So, Hamas has said that it's going to re-arm, ceasefire or no. Palestinians returning to their flattened houses in the Gaza Strip will be really gratified to know that the homicidal monsters in their midst who like to mix their fighters in with school-children so they have more martyrs to show the cameras are trying to provoke Israel again. Hamas just loves to engage in combat with a nation which they have described in their Covenant and on the media as one which they're trying to wipe out entirely, no matter what the cost to others. After all, they don't see bringing up children to believe intifada is best, that women are mere baby-incubators, and that there's no individual, only the Palestinian 'organism' (I doubt Fatah supporters and ordinary Palestinian men, women and children who are trying to get on with the often tricky business of day-to-day living would see it that way) as child abuse. I do: being brought up to hate defies logic, and I'm all for teaching children cause to effect and vice versa as soon as they're able to speak; Platonic dialogues, Aristotelian metaphysics and Arabic philosophy (from Kindi-Suhrawardi) by the time they start school. There's no excuse for leaving children dumb and ineffective against the ideologies of powers that be, whether they're good or bad. We quote Voltaire ad nauseam (I disagree with everything you say... etc) without really considering the meaning of that phrase. Why would one wish to defend anyone whose opinion is predicated solely upon the emotional ideologies that have been embedded into their subconscious? I'd borrow the end of Tom Stoppard's response to Voltaire: 'I'd attack to the death your right to say it' - whether you are correct or not. Learn first, ponder greatly, reason wisely - and then speak your piece.
Kenneth Clarke's back on the Bench - huzzah, say I: it's about time that we had a flamboyant, outspoken Labour-hater in the limelight. I hope that he does a Humpty Dumpty on Mandelson and Brown: their bloated, smug, posturing self-righteousness needs to be smashed irreparably. It seems also that he's agreed to toe the Party line on Europe; hope that he'll keep to his promise. If only Redwood had been brought in and David Davis - one of the few men in the country who will act on principle, rather than popularity - returned as Home Secretary. We're in for interesting times; something to alleviate the encroaching tides of penury on long, Arctic evenings.