Monday, 24 May 2004

Breakfast Waffles

Having spent most of last night coughing, hawking and spitting, I really wasn't in the mood for the arrival of Lucy Smooth's workmen this morning. They'd come to replace her front windows, and as I quickly learnt, this involved a great deal of drilling, banging, hammering, whistling (people still whistle!), repartee and of course, The Workman's Friend: a radio.

Unlike some lucky bloggers, who are troubled only by a noisy fondness for Radio 2, I had workmen who were into what sounded like Magic 105.4.

Putting in the URL, I discover to my surprise that Magic is a London station. When at University at Newcastle, we listened to Magic for a short while. Just long enough to realise that while they had a decent set of untroublingly MOR records, they only had about 15 of them. When they'd played them, they...played them again. And again. Nothing seems to have changed.

Amid the sounds of hammering and drilling, I shuffled about having breakfast and reading the post. Two letters from the same dental practice letting the man we bought the house from 12 years ago know his next appointment is overdue.

And another electoral address. This time from someone else crawling out of the woodwork: RESPECT, The Unity Coalition. I read it all carefully. I don't believe in dismissing people without giving them a fair hearing. I wasn't convinced, however, especially when I saw George Galloway's cheery face squinting at me from the back of the leaflet. Apparently, he's a "Respect MP."

I have little time for what's become of New Labour, and I generally show my socialist leanings quite openly, but most of this leaflet is of the old-fashioned, discredited kind of Old Labour.

"No to the euro and the new EU constitution."
"Raise tax on the big corporations to fund public expenditure."

In effect, let's get out of Europe and tax the big Internationals. Then watch them move out of Britain into mainland Europe, leaving us to our greater decline.

And inevitably: "End the occupation of Iraq." Couldn't agree more. The sooner the better. I was against the war in the first place. But how the hell can the Coalition forces simply pull out now, without at least trying to ensure some stability? I do think we're in a hole and digging fast, but what would happen to Iraq if it were left to its own devices now? Probably what I always expected: either an Islamic Fundamentalist government, or a civil war. I rather think one of these will be the outcome whenever we leave, but I don't believe our pretty soiled position in history would be improved by cutting and running now.

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