Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Exploding pigs cannot save our bacon

THERE was outrage this week when it was revealed government anti-terrorism experiments involved blowing up LIVE pigs! The explosive tests at a secret military research lab in Wiltshire, were to examine how to help British soldiers in Afghanistan and victims of terrorist attacks like the 2005 London bombings.But there was an outcry when folk found out that the experiments included wiring up pigs up to explosives then blowing them to kingdom come. Scientists claim the pigs were sedated and that the results could help to save lives. But others aren’t convinced. My MP pal Norman Baker called the process “revolting and unnecessary”. He made the point that — unfortunately — we already have enough examples of the horror caused by terrorist bombs. But the main problem is that however many pigs we incinerate, this isn’t going to solve the basic problem. The real solution to terrorism is for us to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. So, instead of wiping out the pig population, let’s stop provoking the Afghan population It would be better for us to bring an end to a military operation which is both illegal and unwinnable and which never had a chance of being successful from Day One. The Daily Sport has had the courage to stand up and be counted. How many more deaths must there be, and how many terrorist attacks must we risk, before other newspapers, and MPs, wake up to this basic and inescapable fact?
HAVE you heard of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono? No, I thought not. He’s Indonesia’s president-come pop star and he’s just released his third album! Despite falling popularity, tough economic challenges and ongoing criticism of his government’s treatment of tribal people, the pop-loving Pres has still found time to record the nine-track album, which he made in collaboration with other artists, including the winner of Indonesian Idol. Mr. Yudhoyono writes his songs while on foreign visits or sitting in the presidential palace. Although he doesn’t do live concerts he’s been known to sing at his election rallies. His latest masterpiece is the immodestly named song I’m Certain I’ll Make It — an optimistic title by any politician’s standards! If Gordon Brown recorded an album I’m not so sure he’d be quite as confident. He would probably call it “Poisoned Chalice” or “The End Is Near”! Then again, if he collaborated with pop beauties like Katie Perry or Lily Allen then his election campaign song is obvious – “The Only Way Is Up!”
HERE’S a quick history lesson for you: until 1558 the French city of Calais was ruled by England. “So what?” I hear you cry. Well, recently, the plucky city-folk have been re-establishing their reputation as “England’s southern-most point” to cash in on the 2012 Olympic Games. City authorities, hotel owners and businessmen have figured that using the high-speed channel tunnel link, the two-hour journey from Calais to London is just as quick as travelling from one end of London to the other. So they’re investing £80 million on places for athletes to train and spectators to stay. They’ve already secured contracts with teams from Uzbekistan, Senegal and Chad (though, funnily enough, not from France), and they’re eagerly looking for more. Some Calais-based businessmen have even revealed that they were secretly rooting for London to beat Paris in the Olympic bid because the UK capital is nearer to them. The city bosses say they’re not trying to compete with English training facilities but they are promoting their involvement — dubbed Mission 2012 — by promising teams who train in Calais will win in London. That’s a big statement to make — but if Uzbekistan conquer London they’ll have done better than Napoleon ever did!
WELL that’s it, folks! At long last the UK is officially out of recession. Figures released this week show our economy has finally started to grow again. And unemployment has dropped for the first time in 18 months. That’s a good sign. But it’s still going to take the country a while to get back on its feet. The UK is the last big economy to come out of the recession. France, Germany, Japan and the USA all started improving last year. And our comeback so far hasn’t been as good as experts predicted. Although it’s no longer shrinking, the UK economy has grown by just a measly 0.1%. That would mean that a business that was worth £10,000 is now worth £10,010 — it’s not very much is it? If that’s not bad enough there are still over two million folks out of work and the country has a whopping collective debt of 800 billion quid! After the worst economic battering in decades we’re going to be feeling the effects for a long time yet. Being told the recession “is officially over” is little consolation to people who lost their jobs, businesses and homes. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but whoever wins the next election has a massive job to get the UK back on-track.

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