Somebody has complained about me not blogging. That is the nicest thing that has happened for months, and here is the response.
There was a news item a couple of days ago that really took my breath away. Obama is planning to send thousands of civilian advisers to Afghanistan to tell the Afghans how to run their country. There was a clip of these civilians training in their flak jackets and steel helmets. They will have to go around with military escorts and Afghan translators, so you can imagine the scene: 'Howdy folks! I'm your new civilian adviser; don't take no notice of these soldiers, they're just here to keep me company. Now Ahmad, explain that in Pashtoo.'
I had a visit from an American friend today. He's been in Saudi Arabia for most of the last twenty years, so he knows what happens when well-meaning Americans tell other countries how to run their affairs. He agreed that this idea of civilian advisers is just pathetic. I suppose it all goes back to the days when self-righteous puritans crossed the Atlantic to get away from the corruption of the Old World and set up their ideal society. They seem to have succeeded in handing down the idea that America is uniquely good, 'God's Own Country'.
It would be nice if we knew how to run our own countries. I came across a blog recently, saying that Labour has ruined this country 'as they always do'. In fact the financial collapse of the past two years is the long-term result of decisions taken in 1979, when Mrs Thatcher came to power. She subscribed to the thoery that countries progress from a primitive state in which they mainly produce raw materials, through an industrial stage, to become finally a 'service economy' that earns its way in the world by supplying services such as banking and insurance. Her government set about systematically demolishing the regulations that controlled the financial sector. The City has since just grown and grown. Labour's great mistake - and it was heartily embraced by Brown - was to continue this policy to the bitter end.