Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shame On The House Of Representatives

I appreciate the concerns, I appreciate the argument that it's the Banks mess, they sort it out, but this issue affects everyone and will hurt everyone in trying to get things back on track. The solution the House of Representatives rejected would have worked as a buffer in the meantime, instead we have the result we can see now.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Birthday Celebrations

As some of you know, it's coming up to my birthday and yesterday I celebrated with a few friends in Central London.
Being the imaginative sort, I thought it would be nice if we met up at the National Gallery and not within a designated place there. So that we would all sort of bump into each other, that was the theory!
In practise, in spite of explaining my plan beforehand, I got a text from one friend asking where I was and anxious messages from Alex wondering where I was in the National Portrait Gallery (A slip of the tounge from me I'm afraid, when he rang to confirm earlier), followed by wondering where I was in the National Gallery. In the end he met up with some of us at the Crypt at St Martin in the Fields Church, where debates between Alex, Tim, Malcolm, et al, about politics, C.S. Lewis, the Church, etc.. took place before Alex had to leave to go to the Conservative Party Conference and the rest of us went to the Coal Hole in the Strand where the chief topic over a light buffet and drinks was, if I remember, the forthcoming Bond movie.
All in all great fun

Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain Vs Obama: The First Debate

I don't know about inexperience. In a nation as vast as the United States, spending several years as a state senator is rather valuable experience. As for Iran, yes I agree that there need to be conditions before meeting, but as any statesman worth their salt knows, lines of communication need to be open. And Senator Obama was always against the Iraq war, as well as being pro-Israeli
Not as combatitive as expected, but time will tell and polls show that Barack Obama came out better.

The Bail Out

At last! This is exactly why I think the Markets should have a certain, and I mean certain or else they could not operate, degree of regulation. Perhaps in the past Labour was too nervous about Middle England to do anything, whereas now we can do, and are doing, something positive to get us out. Of course it would help if we had support, not sniping from the Tories' but then the only way they can win power is if the economy is in dire straits so a rescue package under a Labour government isn't in their interests.
Of course, I hope I am wrong and I doubt for a moment that they all think like that, but being involved in politics means that you get cynical like that sometimes

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gordon Brown's Speech

Hit the right notes, was thoughtful, and socked it to the Conservatives. Especially with regards to the economy, and if you have any doubts about any residual nastiness, check out Iain Dale's piece where he says he can understand why George Osborne hates Gordon Brown. I have time and respect for Iain, but there was a touch of the personal and possibly impotent anger.
Times are tough and they will continue to be for the forseeable future, but today, where Party unity is concerned, we may have seen a turning point for the better. It's not just the Blairites in the Party who do not want to see a lurch to the left and the best way to do that is to unite, work at persuading the country that we have made mistakes, are sorry, and are doing our best to turn things around and turn on the Conservatives and work at persuading the electorate that they cannot do any better.

Ken Livingstone and James Mason

In The Independent yesterday:

You're on the radio now. Would it be fair to say that's because you're fond of the sound of your own voice? BRIAN CHESTERTON, Maidstone

I've always hated the sound of my own voice. If only I sounded like James Mason rather than Kenneth Williams

Now there is a thought! Unfortunatley I saw North By Northwest the other day so the imagination just boggles and therefore perhaps not a good analogy. Perhaps in that context it's David Cameron, with George Osborne as Leonard, and with Gordon Brown in the Cary Grant role! ;)

The Hoa Lo Prison Museum

Obviously I am not keen on the thought of John McCain winning in November, but I did feel for him when I read about this.
Its one area where I hold the Republican candidate with respect and admire his bravery. If the Vietnamese were just as brave, they would be more open about their past!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Premier Rado Interview

Got a phone call this morning from Premier Radio, with regards to my role with the CPF. Basically they wanted my views on the current economic situation and how I saw Gordon Brown's future. Given the CPF is non Party Political and I was speaking in that capacity I tried to be as broad in my answers as possible, but made emphasis on being careful in not talking down the economy during difficult times. A snippet was broadcast on their news coverage and you can hear it here.
All in all though it is a bit strange being interviewed every so often, and slightly unnerving, but interesting and worthwhile so long as I don't get big headed.

Obama Meets Bartlett

Hat tip to Iain Dale, Dizzykj, and WongaBlog.
Basically a shiort piece written by Aaron Sorkin for the New York Times. And here is a favourite bit of mine to whet your appetite. If you think it's too long, well thats because there are so many gems to gaze on before it reaches it's punchline:

OBAMA I appreciate your sense of humor, sir, but I really could use your advice.

