Another official report says “things just getting worse” in Afghanistan

The other side of “Coin”.

We do not support the [counter-insurgency] perspective that this constitutes "things getting worse before they get better", but rather see it as being consistent with the five-year trend of things just getting worse.

That's the verdict of a report from the respected think tank the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, which monitors trends in violence in Afghanistan on behalf of aid organisations, as reported in today's Guardian.

The ANSO report also reveals that June brought a record number of Taliban attacks -- up 51 per cent on the previous year to 1,319 operations. Meanwhile, despite Stanley McChrystal's "protect-the-population" counter-insurgency (or "Coin") motto, and the Coinistas' obsession with winning Afghan hearts and minds using not-so-original "population-centric" tactics, the number of civilians killed by both sides in this conflict rose by 23 per cent.

The response from our former man in Kabul, who now speaks on behalf of Nato? From the Guardian article:

On Saturday Mark Sedwill, Nato's ambassador in Kabul, said the increase in violence this year had always been expected and it was a sign that the coalition was "taking the fight to the Taliban".

I wonder if William Hague has clocked yet that his department is filled with fantastists.

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

YouTube screengrab
Show Hide image

“Trembling, shaking / Oh, my heart is aching”: the EU out campaign song will give you chills

But not in a good way.

You know the story. Some old guys with vague dreams of empire want Britain to leave the European Union. They’ve been kicking up such a big fuss over the past few years that the government is letting the public decide.

And what is it that sways a largely politically indifferent electorate? Strikes hope in their hearts for a mildly less bureaucratic yet dangerously human rights-free future? An anthem, of course!

Originally by Carly You’re so Vain Simon, this is the song the Leave.EU campaign (Nigel Farage’s chosen group) has chosen. It is performed by the singer Antonia Suñer, for whom freedom from the technofederalists couldn’t come any suñer.

Here are the lyrics, of which your mole has done a close reading. But essentially it’s just nature imagery with fascist undertones and some heartburn.

"Let the river run

"Let all the dreamers

"Wake the nation.

"Come, the new Jerusalem."

Don’t use a river metaphor in anything political, unless you actively want to evoke Enoch Powell. Also, Jerusalem? That’s a bit... strong, isn’t it? Heavy connotations of being a little bit too Englandy.

"Silver cities rise,

"The morning lights,

"The streets that meet them,

"And sirens call them on

"With a song."

Sirens and streets. Doesn’t sound like a wholly un-authoritarian view of the UK’s EU-free future to me.

"It’s asking for the taking,

"Trembling, shaking,

"Oh, my heart is aching."

A reference to the elderly nature of many of the UK’s eurosceptics, perhaps?

"We’re coming to the edge,

"Running on the water,

"Coming through the fog,

"Your sons and daughters."

I feel like this is something to do with the hosepipe ban.

"We the great and small,

"Stand on a star,

"And blaze a trail of desire,

"Through the dark’ning dawn."

Everyone will have to speak this kind of English in the new Jerusalem, m'lady, oft with shorten’d words which will leave you feeling cringéd.

"It’s asking for the taking.

"Come run with me now,

"The sky is the colour of blue,

"You’ve never even seen,

"In the eyes of your lover."

I think this means: no one has ever loved anyone with the same colour eyes as the EU flag.

I'm a mole, innit.