Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Top of the Pops

Joy and tears in equal measure as the US-based Fund for Peace releases its 2006 “failed states” hit parade.

1. Sudan (3)*
2. DR Congo (2)*
3. Ivory Coast (1)*
4. Iraq (4)*
5. Zimbabwe (15)*
6. (Tie) Chad (7)* and Somalia (5)*
8. Haiti (10)*
9. Pakistan (34)*
10. Afghanistan (11)*
* Position in 2005 report

Congratulations, Sudan! A sterling effort in what was this year an extraordinarily crowded and competitive field. Finally, all those years of nurturing that “perfect storm” combination of militant Islam and sub-saharan Africa is paying off. With Iraq and Afghanistan on a five-point handicap to allow for all the help they’re getting from the US military, Sudan’s place at the top is secure for three or four years at least.

Despite their best efforts to utterly wreck the country and destroy its culture, pride, essential institutions and international credibility, Britain’s Labour Government had to make do with a disappointing twelfth place.

“We’re gutted!” declared Foreign Secretary Jack Straw yesterday. “We really thought we’d got the mixture right this year, based on the Fund for Peace’s own published criteria…”

Mr Straw proceeded to outline Britain’s qualifications to the assembled hacks:

mounting demographic pressures – uncontrolled immigration
massive movement of refugees and internally displaced peoples – ditto
legacy of group grievance-mongering – Muslim terrorists on the Tube and wannabe head-hackers demonstrating in the streets
chronic and sustained human flight – anyone who can leave Britain has probably already done so
uneven economic development along group lines – compare public and private sector pensions
sharp and/or severe economic decline – consider that box ticked
criminalisation and delegitimisation of the state – oh yeah
progressive deterioration of public services - yup
widespread violation of human rights – does the phrase “control orders” ring a bell?
security apparatus as "state within a state" – see above
rise of factionalised elites – Gordon and Tony
intervention of other states or external actors – if the Scots don’t count, there’s always Brussels…

“We spent decades spouting nonsense about how socialism could raise Third-World basket cases up to Western levels of peace and prosperity before we realized how much easier it would be to reduce Britain to their level instead” said a chastened Tony Blair, taking up the theme, “but alas, we obviously overestimated our powers of destruction. It seems Britain’s private sector is just not taking the hint about corruption and incompetence from our example.”

“Maybe some mail-order peerages, 30,000 extra labour-voting NHS management drones and a few more whoremongering retards in the cabinet will do the trick…”

A failed state, yesterday. How long must Tony dream?


Anonymous said...

So this is how it looks from North Carolina? Ever considered getting out of your little world and see for yourself what a failed state means? Dont worry, you wont need a passport or travel that far, go to New Orleans...

Ivan the Terrible said...

And that exonerates Tony Blair because...?

Shame the death-spiral of public education wasn't on the list of criteria, Anon - you could be a poster boy for poor punctuation.

Gorilla Bananas said...

These failed states never fail badly enough for the humans to bugger off and let Nature take over. And England hasn't been the same since they stopped locking people up in the Tower of London.

Desargues said...

Shouldn't thisbe another symptom of a failing state?

PI said...

We're waiting with bated breath for a sacking or three.
Maybe local elections will demonstrate the beginning of their downfall. Or is there just too much apathy.
Not from the nurses I'm happy to say.
Please don't start on my punctuation. With the help of a dear young man I now have a blog roll. Now if only I can emulate Des and conquer the other thingy.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi GB. Shame we can't manage an elegant combination of your two thoughts, and lock everyone up in the Tower of London. Sadly it used to be the other way round - the Tower was where the Plantagenet kings kept their royal menagerie including, I believe, a very dispirited ape.

Maybe it wasn't all bad. The illiterate savages of medieval London were better behaved than our modern chavs, for a start.

Des - that's nothing: the same poll reveals that 117% of Britons don't trust pollsters either.

And Pi, this talk of a "dear young man" of yours interests me strangely. What exactly are you getting up to, you minx?

