Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Post-Election Bile to Come

Alert: Blatant Theft From Leslie Marsh's Blog

Oz PM invokes Oakeshott

This must be a first for any politician to publicly invoke Oakeshott. Of course we all know that Thatcher invoked Hayek.

PM’s speech on indigenous recognition.

Their roots lie in a Burkean respect for custom and cultural tradition and the hidden chain of obligations that binds a community together. In the world of practical politics they owe much to the desire for national cohesion Disraeli spoke to in 19th Century Britain – another time of great economic and social change. And in a literary sense they find echoes in Michael Oakeshott’s conservatism and the sense of loss should precious things disappear.

It would seem to me that these words are as applicable to Canada as they are to Australia.

I used to take offense when critics of the war against Iraq claimed it was all about the oil. I hereby apologise.

From this week's London Review of Books:

It's the Oil

Jim Holt

Iraq is 'unwinnable', a 'quagmire', a 'fiasco': so goes the received opinion. But there is good reason to think that, from the Bush-Cheney perspective, it is none of these things. Indeed, the US may be 'stuck' precisely where Bush et al want it to be, which is why there is no 'exit strategy'.

Iraq has 115 billion barrels of known oil reserves. That is more than five times the total in the United States. And, because of its long isolation, it is the least explored of the world's oil-rich nations. A mere two thousand wells have been drilled across the entire country; in Texas alone there are a million. It has been estimated, by the Council on Foreign Relations, that Iraq may have a further 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil; another study puts the figure at 300 billion. If these estimates are anywhere close to the mark, US forces are now sitting on one quarter of the world's oil resources. The value of Iraqi oil, largely light crude with low production costs, would be of the order of $30 trillion at today's prices. For purposes of comparison, the projected total cost of the US invasion/occupation is around $1 trillion.

Who will get Iraq's oil? One of the Bush administration's 'benchmarks' for the Iraqi government is the passage of a law to distribute oil revenues. The draft law that the US has written for the Iraqi congress would cede nearly all the oil to Western companies. The Iraq National Oil Company would retain control of 17 of Iraq's 80 existing oilfields, leaving the rest – including all yet to be discovered oil – under foreign corporate control for 30 years.

Still, there is reason to be sceptical of the picture I have drawn: it implies that a secret and highly ambitious plan turned out just the way its devisers foresaw, and that almost never happens.

Hat tip AS.

Even the Colours are Right! That's John Tory in the Blue

Voting Accidentally

Friends of ours recently emigrated here from Ireland and are in the process of applying for Canadian citizenship. Somehow, they were under the mistaken impression that they were eligible to vote and brought down to their local polling station proof of their address and picture ID and were duly allowed to vote. Of course, they perhaps ought to have investigated more carefully their eligibility but had taken it on good authority that they were eligible. As such, they did not ask at the poll if they were eligible even though they are not yet Canadian citizens and as such they were not asked at the poll if they were Canadian or asked to produce documentation to that effect. I can see how they might have made the mistake as you are allowed to vote in European Parliament Elections as long as you live in Europe. Now, the couple are in a panic, worried that by voting they might jeopardize their application for Canadian citizenship. My considered advice is that they should keep their faux pas to themselves. But although you can see how it could happen under the present process, what I can't understand is how the present allows it to happen.