BARTLET Well, it seems to me your problem is a lot like the problem I had twice.

OBAMA Which was?

BARTLET A huge number of Americans thought I thought I was superior to them.



OBAMA I mean, how did you overcome that?

BARTLET I won’t lie to you, being fictional was a big advantage.

OBAMA What do you mean?

BARTLET I’m a fictional president. You’re dreaming right now, Senator.

OBAMA I’m asleep?

BARTLET Yes, and you’re losing a ton of white women.

OBAMA Yes, sir.

BARTLET I mean tons.

OBAMA I understand.

BARTLET I didn’t even think there were that many white women.

OBAMA I see the numbers, sir. What do they want from me?

BARTLET I’ve been married to a white woman for 40 years and I still don’t know what she wants from me.

OBAMA How did you do it?

BARTLET Well, I say I’m sorry a lot.

OBAMA I don’t mean your marriage, sir. I mean how did you get America on your side?

BARTLET There again, I didn’t have to be president of America, I just had to be president of the people who watched “The West Wing.”

OBAMA That would make it easier.

BARTLET You’d do very well on NBC. Thursday nights in the old “ER” time slot with “30 Rock” as your lead-in, you’d get seven, seven-five in the demo with a 20, 22 share — you’d be selling $450,000 minutes.

OBAMA What the hell does that mean?

BARTLET TV talk. I thought you’d be interested.

OBAMA I’m not. They pivoted off the argument that I was inexperienced to the criticism that I’m — wait for it — the Messiah, who, by the way, was a community organizer. When I speak I try to lead with inspiration and aptitude. How is that a liability?

BARTLET Because the idea of American exceptionalism doesn’t extend to Americans being exceptional. If you excelled academically and are able to casually use 690 SAT words then you might as well have the press shoot video of you giving the finger to the Statue of Liberty while the Dixie Chicks sing the University of the Taliban fight song. The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.
OBAMA You’re saying race doesn’t have anything to do with it?

BARTLET I wouldn’t go that far. Brains made me look arrogant but they make you look uppity. Plus, if you had a black daughter —

OBAMA I have two.

BARTLET — who was 17 and pregnant and unmarried and the father was a teenager hoping to launch a rap career with “Thug Life” inked across his chest, you’d come in fifth behind Bob Barr, Ralph Nader and a ficus.

OBAMA You’re not cheering me up.

BARTLET Is that what you came here for?

OBAMA No, but it wouldn’t kill you.

BARTLET Have you tried doing a two-hour special or a really good Christmas show?


BARTLET Hang on. Home run. Right here. Is there any chance you could get Michelle pregnant before the fall sweeps?

OBAMA The problem is we can’t appear angry. Bush called us the angry left. Did you see anyone in Denver who was angry?

BARTLET Well ... let me think. ...We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know ... I’m a little angry.

OBAMA What would you do?

BARTLET GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

Its moments like that that I wish we had another excellent TV Drama with excellent dialogue like the West Wing!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mbeki Steps Down

A bit sorry to see his Presidency end in this way, but likewise he has not been a success, irrespective of being in the shadow of his predecessor. He did not act more firmly over HIV/AIDS in South Africa, plus he was perhaps a bit too appeasing towards Robert Mugabe, although his work in Zimbabwe seems to be reaping dividends. Plus if Mugabe breaks his word we now feel more confident about how South Africa will respond!
Perhaps history will judge him more kindly

Otis Ferry On Trial Again!

I will try and refrain from making any judgement other than I hope he is innocent. Put basically it's because I really don't like the guy and I, and I suspect many others, regard him as an arrogant, nasty, jumped up little *ahem*!
I trust however that the Jury will work at putting aside their pro/anti hunting views and prejudices on this case though! Because he deserves a fair hearing even if he may or may not have tried to prevent natural justice occur in the past.

A Possible Medical Breakthrough

As someone who lost a close friend, likely indirectly through diabetes, and who has had many relatives suffering from it over the years, I find this rather intruiging.
Time will tell though and I think it would be hasty to jump to conclusions.

George Michael Busted Again!

Yes we're sorry too George. In any case I seem to remember him saying in a TV interview that he would never go into a public loo again after what happened in 1998! I wonder whether he should really have been arrested, charged, and then given a conditional discharge in court!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another Way To Die!

I agree with Kerron, but it might well grow on me and from what I have seen of the trailers, the film itself looks like it will live up to the standards set by Casino Royale

The Fight Back Must Begin Now!

