Tonight’s evening news had a fascinating, lengthy report about the separatist insurgency in southern Thailand and what looks like its brutal suppression by Thai armed forces. A good example of the BBC’s depth and reach.
What’s bizarre, however, is that the motivation for the story was not the questions it raised about the limits to the war on terrorism, or the potential damage to Thailand’s image as a friendly nation. No, the issue was that Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra hopes to buy a chunk of Liverpool Football Club.
You may have thought it unlikely to hear the phrase “human rights” and “Premiership club” in the same sentence, but apparently thousands of Liverpool fans are concerned about Thailand’s human rights record. I think that’s a good thing, but I also suspect that if Thaksin gets his stake and Liverpool at long last have a highly successful season next year, those concerns will vanish.
I think it would be wonderful if, as now seems likely, Manmohan Singh becomes India’s prime minister. I ran a lot of articles about India’s economy in the ’90s, during Singh’s tenure. It’s a small point, but he was always gracious and helpful, and wore his intelligence lightly. There are a lot of very big egos in Indian politics, and Singh always seemed to stand aside from the fray.
More qualified observers than I are also excited. It’s possible Singh will be able to walk the tricky path of placating the reactionaries in the Congress coalition while pushing ahead with the economic reform that has served India so well since he initiated the programme.
The unmissable Daniel Davies on rights-based lending: “The reason that Wolfensohns suggestion of a rights-based approach to lending has been opposed by ‘countries as diverse as the UK and Chile’ every time he has mentioned it in the past is that it is a bad idea.”
Read the entire post to understand his explanation.