Tuesday 21 September 2004

I have legal advice too

You don’t fool me.
Many may have thought Mr Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations was wrong-footed last week when he was prompted into saying the war lead by the United States in to Iraq did not conform to the UN charter and was hence illegal.
This has always been Mr Annan’s stance even though he has gone out of his way to try and accommodate the belligerents and suffered great losses as a result.
Every supporter of the war expressed incredulity at his comments; especially those who thought those comments would harm Mr George W. Bush’s re-election plans.
One sees fear of being found out by all those who have brought peace, stability, freedom, instability, woe, democracy and destruction to Iraq but dissembling about the presence of weapons of mass destruction as a premise for invading Iraq.
It is arguable that only the ones who had direct contact with Saddam and his henchmen suffered more seriously at his hands.
What the majority suffers now in the continuous bombings, hostage-taking and lack of amenities belies the fact that things were probably a lot better with Saddam.
Basically, the naivety of the US is exemplified in expecting a pliant and submissive public the day after the war only to be greeted by sophisticated insurgents that have claimed thousands of lives from all spectra.
Legal advice
What was most striking about it all was the interview with John Howard the prime minister of Australia who is presently fighting a re-election campaign.
Having tried to denigrate and castigate the Secretary General, probably with the intent to belittle, discredit and besmirch his good name the commented about the fact that Mr Annan’s view was contrary to the legal advice Australia, the UK and the USA had taken before the war.
Wait a minute! What really constitutes legal advice? It is a position in law that you take regarding an issue, situation or circumstance where those topics are presented to give you confidence in the position you have taken.
Legal advice does not suddenly imply you are right; whilst you might want to think you are, it can be challenged by interested parties in the court of law and found to be wanting when an alternative view is offered. This is how the whole court system works.
A lawyer takes a position on an issue and advocates that position in adversarial stance to the challenger of his views with the judge to moderate and the jury to pass judgement.
Mr Howard, your legal advice hardly past the first hurdle of due diligence in having those views challenged in a court of law, they can hardly be used as corroborative facts to support the case for Iraq.
I think we have all grown weary of politicians telling us they about faceless experts who have said food is safe, mobile phones do not fry your brain, genetically modified crops know their place and would never move out of their enclosure and now that the Iraqi escapade was for the war against terrorism.
For now, I have no time to analyse the quality of legal opinion that informed the war in Iraq, but I do wonder what opinions they now have of the precariously life-threatening situation in Iraq that the cost of insurance is astronomical.
By and large, on face value that statement was valid, but thankfully we analyse everything thing we hear, especially from people of Mr Bush’s political persuasion.
No Sir! I am not fooled.

Monday 20 September 2004

Foot in mouth disease

Classic Foot in mouth
Living in the Netherlands for me has brought many benefits of settling down, prosperity, lack of stress and a probably sedentary lifestyle.
I have my reasons for leaving the UK and I am glad that my over 4 years here has been fun, exciting and interesting.
However, the Dutch have been inflicted with the worst kind of political representation in living memory.
After the shake-up of Pim Fortuyn’s considered right-wing stance that lead to his unfortunate murder in May 1991, one would have thought the Dutch would be more politically sensitive in weighing the consequences of exercise of franchise.
Unfortunately, I regret to report that that hope has been twice dashed, squandered on the ignominy of voters who are lacking in both a conviction and ideology; and there is no sign of it being shifted for a while.
Anyway, we have this government whose most imaginative plans have thrived on penny-pinching and the intelligent use of circumstances to conceal more sinister intentions. See Tolerance as a mindset of choice, prejudice and hypocrisy - Part 2
Penny-pinching aside, one is quite amused that the news that the Prime Minister and his government which happens to be the uneventful president of the rotating EU presidency for just another 3 or so months has only been about to tactfully question the happenings in the Russia with the slant of blame on the Russian government.
Then he went on about the Netherlands remaining Christian even if people stopped going to church. Sometimes, it makes one wonder about how people think. Profound as that might sound; one is not impressed by half.
This is a government trying to be both right-wing and conservative, but failing miserably as both - they neither have ideology, identity, vision nor goals - they are as listless a ship navigating the throes of Hurricane Ivan.
Well, news reaches us that he has a foot infection which is not healing as fast as it should, hence requiring another week in the hospital. I wish him no ill, perhaps he might return from hospital with genuinely ground-breaking ideas – you can be infected with all sorts of bugs in hospital, he might just catch the Statesman bug.
Like the foot and mouth disease of a few years before, one is tempted to hope that he is quarantined from government for new ideas to evolve.
Lacking sight and vision

Tuesday 14 September 2004

Pass on these charlatans

Touchily in touch
Despite the lull in activity on this blog life has been quite eventful since the end of July. If you had read the previous blogs one can agree that the inability to see the beyond one’s immediate circumstance does contribute largely to the stress and despair that envelopes people’s lives.
Now, I can say my last job is history, though news does filter through that much of my painstaking work is being castigated by people who have no understanding or appreciation of what one left behind.
Basically, if a complete overhaul has to made of what was effective and working as at the time one left the company, it beggars the question, what were the successes so well highlighted when one was there, and how did those suddenly disappear at one’s leaving?
It is probably sabotage or the sheer understanding of how the system works and knowing what to do, considering one was given just two days to transfer knowledge of that system and the wealth of experience to complete greenhorns, the face-saving grace for those involved could only be suggesting a complete overhaul – even one could not begrudge them that, if there is an audience listen.
Proudly humble
In my humble opinion, the system is such that implementation is easy, designing to the specification of an enterprise setting is the difficult part and you do not pick that up on an afternoon of basic mouse-clicking.
The unfortunate situation of complex systems is that wizards are provided to simplify the implementation of unwieldy and unmanageable monsters to the detriment of good understanding of the fundamentals and praise of 2-page reviews in magazines.
Do not get me wrong, no system is impervious to modification, change or improvement, sometimes it should be replaced on the proviso the personnel involve know what they are doing and know what they really want to achieve.
One is willing to submit to constructive and knowledgeable peer analysis and criticism; it is part of the validation process; both healthy and competitively rewarding.
Not yet personally
However, just because you can drive a car does not make you a mechanic, many cannot even change tyres, in this case, one is afraid, and knowing that a cigarette lighter pops out once it is heated up is of course Rocket Science 101.
Why bother about this whole debacle which at first is a result of crass and incompetent management and visionless blundering?
Nobody wants to hear news that one’s well thought our work is being rubbished by charlatans after you have left, it is underhand, uncouth and ungentlemanly conduct, not to say beneath contempt. Do not even accuse me of taking this personally.
Be warned!
Mr Nice-Guy.