Sometimes I wonder what is going on in the minds of some Labour MP's. Right now the goverment is working flat out to help try and regulate the financial markets and protect it from further damaging speculation, only to find we have some speculators amongst us!
Not only that but sometimes they can be quite facile and hypocritical as well, such as George Howarth's comment about Gordon Brown being the worst PM in office since Neville Chamberlain! On what evidence comparable to other succesive PM's does he base that? Does he honestly think Eden was better, and as a Labour MP, Margaret Thatcher?
Then some complain that they are barred from having nomination forms sent out before the Party Conference, hence scuppering a leadership challenge. Now that may well be a fair point and hold some water, but then Siobhain McDonagh's sister tended to block nomination papers when she was General Secretary. One suspects that some of these rebels only like to challenge certain practices when it suits them!
One hopes that they will see some sense eventually, one hopes! But rest assured, the PM will not go down without a fight and some MP's ought to consider the damage to the Party that they will cause if they launch one, particually during such times as we are in now

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mugabe Humiliation

Well look at it this way, if he didn't find it humiliating, one would wonder whether any success had been made and whether he had an extra trick or two up his sleeve! Time will tell though, whether the political map of Zimbabwe has changed in practise.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That Saturday Night Live Skit

I know you have probably seen this skit on several blogs already (Hat tip to Iain Dale
and WongaBlog ), but it's one of the best Saturday Night Live ones I have seen and had me laughing out loud and chuckling almost all the way through. Brilliant one liners from both comediennes and it reminds me why SNL is one of my all-time favourite US Comedy shows and why I think Tina Fey is brilliant!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More On Dyspraxia

Further to my blog post yesterday, the Daily Telegraph did a thoughtful and accurate article about the condition which you can find here.

Labour Grassroots Survey

Click here if you are a Labour Party activist and interested in what is going on in the Party at the moment, especially if you want your views known on the issue of leadership

Rick Wright R.I.P.

Was rather shocked to read about this last night as I didn't know he was ill. On a personal level it's very sad, especially as he seemed to be a very friendly and popular guy, and I think the wishes of his family, that their privacy is respected at this time, is only right. On a musical level I think it marks the permanent end of Pink Floyd

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gordon In Trouble

For anyone who has been a supporter, or fan of Gordon Brown for a no of years, the news this weekend has been rather depressing. It seems that no sooner are we getting back on track than someone, be it Siobhain McDonagh, or Fiona Mactaggart pours oil over troubled waters.
I for one am saddened by all of this and feel that, as I have said before, we not only give Gordon time, but also the loyalty and support he needs, perhaps things will slowly improve. Especially given the recent US Federal takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
But time is not something that is welcome when people are struggling to keep things together and more must be done to help, but that will also need to involve a change of attitude towards how people respond to finances. Accepting living on credit and accepting a culture of borrowing, and debt being seen as nothing to be too concerned about is not acceptable.
This requires confidence though and that is not helped by Party in-fighting. I just don't want to see a situation where there is a bloody coup, only for the plotters to find that they have further eroded public trust and I for one remember well the aftermath of the Thatcher downfall, and somehow, empathising more than I am already with those who stuck with Margaret Thatcher to the very end is something I am reluctant to do.

Dyspraxia Awareness Week

Am glad this is coming up, although having dyspraxia isn't just to do with being clumsy, it can also affect your attention span and your spacial and social awareness. Thankfully my case is mild, but thats not so for a no of people and I can tell you that it's a mare if you are not diagnosed, because you are aware that something is wrong and you try and hide it out of fear of being labelled stupid or clumsy!
That said, I am not totally averse to ball games, although I much prefered batting when I've played cricket and I have not been accurate in passing the ball when playing football etc.. ;)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Anonymous Briefing

I don't agree with the anonymous letter writer Kerron has mentioned, but I think that he or she should perhaps be a bit more honest, esp as I am sure that such a missive is relatively easy to trace ;)
That said, perhaps Gordon's detractors in the Labour Party and the left-wingers and Social Democrats in the Media should consider that the time to stick by those leaders you inially supported and whose ideas you espouse, is not when things are going well, but when there are storms and difficulties. No one seriously thinks the PM is happy with the state of the economy, which is a global problem, or that he is doing everything to try and deal with the situation, so perhaps instead of simply issuing ultimatums, those with loudhailers should do what they can to help in the meantime.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Black Only Schools Equals Segregation

I don't know exactly how much thought Lee Jasper has been giving to this, but Rupa is right. The likes of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela have spent their lives fighting against this. Such moves are counter-productive, would only turn back the clock and give false comfort to those who have racist tendencies

