Monday, 7 June 2010

Oil On Trobled Waters

In the current situation in the Gulf of Mexico, Oil is the last thing we want poured on the water, However I thought I would look at the meaning of the phrase.

In earlier times, the pouring of modest quantities of oil into the sea was done deliberately in order to forestall rough seas. This phrase alludes to the calming effect of that oil has on wave action as it spreads over the surface of the sea. Very small quantities of oil can cover a surprisingly large area as it spreads into a layer just a few molecules in thickness. The surface tension of the oil layer has an effect similar to that of a thin skin and is highly effective at calming 'troubled' water. The calming effect of oil was known to the ancient Greeks

You can get peace oil produced in Israel by Jews, Arabs, Druze and Bedouin working together.

Other troubles waters in recet weeks are those around the Gaza strip. Much has been written on this already. I find it interesting what is said by Aljazeera, who had a journalist on board the ship.

Jamal el-Shayyal, Al Jazeera's correspondent who was on board the Mavi Marmara from the beginning of its voyage, said "Not less than 24 hours before Israel attacked I was granted access to all areas of the ship to see whether there were any unwanted people or weapons on board," he said. "There was nothing of this sort on the boat."

The Law of the Sea is discussed here, written by a professor of international law.
A maritime blockade is for security purposes only, and must allow humanitarian assistance to the civilian population. Since the ships sailing for Gaza were on a declared humanitarian mission, those on board had the right to expect that any humanitarian goods would ultimately find their way to their intended recipients. On the other hand, having announced its blockade, Israel had no obligation to take the ships’ crew at their word as to the nature of the cargo. The blockading party has the right to fashion the arrangements, including search at a nearby port, under which passage of humanitarian goods is permitted. San Remo specifies that this inspection should include supervision by a neutral party to prevent the unwarranted seizure of humanitarian supplies and the abuse of humanitarian assistance by the blockaded party.

Meanwhile in Reading there was a shooting last night, half a mile from my home. A man is in a stable condition in hospital after being shot in what police believe was a targeted attack. A LibDem blogger quotes 'six gunshots were heard'. A Labourite says 'a shot was fired. As far as I could find out there were no fatalities. Fortunately as I was on the spot I was able to reassure passers by about the general safety of the area and that this appears to have been a one off incident.' How does he know this I wonder? He says nothing about our gun laws, as they were passed by Labour.

In 2004 there was a similar incident up the road at Cemetery Junction. In 2008 in Caversham, and again earlier this year.

Gunshot wounds in the Reading area increased despite a national decline in figures, according to the Reading Evening Post in 2009. Nine patients were admitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital in 2007/8, three more than in 2006/7 when the number dipped to six, contrasting with the 10 per cent decline nationally. The previous year 2005/6 that figure was one higher with seven gunshot wounds recorded.

So not isolated incidents, but a pattern of violence. We should be looking at our gun laws again, and at the laws around soft drugs. Those who have read about prohibition will know that making something illegal can drive it into the hands of criminals. The United States added the prohibition of alcohol to their Constitution in 1919. Some 13 years later, after teaching millions of citizens to casually break the law and turning scattered poorly organized criminal gangs into a powerful syndicate (the Mafia), the whole experiment was called off.

Under labour we have increased binge drinking & gambling. And many many new laws.

We should learn from history, and not repeat the mistakes of the past.