March 13, 2008 § Leave a comment
13th March 2008.
Minister of State – Dr Kim Howells MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles St
Dear Dr Kim Howells,
How lovely to hear from you again and for restoring my faith that the little people – like myself – really do have a voice! I am almost ashamed that my faith in this great democracy of ours ever wobbled!
On the subject of the Iraqi Oil Law, you once again make your case with a great mixture of clarity and devilish wit….. “a lot of nonsense is published about the Oil Law” you remarked in your recent email to me. Spot on! I myself have come across reams and reams of this ‘nonsense’ – most of it to be found in the official PR copy circulated by the corporate lobbyists, primary stakeholders and other parties of an enterprising bent (no need to name them here..it’d take me all day!) – those patriots who’ve been working tirelessly for the past 5+ years to get this oil deal done and dusted. How could anyone expect us and our American friends to pull it off without resorting to a little bit of harmless manufacturing of consent? Blimey….if our leaders were afraid to invoke a bit of perception management when it mattered we’d never achieve anything on the international stage, would we? Personally I’m all for a dodgy dossier now and then if it means my shares in BP grow fatter, I’m sure you agree. That a few perceptive folk like you and I correctly perceive what is published as ‘nonsense’ shouldn’t detract from the essential fact that it works wonders on the dim-witted general public at large, going about their business of making money, wearing their Eye-Pods and upgrading their 4 x 4’s. Manufacturing consent comes cheap when you’ve got the virtually whole nation operating on ‘autopilot’ as senseless consumers, so from a cost-benefit point of view it’s a complete no-brainer. Nice work!
Whilst you were busy touring Erbil, Baghdad and Basra I had the chance to meet a very disarming (no pun intended!) gentleman from that part of the world called Hassan Juma’a Awad – you may have heard of him? He represents 26’000 workers in the oil sector affiliated to the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions and says that he wants ..”a new, different law, which will be in the interests of Iraqis.” In fact, in a recent poll, most Iraqis said they wished Iraq’s oil to be developed and produced by Iraqi public sector companies rather than foreign companies. I have to say that hearing Mr Awad recount how he and his oil worker colleagues ingeniously kept the oil industry running through several devastating wars and sanctions, and how – more recently – the actions of Al Shahrastani (arrest warrants issued against union leaders and the sabotaging of oil installations by proxies to undermine their credibility) – have been “similar to those undertaken by Saddam’s regime”, almost brought a tear to my eye. But then… suddenly I remembered my BP shares…and in my mind’s-eye appeared an image of your good-self beavering away at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to keep British share prices up at all cost, and in a flash I realised I had regained my senses!
Anyway… to get to the point, I was wondering if perhaps – in light of all we have discussed – you could answer a pertinent question of mine….
What can we do to ensure that UK interests are not overshadowed by Iraqi interests? (With oil prices now exceeding $100 pb & with us having footed the bill for invading and occupying them, isn’t it our duty as utility maximisers to grab as much oil as we can whilst the fledgling Iraqi constitution still enables us to?) I am anxious to know your thoughts on this matter. I hope you can oblige when you have a moment?
On a different note… thank you for the update on your allotment. Hopefully you’ll find time to remove those weed covers and really get stuck in once ‘The Deal of the Century’s’ done! You’ll be pleased, I’m sure, to hear that my own allotment debacle is now finally sorted, and my antagonists taught a valuable lesson – a homage to Nixon & Kissinger, Indochina style. The other night I sneaked onto the site armed with a tank of barely diluted general- purpose herbicide, and sprayed the lot..that is…everyone’s lot. I’ve now put my name down for an allotment elsewhere. I think you’ll agree, that sometimes force is the only way forward!
Your supporter, always listening and learning…
(Father, ex allotment-keeper, and shareholder in UK PLC!)
PS: Since I’ve always enjoyed your comical asides so much, I thought …why not let me tell you a joke for a change? Actually it’s more of an amusing anecdote doing the rounds in the right-wing think tanks at the moment. It goes like this…
Blair and Bush are enjoying a cozy prayer together in the White House chapel. When Blair begins to levitate Dubya shouts out in his dozy Texan drawl – “Yo Blair….less air!” (I am led to believe that Tony makes a bit of a habit of this, much to the chagrin of Bush….no wonder the quip!)
I hope you enjoyed that – it made me chuckle when I heard it. (Not as good as yours though!)