TV Licensing called today to remind me that if I didn’t pay my outstanding license fee before the weekend, then I would no longer be legally allowed to watch tele-visual gems, like tonight’s BBC “F***Off I’m a Hairy Woman.”
Worried by the prospect of missing this, a two hour East Enders omnibus and constant reminders that the real Britain exists within the cultural perimeter of Shepherds Bush, I gave in and paid-up. Either that or the TV detector van would be waiting for me to switch on whatever ghastly rubbish the corporation chooses to serve-up on Saturday morning.
I’m writing this now because there’s nothing worth watching and on the news, it’s all about the plight of a young woman sailor, who further to her first confession that she strayed into Iranian waters, she’s now, in a second letter, calling for a complete withdrawal from Iraq. What next I wonder? I vaguely recall something about giving comfort to the enemy and “Name rank and serial number,” and Col Bob Stewart on Sky News, is equally perplexed that we’ve forgotten everyone else in the party and are happily allowing the Iranians to leverage the lone woman among the captured group.
Based on this, how many people out there now think it’s sensible for women to serve on the front line? As Colonel Stewart pointed out, equal opportunity doesn’t stop once the enemy gets his hands on you and in this case all we have available is the weak threat of an ASBO against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, who seem to be treating the matter as a huge joke at our national expense. What defies belief is that government has some naïve faith in Tehran playing by international law.
But this is the Middle-east and our rules don’t apply. Day is night and white is black and a border is where you say it is one minute and somewhere else the next and “No” you can’t have your ball back or even your sailors until whichever political group feels that it’s achieved a small victory over its rivals in another ministry.
It’s depressingly similar to the lecture on governance I gave in the region two weeks ago. Government projects grind to a halt because ministers and ministries won’t cooperate and are deeply suspicious of anything that might give a small advantage to the chap running the other department.
In Jordan two years ago, the Prime Minister instructed all the different government departments to write down their processes, so the team that I was with could identify the first six to start re-engineering. Only around 40 departments out of two hundred responded and only a handful of these were intelligible. The reason, most departments had never written down their processes and anyway, they would be damned if they were going to share the information with anyone else. So the Prime Minister was ignored. I’m sure Iran is little different, although I have a standing invitation to visit from the telecoms Minister.
Staying with the subject of international differences, I think back to Tuesday night, at a drinks party, full of different nationalities, mostly senior police officers from 30 countries having fun, even the Mounties this year, with the Russians being the most affable. Perhaps the UN would achieve rather more in the world if business was carried-out in the bar. You can rely on the Russians and Ukrainians to brink their own supply of vodka too!