I attach no intrinsic value to national sovereignty or to any group rights whatsoever. Whatever significance or value is attributed to national rights (and group rights, minority rights, majority rights, gender rights, linguistic group rights, religious rights, ethnic rights or whatever rights) are derived significance or value – significance or value derived from human rights, that is, rights of individuals.
Given that starting point, it will come as no surprise that I support immediate outside intervention in the human tragedy that is unfolding in Myanmar/Burma. The deeply evil military regime that has ruled and destroyed that country for the past 46 years must be overthrown to safeguard the fundamental and inalienable rights of its people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This wicked junta now intends to prolong its miserable existence by preventing and subverting the efficient distribution of aid to the countless victims of the cyclone that struck the country on May 2.
Yesterday, Saturday 11th May 2008, a 16-year-old boy, Jimmy Mizen, was murdered in a bakery shop in Lee, Lewisham, south-east London. He had turned 16 the day before, and this was his first day at work. I did not know him or his family, but this killing feels personal, because it took place within a seven minute walk from my home and less than 100 yards from Lee Railway Station, which my wife and I use every day to get into and back from work. I have never been inside that bakery shop, but my seventeen year old son knows it well. His school is just around the corner and according to him the people there are nice and make great sandwiches.
Slovakia have done it! They have got the nod both from the European Commission and, albeit reluctantly, from the European Central Bank. Following the confirmation of these recommendations by the European Council, Slovakia will join the Euro Area on January 1, 2009. The only question mark that hung over this application for Euro Area membership was Slovakia’s inflation performance. The European Commission was unambiguous on the issue in its Convergence Report 2008: “Slovakia fulfils the criterion on price stability.”
In a recent Column for the Financial Times, Larry Summers has, once again, combined truth with half-truth and a fair measure of obfuscation, mixing of issues and blurring of key distinctions. What Larry says and writes matters, because he is an influential voice in the Democratic party on economic issues. Both candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination appear to have taken the King’s shilling and are about to set sail on the good ship Protectionism. For the sake of the US economy, its workers and the rest of us, they should think again.
The Bank of England’s semi-annual Financial Stability Report, whose 23rd instalment was published a couple of days ago, lists as members of the Bank’s Financial Stability Board, John Gieve (Chair),Martin Andersson, Andrew Bailey, Charles Bean, Nigel Jenkinson, Mervyn King, Rachel Lomax and Paul Tucker. This listing of the membership of the Financial Stability Board raises a constitutional issue and a factual issue.