Sunday, February 20, 2005

An amazing thing

I was just reviewing the Hansard copy of the special debate held in the House of Commons after the attacks on Sept 11 2001, when I came across the following paragraph from Charles Kennedy, of all people:

I spent one of the happiest years of my life as a student in the mid-west of the United States, in Indiana, and I have been a fairly regular visitor back and forth to New York in the 20 years since then. Until I became a student in the United States, I did not understand how mid-west America feels divorced from east coast and west coast America. Speaking to friends—including one who once worked in one of the buildings that were attacked but who, just before the summer, was transferred further down Wall street and was therefore not afflicted by this terrible tragedy—I was struck by the remarkable extent to which middle America, east coast America and west coast America have become united as never before. We, a country on the other side of the Atlantic, must not underestimate that. We have to understand the scale of the shock and the unity that it has brought about in that great country and on that great continent. (emphasis added Link - Column 609)

Of course, Charles Kennedy is now little more than an anti-American bigot and terrorist apologiser (to be fair, he is also a hopeless boor). Still I found it amusing to see a reference to the Blue-Red State divide here.

It is not surprising though, given his record, that clearly he did not heed his own words. It is plain that he, like so many of his ilk, continually do under-estimate and fail to understand the changes in the world since that dreadful day.

Incidentally reading through some of that debate reminds me again how poor the standard of oratory in Parliament is today. Mostly people were repeating platitudes. As ever, one of the best lines came from a man I do not really like, Ian Paisely, but he has a way with words most parliamentarians do not:

The whole world has been sent a fiercely highlighted message by this terrible atrocity, which brought the New York skyline to sea level and made its rubble the cruel sepulchre of thousands of unsuspecting victims. The rulers of western democracies must learn the lesson that criminal terrorism cannot be talked away; it cannot be engaged in dialogue because it is a lie incarnate. (Link - Column 631)

Though I have to say with developments in Northern Ireland over the past year or so I am warming to him.

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