Friday, April 03, 2009

G20: leaders, words and gestures

Some hacks are bemoaning the absence of a bout of decent tub-thumping rhetoric to match the urgency of our times - but when the emotive words are so widely misused and misunderstood by modern politicians through years of abuse and misuse, what's the point?

Was Hitler's Germany really "fascism" or just strong but woefully misguided leadership?

What happened in Russia until recently seemed pretty much like "authoritarian hierarchical government" (the dictionary definition of fascism) yet it was given the antonym of "communism" and even held up as an "aspirational" system by most of the left wing parties around the world. It was originally imposed to shoot a few toffs and get the trains running on time, then extended to slaughter a few million dissidents, and ultimately chug on as an autocracy as the apparatchiks found they rather liked the perks. "-isms" can be unhelpful and misleading things.

Even "war" isn't what it once was. These days we have "conflicts", "shock and awe", "rendition", "insurgency" and all manner of terms that reflect the fact that it's not possible to have good clean war, and blow the full-time whistle any longer.

Overall, TMP suspects that Obama comes across as young, black Regan on his way to becoming Morgan Freeman - thus doing dear old Ronnie's journey in reverse! But we hope we're wrong.

As well as words, there is also "gesture rhetoric" where strong actions speak louder than any words - so if we are after a real show-stopping gesture of leadership and solidarity at this time, what's to stop HM Brenda inviting her new New Best Friend Michelle Obama to front the US joining the Commonwealth and put the "special" right back into the relationship ..?

We're prepared to overlook that little local difficulty back in 1776 if you are, and then the US could enjoy a role with the remnants of the Empire that it once so desperately envied that it bankrupted the UK during WW2, to ensure that we let it go.

Here's the clincher: the Commonwealth countries have the capacity to produce all the food that its member nations would need for the foreseeable (including climate change) future. The UK alone and EU most certainly does not, and on the evidence of the way that the French and German energy companies have played their hand when "sharing" restricted resources recently, TMP really wouldn't want to be left to deal with them when the sh1t hits the fan.

However, we'd never again top the medal league table at a Commonwealth Games, but that's a small price to pay.

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