Sad passing of Mo Mowlam- Former Northern Ireland Secretary

It is with great sadness that I leant today that Mo Mowlam, former Northern Ireland Secretary had died at the age of 55. Mo played a pivotal role in getting all sides to agree on the Good Friday Agreement. She was a vibrant and energetic leader and will be sorely missed by all on all sides of the political spectrum. I only hope that PM Tony Blair will make some effort to attend her memorial service when it happens. A snub such as the one at the Cook funeral will really be insensitive at this stage.
I hope that all parties in the Northern Ireland peace process will accord Mo a fitting tribute by making every effort to revive the Good Friday Agreement.

Sad passing of Mo Mowlam

It is with great sadness that I leant today that Mo Mowlam had died at the age of 55. Mo played a
pivotal role in getting all sides to agree on the Good Friday Agreement. She was a vibrant and
energetic leader and will be sorely missed by all on all sides of the political spectrum. I only
hope that PM Tony Blair will make some effort to attend her memorial service when it happens. I snub
such as the one at the Cook funeral will really be insensitive at this stage.
I hop that all parties in the Northern Ireland peace process will accord Mo a fitting tribute by
making every effort to revive the Good Friday Agreement.

Historic witdrawal from Gaza

I watched with interest the withdrawal of settlers from the Gaza. The fact that it was largely peaceful was good. The few hard line settlers caused some trouble but even that was dealt with. The issues now are complex, and there are many questions, the more mundane of these are how will the land be allocated, what happens to the houses and other buildings that are still there, how will the handover be completed and who will manage this process. I watch with interest!

Historic withdrawal from the Gaza

I watched with interest the withdrawal of settlers from the Gaza. The fact that it was largely peaceful was good. The few hard line settlers caused some trouble but even that was dealt with. The issues now are complex, and there are many questions, the more mundane of these are how will the land be allocated, what happens to the houses and other buildings that are still there, how will the handover be completed and who will manage this process. I watch with interest!

More progress

The call to lay down arms has really acted as an impetus to reignite the discussion around the Irish
problem. Obviously there was behind the scenes discussions going on all the time, that is the nature
of politics, but the public announcement has put the whole issue center stage again.
The dismantling of the military watch towers and listening posts are symbolic steps that add
credence to the discussion, however the Rev Paisley’s comments add somewhat of a damper to the air
of optimism that is now prevalent. Time will tell if he is just being obstructionist or rightfully
cautious. I look forward to the implement ion of the Good Friday Agreement. At least channels are
now being opened to start talking about restoration of power sharing.

Shock and horror!

All is quite on the political front here in South Africa. That is perhaps a desirable situation in that boring politics means thing are under control and ticking over nicely, its when there is fireworks that one needs to worry.

The biggest news making the front pages of all the major newspapers is the story of a murder that took place a year ago in Johannesburg South Africa. A 21 year old university student was kidnapped, held for ransom, and was then murdered after the ransom was paid.
What makes this story so chilling for me is that I knew this person convicted for the murder. Today he was sentenced to life in prison. I am still in shock. I heard about his involvement when he was arrested about 10 months ago. All this time form July 2004 to now, July 2005 I never believed that he was guilty, I thought that he was perhaps protecting something or some thing like that, but when he confessed in court on the 25 July as the trial was about the start I was shocked. His confession was so chilling and calculating that I actually got quite a fright thinking about it. As I said I knew this young man. I saw him at church meeting, at various functions, I even have a few photographs of him taking part in a walk. He dated someone I knew, he seems so calm and so cool. I still cannot believe that it is the same person. What I cannot fathom, is what changed in this man, what compelled him to do what he did, petty crime I can perhaps understand, but kidnapping, extortion and ultimately murder I cannot believe. The chilling alternative is that noting changed, and that he was a psychopath all along….

Orange for change

What is the significance of orange in politics. Recent popular demonstrations of a political or
social nature have seen the colour orange play a prominent role. The recent demonstrations in Israel
against the withdrawal from Gaza has just been a sea of orange. It really seems impressive when one
sees the television coverage, and that may just have something to do with it.