So hard to keep up with modern criminology – Mark Francois’ question to Ben Wallace yesterday had him indicted in a Point of Order. The Rayleigh MP reminded the Defence Secretary that the Type 26 frigate had been delayed for a year and that it would end up costing the taxpayers a quarter of a billion pounds more. Then he asked, “Why does it take BAE systems 11 years to build a ship the Japs can build in four?”
Is BAE criminally incompetent or institutionally rapacious? The point of order didn’t ask that question. There was no opportunity to tell the House what public spirited altruists BAE are, nor was the wider scandal of contractors looting government coffers addressed. The crime that Mark Francois was indicted for was “othering”. The Labour hon. Lady said, “There has been an unexpected undercurrent of othering”. Mark Francois had “othered” them, the Nipponese. Or if that is stigmatising them, he had othered those normally and racially consonant with the land of Nihon. Unless the use of their own name appropriates their own language for our oppressive colonial purposes. It’s all very difficult. What should we rightfully say?
The Labour lady referred to “Eastern South East Asians”. Colleagues in the gallery flinched. She was dangerously close to erasing the indigenous identity of an entire island race by homogenising a range of identities into a generalised caricature. There is probably no right answer. We should just ignore them.
IT’S NOT ALWAYS THE CLIMATE’S FAULT
The powers Labour ascribes to the minister are godlike. One questioner was very close to asking Andrew Mitchell what he was doing about women with diarrhea in Somalia.
It’s probably deficient to display callousness towards the sufferings of the world but there is something equally defective in the moral exhibitionism of those lashing Tories for the droughts, disease, famines and floods that cause so many deaths in so many places.
More than that, to suggest these ills are the result of climate change obscures the fact that most of these countries are either in a state of war or suffering under autocratic governments. Famines in a world of record grain harvests are always political.
THE LUNGS OF THE WORLD (REPRISE)
Fabian Hamilton pleased Guido very much as he said, with a flourish, “As we know, Brazil is home to the lungs of the planet!” This site on Saturday pointed out that lungs exhale carbon dioxide and forests exhale oxygen. If forests exhaled carbon dioxide, we would cut them all down as the mortal enemies of mankind. Is it because Brazilians are as dim as Fabian Hamilton that they are cutting down their rainforests? Do they believe as he does that they are “saving the planet”?
It’s just as likely the planet can look after itself.