Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Seeing the woods for the firearms
Intelligent pre-election panic it might be but let’s welcome the sudden radicalism of two Government statements of intent. The international plague of small arms trading is a tragedy especially for poorer people caught up in conventional conflicts. Its good that the government pays this some attention. And there is a real problem with illegal logging stripping the rainforests so the proposals for international timber trade regulation are a step into the right arena. Government tackling either or both these issues would get my support on these issues, there’s no doubt it is a good electoral ploy, electorally attractive to people like me. And the fact that the current US administration will be unhappy with these initiatives is no electoral liability in the UK.

Neat time to float these ideas too, just before the Budget hogs the news so the radical feelgood has a chance to be noticed. Two thoughts. Just possible that the election may be called this weekend caching a new political momentum. And a memory of Harold Wilson on the stump in the 1964 election and asking ‘why do I stress the need for a strong Navy?’ and a heckler shouting ‘because you are in Portsmouth’.

Let’s hope we have better luck with trees (more of) and small arms (less of) than with that (ahem) pledge to get NHS dentistry available to all by 1991.

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