International news was headlined by the shock discovery that although several videos suggested Osama Bin Laden was camping out in mountainous caves, he had actually been secretly living in a villa in Pakistan. The Americans sent in a team of Navy Seals who took him, more Dead than Alive. Since this discovery the Pakistani government have been unsure if they should:
a) Object to being "invaded" by two Black Hawks loaded with special forces, or
b) embarrassed that he was found living almost next door to their military officers training collage.
Meanwhile the world was left wondering if they were incompetent or complicit.
Interestingly the British Prime minister angered the Pakistan government 9 months ago, by suggesting they "look both ways" on terrorism. In a bid to rebuild relations, on the 5th of April this year, Mr Cameron announced a £650million Aid package to improve their schools and teaching. I'm not sure if this aid package has a refund provision, now they have been found to be housing the worlds most notorious terrorist ?
The death of Bin Laden has caused a variety of reactions, ranging from scenes of celebrations in front of the Whitehouse to condemnation for the West carrying out an execution without trial. I think I'm somewhere in the middle. A friend posted an interesting thought on Facebook "Remember how during passover, we spilled a drop of grape juice on the plate for every plague on the Egyptians because we take no pleasure even in the suffering of oppressors and murderers." it is true, how we react is what sets us apart form those around us.
On the assassination debate, I have agreed to differ with Jake my 15 year old, he is of the opinion that all is fair in love and war. In his mind, Bin Laden was a combatant and therefore it was not an execution but an act of war. I struggle with the concept a little because we are "at war with terrorism" only because of a phrase coined by President Bush, in reality are we not trying to apprehend a group of criminals? To further cloud my mind there seems to be different principals applied to different situations. In Northern Ireland, those who once wore the shirt of a terrorist, now wear the suit of a politician? In Libya we can't assassinate Gadafi because that would be regime change, meanwhile we can bomb targets that aid the rebels and that isn't effect the regime of the country ? Perhaps I should apply my sons logic to him ? "Not cleaning your bedroom is an act of war young man, as such all conventions on punishment are suspended"... "Hand over your phone and Playstation for disposal"
Just as an aside, the US Military gave Osama Bin Laden a burial at sea, and as my eldest brother in law pointed out "Lob da man in sea" is an anagram of his name ! spooky !!
Moving on. In these green and pleasant lands we have had elections for local government this week. We also had a national referendum to decide if we should change our voting system from, most votes wins (first past the post) to an "Alternative Vote" better know in some countries as "instant run off" AV is a more complicated system heralded as creating more coalition governments and favoured by our often 3rd place party, the Liberal Democrats. The result, a resounding NO or a decision to stick with our existing system.
To be honest I don't think the issue is AV, its more about VA, or Voter Apathy. The elections managed little more than a 45% turn out ! We are fighting wars in the east, to usher in democracy, yet at home we don't exercise our democratic right !!
Finally up here in the North West of England, we don't mess about with fancy voting systems. When voting for the local government seat in the constituency of Bury came to a draw after 3 counts, a much cheaper method was used to determine the outcome. The labour and Conservative candidates drew straws. Well actually straws were in short supply, so a couple of plastic cable ties were stuck in a book, one having been shortened.!!!!
Joanne Columbine of the Labour Party drew the right one and was duly appointed. I kid you not !!
Cost of the AV referendum £250M .
Cost of traditional elections several millions.
Cost of 2 cable ties less than 10p
Til the next time ............
images .. OBL Telegraph Bury Sky News