On the road again

Sorry for the lack of updates … this is not due to procrastination or lack of ideas, just the fact that the surf’s up, the fish are biting and that means that, with apologies to John Masefield

I must down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky
For if I stop in Throgmorton Street, they’ll lynch me by and by.

All of which is not only complete doggerel, but actually plagiarised from a New Statesman joke contest in the 1970s, of which my parents used to own an anthology. Sorry, I was miles away there.

  • The French are not exactly innocent of this “freedom fries” nonsense, by the way, unless you believe that they have lobsters in Brittany
  • Without wanting to get all armchair general about this, it seems pretty obvious to me why the Iraqi troops appear to have been pretending to surrender and then continuing to fight. Strikes me that it’s just a matter of tactics; if you’re worried that some of your army might be surrendering anyway, then if the loyal ones occasionally wave a white flag between attacks, then even a surrendering unit will still hold up the enemy because they have to be careful to make sure they’ve really surrendered. It’s the exploitation of a social convention for private gain and it’s horrendously irresponsible, just as it was when the Serbs used to paint red crosses on their supply vehicles and we used to put spies among the weapons inspectors. It is hard to conclude other than that the rules of war are going to hell pretty quickly.
    Update: No, what the hell, I’ll say what I think on this one, in the knowledge that a lot of readers aren’t going to like it. In all honesty, if I were a commander in the Gulf right now, I would ignore all shades of the Basra Road, put to one side remarks about the Mark of Cain, and white flag or no, I’d keep shelling any Iraqi position until the smoke stopped rising, on the basis that if the reluctant Iraqi conscripts really want to desert, they can always achieve this by simply running away. It simply isn’t safe to do otherwise and I certainly won’t be condemning UK and US troops for any breaches of the Geneva Convention which are forced on them by an Iraqi tactic of using fake surrenders. This is what is known as “supporting the troops” by the way; attempting to genuinely sympathise with the horrible situation they find themselves in trying to stay alive while executing as many orders as possible, and it is not at all inconsistent with condemning the policies which put them in harm’s way, or recommending that they be brought home as soon as possible. D2D also does not condone the practice of fragging officers in any but truly extraordinary circumstances.

  • Big up to everyone who reads this blog and who knows me from my central banking days (yo Alan). Check out this number from the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, written by Tony Yates, who has the official D2D seal of approval as a Top Bloke. Both for the simple reason that he happens to be one, and because he has put together an article on monetary policy as interest rates approach the zero bound which is distinguished in my eyes by having a quite serious discussion in it of Silvio Gesell’s views on the desirability of a tax on hoarding cash balances. Since this was a central tenet of the Social Credit school and thence a key economic idea of Ezra Pound, there is clearly some sort of synchronicity at work here. I haven’t had a chance to read the whole article yet, but if Tony thinks that there’s something to Social Credit (he even namechecks the Alberta SC gang), then maybe we ought to dig old Ezra up after all.
  • More to come …

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