R. Sherman said...

Ivan, I think congrats are in order. You've received your first "drive-by" and "anon." Nothing like having someone read only one post, draw conclusions for which there's no evidence, i.e. you're a bumpkin living in the bucolic wilds of the Appalachians, then lob a bomb in your direction.

Wait a minute. That sounds familiar.


Ivan the Terrible said...

Yup - he had me in plaid shirt, dungarees and beard before you could say "redneck".

Quite hurtful, really - I'd always rather fancied myself as the Unabomber type...

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Des is right about a puzzling thing. And also about the fact that mistrust of the media should be a criteria for failed state status. The fact that the US has one of the most ridiculously pandering news reportage systems in the Western world, does not tally with the consumer skepticism poll. The broadcast and cable news services are openly capitalistic (I don't use "capitalistically" pejoratively necessarily, but as far as the news goes, capitalism and pandering to advertisers is a big problem), reporting only the news items that Americans want to hear (blonde girl gets murdered in Aruba; Scott Peterson kills 8-months pregnant wife; Michael Jackson fancies little boys - all get more media play than Darfur, the ballooning national debt or the environmental brinksmanship the current administration is working).

PBS, NWI and the BBC are the best places to get television news but we don't watch them in the numbers we watch the network or 24-hour news cycles, if we're watching at all.

Give 'em what they want TV and news programmes that more resemble lifestyle magazine shows are what we want apparantly, but polls show simulatenously not. We get both the media and the governments we deserve, and in the US and UK we always, always vote for our wallets more than anything else. That's fine unless you find yourself in a time of war or a time of impending environmental catastrophe; then it is unconscionable. But we are too soft to hear that. We'd rather concentrate on what to plant in May or how there might be a pill/procedure/operation that can stop us getting so fat.

The Tony Blair phenomenon will be interesting to read about as history in 10 years. Right now it's just worrying. He seemed so competent, so fresh and I think, in some ways, is as much a victim of his own success (he set higher expectations , as a leader, from the start - not difficult when you're following Major. I am one of the few people I know who think that he handled domestic things like the fuel crisis and the mad cow thing, OK) as much as his monumental failures - disastrously, anything international, a very scatter-shot cabinet and now, it seems, both the NHS and the economy are in trouble too.

That's my 2 cents/pence although at the current exchange rate you only get one salient pence for two salient cents.

FBT said...

talking of not owning a passport or wanting to travel far, I understand that the Bush had done neither before he achieved his current august position.

The capital of Liberia hasn't had electricity for the past 15 years and it doesn't even make the top 10? What does it take to get into this list?

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi Sam - if it's any consolation, I've lived in eight different countries, and in every case the media of each was just as parochial and biased if not worse. At least in the West there's more balance, if only because if staking out an ideological position is what passes for brand differentiation among free-market newspapers.

In nakedly racist, xenophobic and genocidal China, on the other hand, one is never troubled by bad news...

FBT, welcome aboard. Isn't Liberia the one with the new female president who - oops - used to work for the insane limb-hackers who destroyed the country in the first place? I shouldn't worry, then - you'll be shooting up the list in no time. No pun intended.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Point taken, but just because others are worse doesn't mean we shouldn't aspire to be better - the itchy soul of mankind etc. Of course there is always the possibility that the itchy soul of mankind is less about yearning for a better world/brighter tomorrow/more fluid fluid dynamics etc. and more just a bad case of crabs.

By the way, I apologize for the unreadability of my last comment, and the appalling typos. Well done and thank-you for actually getting through it.

Pi, I agree. The nurses are a stalwart lot - the government pisses them off at their peril. My wee brother is a nurse in the admittance ward of the roughest hospital in the East End of Glasgow. Any apathy there and you're likely to get a knife in the throat, or a needle in the face. In the past few years, the staff numbers have dropped to levels that require him to work twenty-odd hours a week in unpaid overtime regularly, just to get stuff done. He grows shorter on apathy and altruism daily.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

And I meant, of course, "sapient pence" not "salient pence". Somebody needs to lead me away to be shot. I'll go quietly.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Salient works too :)