Friday, January 23, 2009

How to lose friends and influence people

Great, scathing piece by Andrew Pierce on the Telegraph about Mr Bean's tour of India.

David Miliband, aged 44 but with the face of a 30-year-old, has proved yet again he is even more immature than he looks. His performance in India was rude, stupid and politically and diplomatically naive – pretty impressive in a Foreign Secretary.

Ah, that's the sort of thing we've been missing in the right side of journalism for some time! It's about time someone other than bloggers started hitting these pompous lefties where it hurts - in their ego.

What does matter, though, is that this so-called intellectual is allowed to strut his stuff on the world stage, desperate to prove he is still a big player, and in the process deeply offend India, one of Britain's staunchest allies.

Love it! Perhaps even more remarkable than the fact that Mr Bean abroad managed to piss off one of the few friends we still have overseas is the fact that so little attention was given to it by the broadcast media.

If a member of the real royalty rather than the Marxist Monarchy had managed to offend our colonial colleagues to even a modest degree then you can bet it would be all over the BBC news - pretty much like the supposed "racist" nickname given by the Prince of Wales to an Indian friend (who found the nickname affectionate and not the least bit offensive).

But the pathetic Miliband can trample over the toes of one of our most relaible allies in their own country and this warrants barely a mention? Strange, don't you think?

The charge sheet makes grim reading. Why did he think it was tactful or clever to deliver a speech declaring there was no such thing "as the war on terror" in the Taj Hotel in Mumbai where dozens of innocent people were killed in a hail of machine gun bullets by terrorists? Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group linked with the murderous attack, welcomed our Foreign Secretary's "positive comments!".

As Pierce points out, those comments were intended to impress a certain incoming President rather than any terrorist organisation, but the fact that Lashkar-e-Taiba pounced on it with relish gives you some clue as to where we headed over the next 4-8 years.

Miliband, Oxford educated and a Kennedy scholar – which apparently makes you clever – showed off in private meetings hence the official complaint about his conduct from Delhi. He also caused grave offence by addressing his host, Pranab Mukherjee, 73, by his first name even though the veteran foreign minister called Miliband "Your Excellency". My, little David must have loved that.

One of the things I love about India and its people is that even though we ruled over them for so long - and not always particularly well - they still have huge admiration for Britain and many things British. The trouble is that many of the things which they retain and still believe are British - such as etiquette, manners and politeness - have been thrown out in this country.

This whole episode highlights the poor standard of our politicians today. By all accounts, as Pierce remarks on, Miliband is well-educated and intelligent but the reality is that he has lived a closeted and insulated life. Brought up in a Marxist family and groomed from an early age (like his brother) to be a politician, Miliband has no exposure to the real world. All his life he has listened to a one sided political viewpoint which he has accepted as correct and never questioned. This is the way of all politicians these days - Labour or Conservative - they virtually all come through a system.

Some might argue that that was always the way. Churchill had a closeted and insulated early life - but unlike Miliband and the modern breed of career politician, Churchill had an army career during which he would have been exposed to all sorts of different political viewpoints - from barrack room lawyers to important foreign diplomats. All of these things are necessary for anyone to get a rounded view of politics - it may not change your overall standpoint, but it will help you to understand the real nature of politics and diplomacy. You can't be taught that in a classroom by some lecturer.

Miliband's disgraceful performance should mark the end of his political career. Nobody should be that bad as a foreign secretary and be able to move on up the ladder. A couple of decades ago he'd be staring into the abyss of a life on the back benches (at best) by now - but not the chosen one. He's still seen as the golden boy of the left by the left and is still marked for "great" things.

But God help us if he ever does get to be Prime Minister.

1 comment:

William Gruff said...

' ... The trouble is that many of the things which they retain and still believe are British - such as etiquette, manners and politeness - have been thrown out in this country ...'


I worked with a number of Africans last year (in a local factory) and they made the same point. One Nigerian actually said 'you came to Africa and taught us how to behave yet no one here behaves that way'.

I could not disagree with him.