Driving Lessons Part XVIII

Drove on a dual carriageway for the first time yesterday. A bit unnerving, but generally fun and in some ways easier than driving down most over roads. I do need to check those blind spots more though

Brown Endorsements

To be fair I think there may have been some mix-up in Downing Street over this, as I don't think Gordon Brown would make such a mistake of protocol. That said, I do think the Conservatives know that and are just being deliberatley irritating.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Liquids and Terrorism

I do see both sides of the argument, but agree with the government. Put basically terrorists only have to be lucky once and unless there are succesful and direct ways of combating this form of terrorist attack, then the current restrictions, as annoying as they are, will have to remain

Friday, September 05, 2008

Charles Clarke Should Pipe Down

There are three predictable laws in Labour Party politics. Elections, Campaigns, and Charles Clarke sniping about Gordon Brown.
Of which, although I disagree with what he says, he is more than entitled to do, but for the fact that he hardly represents a viable alternative given the circumstances of his departure as Home Secretary, that he has hardly been constructive or totally honest about the whole leadership issue, or indeed that he and others have not been gunning for Gordon from the beginning.
Right now we are going through a bad patch economically. Not as bad as Alistair Darling has stated (and how irresponsible is it for a Chancellor to talk like that, whatever the circumstances), but one which is global and where, given the inevitable backlash against the government, we need to give the PM all the support he can get as he tries to help steer us out of the current economic malaise. Comments about leadership challenges therefore are not just unhelpful towards the PM, or indeed the govt, but also to the country.

Cliff Edge

I do agree that his sexuality is not really our business, but one wonders how honest he has been with us in the past? Esp as he seemed to be critical of homosexuality and there is the issue of Sue Barker and Jackie Irving.
That said, I can't see how he could not be honest, and he has said that he is not one of those people where sex is one of the things which drives him. Perhaps he is one of those people who is more emotionally attracted to people than being sexually attracted, in which case he has been consistent in his personal life and has not hid anything at any point in time. In any case he has mentioned the companionship in his book and now we ought to leave him alone. Like the rest of us, his personal life is his business.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Republican Snobbery. Or Pots and Kettles

One of the accusations the right tend to throw at their opponents in Western countries is that they are out of touch with "real people". In the US that means that Democrats are portrayed as Middle Class snobs who spend more time discussing policy over mineral water and lattes in plush New York cafes, instead of downing beer with the Good Ol' Boys and empathising and identifying with Blue Collar workers over their problems. As well as showing a total failure to understand what your average Blue Collar worker thinks.
Well yesterday Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, showed distain for policy support for the more economically vulnerable in our society, when she sneered at Senator Obama's experience as a community organiser
Being a community organiser is not just about whether one is an elected official or not. It is about being in a position to help those who are on the margins of society achieve something better for their lives. So Governor Palin was not just insulting Barack Obama, she was insulting the people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed in Chicago in the 1980s. People who Obama helped as a Community Organiser.
One wonders just who is out of touch here!

Driving Lessons Part XVI

Going well, although I think I need to change my footwear when driving. My shoes are not so tight due to mild age and it's meant that on a couple of occasions I have had less control over the clutch.
That said, apart from my "mad moments" as my instructor calls them, when I get nervous, I am improving with each lesson and things are becoming more habitual along with improvement in confidence. Next week it's going to be Dual Carriageways, which should be interesting.

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part XXXVIII:dizzykj


Profile: dizzy –adjective 1.having a sensation of whirling and a tendency to fall; giddy; vertiginous. 2.bewildered; confused. 3.causing giddiness or confusion. 4.heedless; thoughtless. 5.informal. foolish; silly.
To be found here.

What made you decide to start blogging?
I had chronic fatigue syndrome and was house-bound. I don't have plants so had taken to talking to kitchen implements - I thought blogging would be a better sign of sanity!

What is your best blogging experience?
Probably the first time people started commenting on my blog - it hadn't actually occurred to me that anyone would be reading it, and now I get people visiting from all over the world which is nice (although a bit strange as I don't often have anything very relevant to say!).

And your worst?
Can't think of anything bad - I'm quite careful to keep my blog anonymous and I think this helps.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?
Probably my 100th-blog-post-joke:
A neutron goes into a bar and orders a gin and tonic. When the drink arrives, he takes out his wallet, but the barman says "for you, no charge"!
It may be silly, but it makes me smile!

