Friday, March 21, 2003

Tomorrow promises to be a beautiful sunny, Spring day in London - and what better way to spend it than by joining thousands of other lovely people in protesting the devastation of Baghdad. Assemble at 1200 midday at either Gower Street or Embankment: further details here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Troops Poised To Attack Iraq

The trouble with newsfeed services like the mighty NewsNow is that in this time of crisis, you find yourself constantly gaping at the screen, watching the countdown to war unfold minute by painful minute, until you CAN'T TAKE IT ANY LONGER...

07:54GMT: BBC reports troops poised to attack Iraq.

12:52GMT: Troops poised on brink of war, affirms Reuters.

14:00GMT: The Islamic Republic News Agency says Tariq Aziz has been killed, according to a bloke in Bulgaria with the gift of second sight.

15:00GMT: The Sun claims that Tariq Aziz has defected to Kurdistan, according to a bloke in Bulgaria with a large telescope.

15:47GMT: UPI reports 17 million leaflets dropped on Iraq to persuade soldiers to surrender.

16:25GMT: Troops still poised for attack, according to Channel 4 News. Some of them are getting a bit of a stiff neck.

17:58GMT: Xinhua News Agency reports Aziz appears on telly warning of "bloody war." Bloke in Bulgaria insists he saw him down the betting shop in Sofia putting a fiver on Bush to win.

18:19GMT: U.S troops remain poised for attack, confirms Reuters. U.K. troops, meanwhile, are having a cup of tea and watching Corrie.

19:26GMT: Reuters reports that 17 Iraqis surrender as a result of leaflet drop. Marketing Week reports all-time lowest conversion rate of any direct mail campaign.

19:35GMT: Fox makes a late entry into the media fray with the breaking news that Allied troops are poised to attack. Rumours begin to circulate that "the troops" actually consist of one Eagle-Eyes Action Man surrounded by handbag mirrors.

Right, that's it - I'm off to seal up the bedroom with duct tape and stuff tins of beans under the bed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Iraq. Is it about the oil, or is there something more sinister going on? Sounds like a job for the Random Conspiracy Generator...

Sunday, March 09, 2003

H. is correct that I'm old before my time. It's 9pm, I'm doing yesterday's Times Jumbo Crossword, half the clues have got something to do with Inspector Morse and I find this only mildly irritating, and I'm thinking of going to bed. I can guarantee that at this very moment, 600 miles north of here, my 92-year old grandmother is doing exactly the same thing. Granny probably isn't using Google to solve the Inspect Morse clues, and she doesn't have to get up at 5am to finish an essay on the cyborg potential of the internet, but still.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

An amazing thing happened today (and it's only 8:53 am!). I received, unsolicited, a letter from my MP Frank Dobson (Lab., Holborn & St Pancras), assuring me of his belief that war on Iraq is still unjustified. Regular visitors to these pages may recall that back in September I used the service to ask Frank to urge Tony not to go to war. I did receive a letter back quite promptly from Frank saying that he opposed war without the backing of the United Nations.

This morning he has sent me an extract from Hansard from 26th February at 3.29pm, in which he is recorded as saying:

"I am simply not convinced that all-out military action on Iraq can be justified at this time and on the scale envisaged [...] I share [the Prime Minister's and the Foreign Secretary's] concerns about weapons of mass destruction, about the vile and muderous Iraqi regime, about terrorism and about the need to uphold the United Nations. And I recognise...that every alternative course of likely to result in protracted misery and a large number of deaths for the people of Iraq. The Government argue that these concerns justify virtually immediate military action, and that they would be resolved by that military action. I find those claims less and less convincing.

[...] I do not believe that the Government have made the case that, after 12 years of not protecting the Iraqi people from their vile and oppressive regime, it is now a moral imperative that we do it within the next few weeks. [...] I do not believe that we have made the case that there is any connection between the current Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda. [,,,]

[...] Even less convincing are the claims of the United States about the enforcement of international obligations, when we consider its failure to implement Kyoto or obey the World Trade Organisation. It is tending to behave rather like a small maverick state. A small maverick state is a nuisance. It is a real problem for the rest of the world if the only remaining super-power turns maverick."

I think it is fantastic that Frank has taken the time to write to me and send me his views. I am comforted that my local MP vigorously opposes the war. And I think it's fantastic that is giving people the opportunity to have this kind of dialogue with their MP, rather than just whingeing about things in the pub. There's still time to persuade Tony of the massive public opposition to the war. If you feel like this, write to your MP and make your views known!

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Got flashed twice by speed cameras last night as I was trying to break my Reading-to-Kentish Town record (which I did) and arrived home thinking dark thoughts about the police state. Why, if a decent, tax-paying corporate whore can't drive her middle-management silver convertible at 90 miles an hour in the middle lane of a deserted motorway at 1am, what can she do any more?

Actually I see it as a sign from God that driving is evil and that I should stay at home and be happy. As H. says, "it's never too late to drop out". It can't be a coincidence that my next MA exam falls on the same day as I am supposed to be giving some dumb presentation in Madrid.

You could put all this in context of the looming War on Iraq. I can't be the only employee of Corporate America to be feeling that we've somehow got caught up in a bad bunch, that we've accidentally got in with the bullies. That the nation that pays my wages is doing so out of the dinner money it stole from the poor kids with glasses and freckles. As the days wear on I feel less and less comfortable about it all. Maybe it's time to change schools...