I should have been writing up my notes from yesterday’s recce for “Whips, Chains and Rubber Tips” but ended up spending most of the afternoon in email debates with a couple of friends.

The first revolved around an article by George Monbiot where he suggests that, “There is only one way to check American power and that is to support the euro”. A proposition that, in my mind, seems calculated to undermine the US (thereby the World) economy, which may not actually lead to a reduction of American hegemonistic tendancies but would almost certainly lead to greater world instability.

I am all for some sort of checks and balances to American geo-political ambitions but through diplomatic means, anyway the point of the debate with my friend wasn’t about how to achieve this it was about George Monbiot’s about face as regards the Euro.

He’s such a staunch anti-globalisation pundit yet thinks nothing of suggesting that [East] Europeans should consider relinquishing some of their newly-found sovereignity to the EU in order to oppose the US. I mean, that’s not anti-globalisation, that’s just sour grapes!

I just don’t like inconsistency in my pundits.

The second debate was about Muslim block-voting in up-coming Scottish Parliamentary elections from an article in the Mirror;

Mark Smith

24th April 2003

MUSLIM leaders have urged followers to reject the Labour Party in the
Scottish election in a major break with tradition.

Muslims have been asked to vote tactically to remove Labour MSPs who
supported the war against Iraq.

A new Muslim political group, the Lothian Muslim Voting Committee, says
they should back the SNP with their first vote and the Scottish Socialist Party
with the second.

More than 100 Muslims also turned out to support the tactical voting strategy
at a meeting in Edinburgh’s Central Mosque on Tuesday. Committee chairman
Abdul Ibrahim said: “We want people to vote for any party that is likely to
oust Labour or the Tories.”

SNP campaign co-ordinator Nicola Sturgeon was pleased of the new votes.

She said: “Like so many they obviously have a sense of failure at the direction
of Labour.”

(Which I provide in full as I can’t find a link to it.)

My friend felt that this was the beginnings of a political cohesiveness amongst the Muslims. Perhaps so, I could see his point, but asked what he would advise a prospective voter to do in the case of a good constituancy MP who has served his community well but who belongs to a party, (say Labour), which he [the voter] wants to ‘hold to account’?

The upshot of this debate was that Muslim voters have to raise their ‘political game’ in order to voice their concerns, perhaps by tactical voting but not when these tactics damage a good MP or allow the likes of the BNP in ‘through the back door’.

What I found interesting about the two (albeit unrigourous) debates was that they took place at all. Prior to the War in Iraq, there was never any such debate amongst my friends – Politics being almost taboo but the war has changed that.

Perhaps reflecting the socio-political inclinations of my 2nd Gen. South Asian peers, the war was preceded by a flurry of political musings – all anti-war. Immediately after the fall of Baghdad there was silence for a number of days and I thought that normal service had been resumed but today seems to show that something has changed.

I’m almost hesitant to say it but it seems to be some kind of liberation. Pandora’s box has been opened and who know’s what kind of ills have been let loose as a consequence [of war] but whether in Karbala, Edinburgh or Birmingham people are talking politics.

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