Favourite blogs?
Neil Gaiman has to be the one I read most often. I also really love Cory's "Digital Rights, Digital Wrongs" for the Guardian and Stephen Fry's. I also love Sauntering Vaguely Downwards.

Why Barack Obama?
Normally only about 50% of registered voters in America vote. This year, that's likely to go up about 65%, and the number of registered voters will also increase. More people than ever will be going to the polls on November 4th and asking themselves what kind of country they want to live in. This is purely because Obama is a candidate.
In an age where many countries in Asia and Africa are considering moving towards Democracy, American, when it's working well, can be a shining beacon for all that is good in the world. Obama can make this happen.

And why Spurs?
Family. My earliest memory is being carried on my grandfather's shoulders and everyone was happy because a team called Spurs had won something. It meant nothing to me at the time, but it was 1981 and we'd just won the FA cup. I'd love not to be a Spurs fan, but I didn't have a choice.

You are stuck on a desert island with only one fantasy book. By Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett?
Gotta be Neil Gaiman. And probably American Gods. I first read Good Omens when it came out and followed that up with all the disc-world novels. It took me many years to realised that although I like TP, it was the darkness of NG that had really got me hooked.

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
I'd love to Tokyo - it's the one really big city that I've yet to visit.

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

Many places - Chicago, NY, SF, Hong Kong, also Crete!

Do you have a favourite political figure in history?
Pythagoras! I don't really do recent political history in terms of people - it's more about ideology for me.

Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?
Again - Pythagoras! I know that he had his faults, but when I was about 7 I read the proof for his theorem from first principles and it just blew me away - that someone could have proven something to be true for all numbers, for ever. The fact that clarity like that existed in the world freed me to do everything else.

Favourite Bond movie?
Moonraker - it's just so wonderfully camp!

Favorite Doctor Who?
10 - Ten - can't get better!

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
Can I have chocolate and mint? If not, then it will have to be vanilla!

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
Not sure really - I saw most of the band I wanted to in my teens and now the older ones are re-forming! The one I'd always wanted to see was The Cult, and they reformed and I saw them in 2006!

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?
It has to be Brum - I have good friends there who I don't see enough, and they also have a dog called Ulrich who is an alsation/ mastiff cross - he's the most wonderful puppy in the world!

Favourite national newspaper?
The Economist

What would you say your hobbies were?
Pilates, reading, listening to Radio4 - God - that makes me sound really dull - I'm not - I promise - just really forgetful about the cool stuff I do!

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?
It all depends on my mood, but right now, I have to go with:
Songs:Stutter by Elastica
Smooth by Santana
Mozart's 2nd Violin Concerto - second movement
Books:Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Geisha by Lisa Dalby

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mars Hill Blog Stats (Aug 2008)

Top Ten Cities listed (from where people visit Mars Hill)

Milton Keynes, London, Charleston, Cupertino, Prague, San Antonio, Mt Laurel, Los Angeles, Plano, Sydney

Top Ten Countries listed (In order of most visits to my blog)

United Kingdom, United States, South Korea, Netherlands, Mozambique, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Czech Republic, Ireland

For those who have started reading my blog in the last month, or who have returned after an absence, a warm welcome to you all

Top Ten Blog/Web Visitors

1) Cally's Kitchen (+2)

2) Paul Linford (+3)

3) British Blogs (+ 9)

4) Iain Dale (Returned)

5) Rupa Huq (-3)

6) Tim Roll-Pickering (-)

7) Luke Akehurst (NEW)

8) CNN (NEW)

9) Kerron Cross - The Voice of the Delectable Left (-2)

10) Bloggers4Labour (-9)

Out of the Top Ten are Labour Matters , Chris Paul: Labour of Love, Skuds' Sister's Brother, and Quaequam Blog

Top Ten Searchwords that lead people to my blog

mars hill

jon voight rant

john voight's political views

english attitudes


mars hill blog

utube mars hill

jeffrey archer - the truth

intimidating dogs

what is the christian version of the birds and the bees

Now I'm 64

According to Iain Dale, I am now No. 64 in the Top 100 Left of Centre Blogs.
Which is rather interesting considering that last year I was at No. 17. But then I learnt the hard way as a teenager, watching Top of the Pops, how quickly your favourites go down the Charts :/
That said I am in esteemed company. Kerron Cross is now at No. 61, plus some bloggers have deservedly gone to the higher echelons of blog fame.
Ah well, fun and games, fun and games

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

EU Monitors in Russia

I think this shows some positive progress, but we need to be cautious and try and avoid a significant deteriation of relations with Russia