June 26th, 2003



The diet went out the window last night as Sana invited me and Erin (and Khi, Brian, Owen, Guy and Nick) around for anti-christmas dinner.
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Oh, and I agreed with Sana that we have to set up a video evening, as we all like hanging out and watching videos, but don't ever get round to doing so. If anyone else is interested in watching videos on a regular evening, just say what days are good for you...

EU agrees CAP reform deal

A Guardian Report on CAP reform brings great news.

The biggest shake-up ever in European agriculture was agreed today, as ministers approved a deal to reform the system of paying subsidies to farmers.

Farmers will no longer be paid for their production, regardless of market conditions, and any subsidies will be closely linked to environmentally friendly farming methods.

The current system encourages farmers to produce surpluses of unwanted food because they receive EU payments regardless of demand. The EU then has to pay to "dump" the unwanted food on third markets, angering Europe's hard-pressed trading partners.

The basic cost of running the CAP will remain unchanged at about £30bn a year - half the EU budget. Subsidies will continue to flow, but now they will be linked to more modern farming methods connected to rural development and the environment.

Slashing farm subsidies was a sensitive issue for many. Only last week the French president, Jacques Chirac, threatened to veto a deal without compromise. Today's accord gives the French a face-saving formula: their farmers can keep most of their subsidies until 2007, while other member states, including the UK, will move to "100% de-coupling" in 2005.

Now, if we can just persuade the US to do the same...

On the war

I was challenged a short while ago to find a coherent explanation for the war in Iraq. Someone else on my friends list then mentioned it today and this came out (repeated here so that other people can contradict me):

I absolutely agree that the way it was handled was a disgrace, there was no valid reason given for immediate war and we've been lied to a lot.

The only reason I can think of for the war (and how it came about) is:
1) The US believes that terrorism is being caused by both its troops propping up the Saudi regime (Osama's reason for his terrorist stance).
2) The US also believes that Saddam is sponsoring terrorists and Palestinian suicide bombers (he was definitely doing the second, he may have been doing the first but I ahven't seen any real evidence of it).
3) The US also believes that other countries (Syria, Iran) are covertly sponsoring terrorists.
4) Removing Saddam allows them to remove their Saudi troops. It also sends a message to Syria and Iran that they will kick ass if they suspect terrorists are being harboured.
5) You cannot fight a summer war in Iraq.
6) Therefore they have to invade Iraq right now or wait a year.
7)If they wait a year nobody will believe there are WMD's because ans Blix will have have been searching for a year without finding anything.
8) Any excuse will do, because once they topple Saddam they can unveil torture chambers to show how it was worth the loss of life on both sides to get rid of Darth Hussein.

I'm sure I've missed something, and I'd appreciate critique, but this is the only explanation that adds up for me. The oil one doesn't, to be honest, because the money they'll make out of that is far less than the cost of the military operation. Of course, the people paying for the war aren't the same as the people making money from the Oil, but I don't think that they were stupid enough to think they could just walk off with the oil without basically saying "Ok, we are an Empire." which they don't seem to be willing to do at the moment.