As usual this blog appears just as the dust’s settling. Sort of. There’s still quite a lot of it in Libya though, along with rockets, millions of AK47 rounds, snipers and air strikes. But news agencies tell us that its all over bar the………..well, bar what ? The prettily titled Arab Spring revolutions fill me with cynicism. Gaddafi is [was?] a bad man. But there are lots of those around the world, cruel tyrants who mistreat their own people, but we don’t go and bomb them or send in the SAS. So why Libya ? I envy anyone who can’t answer that, because they must be living in an information – free bubble somewhere.
We’re told that the devices and social networks which doubtless helped dislodge Middle Eastern despots – Blackberries and Farcebook, Twitter et al – will not be interfered with by the government despite them having played an important role in the recent riots and looting. I suppose that’s a good thing, mainly because said gadgets and networks – especially the networks – are used by folk who have nothing significant to say, aren’t criminals, aren’t anarchists, and don’t want to start a revolution. But they do like to tell each other boring things. Instantly. So much communication, so little information. And that’s the way the government wants it. They’re going to pursue looters and rioters for two years, pretending that the lawless outbreaks were unique to 2011. Which is nonsense. Looting, if not rioting, and a huge stolen goods regime flourished in many of our bombed cities during WW2. The fact is that presented with the opportunity of getting something for nothing, with little perceived personal risk, a significant proportion of any given community will steal things. Remember the container ship which ran aground on the south coast a few years back ? Ok, some people did in fact return stuff they’d appropriated, but I bet most didn’t. Some of its probably still doing the rounds on eBay.
And on the news today, reports that the government is “very concerned” about rising rates of obesity in the UK. There are proposals to tax fattening [fast] food. The stuff poor people eat. That’s fine for independently wealthy, slim – line power brokers like Cameron, Clegg and Osborne, but where does it leave Eric Pickles ?