Thursday, January 27, 2005

The fact that they’re voting, in itself, is successful


OK, one final stab at Bush’s press conference:
Can I ask a follow-up, sir? What would be a credible turnout number?

THE PRESIDENT: The fact that they’re voting, in itself, is successful.
So... one?

Really, if there are more parties on the ballot than there are electors, something has gone a little bit awry.

There is a nice piece in the Indy, behind the usual obnoxious pay barrier, by British comedian Mark Steel on the Iraqi elections, which he thinks are a bit of a farce since real power will continue to lie with the occupiers.
They won’t have any say on who runs the country, owns the country, or arms the country. So it won’t be a governing body, it will have the powers of a parish council, making pronouncements such as, “With regard to the incessant artillery fire behind the Burger King, we can’t alter the military situation. But we can come up with suggestions for how to deal with the congestion this is causing at the traffic lights on Rumsfeld Street. Now, Mrs Aziz has proposed a special lane for suicide bombers, with hefty fines for anyone blocking their way, and I for one think that’s jolly clever. But most importantly, it’s that time of year where we invite all those who wish to have stalls for the Baghdad Village Fayre. And I can tell you that Mr Mohammed has very kindly offered once again to take responsibility for the guess the weight of the hostage’ competition.”

The over-riding issues in Iraq are the occupation and the mass privatisation, which the new body will be unable to have any say in. Half of Britain goes berserk if the European Union interferes with British law by recategorising whelks or insisting we can’t set fire to asylum-seekers. So imagine what the Tories and the Daily Mail would say if we were told that, in line with EU regulations, our parliament no longer had the right to oppose the French riding tanks through our cities or the Italians swiping all our oil.

The elections only make sense in the context of the whole war, having been set up by the Americans as part of their process of controlling the region. It’s as if a pack of burglars came into your house, robbed you, then set up an election so you could vote for which member of the family filled out the form for the insurance.

So on the night of the elections in Iraq, there ought to be the shortest Election Special programme ever. Peter Snow will yell, “On the board behind me is a huge map of the country. There are hundreds of candidates, so let’s see what happens if this one over here gets 86 per cent, or if he gets absolutely none at all. All this region, from right up here to way down there, will still be run by the Americans. So there’s the result - goodnight.”

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