Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Grounds for Divorce"

Writing a book on current affairs always presents a bit of a problem. Unlike this blog, there’s an appreciable time lag between putting the thoughts on paper and getting the darned thing out on public view.

And while all this monkey motion is going on, another load of world events have popped up that you’d like to have included.

This is what’s happened to my latest book, “Grounds for Divorce,” which, by way of a parallel history of the two nations, sets out a case for Britain to separate her foreign policies from those of the United States. It’s in no way intended to be an anti-American rant since, having spent many years there, I have the greatest respect for the people of the United States. Also, my wife being from Texas, I have to be really careful!

But it’s the governments of both nations that irritate me – and here I’m glad to find that I’m not alone. Both make much of their democratic principles but, when push comes to shove, it has little to do with the wishes of the people but comes down to the personal ideologies of those who, unable to find a decent job, went into politics. And it seems to me that, in that noble profession, rather as happens in a muddy pond, the scum rises to the surface.

Unfortunately, of all the alternatives available to us, democracy, with all its imperfections, remains the best option for Britain and America but I have my doubts whether it is necessarily the most satisfactory form of government for all nations. And the fatal error is to attempt to force an unworkable system on an unwilling population, which seems to be the attitude of both nations at present.

The ideal form of government must surely be one of a wise, tolerant and far-seeing dictatorship but quite where one would find such a creature remains a problem. But even less tolerant dictatorships have proved, in the past, to be more pro bono publico than many democracies. The rise of what are now known as dissidents in the world (they used to be malcontents), whose purpose in life is largely to upset the local applecart, has culminated in the terrorist cult, something which democracies seem singularly ill-equipped to counter. A good old fashioned strong-armed dictator would have little trouble dealing with such people who are a menace to the peace-loving members of society. And no doubt little more would be heard of them and law abiding citizens would be allowed to go about their business in safety and security.

Which brings me back to my book. One of the key planks of the argument is that Britain, who has had a long and bitter experience of trying (and failing) to establish peace in the Middle East and surrounding regions, should never have allowed herself to get tangled up in an unwinnable attempt to force “regime change,” that euphemism trotted out by the White House, on a people who, by their very nature, are unlikely ever to be able to embrace democratisation with any degree of success.

And that the peoples of both nations were suckered into thinking that this was a fine and valiant thing for their country to be doing – and worth the sacrifice in blood and money that it was costing.

Every day I read more disturbing news from the region and think that I should add another chapter to the book.

But it’s too late now. The proofs are gone and it is now available as a E-Book and, in a week or two, as a soft cover.

And, on reflection, another chapter will add little to a saga of officialdom’s stupidity in the name of freedom.


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