Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Laughable Ken Livingstone

Interesting that Livingstone, who apparently can not tell democratic America from dictatorial Cuba, found that Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez is as mercurial with his "friends" as he is with everyone else.

As a tax payer, I rather think that Mr. Livingstone should repay the cost of these trips.

Anyone who wants Britain to be more like Cuba under Castro or Venezuela under Chavez is either deluded, stupid or evil.

Perhaps Livingstone will stand "indefatigably" with George Galloway in the Dunce's corner of British politics -reserved for those who kow-tow to the enemies of our country.


rk said...

When faced with the wide range of political opinion and the knowledge that despite the impression I like to give I don’t know everything, it can sometimes be difficult to separate the informed intelligent position and the ill-informed idiots amongst those whose views you don’t share. This is a problem because I want to engage and understand the former while steering clear of the futility of discussions with the later.

I’ve found that opinions on a few litmus tests areas act as a handy guide. Therefore anyone who believes in 9/11 or 7/7 conspiracy theories can be safely ignored in the knowledge that you could talk for hours and learn nothing and teach them nothing. Another one is people who seriously prefer the leaders and regimes of Zimbabwe, North Korea, Syria or Iran to those of the developed world, imagining that the relatively minor failings of Bush and Blair somehow makes them worse than the brutal rulers of these countries. So for example Mr Galloway routinely fails this test. Chavez has recently made a bit for leadership of the world wide movement of American opposition that has seen him associate with every one of those countries. His ramblings are beginning to match Mugabe’s for sheer lunacy.

My mayor, Mr Livingston was already in the idiot camp for sharing platforms, with his anti-Israel hat on, with some fairly extreme Islamic figures but that was a few years ago and I was beginning to change my mind on him. Then suddenly he does something as stupid and dim witted as this. Oh dear. Back into the idiot corner and this time there is no coming back.

mick said...

Without hyperbole, please explain exactly why the regimes of Zimbabwe, North Korea, Syria and Iran are "brutal".

Exactly what is fundamentally different about these countries from the 'developed' world?

Cicero said...

I suggest that reading the Amnesty International reports or those from Freedom House on those countries will clear things up. Routine use of extra judicial execution, torture, denial of any civil rights. No society is perfect, but quite objectivly we can say that what you call the developed world is a very long way indeed from the contempt for human rights that these regimes show. said...

I would recommend going to Cuba to see how "dictatorial" it is.

People are keen to talk about the country. They criticise the economic problems but value the social gains of the revolution. (After all health standards compare favourably with parts of the US!) They are fiercely protective of their national freedom - understandable given the aggression of democratic America over the decades.

There are serious problems with civil and political rights in Cuba but hyperbole about dictatorship doesn't really contribute to understanding the issues.

phil said...

What bearing does the health service have on whether Cuba is a dictatorship or not?

This is morally equal to a claim that Mussolini wasn't a dictator because the standards of rail punctuality "compared favourably with other countries". said...

Sorry if you misunderstood my point. I wasn't suggesting that Cuba's excellent health service had a bearing on whether Cuba was a dictatorship.

I was making the point that Cubans talk openly about the pros and cons of their system. There is no sense of fear and tyranny.

Its not like any dictatorships that I have visited. Its not in the same league as Syria let alone Uzbekistan.

rk said...

No sense of fear. Talk openly? Really?

By the way the Cuban health service isn't that great. The life expectancy / infant and adult mortality stats of obese unhealthy Britain are still better than Cuba's on every count. What is remarkable is that a country so poor can have such a relatively good health system for a ratio of GDP which is not extravagant. But it's not fantastic, it’s not world beating and it’s not enough of a pro to outweigh the cons of Castro’s communist regime.

Can I ask if you had to choose one politician / international leader to become UK dictator for life who would you choose from the following list?
Bush, Blair, Chirac, Castro, Kim Jang-il, Hussein, Assad or Al Bashir

phil said...

But rjdbham, even if speech were truly free in Cuba, free speech is a necessary but not sufficient condition for democracy. Even if Cubans could criticise the Communist party as much as they liked, they are still forbidden from founding rival parties.

As if any regime less brutal than Syria's ought ipso facto to be immune from criticism! said...

Phil is right. The WHO report that life expectancy is about a year longer in the UK than Cuba. Not bad when GDP per capita is over eight times higher in the UK.

I'm not suggesting that Cuba should be immune. I don't pretend Cuba is a liberal democracy. (I'd like it to be one.)

But does hyperbole and caricature help when it comes to Cuba?

I would recommend that people visit Cuba and see all the good and bad points.

ps Please can I have some more options for a UK president for life? How about Nelson Mandela? Vaclav Havel? Shirin Ebadi?

rk said...

Higher GDP does not necessarily equate to healthier people. The average Briton was in better shape under post war rationing than they are now and back then GDP and health spending were much lower.

No you can't have more choices that's the point. You talk up places like Cuba and talk down the UK and I'm asking you to pick the current UK leader or the Cuban one. Essentially to put the FPTP / NHS arguments to one side and say which 'regime' you prefer.