have turned the Gaza Strip into a prison camp. The shooting of innocent Turks on a humanitarian mission a few months ago was a sign that Israel does not wish for aid to enter.
What also drew my attention was the reaction of the press. We often cry out for our politicians to finally be honest, but then when one of them decides to actually be so, the media doubt that too. “Is honesty the best, foreign, policy” is a little quote that has stuck in my mind. Well maybe it is my more brutish attitude towards politics, but yes. If you give countries a long leash, they will only stretch it. Maybe the Prime Minister’s early forays into honesty signals a turning point, where we start to real this leash in and finally tell some of these countries where they can stick their own foreign policy.

1 comment:

  1. There was a series on Radio 4 a little while ago about how we don't get great political characters any more, because they get taken to pieces by the press.
    Although when we have Boris Johnson as Mayor of London you have to wonder how true that really is.

    I'd generally applaud more openess and honesty in foreign policy. It is important for a democratic foreign policy.

    However I do think, at the least, a certain amount of discretion and tact is required. Just like any negotiations you're going to get better results if you allow people to make concessions while saving face.

    You also need to consider your audience carefully, and this is where Cameron probably can be criticised. There's no doubt that the Pakistani intelligence service does have links with the Taleban. However saying Pakistan supports terrorism has a very different meaning in India to the UK. Here we will think of Afghanistan. Indians will think of Kashmir, Mumbai and the other terrorist attacks blamed by many in the country on Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Pakistani army will be offended. It has lost more lives fighting the Taleban in border regions than the US and UK have in Afghanistan.