I’ve not managed to blog much this week, so rather than go back over the details retrospectively, it seems better to simply write about the issues that spring to mind.
Very interesting meeting on Tuesday – at a numberless and nameless building with the chief of the new Serious Organised Crime Agency. This new agency is there to get a serious grip on serious crime – trafficking and drugs and major fraud and the like. It was born only a couple of months ago and so for now we could only really talk about where it was going and what it aspired to deliver. Time will tell if the very steely determination to succeed delivers.
The Prime Minister came to the Commons this week to report on the G8 meeting. It was funny reading the George / Tony miked conversation from G8 where the two big boys hadn’t realised that the microphones were on. Yo Blair! What struck me most about the conversation was Blair’s lack of concern for status in offering to go to the Middle East and talk preliminary to Condi Rice – as he states that it doesn’t matter if he comes away without a deal but that it would be bad if she did. I was actually quite impressed that his thoughts were about doing whatever it took rather than about how he looked.
The story is moving pretty fast and there seems to be a split in the Foreign Office and No 10 thinking about Hezbollah and Israel and where blame is to be apportioned. Listening to the debates in Parliament this week, the focus seems to be on condemning Israel for disproportionate action and on blaming Hezbollah for starting this round of fighting and retaliation off. The usual supporters of either side stated their usual allegiances. I really don’t think that playing the blame game helps one bit. In fact, the row in Parliament over who is more to blame mirrors almost exactly the endless row between Israel and Fatah or Hamas or Hezbollah as who is to blame.
As I have blogged before – unless George Bush and Tony Blair make the players in this tragedy come to the table and work it out – this will go on and escalate. And it won’t be the governments or the leaders of the terrorist groups or us in Parliament who pay the price – it will be the long-suffering public on all sides. They are the sacrificial lambs of the political games in the Middle East.
At the end of the week I went to an away day with some Parliamentary colleagues and Saturday was a very long surgery – and a very hot one – in the toy library at Muswell Hill.