the Disillusioned kid: Busy Bill
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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Busy Bill

In a compelling article on British involvement in Colombia John Pilger makes an interesting observation about Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Bill Rammell "the junior Foreign Office minister responsible, it seems, for most of the planet":
Busy Bill was in Pyongyang not long ago, telling the North Koreans it was just not right for them to have nuclear weapons. That his own government was armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons was, of course, irrelevant. Prior to that, Busy Bill was telling me, in an interview at the Foreign Office, that the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, whose entire population had been brutally and illegally expelled from their homeland by British governments, could not possibly return because they would be at mortal risk from the ?rising sea?. When the tsunami struck on Boxing Day, it spared the Chagos ? as the Americans knew it would: that is why they colluded with the British to kick the inhabitants out and build a vast military base in what the US Navy calls ?the superb, secure and outstanding environmental conditions? on Diego Garcia, the principal island.
There's a considerable element of truth to this depiction and it has intrigued me for sometime that Rammell seems to be responsible for the mismanagement of so many of the issues which I am interested in. In fact, looking at his FCO homepage it's clear that his mandate is even more extensive than Pilger suggests:
Responsibility for: Afghanistan; Russia, South Caucasus and Central Asia; United Nations; Conflict Prevention; East Asia (China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and Mongolia); Drugs and International Crime; Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and South Pacific; Latin America and Caribbean; Overseas Territories; Sustainable Development; Human Rights; Energy security; Environment and climate change; FCO administration (except human resources); London 2012 Olympic bid; Commons Cover: Middle East.
Note that this also includes Uzbekistan (under the "Russia, South Caucasus and Central Asia" rubric), another recurring interest of this blog.

Given Rammell's mishandling of the Chagos situation (recall his visit to Mauritius in January for evidence of this) I can't say discovering just how much he's responsible for is going to make me sleep any more comfortably at night. World War III here we come!
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